I was talking with Ramit Sethi the other day, and he said something interesting. He told me that his obsession wasn't necessarily personal finance, but rather how to actually get people to take action and make changes. We talked about the similarities between pick up and personal finance. Telling someone that they can get better with girls is easy; getting them to do something about it is hard. Giving people tips to save money is easy; getting them to actually do it is a lot harder.
I like to explore different ways to do things and pick the best one, no matter where it falls on the normal - weird scale. The best way to do most things tends to be somewhere on the weird end. I have theories on why that is, but I'll get into that another time.
So, in the spirit of trying to get people to actually take action, I have a challenge for you. I'm going to share with you seven out of the box things to do that have had a positive influence on my life. Pick one (or more) and give it a shot. If you write about it publicly, I'll link to you.
#1 Learn Dvorak
Dvorak isn't much faster than QWERTY, so erase that from your mind as a reason to learn it. Still, there are great reasons to switch:
- You move your hands a fraction of the distance you move them with QWERTY. This reduces your chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome, which I believe is going to be a serious problem for people in our generation.
- You get to observe yourself learning a new skill. I hadn't even thought of this when I started learning, but in retrospect it was very interesting. You observe a lot about your learning process.
- You get to relearn typing with the correct fingers (which may actually lead to a speed increase). When I learned QWERTY I did it mostly correct, but definitely underused my pinkies and used the shift keys inefficiently. Relearning with Dvorak gives you a chance to learn with the correct fingers.
To learn, I recommend the Ten Thumbs typing tutor. Don't worry about physically moving keys on your keyboard,having them mislabeled is a good way to ensure that you're actually touch typing properly. It's also a good way to confuse people trying to use your computer (yes, I actually consider this to be a benefit).
#2 Become Minimalist
I could / have / will often in the future go on all day about how great it is to be a minimalist. Here are the highlights:
- You get a bunch of money from selling all of the junk you don't need.
- You have way less to worry about.
- You have more freedom in terms of moving, travel, living arrangements, and even time. When you have few possessions, it doesn't take long to clean them, organize them, or keep them in good condition.
- You focus on what is important. I used to be a little consumerist junkie, constantly on the prowl for things to buy. I remember once, back when I had a ton of money, being frustrated that I couldn't find anything good to buy. Now I'm a lot more focused on experiences rather than items.
So how do you become a minimalist? Go through your house and throw away / donate / sell everything you don't use. Repeat this process every few weeks or month. Don't buy new things you don't need
#3 Become Vegan / Healthy
I keep harping on this one because it gives you the one thing money can't buy- time. Following the MaxDiet will add up to EIGHT years to your life. Don't think of it as eight years tacked on to the end when you're disabled and in a nursing home, think of it is prolonging your good health for eight years. Who doesn't want that?
Besides extending your life, you learn to appreciate food a lot more, understand how it interacts with your body, and drastically reduce your chances of getting terrible sounding diseases like cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.
And if you're not happy with your weight, add one more positive to this one,you'll lose weight.
The fact that everyone doesn't make this a priority is horrifying to me. Such clear benefits with such small downside (about two months of wishing you could eat hamburgers).
#4 Make Your Life Public
In particular, make a blog and be honest on it. If you can come up with another way to make your life public, that's cool too. Here's why:
- It keeps you accountable. People here give me feedback, both good and bad, that helps me a lot. Knowing other people are counting on you, even if it's just for inspiration or vicarious living is a powerful motivator.
- It provides a log of your life. Sometimes I go back through old entries and get to relive my thoughts and adventures. Most of them I'd remember anyway, but it's nice to have insight on how I used to be. The human memory has been proven far less objective than we might hope it is.
- Creating a body of work is valuable. Anything you write is put out in public for the benefit of anyone who comes across it. You don't need a large readership to make a difference in a few people's lives.
- You bring like minded people into your life. My ex, Annie, found me because I wrote about things that we were both interested in. People write to me all the time and talk about things that are interesting to me. Even though my blog isn't super high circulation, many of the high profile people I've met have come across it before, which makes them more likely to be interested in getting to know me.
Starting a blog is easy. Host it yourself or sign up at wordpress.com or tumblr.com and start writing. Keep writing even when you don't feel like it. Be as honest and casual as possible. For more info, read this post about starting a moderately popular blog.
#5 Learn a Foreign Language
Here's the secret of learning a foreign language: it's not an all or nothing pursuit. Decent Japanese will get you a lot farther than no Japanese will. Even being able to pick out a phrase or two, like I can in French, pays off.
Secret number two: it's not all that hard. I like the Pimsleur series (available at most public libraries) because it's a pretty surefire way to gain usable proficiency in any language in just three months. I've heard a bunch of people recommend the Michel Thomas series, but I haven't tried it yet. If you're interested in learning written Japanese or Chinese, check out this post.
One last bit of advice. Pick a language you're excited about learning rather than the one you think will be most practical (if they overlap, that's even better). If you're excited to learn something, you'll find it a lot easier.
#6 Become a Pickup Artist
This applies mostly to guys, although you might be surprised at how many girls read the books, get into it, and benefit in one way or another from what they've learned.
The bottom line on pickup is that it's a super concentrated path to personal development. People who don't know much about it think that it's memorizing lines to trick girls, but anyone who has gone through it know that it's a hardcore self improvement journey.
It's hard to calculate the benefits of being able to talk to and attract any girl. Besides that, consider the fringe benefits of having the confidence and social skills to talk to anyone.
I'm obviously biased, but I think my book, Make Her Chase You, is the best way to begin learning pickup. If you're a bit more advanced and you want some coaching, feel free to email me and I'll recommend a company based on your goals and skill level (I don't get paid for that in any way). I also rarely do expensive and intensive one on one bootcamps.
There's also tons of free information out there to get started. Try fastseduction.com.
Pick one, do it, and tell me about it!