The 7 Books And 43 Key Concepts That Will Help You Develop a Good Personal Operating System In The Knowledge Economy [PART 3]

Brandon Fluharty 🐝
6 min readJun 7, 2022

Over the past 2 years, I have read the 7 best books for developing an effective personal operating system — twice.

I have distilled them down to the 43 key insights that will upgrade your life.

Save yourself time and just implement these key concepts 🧵👇

Book #3: Atomic Habits (summary)

If you focus on improving yourself by developing good habits, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.

Habit = a routine or behavior that is performed regularly — and, in many cases, automatically.

Key Concept (15): Develop Positive Habits Through Small, Incremental Changes

Small changes, though they may seem unimportant now, can add up.

Eventually, they can lead to drastic results (known as “incremental gains”).

These small changes are what the author, James Clear calls atomic habits.

An atomic habit “refers to a tiny change, a marginal gain, a 1% improvement.”

There is an “operating manual” for how to use atomic habits to unlock your full potential.

Clear outlines Four Laws of Behavior Change we can use to create positive habits, or if reversed, to break bad habits.

Most habits are hard to keep because we focus on the wrong things.

“Research has shown that once a person believes in a particular aspect of their identity, they are more likely to act in alignment with that belief.”

Key Concept (16): If You Focus On Changing Your Identity, Your Habits Are More Likely To Stick Long-Term

Every small change we make is a reflection of our identity.

Every time you workout, you’re an athlete. Every time you learn a new computer skill, you’re good with technology

As you begin to change your habits, consider these two steps:

1) Decide the type of person you want to be

2) Prove it to yourself with small wins

Ask yourself: “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”

Once you have an idea on who you want to become, you can use it to better inform your decisions.

With this new mentality in mind, we can learn about the Four Laws of Behavior Change.

Key Concept (17): Make New Habits More Obvious By Attaching Them to Habits You Already Have

In order to build better habits, we first should be aware of the ones we already have.

To do this, make a list of any current habits you can think of. Then ask yourself, “Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be?”

Having this clarity of mind will help you keep track of the habits that you want to keep and the ones that aren’t serving you.

Then, you can rely on some of these preset behaviors to develop new habits.

For example, let’s say you want to exercise more.

You can attach this new habit you’d like to develop (exercise) to a habit you already have, maybe like drinking coffee every morning.

Clear calls this process habit stacking.

You can frame it this way, “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

You can even stack multiple habits, such as: “After I drink coffee, I will do fifteen pushups. After I do fifteen pushups, I will meditate for five minutes.”

The more simple and intuitive you can make your habits, the easier they will be to develop.

Key Concept (18): Make Hard Habits More Attractive By Linking An Action You Like With An Action You Need To Do

This is called “temptation bundling,” which is linking an action you need to do with an action you want to do.

For example, if you want to be more diligent about responding to emails, you might watch your favorite TV show (want) ONLY after you’ve cleaned out your inbox (need).

Habit stacking and temptation bundling work well together…

Eventually, any habit you struggle to maintain will look attractive because you’ll associate it with something you like to do.

On the other hand, if you want to break a bad habit, you can do the reverse: make it unattractive.

For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking, you can reframe an attractive element like “it calms my nerves,” to an unattractive element like, “not having constant nicotine makes me nervous.”

You can also highlight the positive benefits of giving up a bad habit to make kicking the habit more attractive.

“If I give up smoking, I’ll have much higher energy and a better mood,” for example.

Reframing the habit you want to maintain as the more attractive option will help you willingly repeat it.

Key Concept (19): Make Your Habits Easier By Creating An Environment That Encourages Good Habits And Discouraged Bad Ones

We can make our habits easier (and our bad habits more difficult), by “priming” our environment.

This means setting up your environment to encourage the behaviors you want.

For example, if you want read more, put a book on your bed pillow or on your desk so it’s the first thing you do before going to bed or starting work.

The reverse also works — if you want to remove a bad habit, you should make it difficult.

A simple technique to make your bad habits more difficult is using a commitment device: a decision you make now that will control your actions in the future.

For example, you can reduced your overeating by dividing your food into smaller portions in advance (eat half now and save the other half for tomorrow).

Key Concept (20): Encourage Yourself to Maintain Positive Habits By Making Your Progress Visible

Clear describes a habit developed by a stockbroker named Trent Dyrsmid in the early ‘90s.

Dyrsmid started every morning with two jars on his desk: one with 120 paper clips and one with none.

Then, every time he made a sales call, he would move a paper clip over. By the end of the day, Dyrsmid would have no paper clips left.

The results were drastic. Within 18 months, he was “bringing in $5 million to the firm.”

Clear calls this the Paper Clip Strategy, a visual way to track your progress.

You observe clear evidence you are progressing, and you feel satisfied seeing how you advance.

The Paper Clip strategy encourages good habits because it visibly rewards you.

There are other ways to use visual rewards, such as keeping a food journal or a workout log.

Clear’s favorite, however, is a habit tracker.

A habit tracker is any way you choose to track your habits.

It might be a calendar where you cross off days you’ve continued your habits, or a little booklet where you keep an ongoing record.

Folklore has it that Jerry Seinfeld uses a habit tracker to make sure he “never break[s] the chain” of writing jokes every day.

Clear believes “don’t break the chain” is a powerful mantra. Your goal should be to never skip a habit for more than a day.

If you can make sure you persist in your habits regularly and not break the chain, you’ll see drastic results and unlock your potential.

P.S. I developed my own daily performance tracker, called Thrive Space™, which helped me close $14.1M in Annual Recurring Revenue in 10 months while averaging 7 hours of sleep per night

Grab it HERE for free

Snag a copy of the book 📖👇



Brandon Fluharty 🐝

👋 Welcome! This is where I publicly share the personal operating system I used to go from earning $200K to over $1M/yr without burning out in SaaS sales.