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SCOTT DREYER: “Atomic Habits” Mastermind Starts Tomorrow

Can you figure out who the poem “Who Am I?” is talking about?

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.

Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it  automatically.

I am the servant of all great men. And, alas, of all failures as well.

Those who are great, I have made great.

Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine. Plus, the intelligence of a man.

You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.

Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

This anonymous poem refers to the power of HABITS. Author James Clear has tapped into this goldmine of a topic with his award-winning book Atomic Habits. Writing from his own life story of struggling from a near-death sports injury in high school back to health and wholeness, Clear explains the importance of small, daily habits as the indicator of success or failure in life. He dismisses the popular notion of “the overnight success,” saying he’s never observed such a thing, and that certainly wasn’t true in his life.

Instead of waiting for the big splash or the sudden epiphany, he says the road to personal victory in life is usually the long, unglamorous slog of making tiny 1% improvements day by day.

Not afraid to be an iconoclast, Clear also dismissed the popular idea of “goal setting.” Yes, he acknowledges that the winning sports team, salesperson, or politician had the goal to win, but the losers entered their contests with the same goal too, to win! Thus, Clear challenges his readers to focus on their systems to do better and better. In other words, if your systems are healthy and strong, you will probably do well, regardless of what your goals are. In contrast, you may have great goals on paper, but if your systems are poor, you will probably keep meeting with disappointment. Clear summarizes his point with, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals, but you fall to the level of your systems.”

Starting at 9:00 am Eastern Standard, Thursday, April 7, a new Mastermind 1.0 group reading and discussing Atomic Habits will launch. This post from March 24 explains more about what a Mastermind group is and how they function. Are you looking for a way to boost your good habits and reign in your unhelpful ones? Are you looking for accountability partners to help you achieve your personal growth? Or are you curious to know more? Check out this blog to learn more and how to join!

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer M.A. in his classroom. Dreyer, of Roanoke, has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Their website is


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