24 Responses to “The Anatomy of a Zen Habit”


Read below or add a comment...

  1. Courtney,

    Zen who? Just joshing around :)

    Thanks for posting the interview. We don’t get to see as much from Leo these days. This showed a deeper side in my opinion.

    Take care,

    Joshua Millburn

  2. Terrific, sensible advice.

    I’ve also found that the reason my own bad habits were to break is that I thought of them as rewards. “I’ve been good this week so I can indulge in that [extra glass of wine, rich meal, fattening dessert]. I deserve it.” It’s only when I decided that rewards are things boost my energy rather than deplete it — a long walk, cup of green tea, an extra hour of sleep — that I was able to move away from the habits that had negative effects on my health.

  3. Leo is a humble human face of Zen – a modern day master of simple teaching through the 21st Century medium of the Internet. Thus, ancient wisdom blends with contemporary need which is why he has found his voice to a wide audience. And he talks an awful lot of sense too. You’re a pretty good interviewer Courtney to go with your excellent blogging I must say – congrats on a majestic piece.

    • Courtney Carver

      Thanks John! Interviews are usually not my thing. Leo’s lifestyle and message really does resonate with so many.

  4. Leo and his blog have long been an inspiration to me. Earlier this year I had the fortunate opportunity to meet with Leo and also go for a run with him in San Francisco. In the short time we spent getting to know one another I discovered that he is a truly genuine person. He practices what he preaches.

    I have been procrastinating and have not yet purchased his new book. I think it’s time to buy it. Thanks for the reminder with this great post.

    • Courtney Carver

      Jason, Leo wrote the book in 3 days. – A perfect example of un-procrastination! It’s time to check it out.

      • Leo

        Thanks Courtney, for all the kind words.

        Just to clarify: I wrote the book in 3 days, not three hours. :)

        • Courtney Carver

          Oops – typo! Thanks for answering my questions Leo. I know there is much more behind the scenes work that goes on contributing to your success, but the things I mentioned really stand out.

  5. Roy

    Great interview! I would write more but I need to stop myself from procrastinating from writing my blog post hehe.

  6. Appreciated this quote: “…because of fear [procrastination] can become a habit — it’s easier to shirk from something we’re afraid of and do something that has positive reinforcement instead.”
    I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m tempted to “shrink from something”. Instead of falling back on ‘safe’ behaviors that may not contribute to a goal, I can give myself a different form of positive reinforcement for having completed a task that feels scary.
    Thanks for the interview, Courtney and Leo!

    • Courtney Carver

      Great insight Caroline. I think once we become of our actions and get off “auto-pilot”, we can start making real change.

  7. Emily


    Thanks so much for showcasing Leo’s work! I have recently read a blog post or two that seems to be moving in a Leo-bashing direction, and was frankly saddened by what seems like a possibly developing trend. I know that Leo was my entrance into the concept of minimalism. I was drowning in a sea of “stuff” and he gave me a word to describe what my heart desired…a way to think about the concept of “less” in a positive, practical,and personal way. His blog was the doorway into an interesting new world. Frankly, I applaud Leo for his willingness to grow, change, explore new ideas, and take new journeys.

    Thanks again!

    • Courtney Carver

      Emily, It seems the bigger and better you get, the more bashing there seems to be. I think it’s just relative to the size of Leo’s blog and overall web presence. As near as I can tell, he hasn’t done anything offensive, but some can find the negative in anything!

      • I think that challenging points of view and differing opinions are a good thing and generate productive conversation. I’m sure Leo would agree. That said, bashing has no value and I’m sorry to hear that people are encouraging that kind of negativity. Thankfully the cream usually rises to the top and the bashers will inevitably do themselves a disservice and raise awareness for those with something worth saying and being heard, like Leo.

  8. Courtney, good article, and I’m flattered by the mention. :)

    I think what Leo, you and so many others do now is lead by example. You’re not armchair experts, you’re actually writing about your own struggles and how you’re overcoming them, day to day, not preaching to people about all the things they should do, but not doing any of them yourself.

    I shared a quote on Twitter by Patrick Rhone just the other day that sums this up I think:

    “We often learn most from those that are not trying to teach but, instead, simply living. Live a life worth learning from.”

    Ev Bogue says similar things about the success and growth of his blog(s) – Live a life people want to live, then show them how to do it.

    The internet gives us access like never people to the people we look to to guide us, and we in turn can strive to be the same kind of leaders and inspiration to others, by being the best we can be ourselves.

    • Courtney Carver

      Dan, Thanks for commenting. I didn’t include you to flatter you, I included you because you really help me. Your writing and inspiration always has bells going off in my brain!

      I am happy you’re flattered, but truly the mention is well deserved.

  9. Leo has been a big influence in helping me make some changes in my life. I love that he is real, and even though he has made changes, he’s first to admit he is not perfect! How awesome that you got to interview him!
    Getting more work done in less time

    • Courtney Carver

      Bernice, That is a great point. Leo often admits that he doesn’t know it all, is still learning and isn’t perfect. It is so much easier to learn from someone like that than someone who thinks they have it all figured out.

  10. osiris

    our ideas of good and bad are just as twisted as our understanding of more and less. I think when we use the word “good” we need to “dirty” it up.

  11. Try searching Google for critique on Zen Habits, discussion of the posts, anything that might resemble a critique. Oh, that’s right, impossible to find. I guess that’s one way to ‘handle criticism gracefully’.

please comment