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Ramit’s Therapy Sessions

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In a rare generous mood, I recently asked some of my readers to send me their toughest questions so I could answer them.

I expected challenging questions on asset allocation, multi-armed bandit testing, ethnographic research, and maybe advanced negotiation techniques.

In actuality, I got questions like this:

  • “Do you think most people cheat because their partner isn’t doing enough? And if so, do you think its ok that they cheated?” -Shenandoah
  • “There is no secret ingredient, is there? But if there was, what would it be?” -Tania
  • “Why do you look pissed off most the time?” -Therese

Sometimes people don’t need tactics, they need therapy.

WHICH MADE ME REALIZE: WHY NOT INTRODUCE THERAPY WEEK WITH RAMIT?

That’s right, people.

This week, I’m going to be your therapist, answering your toughest questions about following through, distraction, and productivity.

We’ll laugh. We’ll cry (well, you might). And together, we’ll walk into the sunset on the wings of my favorite emotion of all: pity.

If you have questions about inner psychology, barriers that are holding you back, or why you genuinely want to do something — but can’t seem to actually follow through — this is your chance to ask. Maybe you call yourself “lazy” when it comes to hitting the gym. Maybe you want to go grad school, but haven’t even bought the GMAT book. Or maybe you’re fed up with reading blog after blog but never really doing anything.

I can help. This week, I’ll be answering the best questions and sharing a few surprises along the way.

Submit your questions by commenting below.  

And if you’re not on my Insider’s List, now’s the time to join, free. Some of my private therapy sessions will only be shared in email.

Join my FREE email list

.

One more thing – Tomorrow, I’ll be hosting a live “therapy session” on Twitter. Just send your question to @ramit from 4-5 p.m. EST and I’ll answer as many as I can.

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219 Comments

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  1. Hello Ramit!

    Saw you on Marie Forleo video a week ago and now love and follow your blog.

    I am a pretty positive person who loves to learn new information and grow daily. I strive to be and do my best to become a better person each day. The problem? My close friends and even some of my family members do not support me and don’t even look at or mention my work, blog or pretty much anything other than “so are you dating anyone?”. For the past 9 years or so I have supported, helped, asked, worried about, tried to add value, and coached my friends through countless of engagements, marriages, baby showers, MBA programs, marriage problems, and businesses. But for some reason even after all that most of them do not take any interest in my life and my drive to succeed. I know from your past posts you said that your friends don’t read your blog, watch your videos or ask you for financial advice. That was pretty funny! But what are friends for? I thought it was to support each other, be happy and excited when one or the other has success or is finally pushing through life. I love business, marketing, self development and a million other things not “Oh no! When are you going to get married?” or who I am dating at the moment talks.

    Feeling unsupported.

    Sincerely,

    Masha

    • Andrew Williams Link to this comment

      Oh Masha. I often feel the same way – and I suspect so do most of us here!
      I don’t tell my partner half of my mad schemes because I’m afraid he’ll try to talk me out of them. His life quest appears to be an afternoon nap every day and another evening attempting to fuse his body into the sofa.

    • Masha, I think many of us feel your pain as Andrew agreed as well, but sometimes it’s time for us to focus on “us” and let those who really do care come looking for us to find out the “what’s what”.

      Perhaps in being so supportive to your friends you became known as the person who is all too available for them. I know, it sounds nuts, but some people can get too wrapped up in everyone else’s pursuits, lives, dramas, problems, etc. in a need to feel needed and also in wanting someone to give a damn that they lose a piece of themselves.

      I am not saying that this is/was you, but if any part of it seems to ring true, perhaps step back, reassess, and take a good solid month for yourself to focus only on you and your endeavors and see who pops their head out to see what’s up with you.

      Then, and only then, you will know what ‘friends’ should perhaps be in what categories of how much time and attention you give. Are they really acquaintances, or perhaps old friends from childhood whom you would hang around less with if *you* didn’t call? Or, maybe there are a lot more close friends than you know about who just lost themselves focusing on their own stuff. You’ll find out more as you step away and place the focus back where it belongs- on you. Those who should be there on the journey will be there.

      Enjoy those who holla back and keep *those* friends close. 😉

    • Thank you so much Andrew! That was pretty funny! And thank you so much Andrea for great advice! “some people can get too wrapped up in everyone else’s pursuits, lives, dramas, problems, etc. in a need to feel needed and also in wanting someone to give a damn that they lose a piece of themselves.” So true! I will step away and place my energy and focus on my goals more. I think I have been too available for some friends and if after all this time they do not take any interest in my life then it’s time to let go. I will be on the lookout for new friends with similar interests and values.

      Thank you!

  2. How do we accept the fact that one day we are going to die and be forgotten?

    • +1 for this one.

    • Read “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius and “On the Shortness of Life” by Seneca. Those two books will make you think about that like anything you’ve ever read.

    • There is a dociumentary called “Dream of a Life”. A London woman died in her apartment and no one n oticed for 3 years. She wasn’t awful, she wasn’t old (38!), She just lived alone…..

    • This is one of the easiest things to accept for me. So much that it’s not a matter of consciously accepting it. It is a fact of life that our bodies (and, indeed, all life) are temporary vessels for our genetic traits, vessels that may be useful and propagate and remembered for a short time. Of course, as humans, we can leave our legacy in other notable ways, if that makes you feel better. If you look at the flip side, since everything is temporary, the casual expression “YOLO” rings truer for those with ambitions.

  3. I want to live & work in Canada for Experience of working abroad, travel, earn more money. I have been saying this for about a year now and have not moved it forward. I just am not taking action. I have a idea on how to go about this, however, I have not laid out the step-by-step procedure in making this happen. Whenever I have to thought to form the steps and work involved in it, I postpone it by saying I will do this after cleaning the house / clean up or organize my computer / finish up my pending office work ( I recently noticed this pattern).This cycle continues and after about a month a depressing feeling sinks in that I have not moved an inch on this. The same happens with my workout , preparing my resume and shift to a new high paying job etc. How do I create a system or any workable solution to get me into actin ( I think scheduling everything down to the T is a solution but….how?)

  4. 1. How do we have patience while we are executing our plans? I’ve recently succeeded at installing multiple positive habits using the Tiny Habits approach (thank you Ramit for the B.J. Fogg interview!), but it is going to take a while before the habits build up. How do I stay patient while not doing anything rash that will upset the habit like working out too hard during a gym session?

    2. What are some word-for-word scripts you can recommend for persuading my mother, who does grocery shopping and cooks for the whole family, to stop buying junk food and processed food? I have tried the consistency technique, but due to the festive season, she bought more junk food to entertain guests.

    3. Which resources (books, blogs) would you recommend for effectively holding meetings, dealing with inefficient and overly social team members, and leading a team to get work done efficiently in general? This is in a college setting. I am asking this because your word-for-word scripts and advice is extremely effective and actually works unlike most crap out there.

  5. Hey Ramit,

    You’ve talked a lot about surrounding yourself with the right people who won’t allow you to fail. How do you find and connect with the right people when you can’t seem to find them? I’m talking about personally meeting with people, not just being internet-friends with them.

    I live in a country where people have more of an employee-for-life mindset. I want to start my own small business that can support me, but whenever I mention this to the people around me, I’m met with raised eyebrows and looks that say “Yup. Good luck with that.”

    • This is a good one. I’ll tackle it in an email.

    • Yeah, I like this question, can very much relate. And doesn’t everyone secretly want you to fail bar a few exceptions e.g. Mommy and Daddy – and even they have vested interests really.

      And who are the positive people? The one’s who massage your ego or the tough-love ones, or the ones that stay out of your business, or the ones who help you when your down?

      So, to add to Joseph’s question – how do you stop being a ‘negative person’ yourself?

      Thanks Ramit.

    • NO!, You better not hide your brilliance in an email! These people are here begging for your help, and you want to reply to this person in an email??? What is wrong with you Ramit? Are you trying to hide secret’s? Well guess what? I am your ego, you cannot hide secrets from me! So don’t hide them form these other people either. Besides, I will read your email and then post it on here anyway, so save me the time and put it on here. That way I can spend more time staring at my handsome face in the mirror.

  6. Hi Ramit!

    Love the idea of therapy sessions. Here’s my question:

    How come sometimes I can’t align what I know to be intellectually true with my emotional situation?

    For example, I know that results in the gym won’t come quick, that I need to stick to my diet and workout plan for at least 8 to 16 weeks to see any big improvements, but I often throw this little hissy fits (in my head), about my lack of progress after a week or two.

    Another example, I know eating a giant, 16″ Dominos pizza is going to make me sick, fat and generally feel awful. Yet, I still order and eat it.

    What’s up with that?

    • Getting a lot of questions about self-sabotage. Stay tuned. Note: The key word here is “guilt”

    • We are irrational creatures Patrick. Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek writer and philosopher said “Free yourself from one passion to be dominated by another and nobler one”. I believe that to really be able to have the discipline needed to alter habits to your like, you need to devote yourself to something larger than yourself and then slowly but surely everything else will fall in place.

      Good luck!

    • Hi Patrick,
      Sorry to cut between you and Ramit, but I think I actually may have an answer for you having quit 3 habits, overeating included.

      If you have a problem achieving something, maybe you need to reframe it? Maybe you should say to yourself: “I quit overeating!” Be serious with yourself and expect cravings. Notice them and tell them: “Screw you! I’ve made my decision.”

    • Regarding self-sabotage, please check out Gay Hendrick’s book – The Big Leap (non-Amazon affiliate link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Leap-Conquer-Hidden/dp/0061735361). It’s a life changer.
      Our happiness is at a set-point (upper limit) and when we have too many good things happen to us, inevitably we sabotage ourselves to bring us back down to our established upper limit of happiness. The key to learn to continually increase our “upper limit” and learn to accept more good and more happiness in our lives.
      So what if you ate that pizza? You’ve done a bunch of other great stuff today. Accept it and keep building better habits and good for yourself. You’ll always slip (you’re human afterall), but if you build good mental/physical/emotional/etc. habits, you have a solid framework for life.

    • Oh man, good replies and good advice in here! Only back in January I was saying to myself, “Patrick, you logged over 100 workouts last year, more than ever before. You can now swing a 16kg (35lb) kettlebell 100 times in 10 minutes, and you could barely swing it 10 times when you got it! So what if you’re not Adonis yet, you’re way ahead of where you were!”

      Andreas, Sylvia, Lindsey, lots of good stuff for me to read/think about. Thank you fro your contributions.

  7. I know you advocate a “let them know you’re there when they’re ready” approach, but are there some more effective ways (or scripts), that are more effective to invite others to think about changing their lives in a way that doesn’t hurt your relationships? The “sit and wait for them to see my good example” method (slightly loaded language there–my apologies) is wasting years of other’s lives by their continuing to live a victim mentality.

    Also, how do *you* remember names?

  8. I currently work for a Big 4 accounting firm and am interested in applying to business school but I am unsure of what to do about the required recommendation letters. If you were in my shoes, how would you go about choosing who to ask for a recommendation letter, and how would you go about asking them? Thanks.

  9. I have a problem with procrastinating, but only on very simple tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, taking my car for an oil change, etc. I have no problems jumping on larger projects at home or at work. What the heck is with me?

    I always seem to wait to the very last possible minute to do these small things. For example, I’ll eat everything in my house before I go buy groceries again, even if all that’s left is a can of baked beans and Ramen soup. I’ve always justified this by saying that when I get home from work, I’m too tired/lazy/whatever.

    In the back of my mind, I know that if I do these things on a regular basis, they will be easier, but I can’t seem to do it. To continue the grocery example, I would only have to make one trip from the car to my house to carry everything, instead of buying a ton at once and making 100 trips.

    Any advice?

    • Are you doing really well with work? Well enough to hire someone to grocery shop, clean the house, do laundry, etc.?

      Because if you are, then I would love to have your problem.

    • Hi John,.

      I can think of 3 options here:

      Option 1: Have someone do these tasks for you (As Angie indicated)
      Option 2: Schedule time in your calendar to do these tasks at a specific time (IE: Saturday at 10am go to the store).
      Option 3: Accept that you procrastinate these tasks and stop worrying about it. (No sense in wasting your mental energy on these tasks).

      Hope this helps

      Thanks,

      Jeff

    • Angie & Jeff,

      Thanks for your input. I don’t make enough yet to hire someone to do these things for me, but I am planning to once I grow in my career, build my savings, etc. The value is not there for me yet.

      I am going to try setting up appointments in my calendar for these types of things for 4 weeks instead of just having them on my to-do list with no time commitment. I’ll see how that goes, but if I can’t get in the groove by then, I am going to accept it like Jeff says and stop feeling guilty.

      Thanks for your help.

  10. Hi Ramit,

    I have a really hard time quitting jobs, even if doing so would put me in a better position or allow me to accept a better offer. Often, I feel badly for the hole I would be creating in an organization or the people to whom I am offering services. I work as a freelancer/consultant for small organizations, and usually what makes it worse is that the employers are so nice. I can’t figure out if the root cause of my being loyal to a fault is fear or pity. I really do feel badly for inconveniencing the employer, but ultimately, I think my courage is sorely lacking. I don’t think normal people are so hesitant to inconvenience others for their own sake.

    Help!
    Veronica

    • I’m going through this same dilemma right now, especially because I’ve been on the job for less than a year and we were already understaffed when I was hired. I feel that this field is not what I’m truly meant to do and I want to pursue other careers.

    • Veronica,

      I used to be the same way: The woman who gave too much, didn’t ask for too much in return, and was unsatisfied with the situation I’d find myself in time and time again.

      Like so many women, it’s less likely a courage problem and more likely unnecessary guilt you’re weighing yourself down with.

      Ask yourself two questions:
      1. Will the company go under if you leave your job? (Unless you’re the investor or owner, the answer is no.)

      2. Will the company fight to keep you on and counteroffer you a better deal than the one you’ve been presented with?

      If your answers are ‘no’…you have your answer. Staying on to make your employers happy will only result in unhappiness with yourself. Do what’s right for you!

    • Hey Veronica, I understand where you’re coming from but making yourself responsible for other people’s happiness or success is crazy. That’s not your job, it’s their job. You’ll never be able to stand on your head in enough different ways to keep everyone sweet, so just dance your dance, stop worrying about whether what you want will upset someone else – then just be polite and firm as you move forward. That’s like staying in an unsatisfying relationship because you ‘feel sorry’ for the guy (who’s super nice). You’re not doing anyone a service by staying somewhere your heart is not – in any relationship, business or personal. Look at it this way, when you leave a ‘hole’ in the organisation, you’re actually creating an opening and new opportunity for someone else to come in, gain some experience and valuable life lessons that they’d otherwise be deprived of. Who knows, maybe they’ll contribute a missing piece that will take the company to new heights – hence your departure was a big positive for everyone involved. People are MEANT to move on to new things – and EVERYONE (i.e. business owners) with half a brain understand that! Give yourself a break!

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