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15 Little Life Hacks

What’s the best thing you learned from your parents?

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One of my students asked this amazing question, and I loved it so much that I want to share it with the entire IWT community.

She asked my group of top-performing IWT readers — members of Ramit’s Brain Trust — what we’d learned from our parents and what we’re GRATEFUL for. I included my response below.


I’m curious — what did you learn from your parents that you’re grateful for? How has it changed your life?

Believe it or not, I don’t exist on this earth to reprimand you every day. Sometimes, for moments as momentary as the Big Bang, we can find joy together.

Share your comments below about what you learned from your parents.

P.S. Check the comments later today, when there will be even more feedback from other readers. And if you’re interested in meeting other amazing IWT students (in person, and in our specially curated community of top performers), sign up for the wait list here.

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  1. Ramit ,

    The best thing I learned from my parents was to be honest no matter how ‘hard’ it may seem at the time. In the long run, the honesty always outweighs any short term benefit. I’ve found this to be true over and over again. Such a simple but true statement – nobody believes it, until they experience it for themselves.

    I’m sure you agree, yeah? 🙂

  2. I love this question, Ramit!

    I guess the most important lesson I learned from my parents is to NEVER waste your talents. The “sad” part is I learned this because they kinda did…

    My dad is a natural born sales-man, he loves cars and knows everything about them but never took action on his talent + passion. He worked at the UN for 30+ years and went into early retirement because he couldn’t take another day at this place.

    My mom has amazing creative talents like painting but also gardening and she knows everything about plants and what they can do for you. She works as an assistant and pretty much hates it as well.

    I studied law even though my heart was never in it. I’m a good lawyer, but screw that. I started my own business, I do what I love (from home in my freaking pjs) and I’m making twice as much than I would have made as a lawyer. (Amen to that!)

    I owe this to my parents because watching them showed me that I REALLY don’t want this for myself and my future kids. Their “negative example” gave me the courage to just go for it.

  3. My parents are the most incredibly generous people I’ve ever known – with their money, their time, their compassion. It’s an abundance mentality that they thought me from a very young age and that I hope never to lose.

  4. Never, ever carry credit card debt. I remember finally realizing that you could “charge” things and asking my parents, “What do you mean people spend money that they don’t have?!?!”

    Also: you should ALWAYS have at least six months worth of expenses in a separate savings account.

    Such invaluable lessons.

  5. All throughout school, my parents always encouraged taking education seriously. As a result, I now have a career in programming where you are encouraged to be life-long learner (otherwise you may become irrelevant after some amount of years).

  6. My parents taught me that what I had or didn’t have was a result of work. If I wanted ‘extras,’ I had to work for them. If I didn’t have something, it was because I didn’t work hard enough for it. My family was poor so we all had to pitch, in some way or another. Now I know that if I want something, I need to focus on it and work at it.

  7. That in the end, *stuff* isn’t important. If you’re intimidated by your stuff, or by money, you’re doing it wrong.

    It’s nice to have a nice house and nice things and all… But in the end, you can always get more stuff. Everything else (people, time, how you feel, your health)… *Everything* else is more important.

    I’m trying hard to pass on that same lesson to my daughters.

  8. 1) Nothing I want will come easily but if I want it enough and work hard towards it, it will come and I will value it more than if it was given to begin with.

    2) The most important thing in life is family. Everything else is just “stuff”

  9. Great post. Exactly the shift in thinking I needed today… So, here’s what I’m grateful for.
    1. They taught me great manners. Never underestimate the power of a written thank-you note + a great handshake.
    2. They taught me to never take anything for granted.
    3. They taught me that marriage and life can be messy sometimes, but you deal with it.
    4. They taught me to work for my dreams, not expect them to happen.
    5. They taught me that when you really need them, they’ll be there.
    Thanks, Ramit. Thank you for your authentic voice. It matters.

  10. The one thing I always come back to is what my dad would frequently tell my brother and I growing up about working hard:

    “I never want you to look back and say, ‘the best years of my life were when my parents provided for me.'”