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:
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:
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:
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!
I am still working on being a minimalist. I am in the middle of selling a TON of my crap on ebay. And feeling a little more freedom every day.
I kept meaning to start my own blog - inspired by the likes of yourself.
I kept an account of my life and 'pick up' experiences and after much procrastination I've started posting my experiences on blog.
In a strange way it feels great offering value to others in this way.
Check it out: http://www.lazysmartrobot.com
Try Colemak! It's like Dvorak, but was built with the aid of computer algorithms, is designed to be easy to learn from QWERTY, AND it's got a very active user-base (like me!)
Using any alternative keyboard layout is a rebellion against people doing things just because that's the way they've always been done. Power to weirdness!
I am really working on #2 and trying to become a minimalist. I simply own way too much crap, especially considering how often I move internationally. I have started selling off extra things on ebay and gumtree. Will keep you updated bro!
@Erik Thanks, man... glad to help.
@Skinner I haven't thought much about it, but at some point I'm sure I will.
@Luke That is one crazy keyboard. Can't wait to hear about it.
@Matt So many things. I may make a MaxDiet book because there are a lot of questions about it. If I do, I will focus on practical easy to make/clean meals.
@Murphy Long story short: she lives in Canada, I live everywhere. Don't really want to rehash it all on the blog.
I love it! I read through the Max Diet series, and I'm resolved to try it. I became a vegetarian a year ago, and I was a vegan for a while, but I let myself slip back into old habits.
My ears started burning when you started talking about unhealthy, processed vegetarian diets: I've been guilty as charged.
What do you recommend that's vegan and will keep/can be taken to work?
Heheh, love the pic. Cool things to do too!
1- The software you recommended is kinda weird for me, due to the whole european keyboard thing that they don't have. All your signals like / and such are in different places. Gonna look for other software.
2- I have definitely stopped buying everything that catches my eye, though actually throwing out stuff is difficult for me. I was never very consummerist in day to day life, but occasionally I'd make a big purchase almost on impulse. I have bought two quality electric guitars, even though I'm just a beginning guitarist, and the only things I bought for my violin, my main instrument, in the past 6 years or so was spare strings and resin, and recently a new case. It's crazy! Now I've decided I've gotta work on my guitar playing before I deserve any cool new stuff.
3- I actually lost a lot of weight over the last two years, over 25 kg, and the past few months have been more lax in diet and exercise. I still avoid overeating, and I walk around a LOT since I don't drive yet, but I've quit the gym and the actual eating diary and all that. My weight's been stable, so I'm happy. Recently, I've decided to start doing ab curls, push-ups and body weight squats when I wake up and one hour before I go to sleep, starting small and growing progressively, and will start barefoot running as soon as I get my vibrams. Going totally healthy like you do is not possible for me at the moment, not because of any lack of self-control, but because I live with my parents and don't actually have many places for healthy food nearby. I do the best I can, though, and am pretty healthy.
4- Looking into servers and refreshing my html knowledge, will probably start in late September or so, when I'm back in school and have a more active life.
5- English IS a foreign language! Looking into tapes to relearn french, and to learn one other, possibly either german or italian. Have latin classes in my music school.
6- Have been doing it for a while, mostly daygame with some wings for the local lair. Clubs aren't my thing, I don't really like the music; I'm more into classical, rock and jazz. Sometimes I hit bars, but clubs I stay away from.
Post more often, Tynan! That time with the one post per day was awesome. Cheers!
I am very much into minimalist, but living with my mom she kind of like to save the things that I want to throw, and I like to save things that she want to throw.
So we both keep the things that we know each of us will go mad if one of us tries to get rid off.
Thanks Tynan for this practical post! I enjoyed reading it.
Keep up the good work :)
I'm on day four of this magical adventure and I'm slowly becoming more capable.
I'm averaging around thirty words per minute now in the little typing program, but probably a bit less in real life. At least I don't want to kill myself when I type anymore. It's the little things in life, you know?
It has been really fascinating to learn a new skill, start from scratch, and watch my progress daily. One really interesting thing I've noticed is that my words per minute don't really go up during the day, even though it feels easier as I practice more throughout the day. However, when I wake up the next morning I am much faster.
By Leo Babauta
One of the beautiful things about unschooling is that the parents learn alongside their children.
This is truly amazing.
Consider this: in school, kids learn stuff, and the parents don't know anything about it for the most part (apart from a summary from the kid or teacher). The kid also just learns the material, not so much how to learn. And parents don't really learn how their kid learns either.
But with unschooling, it's a huge learning experiment that the kid and parent are doing together. There's no one to say, "This is what you need to learn, and this is how you'll do it." So as a result, the kid and parent have to figure these things out together.