2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery

You don’t need permission from anyone to start a business, to double your income, or even to dress better. And you don’t have to settle for small wins.

Ramit Sethi

The Year of Unapologetic Matery

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with my mom and dad. About halfway through, my mom cleared her throat. “You know, I was hoping I could go to India next year,” she said. “Oh really?” I said, knowing where this was going. “When are you thinking?”

“Maybe in January.”

“It would be nice if you could send me a ticket,” she added in a tone that only moms have.

For any white people reading this, this is common with Indian moms. They basically give up their lives for their kids, so the kids take care of them as they get older — especially the oldest sons.

(Actually, all Asian moms are hilarious.)


Found on Reddit

“No problem,” I told her. “I’ll get you a ticket.”

I started to pick up my slice of pizza when she looked at me. “You know, your mom doesn’t fly coach any more.”


My sweet mom went from raising 4 kids on one income — including shopping at Ross on Tuesdays for the discount and only eating out once a month — to demanding an international business-class ticket to India?? This lunch just cost me $10,000.

My dad was just sitting at the table laughing. Soon, I started cracking up too. It was hilarious that she would ask for a business-class ticket. Who does that?

But I was glad I could buy it for her. It’s a 20-hour flight to India. If there was any way I could make it easier for my mom — arranging a car, giving her a seat with room to stretch out and sleep, and a chance to eat good food — of course I’d do it. If I could give her the chance to see her father (my grandfather), I’d move heaven and earth.

And for my mom, who spent years reading to us, taking us to soccer practice, making dinner every night, now she gets to reap the benefits. This is what success lets me do.

How would it feel to know that you can take your Rich Life, and help your parents live comfortable, worry-free, for the rest of their lives? To me, that’s what a Rich Life is about.

I’ve written about my parents before — on their anniversary, and even when the New York Times profiled them — because I think it’s important to talk about where we came from.

In all the years they raised me — when my dad was helping me as I struggled through my math homework and my mom was making sure I got to school on time and taking me to music lessons — they never once told me to focus on money.

I never grew up thinking, “I need a million dollars in my bank account” or “People like him more because he has better shoes.”

Who’s that little player? Follow me on Instagram

Instead, they threw out little phrases that I’ve come to realize were deceptively profound:

  • “Why don’t you just write that up?” (Translation: Your ideas are good. If you try to share them, what’s the worst that can happen?)

  • “A year from now, you’re going to be a year older. What are you going to do?” (Time is going to go by no matter what you choose to do. Looking back, would it be worth it to spend a little more time and energy doing it right?)

  • “Sometimes, you just don’t give yourself choices.” (More choice is not always good)

Do you think sitting at my dining-room table, practicing spelling for 2 hours a day, was really about spelling?

No! Looking back, it was about the idea of working harder than anyone else, and following through even when it got tough.

How many of us could use someone to help nudge us in the right direction? To support us when we succeed, but to be honest when we could have put in more effort?

For many of us, we haven’t had someone like that since we were kids. For some of us, we’ve never had that person in our life.

As your surrogate Asian father, I demand more for you.

Sometimes — just like my parents did for me — we need a gentle nudge to know that we have more potential than we even realize. In other words, it’s easy to give up, and it’s easy to be ordinary.

This doesn’t have to be drudgery. I have a friend who wants to lose weight, and every time he talks about it, he starts with a sigh. “I know, I should really stop eating carbs…”

HEY!! I want to shake him, kick him, then throw him in a McDonald’s playpen. THIS CAN BE FUN!!!

When I was struggling with calculus, my dad literally picked up apples and oranges to show me how to rotate conic sections.

When I’m teaching people how to start a business, or find a dream job, I tell jokes, I make fun of myself, and I have them do crazy exercises.

Yes, this is hard work. But it’s also fun.

(You know what else is fun? Winning.)

When you do the hard work, you get to share in all the disproportionate rewards that come along with being a top performer.

Like this:


This is awesome. The video trailer is here

I think there’s something really special about being able to share your own journey with your friends and family — and letting them share in your hard work and great fortune.

Imagine how good it feels to be able to publicly say, ‘YES! I grew my business 5X in a year! And yes, I had help from friends and mentors and I appreciate them.’ And then to be able to watch the comments and Facebook likes flow in from your family, your friends, and all the people around you.

Those massive rewards are the by-product of choosing the right goal, working hard, and following through.

As James Altucher wrote,

“Money is a side effect of achieving mastery. Derek Jeter didn’t say, “I’m going to be rich” when he was a kid. He said, “I’m going to practice for three hours a day hitting a tiny ball that is coming at me at 100 miles an hour.” Mozart was certainly anguished about money. But his true happiness came when he freed himself from his father’s clutches and was able to compose and perform the music he loved.”

I love this. When I focused on building my own skills and sharing them with the world, the money came. I can hire a personal chef and a trainer. I can have two apartments — one in NYC, one in SF. I can buy gifts for my family, just for fun, without any reason and without worrying about how much it costs.

And I want to show you how to do it, too.

Every year, I announce a theme for I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

2012 was the year of mastering the game being played around you.

2013 was the year of taking control.

This year, instead of thinking small, instead of chasing some arbitrary number, we’re going to focus on the subtle nuances that others ignore. I’m talking about the psychological techniques to crush our own doubts. The strategies to launch and grow our businesses 10x. And the tactics and word-for-word scripts to improve our social skills, become more productive, and live the lifestyle we want to.

What is a Rich Life to you?

Is it having enough money to take an international vacation and stay in luxury hotels without worrying about how much it costs? Is it being able to quit your job and work flexible hours because you run your own business? Is it being able to pay off your parents’ debt…or even your own student debt 10 years early?

I’m going to show you how. But to do this, we have to go deeper.

You won’t see “Top 10 ways to grow your Twitter account” here. If you’re looking for quick intellectual snacks or bursts of motivation, I suggest you unsubscribe. You don’t come here for hugs or unicorns. You come here to win.

2014 is the Year of Unapologetic Mastery.

2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery

Has anyone noticed that when you try to improve yourself, you get lots of weird reactions?

When I was in my early 20s, I wanted to dress better. One of my friends knew all about fashion and I finally listened to her advice about going shopping with her. She was amazing — I’ve never forgotten how she taught me all these things in one trip:

  • “Don’t even look at the price tag until you know if you like it” (Get a few key pieces, so focus on loving it first, then think about price)

  • “Wow, that looks AWESOME!” (I was nervous about trying on anything different, but her enthusiasm made me feel better)

  • “No, you don’t have to match your shoes with your belt” (Know the rules, but the very best break them all the time — on purpose)

Here’s the weird part: The first time I hung out with my friends wearing my new clothes, they looked at me like I was an alien. Any guy who’s ever worn something different around his friends will know the reactions I got. “Dude, where are you going?” “Are you gay?” “What is that, a cardigan?”

And honestly, when you’re doing something new — wearing a new style, trying a new sport, practicing a new language — you’re already insecure about it. It doesn’t help when the people around you are skeptical.

It took me a long time to get comfortable with that reaction. And that’s just clothes. Now, I can wear a bow tie, or a leather coat with crazy sneakers, and I love it. Imagine trying to do something that’s even more “weird.” Starting a business. Reading different books. Even joining some online course by a weird Indian guy.

In theory, all our friends and family want to support us trying new things. But when it comes down to it, how come so many people want us to be the same?

Our reaction to this could be, “I don’t care. I’m going to try it anyway.” But it’s way easier to just stay within the lines and do what society expects us to do.

That’s why you see uninspiring advice and generic pablum out there:

  • Keep a budget.

  • Don’t spend money on lattes.

  • You should be lucky you have a job in this economy.

I look at so much of what personal-finance experts recommend, and it’s so dreary. “Disconnect your oven light and you can save $0.36/year!”

It feels like we’re being nagged to death for things that don’t even matter. Is anyone else tired of the mediocre, dim goals we’re told we should pursue?

What if you don’t want to have 2.5 kids, a white picket fence, and retire by 65? What if you want to travel, or start an online business?

What if you’re willing to work harder, but you want something to show for it?

I actually think ambition is GOOD. We’re told we should just be happy with what we have, especially in this economy, but there’s a difference between being happy and being satisfied. I’m happy. But I’m still hungry.

If you want to live a Rich Life, you must be ambitious. (Note: Don’t confuse ambitious with greedy.) Not only is ambition OK, it’s required for living a Rich Life.

Let me share how I think about ambition in this clip. Watch this — I think it’ll challenge your views:

This is the year of UNAPOLOGETIC mastery. You don’t have to apologize for wanting to live a Rich Life. You don’t need permission from someone to start a business, or to double your income, or even to dress better. And you don’t have to settle for small wins.

Remember how I mentioned my parents sitting and teaching me spelling and calculus? If I deconstruct that process, it seems pretty simple:

If I started off by doing interesting things, I would find a few things that I really liked.

If I found a few things I really liked, I’d be more likely to practice harder and longer.

And if I practiced long and hard enough, I’d get really good at one of them.

And when I got really good at one of them — with some luck and a lot of practice — I could get amazing results.

If I could systematize this process — learning how to learn — I could replicate it.

And when I focused on the process of becoming better, all the benefits and accolades came. The New York Times best-selling book, the millions of readers, the money, all of that.

But I never started by saying “I want X dollars or Y readers.” I just said, hey, let me try this weird thing, no matter what anybody thinks.

This seems so simple. So why is it so hard?

Being the best is never an accident

One way I tried to deconstruct this was by studying masters. I LOVE mastery. Even when I see something fictional, like watching a Jason Bourne movie, I love knowing that there are people who are the very best in the world, and they know 100x what the #2 people know.

Being the best is never an accident.

For example, I was cruising YouTube the other day looking at a capella videos (What, doesn’t every 31-year-old Manhattan bachelor do this?). I stumbled across this one:

I was reading the comments and I found this:


So now I’m reading a press release on audio mixing, which I know nothing about, talking about audio frequencies, IFP, PL…but here’s the point.

You don’t have to be some bombastic public speaker to be a top performer. You can be quiet, you can be introspective, you can even be behind the scenes. These audio mixer guys? They’re amazing at what they do, and I had no idea they even existed.

We all have it within us to be top performers. But when our friends and families subtly discourage us, and when we’re not even sure where to start, it’s a lot easier to stay ordinary.

Let’s play a game

What are you really good at?

If you’re not sure, imagine your friends had to name one thing you’re amazing at. What would they say?

Strategy #1: If you were a robot…
Imagine you were a robot. It was the same you, just stripped of any fears or doubts. You could stay focused for as long as you needed to.

Now, what if you — the robot you who never gets distracted and has all the motivation in the world — could find time to take the thing you’re good at and practice for 30 minutes a day? Maybe it’s helping your friends with their relationship problems. Or helping your dad lose weight. Or being an Excel analyst or graphic designer.

A year from now, how good would you be?

Strategy #2: Studying the best
After a couple months of practicing for 30 minutes a day, you realize this is getting easier. You want a bigger challenge, but you don’t want to wait 30 years to “pay your dues.”

That’s when you decide to learn from the best.

If you’re a stylist, you follow the best stylists on Instagram and devour their videos, interviews, the books they read.

If you’re starting an online business, you find the very best people, buy their courses, read everything they read, and even fly across the country to take them out to coffee to learn.

(Btw, my student Naveen — the one from the Facebook picture above? He flew from Atlanta to Los Angeles just to meet me for brunch. Last year, he 5X’d his business.)

What if you could learn from the best…and apply just 10% of it? We’re being realistic. You’re not going to apply every single thing you learn. But if you systematically studied the best, and applied just 10%, what would that look like?

What would you look like one year from now?
Can you imagine what your life would look like if you:

  1. knew what to focus on,

  2. could overcome the fear and distraction of starting, and then

  3. got the amplified boost of studying the very best and short-cutting your learning?

Think about what that would look like tangibly.

Would you be able to buy a round of drinks for friends without worrying about how much it costs? Would you wake up without an alarm clock because you run your own company? Or would you go to sleep stress-free since you’ve now paid off all your debt?

This year, I’m going to help you get those results. No, I’m not going to make you a robot, but I will show you how to pinpoint what you want to improve, then systematically work on getting distraction-free results.

What will you do differently this year?

One thing I LOVE reading is, where people post their progress as they hit their fitness goals.







I love this because it’s so easy to look at a model and say, “I could never look like that.” And sure, maybe 5% of people are born with it and have amazing genetics/metabolism that allows them to look like that. But these pictures show the hard, sometimes daunting work that goes into a healthy lifestyle.

As my trainer says, “‘My friends look at my shoulders and say, ‘Ahh, you just have ridiculous genetics. Maybe I do. But how about being in the gym almost every day since I was 14?”

I find these pictures inspirational not for the end result, but for the beautiful process that they willingly went through. Becoming a top performer — whether it’s your career, your social skills, or your body — is not for the faint of heart.

A year ago, it would have been easy for those people to come up with a bunch of reasons why they couldn’t do it.

  • “I don’t have time”

  • “Yeah, I should do that…”

  • “I don’t have the right clothes” / “I hate sweating” (this one is me) / “I’m just not the kind of person who can look like that”

Don’t scoff. All of us basically say these things with something in our life, whether it’s fitness, finding a dream job, managing our money, or having better relationships. Some of those reasons might even be true! You may really not have an extra 60-90 minutes a day!

But ultimately, time doesn’t care. A year will go by. Looking back, will you have taken steps to a richer life? Or will you be stagnant, leaning on those reasons as a crutch for not taking action?

Are you prepared to do things differently this year? Can you withstand people looking at you skeptically as you try to improve yourself? Would it be worth it, a year from now looking back, to have withstood the self-doubt?

If the answer is yes, I have a simple challenge for you.

To do today

We know this is the year of UNAPOLOGETIC mastery. It’s OK to be ambitious. We’re going to be open about wanting to live a rich life.

Let’s assume you know what you want to do this year (even if you don’t, I’ll show you how to find this out).

What’s the ONE area where the people around you might not be supportive?

Specifically, what would they say?

For example…

  • If you change your diet: “Why are you eating like a bird? You should enjoy life”

  • If you decide to find a better job: “You should just be lucky you have a job in this economy”

  • If you tell them you’re reading online self-development: “That sounds like a scam. Why would you read that?”

By the way, if you’re YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC, you can include yourself here!

Let’s predict what the skeptics and naysayers will say — perhaps including ourselves — so when they do, we know how to handle it.

Be specific and include how you could handle their skepticism. Leave your comment below.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery | Enjoying The Moment

    […] 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

  2. Amanda

    I could show my critics this essay – read it and weep!!

    • Ramit Sethi

      Keep this in your back pocket next time they say something. Post their reactions here and we’ll all share in the joy of blog-based revenge.

    • David Hunter

      Amanda just won “Comment of the Year 2014!”

      Ramit, if we showed your post to our critics they would say, “That sounds like a scam. Why would you read that?” (See above third point under “To do Today”)

      Let’s all print out this post and see how many critics say the above phrase. Whoever gets the highest number wins a “You Rock!” comment from me. 🙂

  3. Brandon

    I have bigger plans to start a consulting business of sorts, but my small goal is to move to Atlanta before this summer. Many of my friends know that I’ve been unemployed here in NY for a while, and I still get flack for just wanting to leave because of that.

    But what I’ve been telling people who are skeptic about my plan to try my hand at living and working in Atlanta is that I’d much rather go and see how it turns out, maybe even ‘fail’, than to stay in New York and regret that I never followed through with what I wanted to do.

    A funny thing too is that when I say my reason for moving is that I’ve just always wanted to live there, people either get more aggressive or completely silent. That messes with them for some reason. I guess they were expecting some huge life changing reason to come out of my mouth.

    • Lucky

      Brandon, what a great goal! How awesome to realize that personal desire is a perfectly acceptable reason for major life decision. If you’re not already a part of Ramit’s Brain Trust I would highly recommend joining; the Atlanta group is truly amazing.

    • Jeff

      Do it! The best thing I’ve ever done was to step out of my comfort zone and move away from home to a city where I didn’t know anyone. It cut out the distractions and challenged me to step up and reinvent myself to be the man I am capable of being, not just who I was becoming as a product of my environment. It sounds like Atlanta could be the fertile ground you’re seeking for the next chapter of growth. Then if you choose to go back to NYC later on you’ll have momentum and a fresh perspective.

    • joey

      That is awesome, man! You can do it! Plus, guess what? When you are in Atlanta, you won’t be hearing the people say you can’t do it.

    • Brandon

      Lucky, I am part of RBT and I’m going to be getting more active right damn now. And I’m seeing that just telling my story is freeing, even if I feel a little embarrassed by it…

      Jeff, that’s exactly what I’m looking forward to! I’ve found that if I’m in a ‘safe place, I get complacent VERY easily, so I usually need to do something relatively drastic to spark some personal change and action. I know a handful of people in Atlanta, but I am actually looking forward to that feeling of starting fresh and fostering more growth.

      Joey, you’re definitely right about that. Definitely.

    • Shana

      Hey Brandon, Go for it! That was one of my goals a few years ago. I quit my government job and moved to Atlanta. No regrets– I have since moved on to another state, but I love Atlanta and the friends I made there. I have no regrets.

    • Nick B.

      Hey Brandon,

      I actually live in Atlanta and love it. Is there anything I can do to help out?

  4. Maria

    I just started following you and reading your material and I’m hooked! You have the most positive and influential material I have ever come across! Great job!

  5. Stephen

    One thing I know my family would definitely criticize me for would be paying a hefty sum “just for advice” from someone like Ramit. Reading this blog has convinced me of the disproportionate results and ROI from talking with a true expert, but unfortunately I highly doubt my family has heard of Ramit or anything similar. Truthfully, I would try to hide my purchase/travel as long as I could and reveal it once I reaped the rewards, but if they found out before that point the only thing I can think of right now is to shrug and say “I already spent the money”. This definitely has a bigger impact on me as a college student whose funds are interlinked with that of my parents.

    • Ramit Sethi

      This is really common. I was in this situation a few years ago, too. Luckily, there are ways around this. Stay tuned.

    • John Corcoran

      Hey Stephen: Don’t feel bad about that… unfortunately, it doesn’t go away as you get older, after college. But the good news is as your income grows and you have more control over your finances, you are more able to spend your money and your time how you like.

  6. Jendrik

    Ramit, I’m my own worst critic.

    In 2013, I quit my well-paid job as an Aircraft-Engineer at one of Europe’s biggest airlines to pursue my dream – an online business in the fitness-niche – fulltime. In fact, I started living my dream and I never look back.

    Where I criticize myself is how to develop my business further. It’s easy for me to get lost in the nitty-gritty (emails, comments, research for new blogposts, writing), where I actually WANT to develop new digital products that increase my revenue.

    What I tell myself is: “I will do that, but FIRST I have to get all this routine work done and THEN I will develop my business.” Then, there is rarely time left.

    To solve this, I will schedule a fixed time frame where I do work ON (not in) my business, probably 1h a day or once a week for a longer period.

    • Ramit Sethi

      I understand. It’s almost like you’re putting the business last so that way you can’t really fail (because you didn’t put that much time into it, so of course it didn’t take off). Check out this link on self-handicapping.

    • Danny

      I suffer from this as well. I had a great thing going in my business ($300k in Rev in 14 months), and “failed” to raise money because I didn’t want the best possible scenario that that company could end up as. I feel like I’ve developed a very disgusting habit of being afraid to win – that is why I’m here reading and humbly learning to weed myself out from being disgracefully scared to dominate life. Keep it coming, Ramit – thanks!

    • g. von bear

      afraid to win = self-sabotage that i am prone, too. @Ramit, any pointer how to cut through own BS (being brutally honest is step#1), what would you do next?

  7. Stephen

    Dude, you mom rocks.
    To be in a position to do something similar is my motivation for the year!

    • CoCo

      Me too. I would love to be able fly my mom first class wherever she wants to go!

  8. Alex

    I’d love to do a Ramit course in 2014, but I just don’t know how applicable it is to me in Sweden.

    Anyone in Scandinavia who’s done a course and can chime in?

    As for my goals for the coming year:

    -Get ripped
    -Have more threesomes
    -Start a SaaS business and do so using functional programming in Clojure

    Also known as GTL = Gym, Tail, Lambda 🙂

    • Ramit Sethi

      I have tons and tons of international students who have found success. Don’t let geography dictate your success. Of course you’ll have to change a few things around. But that’s easily done.

      Btw, instead of “I’m not sure if this will work…so I’m going to just wait and see” is “I’m going to try it and see if it works for me.” Subtle change but completely transformative.

    • Andy


      You should do some of Ramit’s courses. I’m not in Sweden but in Australia and had no problems with logistics – even if you miss a live session, you can always watch the recording. I did one course a few years back and I still go back and review parts of it as a refresher.

      Ramit’s not paying me to say this but welcome to buy brunch when next in Sydney.


    • Dani

      Hi Alex,

      I am a New Zealander, and have been living in the netherlands. (currently back in NZ)

      I bought earn 1k. (and I’m now on RBT) Because of what I learnt from that (I waited and saw for a year before finally the earn 1k opened up) I was able to follow my dream of living in perpetual summer – traveling between the hemispheres. I started a company with my husband. I am no longer working 5 bad paying jobs – I work literally 4 hours a week (got a bit from Tim there…)

      So yes, it is absolutely applicable. I recommend it to everyone I know. I get the funniest replies. The best one yet was from my brother in law, who compared it to pushing his crazy religion on other people.

      When I first started talking about my family’s plan to travel the world, I got a very straight “IN YOUR DREAMS” from a friend of mine. This only spurred me on. She was clearly an idiot, when less than 6 months later I walked up to her and told her I was leaving in 2 weeks. HA. That was the best feeling.

      Now this year I’m looking at spending more time on holiday than working. Working focussed amounts of time living in a shoebox so that we can spend up large and see the world.

  9. 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery – I Will Teach You To Be Rich - FunLand.ORGfree.Com

    […] Read more from the original source: 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery – I Will Teach You To Be Rich […]

  10. Phil

    “Disconnect your oven light and you can save $0.36/year!”

    Thanks for that! I had a big laugh. All that meat loaf in the dark for nothing—I’m screwing the bulb back in today!!

    And your “Strategy #1: If you were a robot…” —-brilliant concept. Particularly “stripped of any fears or doubts….. stay focused as long as you needed to…..finding time to practice for 30 minutes a day…” Domo Arigato for this technique!

    Look forward to more of your 2014 wisdom,

  11. JM

    So… Does your mom realize you’re actually a dude?

    • Simi

      That was someone else’s email that he used an example to showcase how some Asian mothers are.

  12. Janet Hill

    Yes – I want 2014 to be my year to change. I know change is hard for me but I want to be committed to getting started. I am not sure of the first steps I should take.

  13. Hanna

    Wahoo, you’ve used stylist as an example! (Love that.)

    I’m a personal shopper helping professional women look put-together and stylish at the office. I’m also a wardrobe stylist for TV commercials and print advertising.

    I don’t have too many non-supporters in my life. However, I want to begin a more passive income source within my private styling business.

    They may say, “You’re a service-based business. You don’t have the readers or followers to do xyz” (Consult for brands? Style celebrities..etc)

    I have an extraordinary app idea that I am SO excited about. Meeting and talking with developer.

    This post and e-mail was amazing. Thanks Ramit!

    • Sophia Stravoravdis

      Hanna, You go for it! There is always room for new ideas. I too am inspired by this post. Mainly it has reminded me to sort the wheat from the chaff where negative people are concerned. As a creative person who loves to help others I can see the value of your idea and I can see the value of my determination to help others. Make sure you let us people know about your new app. Sounds like fun!

      Badly Dressed Busy Mum

  14. Adrienne

    I think my naysayers will say “We just want to make sure you’re making the right choices. We worry about you. We just want you to be smart.” Yes, I know that it’s risky to massively cut down my work hours. But that is the only way I can audition for theater. You can’t have one without the other.

    • Ramit Sethi

      That is known as “concern trolling“. Much more subtle and insidious than normal what the usual critics employ.

  15. Africa Archield - Joy Strategist

    Great article, Ramit! I definitely have issues with my family saying they are completely supportive, but then undermine my efforts. It reminds me of the story of the crabs in the bucket – if one starts crawling out, the others drag it back down.

    Goals this year:
    * my business completely supporting family
    * be physically fit enough to keep up with my 4-year old son
    * finish my doctorate

    Criticisms from family & My replies:
    * “Step away from the computer. You don’t need to read/write/work/study that much.” – I’m planting seeds now to reap the rewards later. Would you like to read some of my work/discuss what I am doing/brainstorm ideas?
    * “What are you saying. It sounds like you are mumbling devil stuff while you are bouncing around.” – This is the first time I’ve enjoyed exercising. Everyone else refuses to go walk with the boy because it is too cold. I’m out there walking and kicking the ball around with him. The mantras work. Want to join in?

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

    • Ramit Sethi

      I’m in! We’ll be virtual outdoors buddies this year.

  16. Danial Owens

    Profound !!!!!

  17. Monifa

    More often than not my worst critic is my husband. It worries me at times but he is so supportive the majority of the time and his done self help programs with me before. I know much of it is because he hasn’t found a way through his self-doubt to accomplish the things he wants to do with his life. He really didn’t want me to buy your course because he is a salesman and “he can tell me how to do those things.” Well, as he said, I was going to do it anyway and I did, lol. I asked him what he thought about the course but he didn’t read one thing more than ten minutes without scoffing and saying it was a scam. I want to try more of your “ask what he thinks” tactic, but any ideas to keep him from being an immediate hater?

  18. Kpakpo


    This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about over the last few days.

    It’s weird – I feel as if people close to me see great things in me, then become unsupportive &/or critical if I don’t manifest those things exactly how they want me to. Then the lack of support feels weighty & deafening. I just want to throw of all shackles & start sprinting in my chosen direction

    I’ve designed a comfortable life but I want more for me, my life & my family. It’s time to claim everything that the false starts have promised.

    Middle finger to those who won’t & don’t believe. (in the politest possible way of course)

  19. Jeff J

    The biggest thing I think some of my friends would be discouraging about is paying for online courses like what Ramit has here. As I told Ramit last week, you should never be apprehensive about investing in yourself, because you invest in so many other things without pause.

    I can debate with the best of them, but progress and results usually close and case. Just like math teachers would always say “show your work”, I plan to do so for any friends who think “I’m getting scammed”, and it will be awesome!


  20. B

    I will self soirce in and close a deal this year. The naysayers will tell me that I’m too junior, not enough gray hair. To that I will reply, how else will I earn them?

    • Ramit Sethi

      1 deal? How big are these deals?

  21. Cassie Jeon

    Goal: Publish my novel by the end of 2014.

    I think the main reason my family/friends will be skeptical is the amount of money I’ll be spending. I’m spending about $3000 on 10 writing classes from a guy who has decades of experience in writing and the publishing field plus I’ll have the chance to get direct feedback on my writing from a professional. And once I learn the skills of writing novel/story, I have them for the rest of my life. But I know I’m going to have people worry if I’m going to be scammed or that an online class isn’t as “legit” as getting a MFA from a university. And there are costs to self-publishing too, such as getting a professional editor and a cover designer for a book that might not even make money.

    However, this is my first book. I’ll write more and publish more and learn more with each new book. Plus, I’m keeping my day job so I don’t think it’s as huge of a risk as people might think.

    I have two accountability partners to make sure I’m on track for my goal. I’m posting this comment here so that I can come back later to say that I did it.

    • Michelle Keep

      Hi Cassie,

      I’m a self published author and have made a decent living off it last year (my first year). If you’d like to chat or would like for me to share some resources with you, let me know. You can contact me through my website.

      I can recommend some editors and cover designers that won’t cost a lot and do fantastic work.

    • Seonaid

      Hi Cassie,

      I just self-published my first book a couple of weeks ago (though mine is non-fiction). What a thrill! Even if I don’t get back the money I spent on an editor and cover designer (and I really do think I will eventually), I know so much more about the process now. And having a book on Amazon gives me more reach and credibility than just my website alone, so I think it’s worth it from that point of view alone.

      Good luck!


  22. Henrik Saetre

    I’m an entrepreneur who has yet to enjoy financial success, and I’m still going for it, as I’m getting better and better, and I believe that I will indeed succeed.
    It is tough though when my father talks about how I’m “unemployed”, and is pushing me to take employment now, saying that I can always go back to starting my own business later.

    I do see though that putting hours and hours into the business without getting the financial success, I need to work smarter.

  23. LaLaLa

    When I tell people I want to stop drinking so much so frequently I am often met by incensed dissent from my “friends.” They say I’m so much fun when I’m drunk, and I should just learn my limits. However, they know as well as I do that once I start I keep going. I think they like to have me to laugh at to make them feel better about what they do. It’s hard to get serious about stopping when all of the people I’m around encourage me to keep going. To deal with this lack of support, I am going to start reminding them of my worse moments every time they encourage me to drink more. Also the ones that are really in denial, I will designate as “clean-up crew,” basically tell them are on babysitting duty for me, since they enjoy when I get too drunk. That should stop all the objections. I know that stopping the drinking will make me feel better, healthier and more proud of myself, so I can not let anyone hinder my progress.

    • Michelle Keep

      I’ve learned that there are a lot of people who don’t want people to better themselves because they don’t want to better themselves and when others do it (exercise, eat right, etc.) it makes them feel worse about themselves. I’d definitely say you’re right in your assessment of your ‘friends’ based on this.

      I wish you all the luck with this. It’s not easy to do, but picking up some new hobbies that aren’t revolving around drinking could be a fun way to meet new people who won’t pressure you into doing behaviours you don’t enjoy.

      Good luck <3

    • Jessica

      Time for some new friends. These aren’t people who are interested in your well-being at all–they are already actively discouraging you! Find some new hobbies and new people this year. Stay focused and best of luck!

    • Larissa

      I think that Michelle and Jessica are right. While you have some good replies to your current friends, they are clearly intent on remaining the way they are, so your replies may fall on deaf ears. If you want support, you will probably need to get involved in other activities these (so called) friends are not involved in so you can meet new, healthier people who will be supportive of your goal to better your life. These friends don’t seem worth keeping if they remain the way they are. Don’t let them hold you down. It’s your own life you’ll be dealing with one year, five years, ten years down the line. You’ll be much happier if you get where you want to go. Good luck!!

  24. abby

    I very often play too small–diminish my efforts, my accomplishments, my requests, my ambitions. I am definitely my own worst critic. So this was the best line in the whole post & I’ll be taping it to my monitor:

    “As your surrogate Asian father, I demand more for you.”

    (I don’t think my real (and generally very supportive) dad would be supportive of being replaced though.)

  25. Toya

    I guess my biggest critic is my husband.

    Me: “Babes, I plan on doing such and such for my business”

    Him: “yea.. sure” doubtful look “you never finish anything. why are you even bothering?”

    Me: .. flatline.

    My tactic this year is to shut the hell up and do it. I can’t get any negative response if I just do what needs to be done, I can always apologize later. Add to this I work two jobs that take up on average 10 hours of my day, I am trying to as systematic with my time as possible this year.

    • King

      This is Law 9- Win through your actions, never through argument.

      If you want to go deeper into this, check out “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene.

    • King

      This is Law 9- Win through your actions, never through argument.

      If you want to go deeper into this, check out “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene.

  26. Lisa Hoffman

    I am my biggest defeater in doing something amazing. I don’t have enough time (single mom), I need more money to start, I need more education, information, research, live somewhere else, blah, blah, blah. I’ve known forever that I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg of greatness, that I am capable of so much more. This is the year I’m going to do it. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve wasted enough time being defeated by myself. My favorite saying of my mother that always moves me out of my comfort zone is that regardless of what is do, time will go by. A year from now, I can have ‘X’, or a year from now, I won’t have ‘X’. It’s that simple. This message today was exactly what I needed to read right now.


    I’m a software engineer in Ireland, where the only industry teeming with jobs is IT. I used to mention randomly that I would love try being a tattoo artist…graphic designer…pianist (been playing since I was 6)…and would get blasted back with “Yeah, but those are just hobbies”. Nowadays it would probably be “But you are so lucky to have a job and be in demand!”. Thankfully I have really supportive friends but my family are the first to criticise me on my personal interests and goals.

    My response would be “There is tremendous value in art, which should not be overlooked. Design is important and not only about drawing – e.g. user experience (UX) design.”. I’m working to get into UX design right now, which involves technology and design.

  28. Umar Shafiq

    Hi Ramit,

    A couple of things to do this year or atleast vying to achieve would be

    1) Find the dream job by literally going through the DJ program, which I have stop started quite a few times
    Critic/Stopper: C’mon this stuff doesn’t apply to you/ You are doing fine, you can always do it later (Procastination – my worst enemy!)

    2) By the end of the year have a scheduled workout going on for at least the last 3 months!
    Critic: Why should you join a gym? C’mon give more time to the family (My wife :P)

    • Margo

      This is a great time to think about “AND” rather than “OR” —

      Could you find more time for fitness AND for family by combining the two? Go for a walk in the evening with your wife, play sports with your kids, or something along those lines

  29. Lang

    Goal : Improve my singing voice and sing without getting coarse and tired, and hitting high notes flawlessly and without strain.

    Cristisms:From parents : “Why are you practicing singing , you’re like 30 years old, why don’t you go and do something more productive? What’s the point of learning to sing, you’re not going to get famous anyways, why you think you gonna go on canadian idol, that show got cancelled .

    From friends: You gotta practice singing ? forget that , lets go eat out …

    • Alixandrea

      Lang, wanna be accountability buddies? I need to improve my voice as I want to teach singing and be a session singer for my next career (and also for my band’s sake). I’m currently focussing on practicing an hour or so every other day as I want to rest my voice between sessions (the way you do any other muscles). Happy to keep you motivated if you’ll do the same for me!

      Also, what course/s are you using? I’m always on the look-out for new singing and teaching methods to incorporate. 🙂

  30. Kim K

    I realized as I was thinking about who is naysaying my new project that hi, it’s me. I started making jewelry in November and I made a third of my investment back already. Still, I’m continually surprised when people buy things or tell me they like what I made. After all, what the hell do I know about jewelry? Where do I get off thinking I can be successful at this, I don’t know shit about anything.
    I should start looking at facts instead of what I think I’m doing.

    Also I do come here for unicorns. Not hugs though, perhaps a fist bump.

  31. Jen @ Daycare In Demand

    Just had to tell you that I love this post–and your mom. 🙂 Found myself laughing out loud at, “This lunch just cost me $10,000.”

  32. Daniel


    I desperately want to start my own business. I have ideas, but truthfully am struggling to validate one in particular. I’m ready to change my circumstances. I’m going to do it this week. I’m definitely my own worst critic.

    Love this article. Very motivating!

  33. pibes

    Ramit, I’m my own worst critic.

    In 2013 I was dedicated to improving myself.

    And I did (by leaps and bounds).

    But my main goals of quitting my job, becoming more socially skilled, and getting in better shape were only 1/4 of the way completed.

    I did WAY better than in 2012, but I could have done so much more.

    The hours I spent going through courses, reading books/blogs, and consuming information: God only knows.

    The hours I spent implementing the information: single digits.

    It’s so much easier to keep consuming information because I’m not “good enough” or “not ready”.

    In reality I AM good enough and I AM ready.

    I just keep criticizing myself which is paralyzing my potential.

    I’m going to tell my inner-critic:

    “First — fuck off. Second — you ARE going to fail. Third — you’re only good enough if you actually TRY. Put the chips on the table and let’s go all in in 2014.”

  34. Andrew Slominski

    I watched the video on the sing-off and I was trying to predict what that comment was going to be about that you highlighted below. One of the thoughts that went through my head was “wow look at all of those microphones. Must be a nightmare during a liver performance.”

    Seriously I’m a dork!

    • Andrew Slominski

      DAMN autocorrect

  35. Suz

    Point #3: you’re spending money on what?
    Worst skeptic is often in our heads though.

    Loved every word of the email!

  36. Diana

    Nearly every day I do something called 750 words. It’s a habit-forming practice for writers to write three pages worth of words each day. So yesterday I was actually addressing my fears of starting my own business and what I could to to eradicate those…all based on your advice from your newsletter, Ramit.
    It all comes down to me saying, “I don’t have enough experience so what makes you think you can pull this off?” My answer was this: In the words of Selena Sio, “You don’t need more experience, you need more courage.” Skeptics will say, “What are your credentials…what makes you think you can pull this off?” …just like I do in my head. From several conversations and unofficial research, I have found a specific target market. I’m one working to make a business out of it; hopefully my creativity can profit from catering to their needs. Courage and smarts and persistence. It will be fun!

  37. Alekhya

    I like having a good time with friends on the weekends. But my friends enjoy going out during the week nights as well. Me on the other hand like to work harder to launch my own business. Often times, I get caught in between as there is always a temptation to step out with them. There are times I can control myself and there are times these awful inside voices tell me to just enjoy life and even worse , my friends give me a hard time for not enjoying life as they are not aware of what Im trying to accomplish staying home. I am going to be better at controlling these temptations this year! I cant afford to waste/lose another year…not getting any younger…

  38. Alixandrea

    I’ve already had my best beloved family members voicing their concerns about my plan to take redundancy from my job this year and spend the time the pay-off will give me building a new biz. They know I have in the past become really, really stressed out by money worries, so their concerns have been similar to, “are you sure you’re going to be successful enough to afford this?” Or “you haven’t done enough yet to prove to yourself that this is a good idea.” Friends on FB have either been supportive when I’ve posted personal development stuff, or they’ve been really suspicious and negative about it.

    Bless them, I know they mean well…

    My responses so far have been similar to, “if I don’t try, I’ll never know, and I’d rather try and fail than be on my deathbed regretting never having tried.” Or, “I’m doing my R&D now while I still have my job and I’ll be working part time when I leave my FT job so that the pay-off lasts longer, thus giving me time to buld the biz and make it successful – or choose another direction.”

    I’ve actually defriended my FB ‘friends’ who have been particularly negative. Each of those weren’t real friends anyway, just acquaintances I’d added to keep them appraised of stuff my band is doing. What right do people like that have to make me feel insecure, or bring me down? None! Instead I’m now concentrating on spending more time (real or virtual) with friends who are doing the things I want to do, or who are on a similar quest.

  39. H

    I’ll get push back when I decide to leave my job and take extended time off (like 3 months traveling the world).

    – Your job/company is awesome
    – You’re giving up a lot

    – I can find a great job when I get back
    – I need some time to rest my mind before I go all in again
    – I have enough financial runway to do this
    – Why should I wait till I’m old to travel?

  40. Paul

    Perfect theme for the 2014 Ramit, thank you.

    I am my own worst critic. This past year I’ve sacrificed a ton of time normally spent on my own development in order to visit family. I want so badly to make progress on my projects but instead I guilt myself into visiting my mother. She is not unable to take care of herself, she just doesn’t, so instead of improving my career and health I spend time cleaning her floor and taking out piles of trash.

    This year I will stop feeling guilty about focusing on my career and marriage by investing a little to pay for a cleaning service so I can have my weekends back.


  41. Erin

    Seriously, I need to not check my feedly when I’m half asleep. I read the title as “unapologetic misery” and thought, well that doesn’t sound productive…

  42. Ryan

    Thank you, Ramit, for being the surrogate Asian father I never had growing up as a Scandinavian-blooded white dude.
    On reflecting a bit, I’m ashamed to say that in the past I’ve been the one judging others for improving themselves (dressing nicer, seeking new projects, etc.). It did lead to conflict in those relationships, and now I can really see how that must have felt.

    As I pursue change and mastery in my life this year, I fully expect it will come full-circle. Specifically, I am going to pour my efforts into earning my first $100 consulting. I expect friends and family to say, “You’re already better at Excel than most, so why are you wasting all your free time?” or “Why would you learn how to design a website – how could that possibly help you in your current job?”

    I plan to stay positive and ask them if they spent more time learning and developing skills now to pay off debts and live a better lifestyle later, would they be willing to put in the work?

  43. David

    My largest inhibitor currently is myself, as I have the most difficult time saying No, and end up over-committing myself to tasks that are not my most high valued activities. This time suck drains valuable time and will need to be addressed this year by: learning how to say no, asking for assistance and not having to do everything myself, and determining the lower value tasks and paying for people to help perform them.

  44. Randall Pitts

    Like you say most people are not ambitious and cannot relate to people who are. This is probably because an ambitious person’s very presence makes them feel bad about themselves. Surrounding yourself with ambitious people is a great way to avoid being dragged down, but the person lacking ambition won’t even be aware of this. He or she is part of the mass of underachievers. I like what you say about potential. Most people are not even aware of what they are capable of achieving even when considering their strengths.

    And now for my related specific comment: I am responsible for my own achievement so I take full responsibility for every negative thought that I allow to affect my behavior. In short, I am my harshest critic. I will handle any potential skepticism from myself by setting precise achievable goals for 2014, breaking them down into manageable monthly and weekly chunks without losing sight of the long-term vision guiding me through the year. Clarity breeds confidence.

  45. Greg Freebury

    For me, I don’t have critics so much as people who just don’t understand what I’m doing. I will tell my friends or family that I am taking an online business course or becoming a smoking cessation specialist and they usually just go “Oh…..” and uncomfortably trail off because concepts like that are just so foreign to them. Normally, I would allow that to make me feel uncomfortable and change the subject. Now, I am just going to own it and keep talking about it anyway. So what if people think I’m weird!

  46. Sam Montoya

    Hey Ramit, loved the post and even more, I love that they are Megaposts. Last year I was more dedicated to Dream Job and that’s where a lot of my focus had been. Finding out what suited me, where I wanted to go/be, and so on. With a lot of that now on more of autopilot, it’s time to focusing on other areas.

    This year I’m going to be focusing on two major areas, new revenue streams (Earn1K) and health. With that, having been a member of RBT since the beginning, I am now starting to leverage it more. I’ve joined several sub-groups (First Profitable Idea and Exercise) and now going through those processes. I’m still debating what kind of health lifestyle (diet) I’m going to go with, but came across that Tim Ferriss mentioned with regards to a study being done on 10 different diets. I’m leaning towards Paleo, but testing will ensue.

    The naysayers will (and have) made comments regarding multiple revenue streams. My Dad, having been a serial entrepreneur over the course of 50+ years, doesn’t say that it cannot be done. He instead says to look for various opportunities and that markets are short lived, jump in and out while you can to take opportunities while they exist. Although it’s not exactly naysaying, there seems to be a bit of cautionary advice being given.

  47. Solomon

    Great theme for the year. I’m not exactly sure what the rest of your posts will state throughout the year, but I also did not want to sit around and wait too long for them. I made an early resolution to perform at a comedy standup (for my first time) before our first child is due in late February. I invested my time into an online comedy class, got some direction (as well as a good contact as the instructor is from my area), and did the scariest thing this year. I hit the “Send” button of an e-mail to a comedy host to be booked for late January. I got a response the same day saying I’m on.

    As for nay-sayers, it seems I was my biggest critic and let my own fears of failure and using excuses of laziness stop me. I e-mailed my local friends to come out, all of them were supportive because they knew it was something I was good at. Obviously, not all of them are free that weekend, but I was encouraged by their positive feedback regardless. Granted, I might bomb the 3-minute slot, but I can at least put that fear behind of never performing at all (though I might have invested several hours of my time, I can live with that).

    I am planning to have it recorded and could send it to you if you are interested as your challenges to first take control of my finances since 2008 to changing my mentality in more recent years has helped me a lot to live a richer life.

  48. Michelle Keep

    This year I want to learn to better manage my time, and not waste so much time and energy that things that don’t bring me joy or income.

  49. Marc W

    I have already received the criticism, and we are less than a week into the year! The biggest critic is, and has been, my wife.

    When explaining to her that I want to be a top expert in a niche area of my field, a niche that my background already indicates that I should be in the top 10%, she scoffed back saying that I should be focusing on my day-to-day job instead of trying to expand my skill-set. In the end, she tried to discourage me from making those contacts that would help me achieve my new goals, and focus on meeting the same old people that I have been meeting for the past few years.

    As a one-income family, I can understand the want to focus on my day-to-day more. Its actually quite a bit of pressure, and I do take her advice seriously. However, becoming an expert in a niche sector in my field, I feel, will make me indispensable, and grow awareness to our company. While I want to respect her viewpoints, I also think I am doing what is best for our family in the long-run.

  50. Jason

    I have a small business where I publish digital products, but I got comfortable with the success in 2012 and 2013 and now it’s sliding downhill as I do less and less.

    I was living off the fruits of my past labor, but need to build it back up again.

    I didn’t have the pressure on myself to do much last year, so I didn’t. And it showed. I still made recurring money, but that is waning now.

    This year I want to start outputting a product or device up every month, and just start hustling again.

  51. Stacy McKenna

    Just before classes ended last year I had a PROFESSOR ask me why I would torture myself by enrolling for a full course of 4 classes/12 units in my graduate program. This is after he tried to convince me the focus I am aiming for (data organization and retrieval methods) is dying and useless – in the INFORMATION AGE!!! Talk about weird push-back! I’m an unemployed stay at home mom with student loans piling up and accumulating interest as we speak – why WOULDN’T I get my coursework out of the way as quickly as possible?! Additionally, I’m working on lining up formal internships on top of the volunteer work I’ve been doing in the field, and this year in addition to scholarship applications I’ll be working on learning grant writing to help pay for internships at the institutions where I’ve been volunteering. To top it all off, I was just published for the first time ever with an article in a national trade journal in the field I consider a hobby thanks to the urging of friends and associates in my hobby group.

    Much of my progress has been thanks to hearing you in my head telling me to go for it when I felt the “naw, it’ll never work” specters creeping in. Three years ago I would have NEVER expected to be where I am now – it all seems way too grandiose. Thanks for all the great advice, Ramit!

  52. Mike

    This year I have three main goals:

    1. Learn enough JavaScript (Node + Angular) to start taking on web dev clients.
    1a. Make enough money to pay my rent and my student loans in one month with web dev by June ($1200).

    2. Get healthier by cooking and exercising more. This looks like exercise 3 days a week with weekend rest and 4-5 dinners cooked at home every week.

    3. Surround myself with more people who are ambitious, motivated, doers. As it stands, I am stuck in a cesspool of mediocrity and “good enough” (and this includes me and my own behavior).

    Really excited about this year together with you and the IWTYTBR crew, Ramit.

    P.S. That clip from Sing-Off is breathtaking. What an incredible display of the power of the human voice. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mike

      Forgot to list my scripts!

      I’m definitely my own worst enemy here.

      1. “Why would anyone pay a noob like you to do something you just started learning six months ago?” or “What makes you think you have the right to just teach yourself something new and then charge people for it?”

      2. I live in Beijing, which means I have considerable challenges to my health just by virtue of being alive in this place. Sometimes it’s all too easy to just say “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” and then go to the McDonald’s that’s five minutes away across the street. I also need to challenge myself to learn new cooking skills in an environment with unfamiliar ingredients, ways of cooking, and language barriers (though I do speak Chinese so that helps).

      3. “It’s only a matter of time before someone finds out I’m a fake,” or similarly, “what if I’m better off staying on the porch while the big dogs play” and any of a large number of others.

  53. Joseph

    Ramit, your stuff rocks! I’ve used it to land a job that would usually be out of reach for someone like me. Because of your material on interviewing, I can confidently walk in to an interview and know that I can get to the next step. I used it to get job offers, which I then used as leverage to get the job I really wanted.

    This year, I want to start my own business on the side and want it to match or exceed my monthly salary by the end of the year. I live in a third world country where my current $500 a month salary is already considered high for my level, and where people think a “side business” means selling grey-market stuff or MLM.

    If I mention this to the people around me, they might say things like:

    “This is a third world country! You can’t do that here!”
    “You can’t start a business. You’re not like the rich people who have the money to invest.”
    “Who are you to start a business? You don’t have a degree in XYZ!”

    I’m pretty sure this is doable since the $500 isn’t really such a high bar to clear.

    I also plan to get a raise within the next 6 months here in my new job. I already have a “salary negotiation” folder full of your material.

  54. Jill

    “You can’t make money on the Internet!”
    But I do. Every month. I make things, people watch things, I get some money. It’s like magic.

    “But not enough to live on, and anyway, it’s not a proper job.”
    It’s not enough to live on *yet*. Which is why I have a day job. (As for ‘not a proper job’, that tends to be what people say when they don’t understand what someone does, or can’t fathom the idea of enjoying something AND getting paid for it.)

    I want to make my Internet-based income enough to live on. After all, other people have managed it, right? So I am going to try it, and see if it works for me too.

  55. Gina D

    I would love to be a fashion stylist. When I was laid off at 26 I figured I would take the time to devour everything I could about fashion styling. However, after a few months reading and even trying out craigslist to assist others, I felt compelled to get back to “real” work.

    Being a fashion stylist/designer seems like the most ridiculous idea ever to me and others around me. Why?

    What others say:

    It seems more of a hobby than a job.
    You have a job doing something completely unrelated.
    How are you going to make money?
    You haven’t gone to school for that.

    My own evil thoughts which include everything that others say:
    I don’t know everything I need to know (granted I pretty much have a library on fashion styling)
    I have an MA in my current field. Will it be a waste if I go in the direction of fashion?
    I should do something with much more stability.
    Who am I to try and become a fashion stylist?
    I’m no expert.
    This has no impact on society.
    It seems too materialistic.
    Can I still have a family.
    Will it afford me the lifestyle I would like to have.

    The sad part is, I know this is a bunch of bs but when my doubts are reinforced by others, some how they’re validated.

    • Ramit Sethi

      FYI, as one data point, my friend pays her stylist $250/hour for her services. And she loves the value she gets.

    • Sonia M.

      Hi Gina D.

      I’m not Ramit (obviously), and I’m in a totally different field. A woman’s online group I belong to actually touched upon this topic very recently, and some of the points we discussed might help you with your next steps. I’m also using insight I’ve learned from Ramit to elaborate on a few things.

      In a nutshell, this is a service a lot of women want, but either are afraid/ashamed to ask for or do not know where to go. Many of us (women) are totally clueless when it comes to fashion and style. We tend to wing it. Most of the time it’s okay, sometimes we fail. There is this false belief that women know (or should know) fashion simply because of their gender. It’s like an innate gift we’re all suppose to have. I couln’t care less about fashion, but dressing my best is important… I just have lots to learn still.

      Let’s imagine for a moment you went ultra-specific and niched to “interview wear stylist” or “professional wear stylist”. Now this is a service that could have major impact on society: I’m aware of at least one job I didn’t get because I wasn’t dressed properly. Not that what I was wearing mattered that much, but because my confidence plummeted because I didn’t feel I was dressed right.

      Remember that you are not only teaching style, you are offering confidence! That’s my two cents. I hope it helped you in some way.

      You do need to build capital and experience. Start helping friends, relatives, acquaintances with event-specific style crises. Then ask them for referrals and references as a form of payment.

      The thing is, you need to test it out to see if it’s possible. I may bring you abundance in ways you could never imagine… Or it may totally flop. If you do have a part-time or full-time job already, keep it while you build your experience and reputation on the side.

  56. Barbara


    You are a true inspiration, words of wisdom . Please write about how you tell your mom , fiancé , daughter you too busy for them when your studying a new skill. Without offending them

    Your follower

  57. Ellen

    I’m my own worst critic. Here are my biggest goals for 2014 and what I tell myself about them:

    – lose 16lb – ‘you’ll never manage it, you hate exercise and love cake. You have no willpower.’
    – Get my driving licence – ‘You’re a terrible driver and the driving test in this country is scary and horrible. Don’t even bother. Buses are cheap.’
    – Self-publish two ebooks – ‘When do you even think you’ll get the time to write them? And who do you think is going to buy them?’
    – Get a traditional book deal – cue hysterical laughter inside my head.
    – Freelance as a travel writer – the laughter has now devolved into gasping for breath and screams of ‘stop it, you’re killing me.’

    In spite of all this, I keep reading Ramit and I keep trying 🙂

    • Michelle Keep

      Hi Ellen,

      I love cake and thought I hated exercise too. I just wouldn’t do it, and I /knew/ I’d hate going to the gym.

      Then I tried going to the gym and now omg I love it so much. I do the classes, and I do the circuit, and I do it all by myself and I look forward to it! This is because I found something that worked for me, and I found a time that worked for me. You can too, I pinky swear 🙂

      And as for who will buy your books… I write fantasy erotica. That’s not a thing, anywhere. Look at any traditionally published authors and you will not find it… but it turns out that when you self publish, niche genres and topics can sell 🙂

      Do it and worry about failing later <3

  58. David Kadavy

    “That’s more the exception than the rule.”

    “It’s a rare person who can do that.”

    I heard stuff like that all of the time throughout my life: about colleges, taking hard classes, or getting out of homeland of Nebraska. Fortunately, by the time I had a book deal in front of my face, I had learned to ignore the naysayers.

    I even talked to fellow authors, many of them talking about how it’s so “rare” for someone to sell enough books to even pay out their advance. Haha, I even talked to *you,* and you warned me of the challenges in a much more realistic manner (I still think your advice was right on, and I’m very grateful for it.)

    Fast forward 3 years: my book debuted in the top 20 books on all of Amazon, and I’ve taught thousands of people about design through my free email course.

    It’s funny, I was just telling my own readers how I want to make them better in 2014, and to “not apologize” for wanting to be better. I think many people are made to feel guilty for wanting to make their lives count, but don’t be fooled.

  59. Eric DeHart


    This post is incredible. It’s fascinating that you continue to build on things you have talked about for the past few years, focusing on diving deeper rather than shifting gears the way most blogs do. Diving deeper is the only way to get where you want to be, and it is true that everyone will try to keep us from doing that.

    The best way to deal with this all-too-pervasive subtle criticism coming from people trying to force you to embrace mediocrity is to gracefully accept their advice while continuing to push harder, effectively visualizing the naysayer’s life vis-a-vis someone with a rich life, and using this as not only a reminder, but as a motivator. Verbally, you might say, “that’s true, choosing to do something like this isn’t for everyone.” Mentally, you are saying you probably don’t have what it takes, but I do.

    By the way, that photo of you is GANGSTA.

  60. Eric Stout

    i’m going to start a blog as a men’s health advocate as a young cancer survivor. there’s no voice for that. do you think anyone would read it? surely there are young men out there concerned with their health that, as you pointed out, don’t think they’ll ever be a model. how about hearing it from a person whose overcome unique and challenging health problems striving each day to be better.

  61. Jacques

    This was a tough one, as I used to always buckle in a never ending “let me appease your concerns for the sake of placating our relationship”. It’s sometimes still difficult for me, but I’ve enjoyed being forthright about what I choose to do, for the reasons that I see fit.

    “Y’know, it may appear that this isn’t a good idea, but it would be the most helpful to have your support with my decisions so that I can discover the path that’s going to be the best fit for me.”

    It’s empowering to stand by my own reasoning, and even more empowering to realize that others don’t necessarily know what’s best for me when they voice their opinion. That kind of noise can crush you if you give in to it…


  62. Jesse

    Did you add an item for “Mom’s First Class International Travel” to your conscious spending?

  63. Sarah

    Hi Ramit,
    There are many things that I would do if I were a robot, but I knowthat I will have to choose from the in real life.
    The first thing I thought of was exercising regularly and mastering a martial art. I started taking martial art classes but my own insecurities and university schedule made me stop but I want t continue practicing because I quite enjoy it.
    I am also learning French and planning to take piano lessons. However, I really need to put more effort in my university studies even if I did not like my major that much.
    Anyway, for the next few months, I will focus on the things above. During the summer, I will look into starting a website and see whatI can do about it

  64. Shayra

    I just want to be confident enough to not just strike up a conversation with complete strangers but to keep it going. The only naysayer I have is myself. My love ones are always encouraging me to not be shy, to stop feeling self-conscious. I want to truly experience tha benefits of learning how to banter.

  65. James

    When I tell people that I’m going to hire virtual assistants or interns to help me with tasks for some of my side gigs, that is almost always a recipe for them to criticize my methods: “Why do you need an assistant?” “You could use that money for advertising or adwords” “Can’t you just do that on the weekends?” I even got this from people in my family (although a little less harsh). While I believe in getting outside help (and paying for it) when people doubt me like this it can sometimes chip away at my confidence in the project and my purpose.

  66. Margaret

    For years my mom had been telling me that if I paid off all my student debt, it would do mysterious “bad things” to my credit. Then last year I read your book, realized I didn’t have to live in fear, sorted it all out and paid off my debt. I kept it a secret till it was done, and then bam! Everyone was impressed!

    This year I want to get past these mysterious “bad things” that I think will happen:
    “Selling your handmade work will get you in trouble with the IRS”
    Response – “Um, no… because (researched, clear answer goes here).”

    “You’ll turn into one of those crazy Etsy ladies or douchey ‘artists’ if you try to make $ selling your work”
    Response – “Doing what I love and earning real money will help empower me, not necessarily make me a jerk. People like that were generally jerks to begin with.”

    “Freelance writing is way more paperwork and tax trouble than it’s worth”
    Response – “Um, no… because (another researched, clear answer goes here).”

    “No one’s going to believe you have something to offer if you don’t speak their secret competence language which all executives know and you don’t”
    Response – “To be valuable to a client you need to have/produce something of value and communicate that value in a businesslike way. Those are both skills that can be learned; and with practice, they can be perfected.”

    I get the feeling these must be in my head, since everyone around me has been impressed since I paid off my debt. They don’t question me anymore – they’ve even been coming to me for advice, which is totally weird and awesome!

  67. Adam Daniels

    Ramit recently e-mailed me, it was an eye opener for me. I decided to stop trying to pretend to try and be successful with a long shot poorly researched online “muse” and instead refocus on what I am already qualified to do, which is to teach. If I want realistic side money I need to tutor, as well as network with the best teachers and principals. What’s keeping me from doing this? I am afraid of not having mastery, fear is holding me back, Ramit helped point that out. I am in the process of identifying the deep seated psychological barriers and investing what I can in teaching methods. I’ve also reached out to some of the successful people I’ve heard of who are in my area (ex. a guy with no connections who is getting frequent supply jobs, very difficult to do in Ontario).

  68. Jamie

    I’m a professional musician who’s always been the workhorse of the band. Over the last couple years, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been working as hard. It’s because I’m tired of pulling dead weight of people who’d rather go out drinking with friends than be in the practice space working on music. They’ve pulled me down.

    Becoming aware of that ambition-draining made me realize how horrible the negative power of lazy people can be. For starters, I’m going to have “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar on constant loop in my head. Then, I’m going to start connecting with the high-achievers in the music scene.

  69. Nate Kinsey

    Great article Ramit! Love the fact that 2014 is the Year of Unapologetic Mastery. Great motivation for myself moving forward into the next year. I am definitely my own worst critic, or better said biggest doubter. Always thinking that I won’t be able to live my dreams or be happy following my passion, which is working on environmental policy and sustainability issues while living in SF. Professional goals for this year are:

    1) Accept an environmental fellowship position to work on environmental policy issues in DC
    2) Intern at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
    3) Grow my professional network by 60 people, 5 month.
    4) Join a Crossfit gym for a minimum of 4 months and join a rock climbing gym for minimum of 6.
    5) Set my self up professional to transition back to Cali, specifically SF, from DC with a full time job or fellowship position.

  70. Joe

    I’m working towards a life long dream of writing now and finding a lot of success at it while working my full time job. I hope to quit the job later this year and go full time on what I want.

    If I told anyone? They would all come down on me about “throwing my life away”. Understand, I will be making *more* money at writing than my current job as a programmer, but I’ll still get people worried about me once I tell them. It’s outside of what they consider ordinary, which automatically means it’s bad.

    I’m handling that currently by not telling anyone what I’m doing except the people who I know will support me. As long as I’ve got the full time job, no one else really needs to know.

  71. Jesse

    I’ll be following the comments on this post very closely!

    I am about to quit my job to take my side-hustle to full-time (electronics design), and my parents are NOT on board. They say “You just need to float your resume to new jobs, and then next year you’ll be in a better position to start a company.” (Yes, this is exactly what they said last year, and I’ve been in my industry for 6 years.)

    I’m making the leap in Feb, but it would be nice to have them not quite so worried about me, so here’s what I did:

    My birthday is this month, and I asked them for–instead of a present–a sit-down where I show them how much money I made this year, my projections for 2014, and my contingency plans for any potential problems.

    • Jesse

      OH! And I forgot the best part:

      Briefcase technique where I pull out a resume for 2015. It will show how this “wasted” 2014 year will look to a future employer if I do, indeed, fail big and have to find a new job.

  72. Lylaaaa

    Thanks to Ramit I was able to avoid a $200 flight rescheduling fee. The first time I called (prior to opening Ramits book that I asked my mom to buy me for Christmas) there was “nothing they could do” …none of my horrible excuses for changing my flight worked. After reading ONE PAGE (p.24) of I Will Teach You to be Rich, I called back, said the magic words, waived my wand and they were “happy to waive the fee.” The hardest part was making sure the woman couldn’t hear me grinning from ear to ear and stomping my dancing feet over the phone. I’m still blown away it worked. It’s gonna be a good year …

  73. Travis

    I currently have nothing to do at work, literally nothing and keep telling myself I should take the free online programming courses I’ve been wanting to take which would help with my current job…instead I seem to dink around and tell myself I should be working instead and end up wasting my time doing nothing instead.

    I keep saying now is the time but never seem do it, almost like I don’t want to really try so I can say well you tried but it’s just not for me.

  74. Ragnar

    Because my goal is to establish a sort of “digital nomad” lifestyle, while sticking to the more forgiving countries for starters. (Thailand, Philippines, Paraguay Uruguay) other countries that are safe, sunny and have cheap living costs) I’m sure I will hear all kinds of things. But the main four I’ve already heard. “What about your future?” Or “What if you fail?” “What about your friends/family?” “What about finding a girlfriend/wife/whatever?”

    For my future I would argue that I still have time to get established in a traditional career if that proves itself necessary, and that taking action and going for it is the best way for me to get a career in what might just be the dream career as of now: content marketing.

    I have one telecommuting job lined up that will support me throughout my travels, and if that was to be terminated, I have enough savings to get back home safely without trouble. .

    I cannot think of something more beneficial for my future than going out somewhere on my own, far away from the safety net of my family and my home country, and try to really make something from nothing on my own. Try to make something of myself.

    In case I should decide against continuing the eternal traveling lifestyle, I am putting in applications for universities in areas that would compliment my existing degree. Marketing, business or translation. Something to make my Japanese skills an asset instead of the symptom of indecision and being a dreamer. I have heard a thousand times that if you jump the Universe will catch you, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own safety net in place just in case.

    About friends I have to say that I don’t have that many, and a lot of them already live far away, so that’s not really an issue to me. I will try to invest more into my truly worthwhile friendships and create some more. To seek out people who inspire me,and get to know them.

    And as for my family they’ve always told me that my happiness is what’s most important to them. Besides, I could be their tour guide in all kinds of awesome places. And even when you live close to family, you tend to see them just as rarely as when you live far away from them. At least someone like me would.

    If the worst happens, both my parents fall ill and I’m the only one able to take care of them, then I will have to rethink things. But as of now it’s not really a legitimate concern and I won’t let that unreasonable fear control my decisions.

    When it comes to finding a spouse, which like with most 20 year olds is not my number one priority, or even a priority at all honestly, I would just have to say that nationality is the least of my concerns. And if done right I will meet more people travelling than pursuing a career. Granted most of the encounters will probably be brief, but if you believe in the validity of long term monogamy, it’s likely you believe in love, and if the signs present themselves then I’m just as likely to become a believer abroad as at home. Also bilingual kids are apparently smarter/better equipped to deal with cognitive challenges.

    For my skills as a robot, that’s a weird one for me. I have a knack for learning new things, perhaps particularly so with languages, so if I was a robot I would be learning then teaching languages? I’m not sure if that’s exactly what you meant. A more straight forward example is that I’m pretty good at cooking. So I could definitely be a cooking robot. Thankfully I’m already practicing both skills daily. Should I ramp up the amount of practice? Diversify? Improve efficiency of practice? Hmm..

    Thanks for writing this post Ramit, you’ve helped me realize some of my own worries, and solidify what action steps I should be taking to ensure that I’m on the right path.

  75. 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery | R. Chan

    […] 2014: The Year of Unapologetic Mastery […]

  76. Alex'x

    Ramit, all I’d say is “Bring it on.” My mind’s made up. For once I can live following my heart!

  77. Daniella Renee

    Every time I read one of your posts, it’s like getting a hug from a unicorn. A unicorn which farts butt kicking rainbows and unrelenting high standards.

    This is the best IWT post ever.

    Now excuse me, I have some world domination to manhandle.

    • Samantha

      I wish someone would explain the rainbow farting unicorns to me.. I feel so left out of the loop on that one.

  78. Mathieu

    If I had to think of two traits that ambitious people around me have in common, I’d say it’s having a very clear focus. They know what they want to invest time in and also what not. The second trait would be that they work in a very results-oriented manner.

    I have two specific goals for 2014: to finish my PhD and to read more. I’ve purchased more than 10 books that are still waiting to be read. A lot of them are self-improvement books (Mastery, Letters from a Stoic, Pitch Anything, Predictably Irrational). Related to that, I want to write about what I learn along the way and about the parallels between the different books.

    For instance, this weekend I read a paper on Willpower and Personal Rules. Turns out that resolutions consist of two parts: a behavioural part (“I want to hit the gym twice a week”) and a cognitive part (which is often overlooked!). That cognitive part deals with keeping track of your progress or impediments to making progress. I believe this is closely related to a systemic way of thinking instead of relying on willpower alone. You could also link this to the importance of having someone who keeps you accountable and helps you keep track.

    That’s the type of content that really interests me and that I would like to learn more about.

  79. Learning From Failure: Things To Do Better In 2014 | Tangible Freedom

    […] I will prioritize doing things that I know will lead to improvement. Ramit has declared 2014 to be the year of unapologetic mastery, and I need to take a page from his book in a few areas. I need to be upfront with my family and […]

  80. Meg Sylvia

    This is really powerful stuff. Really needed to read this!

    One of my goals this year is to surround myself with those positive people you talk about. Going to my first self-development/entrepreneurship meet-up tomorrow, and simple as this is, I still get feedback from people closest to me like, “you’re really going to that? But you won’t know anyone there…won’t that be awkward?

    Maybe it will be a little uncomfortable at first. But I can’t wait to have people in my life who motivate me to try more “awkward” situations!

  81. Robyn Coe

    OK, Ramit, it’s true – I’m up for your challenge. I love it! But this big skeptic in my life, who would read your fabulous essay and rip it apart, is my biggest hurdle. And this is the person that would benefit most from my success! So that means, in real life, I usually can’t talk about risks I want to take or investments I want to make in my career. It’s like having on those heavy diving boots! So instead of growing my business 10x/year, I’m growing 2x/year, at best. That’s not nothing, but it’s not a 3-week international vacation. Here’s what I’d like to say: I’m just going to try this. But if it involves risk or investment…ripped apart. What would Ramit do?

    • Ramit Sethi

      How is being skeptical serving you? What do you get out of it? You will have to dig very deep to answer this question.

  82. Scott

    Love this, Ramit! To answer the question, here are two ambition-killing thoughts/criticisms that I’ve come across recently:

    1) Over the holidays, a family member told me after a moment of frustration on my part: “Scott, you’ve got what 99 percent of the people in this country want.” He was right–things have really come together for me in the past few years thanks in no small part to your material–I finished my master’s degree in ’11, married in ’12, got pregnant with my first kid in ’13…plus, I have no debt, I’m in great shape, and have a cool job “consulting with CEOs” as you’ve put it on this blog before, etc.). A lot of people would envy that, but I know it’s only the bare minimum that I should expect of myself–it’s the lifestyle equivalent of “being thankful to have any job, especially in this economy.” Thing is, that once you’ve achieved this kind of “2.5 kids and white-picket fence” level in life, people think you’re ungrateful/impatient/weird if you’re not satisfied with it. Why live the “rich life” when you can live a pleasant “upper middle class life” instead?

    2) Closing the gap between “above-average” and “world-class” seems insanely hard. To give an example, I’m a 9x marathon finisher, and pride myself on getting to the gym and staying in good shape. But last summer, I went on an insanely hard hike through the Presidential Range in New Hampshire with about 10 other guys, all of whom were alpha-dog athletes–including a former Navy SEAL, a former minor league baseball player, and a Div III national champion soccer player. Needless to say, these guys left me in the dust. The “shrug effect” naturally kicked in as I licked my wounds–“Of course you can hike that fast if you’ve been through BUD/S.” But still…when you already work hard and get “good enough” results, the idea of working even harder to get “world class” results seems overwhelming.

    Of course, I’m realizing that I’m at a point where many people plateau in life and settle for white picket fences. So, I have to keep reminding myself that if I’m not careful, I’ll turn into the bad bosses I had in my 20s…frumpy and complacent middle-agers who live large on yesterday’s triumphs…the “fat bald guy in the BMW convertible,” in Tim Ferriss’s memorable phrase. So, here’s to a year of unapologetic mastery!


  83. Eric

    So I’ve been trying to get a blog and online fitness company going for 2-3 years now–and all along the way I have heard the following from friends and family:

    “You are only 25 years old and have 2 years of “official” professional experience, why would anyone listen to you?”

    “You’re too late in the game, there’s already enough (or too many) people with information like yours”

    “You are worrying too much about “art” and not enough about what really works”

    “No one cares what you have to say about that”

    The thing is, I’ve been studying everything related to building muscle and getting ripped for the past 10 years–I’ve studied thousands upon thousands of hours–much of that on my own and some while gaining a college degree in exercise science. I’m also a pretty damn good writer and I genuinely want to connect with and help others.

    But over the past few years I’ve let the naysayers get to me–and basically have come to believe what they say.

    This year, I’m taking it all back and going for it.

    I’ll ignore them, I’ll tell them to come read this, I’ll tell them to just listen to my advice for once and see how their body transforms.

    I’ve let the opinions (or fear of) of others rule my life for too long–2014 is about changing this.


    • Jesse

      You should check out

      They did something similar, and they are incredibly open and warm guys (went through their program, gained 11 lbs in 4mo, and now we nerd out about entrepreneurship stuff). If you’re interested, I’d be glad to introduce you.

    • Simone

      Eric, go for it! I would love to see the site you’d launch. I only recently discovered a passion for nutrition and fitness, but people like Steve at Nerd Fitness and Amy at Strong Inside Out have helped me realize that this is what I’m passionate about.

      However, unlike you, I got a degree in something completely different and am only now beginning to pursue additional information for future coaching/etc. I’d also like to have a website, but aside from blogging for a college site, I have no experience with web design, etc!

      Despite even people like my doctor (a health professional!) telling me that the fitness field is flooded, I think there’s always a market for quality, expert information — the health field is no different. It sounds like you’ve put a lot into this. I say, do it! And let us know how it goes. 🙂


  84. Mariana

    I can relate to being called ‘weird’. When I was growing up I absolutely loved to read and the library was one of my favourite places in the world. My friends and peers didn’t understand why I would pick a book over going to the movies or hanging out at the park etc. so I was labelled as being ‘weird’. But it never bothered me and I would counter this with ‘yeah, I am weird and it’s pretty cool!’ Soon enough the ‘she’s crazy’ looks turned to acceptance and it didn’t bother them (because as far as I was concerned, they were the ones who had a problem!) that I loved doing what made me happy. I was fortunate enough to have had this experience at a young age because I learnt that being different isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it has brought me a lot of self confidence to do things that are out of the perceived ‘norm’. It has also helped me recognise that when people are critical of something you do, more often than not it’s due to their own insecurities.

  85. Tim Stephenson

    Ramit, thanks from the bottom of my heart for your clear approach and speech.

    I’m torn, though: during the day I work for a Fortune 100 company as a junior computer wizard, and of an evening I restore old photos as a side job ( I’ve also looked into a large number of money-making opportunities and even wrote an ebook on the subject ( your readers can use the promo code DISH to get it for free if they want – this ain’t a commercial). I originally wrote this book for one of our staff who kept trying to bum gas money from me.) One of the hints I gave actually was to remove the light from the oven! Not really, but you were pretty close. So I’m frankly more in the ‘clip coupons’ camp rather than the ‘make a million’ group. I’m willing to change, but wrapping my head around ME being WEALTHY is a bit hard at this point – I’ve been on the edge for a long time.

    My question is a ‘do I do this or that’… but I’m also open to other options from you or other commenters:

    “Do I abandon my photo restoration business (which I’m good at and enjoy) and invest in some other form of money-making, starting, for instance, by buying your book?”


    “Do I follow your advice above and aggressively dive into learning my photo restoration trade (I already have two extremely good texts on the subject awaiting me), counting on the dough to come in sufficiently when I become astonishingly good over the next year?”

    Thanks again for your inspiration…

  86. Katy

    I’m not your usual reader – I’m 62 and just got laid off from my aerospace engineering job, with not a lot of prospects for an equivalent one. As much as I loved my work over 40 years and will miss it, I feel good! This year will be devoted to learning, with a goal of figuring out what else I can do, and how best to do it. I can still be amazing!

  87. Janine

    Hi Ramit, I want to write novels and of course so do about 2billion other people. My friends say I’m ok (are they being nice?) – I have to test it for myself. Novels take ages to write and somewhere in the middle of that process i decide I’m rubbish and go back to my day job. I never get to test.
    I loved the story about your mum wanting an upgrade and I loved that no one reading that would question that you did it for her.
    Happy New Year – let’s get masterful!

    • Michael K

      Novels don’t have to take ages to write. I destroyed that invisible script when I wrote 50,000 words in 15 days of work for NaNoWriMo. That’s a short novel in two weeks. Prior to that, I barely wrote at all.

      Is it a literary masterpiece? No. But writing is far more about rewriting and editing anyway. Much better to have a first draft to edit after two weeks, than no novel *ever*.

      What it did for me is what’s important. I no longer have excuses like, “Novels take too long. I’m not a fast writer. I can’t write original characters. I can’t make plots. I have no ideas. How can I take a year to write a novel, when it will take three years to edit it? I can’t be a writer, because I don’t write.”

      They’re all insidious lies.

      I challenge you to think about these things:

      1. What can you do that you consider impossible right now, so you can blow your invisible scripts away? You think it’s impossible to write a novel in a short period? Do it in a month. 1500 words a day in 30-60 minutes. Allow yourself to write horribly–no editing allowed. No time? Make it two months. Do it in longer chunks, a few times a week if daily doesn’t work (daily didn’t work for me). Whatever makes it happen. Perfectionism is the enemy. 2 billion people might want to do it, but how many actually DO?

      2. Everyone can be a writer. Everyone. It’s a skill. If you enjoy it, you can get there through sheer persistence. Read more. Handwrite the work of authors you enjoy. Get a friend who’s good at writing to give you super specific, constructive criticism. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Study the craft. Study your genres. Write short stories or novellas, so you can write lots of different things for practice. But most importantly, write no matter how much you know. You *will* get better.

      3. All writers write crap on a regular basis. “Shitty first drafts” exist for a reason. Give yourself permission to fail epically over and over again (which is why I recommend no editing if you pursue writing a short novel in a month). You can rewrite to your heart’s content, and you can work with an editor or a writing coach or a writing friend to improve your work.

      Don’t test whether you’re good at writing, because you can always get better. Test whether you want to spend the time to get better.

      But first–blow your worst invisible scripts away with a success you think is impossible. Give yourself the *option* to pursue unapologetic mastery by opening up your sense of possibility.

      Whatever you decide to do, kick some writing ass.

  88. Natalie

    I am my worst critic. I have wanted to start a niche beverage kiosk as a money muse and because I want to see if I can do it. I have started the business plan, it is unfinished. I have visited a potential supplier and factory, the info is in a file in my desk. I have thought about future actions and made list. I have no excuse. I just need to MOVE ON THIS !

  89. Matt

    Oh, too easy. I know I want a better, more appropriate job, but if I even mention that possibility to my father or hint that I’m, gasp, unhappy in my current job, I get the usual “lucky to have a job” stuff, or “are you going to go back to retail” (not a chance!), so I kow I can’t depend on him for support. So it’ll be fun when I surprise him with the news when I DO get a better job.

  90. Swathi

    Your blog made me laugh out loud. I buy flight tickets for my parents to visit me from India, I buy gold necklaces for my mom and latest smart phone for my dad and I don’t think twice about it. Growing up, I have had similar experience like you did. And even though I spend 300$ on a pair of shoes, I think twice about spending $3 on a chai latte 🙂
    My biggest internal fear is about quitting my job which I absolutely hate everyday and ‘how can I leave high six figure salary’ when so many people live below poverty line!

  91. Sarah

    Yoooo I am definitely my own worst critic! I started my own online business a couple of months ago and it has been a bit slow (I’m selling awesome second hand and imported clothing online and also have a blog about fashion/beauty related stuff).

    I think I’m just frustrated and being impatient. I’ve actually had loads of people say things like they love the clothes I put up and they love the blog and it’s inspiring for them. But… Why aren’t the clothes flying out the door? I need to solve this problem. I’ve also found I’m more drawn to the blog, I want to create lots of valuable content that makes people excited and inspired by fashion and style and also critique society’s views of fashion/makeup etc and create some conversation about that.

    My grandparents however… They support me but they also question whether it is viable for “making money”. I think that’s why I’m also stressed about clothes not selling as fast as I wish they were.

  92. Ethan Wilson

    Ramit, I have an Asian mom and she says shit like this: “You should just be lucky you have a job in this economy”

  93. Pamela Slim

    Great post! And I love this year’s theme!

    I am so happy to see Naveen’s success. After I did a master class for one of your classes that he was enrolled in, he religiously attended my monthly free calls. He was very clear about the advice he solicited. He always followed up with me to report on the results.

    (You know how you and I both value the follow up after advice is given!)

    All this to say that he ABSOLUTELY worked for and deserves every bit of success he attained. You were so smart to feature him.

    I appreciate that you always give advice WITHOUT MAGIC FORMULAS. More experts should do this.

    #refreshing 🙂

    Happy New Year to you Ramit, Naveen and the whole IWTYTBR community!

    • Naveen Dittakavi

      Thank you for your kind words and guidance Pam! Ramit and I talked about your feedback and guidance in the interview. I just emailed you a note as well.


    Thank you. thank you. Very on-point here. I have been thinking about transforming my entire life after been out of work for sometimes now. My dreams have only gotten larger and wider that sometimes i think of where I am now, I do not know where i would even meet int the middle for my very extravagant dreams. My mother keeps bringing up my sister that she is married with now two children and whenever I think of it, I see that as settling and I cannot picture myself with a little house in the country. I have a very, very rich and glamorous mindset that the thought of having a life like my sister makes me wonder “IS THAT IT?” I have huge dreams and I am glad I have people like you who show up in my inbox at a time such as this. Working on my mind and imagination-because as you know where the mind goes,the person will actually catch up with that.l Have the very best of a New Year Ramit. We must enjoy riches and the fullness of life more abundantly and never stop learning and teaching until we take our very last breath.Extraordinary Yours, Heather.

  95. Rivka

    This post was wonderful
    especially the part about imagining your progress if you were a robot
    but I just wanted to say:

  96. Laura

    This year I will start a business, especially now that I have a clear idea, and I will earn more! My biggest critic is myself (not disciplined enough and don’t have the money) but I’m getting more comfortable with the uncomfortable and practicing good money management, so I believe I can do it!

  97. Meghan C.

    Ramit, you got me! I have the exact negative script you mention in your video that says ambitious people spend too much time working and lack balance and don’t spend enough time with their families. Family is the most important thing to me and a huge part of my idea of living a rich life is to spend lots of time with my family and would love to be able to do things like buy dinner or plane tickets for family members without worrying about the cost. I work mostly from home right now so I can raise my 5 month old son and preschool age daughter as that is very important to me. The reality is that it is very difficult to get all my work done plus improve my client program and business methods while caring for young children, however I can still be ambitious by prioritizing so I get the most important and highest paying tasks done first, then have scheduled time for the improvements while I have help with the kids, and minutiae can wait. Soon enough the kids will be school age and I will have more uninterrupted work hours to get even more aggressive with my career goals.

  98. Sonia M.

    I was actually told the following – sometimes over and over… and by the same person – about various things I’ve been doing:

    Opting for the Paleo diet – after being on a gluten free diet for gluten intolerance: ‘A little rice won’t kill you”… “I’m sure you’re going to develop some kind of deficiency from not eating grains”… “You’re telling me you removed even more stuff from your diet, what the hell do you eat now?” — I just let them vent, then I simply answer that 1) I’ve never felt better; 2) I actually feel I have more food choice now; 3) Going Paleo simplified my life and I love it.

    Enrollin in DJ – “I could have taugh you the same stuff for free” (no you couldn’t have, I see all the mistakes you’re doing that you believe actually help you)

    You’re reading a book entitled “How to Read a Book”? – What’s up with that?… or simply snickering… BTW that book is AWESOME! I’m going to get so much more out of all the books I read!

    And the list goes on and now. It never ceases to amaze me how defensive people get about their own life choices when you simply state yours. It’s like they feel judged.

    So for a while now, I’ve simply been doing my thing by myself, and I get my support through like-minded individuals in RBT. I’m actually working on a few things that I’m keeping quiet at the moment. It’s not that I don’t have the courage or the strength to refute the naysayers, I just don’t have any time for them or hear their creative rebuttals.

  99. Terry gillespie

    i love ur sensé of humor

  100. Kelly

    My parents are my main skeptic – I want to move to New York (from Vancouver, BC but currently in Sydney, Australia) and change jobs from Account Manager in Advertising to client-side marketing for a luxury brand or fashion company. Extremely risk-averse, they’re the “be thankful for a job you have now”, “New York is very expensive…” type of people. To handle this, I need to continue confident self-talk and not let myself internalize their fears. I must remind myself that I can’t live small because that’s where they’re comfortable.

    My other main skeptic is myself. I recently read ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendricks and I’ve started to notice how, when things are going well, I do things to pull myself back. Great read for anybody noticing that subconsciously they stop themselves from being great!

    Looking forward to 2014, with your guidance, Ramit!

  101. Judith

    I love the story about your mom and the business class ticket!
    I have two grown children– one of whom I’m still helping out– but I need to get my own career and finances back on track. Over the past couple of years, I’ve dabbled in a few things, done some traveling, sat with dying friends, and worked on another book, but Jan. 1 it hit me that I need to get my tutoring business going and get a job in the meantime.
    My biggest fear is that it is too late, that I don’t have what it takes to make it. But I have to do something; I can’t afford to retire and at 57 I’m too young to give up.

  102. Vince

    My friends are all nerds and ridicule anyone who dresses nice or does business school or works on self-improvement. Hell, I won’t lie, I’ve been guilty of it myself, though I felt ashamed afterwards.

    A lot of what you said validates some of my actions and it feels good. When I lost 90 lbs in 2013, I lied to my friends and told them I had a stomach condition and my doctor told me I couldn’t eat anything but liquid food. Yeah it’s bad, and no offense to people actually suffering from stomach problems, but I had to do it to keep them from interfering and telling me bullshit like “Just don’t eat anything all day on Saturday and then we can go out!”

    This year, I want to change the way I dress, the way I look, and begin a relationship.

  103. Christie

    Dear Ramit,
    It is such a long trip to India. Wouldn’t your mother enjoy a companion? Surely, she must have a friend or relative that could join her. You should definitely be getting two tickets.
    ~ Christie

  104. Joe

    My goal this year is to make $60,000 dollars through my own tutoring business. My naysayers- specifically my parents- would say that this is absolutely ridiculous considering that I’ve never made over $15,000 in a year, and am currently employed at a tutoring business where I only take a 33% (at best) commission off of my work.

    Here’s how I plan to respond: First, doing my work quietly and building up my study materials, articles, and videos for becoming a top performer in Organic Chemistry and being the most attractive candidate for Medical School admission boards. Second, asking them eventually to come aboard and participate with my ambitions as my business grows. Third, using testing to determine the best advertising techniques that will immediately improve my client base, besides facebook posts and tutoring flyers. Fourth, reading the Book “Purple Cow” over the next few weeks, which I just ordered yesterday. Lastly, building and testing a daily and weekly structure for working on my material that I can document electronically and access easily through Microsoft Excel/Word so that I can track (and see) my progress.

  105. Brian

    When I watched your ambition video I noticed an invisible script that comes up for me is, “when I look at the people running their own businesses that I actually respect and admire–and would willingly listen to the advice of–I notice that they are so much further down the path than me that I can’t imagine anyone paying/following/caring about someone at my level (because I know I wouldn’t).”

    Often it’s actually DE-motivating to look at these people. I find it helps to look at how people got started rather than read about their recent triumphs.

    It’s somewhat ironic since I’ve been reading your blog since 2005 before anyone knew who you were. Perhaps there are other interesting figures I became interested in “before they got popular” that I’ve overlooked.

    • Simone

      Brian, I feel the same way! After a childhood of hating sports, I started getting into fitness in college, but I’m still on the road to being stronger, more athletic, etc. Eventually I’d like to help others find the fun you can have with nutrition and fitness outside of the gym, but when I look at people who are successfully doing just that, it seems overwhelming and unattainable.

      And if I do become successful myself, I don’t want to appear intimidating and unapproachable to other beginners out there who I’d love to help! I like your point about “how people get started” vs “recent triumphs” — maybe more folks should present their success this way.

  106. G.

    I’m my biggest self-critic. I am lucky to be surrounded by loving, supportive, inspiring family, friends, and colleagues.
    Two points jumped out at me wrt self criticism- “one year from now, you’ll be one year older, what are you going to do about it” and the idea of being a robot stripped of fears/doubts and what you would focus on. For someone without a history of ambition, or successful ambition, lasering in on to the vision of a dream distilled and completed as the tool to help you get over the start-up fear and avoidance is really important.
    Thanks, Ramit!

  107. Tara

    The people around me are actually very supportive of most things I do; most of them want to hop on board, actually. It’s my inner critic who’s the real monster. I need to figure out how to rein her in.

  108. Jenny

    I want to not only survive, but to make the most out of living at home with my somewhat crazy asian mother for as long as I can. (It’s always great hearing stories about other crazy asian mothers, thanks Ramit:) Even though I just graduated from college and I would love to move out, it’s more beneficial for both of us if I stay, at least for a year. My friends (the skeptics) think she’s controlling me by making me pay rent AND work for her (she’s a landlord) to an excessive point. Even more, they know as well as I do that the main reason I want to move out is that her accumulating stress has made her more hostile and patronizing than ever before. I know it will only drive her further down that path if I leave.

    When they find out that I’m planning on staying they’ll say: “I don’t know, I don’t think you’re making a good choice. You’re mom’s crazy. You’re just making yourself unhappy.”

    I will likely find myself agreeing with them, too when I’m feeling crummy. Yet, I’ll respond by saying “I can’t lose my mom by leaving too soon. I got to find a way to help her while I’m starting out on my own even if it means being temporarily unhappy. I will find ways to stay positive, assert more independence, while staying true to what I think is the right thing to do.”

    Your post really struck home with me Ramit, especially the bit about the robot. Though I can’t expect to blast through my obstacles and fears right away, I know I can be more determined and fight harder than I have before to make things better. Thanks for sharing your much-needed wisdom and here’s to a great 2014!

  109. Tristan

    I changed my diet, and my parents are telling me to eat junk with them. I stuck to my diet, but it’s not the ideal one for me because I still accommodate the eating preferences of the people around me like friends and relatives. So in short, I still eat junk, haha.

    I’m investing in seminars, etc to learn about businesses and to be a bit hands-on, and my mother keeps saying that they are just scams, and that I should just start a business that’s focused on something that she thinks will make money, but we know zilch about. I just focus on earning more so I can support my dreams and hers…

    People keep telling me to quit my job in the government because private companies pay more but I want to help my country. I just focus on earning on the side, but I really want to insult those people back who keep picking on me like I’m being stupid by not accepting job offers.

    When I train my body (for breaking/bboying) my mother likes to tell me that I’m already old, and that I should slow down or even stop. I once got fed up and told her something like she wants me to die… It was very disrespectful of me to say that to her the way I did then, but I really couldn’t stand the constant negativity anymore. Now they more or less shut up about it. Other people in a group I was in make fun of me for being able to do otherwise-amazing things because they can’t. They talk like I’m a freak. I try to teach them how to do it–how to train to be able to do movements that seem to require lots of strength, but they don’t want to do something difficult. I’m slowly moving away from those people.

    I want to change how I dress, but my mother insists on doing my laundry on her schedule so I wear clothes of the same colour for maybe a week at a time, and I find it hard to pick out what looks good on me because when I run out of clothes they sometimes give me old ones with holes. If I tell her this to her face she will feel bad, but she won’t change, because I’ve been complaining about it–saying that I’m already old, and working 2 jobs, and she still won’t let me have control… I know in the end that I do have control and I do have the final say, but going against an Asian mother will be received as a form of disrespect.

    People make up stories about me here at work because I don’t fit in (I have quirks, I guess), but my superiors tell me to try to fit in because my output is great, it’s just that they get complaints about things about me, like fidgeting, or looking like I’m really at ease (I look lazy). I almost quit because of this but now, I’m trying to compromise.

    To Ramit:

    I just want to know if even just one person has paid for one of your courses from here in the Philippines. Right now I don’t have the means to pay for your courses yet, but I’m working on them (getting a credit card, earning more), and maybe just knowing that someone else who is actually in my country and earning the same currency as me was able to afford your courses will be extra motivation to push me. I don’t want to move up ladders, though–I think. Because government work in my country is like a dead-end low-paying job, I just want to be able to have something on the side that earns “so much that I can quit my main job”, so that I won’t need to quit my main job.

    • Joy

      Hey Tristan, just wanted to give you that extra push you needed. I’m from the same country and I’ve purchased some of Ramit’s courses. 🙂

  110. Cindy

    There are two areas for me, which people closest to me do not support:

    1. Diet. “YOU are not eating rice and fruits and noodles and bread and cereal?! And you’re eating black beans instead of rice?? Bleh!” I’m Chinese. Our household diet is white bread for breakfast and unapologetically Chinese for lunch and dinner. I tried to switch to slow carb diet, which should have been relatively easy to just swap rice out with beans. Yet thus was the reaction I got from my parents and my husband, all of whom have not do subtly said I need to lose weight.

    2. Onlin courses. “You’re taking a course online for how much?!?!” That’s despite solid proof I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth from the knowledge I learned from these courses.

  111. Kesha

    I am my worst critic. It actually seems the people around me have more belief in my ability than I have myself. I say things to myself like…you have tried this so many times before is this really gonna be different. You will be right back in the same place… My goal is to develop my business idea as well as the confidence required for its success.

  112. Mike

    Hi, everyone:

    I’m very grateful for advice here, it helps me look into myself. One of the goal for 2014 is to know more about myself, get a job and start graduate study of engineering management in Stanford. After graduate in May 2013, I have been unemployed and out-of-school for almost 7 months now. Jesus, I did not realize it has really been that long. It has worn my energy out quite a bit. 2013 was not the best year I have encountered, broken up with ex-girl friend before marriage, got a job and lost it before of visa issues, not knowing what to do after graduation and slowly finding my passion.

    I find myself talented and passionate of connecting people with different culture background. As a native from Shanghai, China, with an engineering background, bilingual, instead of being an engineer like a lot of my other international friends, I want to do something different, my long term goal is to bridge US China business. I want to prepare myself to be the top tier leader that I could foster a company in china with innovative working culture and global teams. I also want to help china companies to do M&A in US and help the transition of the companies.

    I am still trying to figure out the baby steps of getting there. Any suggestion or advice, I am glad to hear from you.

    Thanks, Good luck to everyone!


  113. jp

    I’d say lets talk after a year!

  114. Nathaniel Wyckoff

    Some people will not be supportive of my writing a sequel to my first novel, Yaakov the Pirate Hunter. “How do you have time?” they’ll ask, knowing that I already have a fulfilling full-time job, a family and community involvements. I interpret “How do you have time?” to mean, “I can’t write, and you make me feel insecure by telling me that you can; please have the decency to fail so that I can raise my own pathetic self-esteem by gloating over your failure.”

    How would I respond? Amanda, the first commenter, said it best.

  115. Sara

    My goal is to quit my current job (teaching) and open a cafe. When I talk about why I want to open a cafe specifically, most of my friends will nod or even be enthusiastic about it. Mentioning it to my family, on the other hand? I get:

    -You’re good at what you do. (this is true) You should develop this career.

    -You’re lucky to have a job/steady income/live where you do.

    -The market is saturated; no one needs this. You’ll eventually just convert to a Starbucks. (thanks, that’s nice.)

    -There’s no money in starting a small business. (and there’s so much money in teaching, right? Ha.)

    Truth be told, I have no idea how I’ll manage to do this. I’m done putting everything off “just one more year,” though.

  116. How to stop feeling guilty - I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] talking about the Year of Unapologetic Mastery. Yesterday I asked you to tell me what one of the skeptical people in your life — including […]

  117. jak

    One area in my life I want to change is to be able to motivate myself to finish a task. I’ll be honest I started E1K but I haven’t finished it. I’m my biggest critic and biggest downer. If it doesn’t come smoothly then I feel like I’ve done something wrong when most likely there was no right or wrong it just didn’t work.
    I just wanna shut off this little voice in my head that pokes holes at everything and over thinks it all.

    • Ramit Sethi

      I just bought you a month of Ramit’s Brain Trust. Check your email.

  118. Michelle

    I set several goals in my annual review this year. I will finish my economics degree magna cum laude and end the year with at least 6 contacts in my target branches of the Federal Reserve. This is part of my Dream Job journey. Sadly, I already know the worst critic and what she’d say, because my mother has been harassing me about it for 2 years already. I’m “throwing away a good job and a pension” by not staying in the military for 20 years. Nevermind that it’s a job I hate, that advancement is trickling right now, and 20 years would only get me 50% of my basic pay and leave me in my 50s trying to start all over new career until I was ready to retire. I stopped listening to my mother’s criticisms about my life years ago. The biggest challenge that I have to master this year is unwritten, but if I want to meet my various goals, it is a must. I need to master self-discipline. I need to stop playing video games all day because “I’m tired from work,” and understand that my goals won’t wait for me to find boundless energy. 2014 will be a tough year, but I will be in an amazing place at it’s end if I follow through with everything.

  119. YOHAMI

    awesome stuff bro.

  120. Ben

    Awesome post, Ramit. Very inspiring.

    I’ve found the biggest area of critique has been on any change in self image – if I start buying better clothes or lose weight/gain muscle, there are plenty of comments. Hidden in the minor praise, though, are phrases like “I thought you looked fine before”, “you didn’t need to lose weight”, etc. that imply that change isn’t only unnecessary, but somewhat undesirable. Maybe it’s just my own insecurity, but this stuff gets to me.

  121. Simone

    Great post. It’s going to be a great year!

    I graduated in May with a degree in Asian Studies. 18 year old me wanted to be a Chinese interpreter, but no more. Despite being an asthmatic, sports-hating bookworm as a kid, in college I discovered activities that I enjoyed, and am now really passionate about health and fitness. (I actually found you, Ramit, through Steve at Nerd Fitness. He basically has my dream job.)

    I’m a healthy weight, but I’m working on developing a stronger, more athletic build (which I never, ever imagined *I* could have), and like Steve, I really want to help other gym-averse types find their confidence through fitness. Yet even my doctor – a health professional! – told me fitness was an “unsustainable” career and that I should stick with Chinese: “You’ll need something to fall back on when you’re 50.” (Um, can I not help people be healthy after 49?)

    My biggest critic is my own decades-long conviction that I will never be strong, athletic, or confident — which puts a real damper on my deadlifting twice my bodyweight or coaching others, both of which are big goals of mine.

    This year that will change.

  122. Jonathan

    The goal I’d have the biggest critics would be starting my own business. Recently I’ve been writing down more ideas than ever and researching the ones that stick with me to see what opportunities exist. Launching something feels inevitable. It’s exciting.

    My biggest critics, though? Both my mother and my mother in law. I can hear both talking about how risky it is going out on my own – as they both have before.

    Something will get launched this year, success or failure.

  123. Erick M

    Fitness – “You ABSOLUTLEY have to have breakfast” (Everyone) “If you keep lifting weights you’re gonna look abnormal, like a bodybuilder!” (Friends)
    Online business – “In this country (Mexico) NOBODY buys stuff online” (Myself)

  124. Greg

    I go to a college which is known for having an incredibly tough workload, and people complain about it being impossible to have any free time at all, but that’s not true. We (or at least I) spend time often irresponsibly and inefficiently, and we might spend 6 hours playing video games, then get behind and struggle to catch up for the rest of the week, but those 6 hours weren’t free time, because we felt like we should be doing something. We also try to do too much — 18 credit hours + tons of clubs. I believe that by working ahead, predicting the workload (which isn’t hard since most classes have predictable syllabi), working more efficiently, and taking on fewer things and putting more effort into them, it’s possible to stay ahead of the curve.

    And to critics — for the past 2 months I’ve gotten myself to consistently use a daily checklist to build a better routine. To start doing push-ups and sit-ups every day I only needed to add a checkbox. It’s a foundation on which to build a superior productivity system.

  125. Jane

    Last year I quit my job to work for myself. I’m now making and selling art and doing consulting. I participated in 2 art/craft fairs at the end of 2013 and I currently have one large consulting project that is taking up most of my time. I have actually had to start saying no to projects. Things are going well.

    For what feels like forever, my dad has been telling me that I should work for myself. He has worked for himself for a number of years (with my mom) and has been a good source of advice.

    After 3 months of working for myself, mostly working on my art business, my dad told me that I would never make any money doing art. My mom agreed with him, as did some of my extended family that was in town. So, basically, after feeling like I’ve had my parents support for my entire life (they paid for tons of art classes for me growing up and encouraged me to study art in college), suddenly it felt like the rug was pulled out from under me.

    I think their attitudes will change once I prove that I can be successful with art (I’ve already sold 16 pieces) and consulting, and find a balance.

  126. CS

    “You’ll fail!”
    “No one will buy from you”
    “Customers will think your prices are too high”

    I’ve been afraid to find out that what my target market really wants is what I can’t offer. So I don’t go out there and look for feedback.

  127. Angelique

    2013 was my first year of being a full-time freelancer web desginer + developer. Given that, I’m actually surprised at how few fears got expressed in my general direction. I guess because I didn’t really talk to people much about my plans, I just dove in, set realistic goals and worked my tail feathers off. It has been SO rewarding.

    Goals for 2014 :
    – Raise my rates for my birthday ( I doubled my rates when I went FT freelance, and, since I’ve been booked fairly solid for months at a go, it’s time to go higher. I’ve had one two prospective partners question my rates in the last 8 months and am pretty happy with how I responded in both instances, but I still sometimes have a go at myself and ask if I’m providing value equivalent to what I’m charging. I use this as motivation to improve my client deliverables and to better track and share the work I’ve done, to prove to myself I’m doing quality work.)
    – Travel to one major industry event ( A lot of pushback from myself, honestly, on this expense; I know it’s worth it to keep up my education and network, but some of these conferences cost $2k to just get in the door. I tell myself I can just read more books and blogs, but it’s not the same.)
    – Increase my total billable amount by 2.5 each quarter in comparison to 2013 (I question if this is realistic and then see that Naveen grew his business by 5x! I wonder if I have what it takes to get the clients I’d have to secure to grow my business more than double, I worry about my ability to project schedules and timelines effectively so as to not overbook myself in pursuit of that goal.)

    I’ve just started reading your blog, Ramit, and already find it to be hugely inspiring in terms of dreaming bigger, living richer. Thank you!

  128. Michael Riley

    This post really resonated with me on a number of levels (loved the cardigan sweater comment btw!). I’m in the middle of IWTYTBR now and have been loving your content since subscribing last year.

    I want to become a better writer. I’m good at it, and people have communicated that to me. However, I find it difficult to do write every day, do not really have an audience, and do not write about one topic exclusively. I write more about things that are bothering me in my life or lessons I’ve learned.

    A naysayer might say, “You’re not an expert in anything, so why would you write?” I would say, “I’m not an expert in anything yet (emphasis on yet), but I will be some day. Right now I’m exploring topics that interest me so I can further develop my unique, authentic voice. Something will stick. I guarantee it.”

  129. Chris

    I am trying to eat less to lose some weight. So at dinner I try not to fill my plate to the brim, and my wife always points this out. She says, “Are you sure you’re going to have enough to eat?” or, “Do you not like what I’ve cooked.” It makes me feel bad. It also makes me want to scream, because she doesn’t eat very much. Anytime I point this out, she gets offended.

    • Ramit Sethi

      So what’s a better response? Try to brainstorm 3.

    • Michelle Keep

      Have you tried talking to her before she cooks? Just saying something like “Oh, just one potato for me is fine” or whatever might help remove the ‘skill’ from the equasion. It’s not about how good her potatoes are, you’re making a conscious decision to eat less. Or telling her that if you’re still hungry in an hour or two you promise to go back for more.

      Pushing away a plate with food still on it, though, can sometimes feel like an insult even if it’s not intended. I’d say try to handle it before it gets to that point 🙂

  130. Matt

    I’ve been meeting with a group to work on a software project on the side for 2 hours a week, and the biggest naysayer has been my wife with “This is time you could be spending with the kids and me.”

    I’ve been addressing it by setting aside specific family time and date nights, but other times I just avoid answering. My takeaway is that I need to develop a system for improving the quality of family time, not just the quantity.

    • Margo

      Ask yourself what’s behind her need for time with the kids and her, and you’ll open up some creative solutions.

      If she is a SAHM, she may need you around for relief from the constant effort of watching the kids. Could you hire a sitter for a few hours a week?

      She could feel some envy that you have both work and a pet project to engage you intellectually – perhaps she needs time and stimulating conversation with adults. How could you get that for her?

      Could you find other time in your schedule, such as your fitness time, and combine it with family time? Invent a “family workout night” and do yoga with your wife and kids instead of your current routine.

      Is she stressed because she’s always planning the family activities? Could you sign up for one of the subscription box services for creative / crafty / science kits?

  131. The productivity system I built to stay in touch with people - I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] is the Year of Unapologetic Mastery. When you look at someone who’s a master at their craft, you’ll notice that they’ve always […]

  132. Mary Grace

    This year, on the side, I will start a blog directed towards young professionals.

    I am constantly asked how I was able to jump into a corporate job that required over a decade’s worth of experience when I only had two years’ worth or how I was able to graduate from undergraduate and graduate school debt free or how I bought a house and helped my parents buy their first house all by my mid-twenties. In the past, I’ve agreed to meet 1-1 with people so that they can pick my brain, but a blog would allow me to help more people by expanding my reach.

    The naysayers would say: “A blog would is a waste of time. The internet is saturated with thousands of other bloggers out there who do the exact same thing. There is no way to make a business out of it.”

    I would say: “Instead of wonder my whole life, I would rather try it and find out now whether it is a fit (and succeed) or a fail (and move on)” or “I got to where I am today by actually TESTING out a dozen careers instead of just THINKING about them” or “I get paid in my day job to use these skills. I am simply finding additional outlets to use these same skills to help more people.”

  133. Clay Hebert

    Hey Ramit,

    I love the theme “Unapologetic Mastery”. It’s perfect.

    Hope you’re well.


  134. Eric Wilson

    I’m 22 years old and feel social interactions are the hardest thing ever. You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you see an old classmate from high school and know you have to talk to them and it will probably be awkward. I absolutely hate that I think that way and feel if I was better in social situations life would be more enjoyable. So my goal is too develop social skills and social awareness so I can move through life not ever worrying about how I interact with people.

    Here I m trying to improve myself and I believe Naa sayers will probably say something like “That’s weird to even consider doing this. Your not being yourself or your being fake.” I assume people will say this or something similar.

    So I’m going to handle through criticism by keeping calm and just leaving them with a question, “Think about how it would feel to be able to talk with anyone you wanted? Never worrying about what others thought of you or if they liked you… because you know you made the best effort you could and if things didn’t work out, you know that there isn’t more you could have done.”

    Hopefully this will work and if not, I know this is something that is important to me and won’t care about their opinion.

    • stacey

      Hey Eric, One thing I am generally amazing at is meeting people. I was a socialaholic and worked in sales jobs and did a little drama and just seem to enjoy collecting cool conversations. Now, I had a couple of friends who were very shy too until they came to work with me doing market research survey interviewing. We were students or had day jobs as well and it was great extra cash I am not sure if you have a job or need one right now, but would recommend doing something where you have to talk to people you don’t know or taking a drama class. My shy friends took a few months to completely change the way they speak with others now – they are still introverted but have no issue with approaching strangers or initiating conversations or requests. I could see a massive difference in them. Important that you don’t mind the product or company too. Or in the case of drama, if you hate arty farty intellectuals you might be better off with a comedy improv workshop.

  135. Mark

    I want to become an inventor and an entrepreneur. I love creating things, even a dream job doesn’t ring as well to me as being my own boss and bringing my own projects to life. (wow i’m so excited i might sprint a mile! no, three miles while yelling LET’S DO THIS!!!)

    The skeptics, oh how there so many!!! And they have so many voices!!!

    – Its too risky/difficult
    – you don’t have the money
    -you should finish school
    -the market is already saturated for that idea
    -the market is too small for that
    -you don’t have enough experience
    -the business community isn’t good enough in your town (Albuquerque, NM)

    It’s a good thing I’ve been obedient to my surrogate Asian father, Ramit, because i have responses to all of them!

    – not trying is more risky than not trying
    -others have done it, i can do it
    -the skills and psychology needed to “make it” aren’t inherited, they are learned
    -the money is out there, there are plenty of ways to finance things
    -i don’t need millions to get started
    -school….? where i’m going i don’t need… school
    – school is just delaying what i’m gonna have to after school anyways
    – school doesn’t even teach me how to do business (i’m an mba student)
    – why not just spend the 25K on a business instead of school?
    – if people are already doing the business/product that i want to do that just means its sell-able and validated
    – i can do it better than they can
    – i can find my own little niche
    – we don’t know if the market is too small, we shall TEST to find out
    – a small market doesn’t mean profit is not possible
    – i can learn from people who do have the experience
    – i can go for it and be ready to fail, that’s experience that gets me closer to success
    – i might not have the experience yet but i certainty have the ambition!
    – Albuquerque is a thriving business community, a secret glittering gem in the desert! Besides, the world is globalized. i could make money from a kayak on the north pole as long as i have internet access!!!

    Thanks for all the heart and sweat you put into your material Ramit! I can’t to buy you a latte!

    • Mark

      “not trying is more risky than trying” is what my first response was supposed to say

  136. Deborah

    If I tell my significant other that I am not eating gluten: “just have some toast. Or, do you want a beer?”

    If I say that I am spending this week on my business and have a list of tasks -” take a break. You don’t need to work so hard.” Or, even better, “do you want to go for a walk/drink/shopping?”

  137. Richard

    Today I outsourced the programming of a lot of sales automations that earned me $12,000. Really simple stuff I had been putting off for no good reason.

    I’ve been outsourcing everything lately and seeing big returns. Tons of naysayers regarding this – but the proof is in the pudding.

  138. Jean-Michel

    My family is skeptical about my “non work” projects. Why do I do them? Will I ever make money from them?

    Who knows? I am not sure that I ever will; but I enjoy them. I enjoy writing a book with a friend on surfing and Buddhism. I enjoy(ed) running an online clothing store (which never made any money), and I enjoy building a company on the side around capoeira.

    What is like to do this year, is take these side projects to the next level. Publish the book, and complete and launch the capoeira business.

  139. Aron

    Today, my professor, lecturing to a bunch of 4th year students with significant student loans and are who already anxious as it is says, “If you are in this profession to make a lot of money, you’re in the wrong profession!”

    I almost choked on the apple I was eating!

    I’m in my 4th year in medical school with an emphasis on natural medicine (big emphasis on diet, exercise, prevention), and I’ve been through Earn1K and Dream Job and have since been cranking away making connections with a lot of docs who are passionate about their work and are also successful. I’ve even been offered work at a doc’s medical iPhone app startup in San Francisco if I need work after graduation!

    Over the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to spend more time around other positive, ambitious people, and it’s made a huge difference in my own motivation to develop myself into a top performer.

    Once I started going to the weekend business classes, meeting with friends who had similar ambition, and not being afraid to talk about my own ambitions, I started gravitating towards more ambitious people and they have started to gravitate toward me.

  140. Mary Catherine

    Awesome and inspiring / thanks for encouraging and modeling – BIG thinking!

  141. Marsha

    O Surrogate Asian Father, I am IN.

    I have great motivation and then get lost in “busyness” (yes, in quotes). Then I feel like a loser, and berate myself.

    I need to start reminding myself that resistance is human – and that I have the CHOICE to overcome it and make some space for making progress.

  142. Hollie2

    I started my own business so that I can eventually leave my employment and have more flexible time to raise my children.

    As I am now doing both, my time with my children is less and it takes a lot of self talk to remind myself why I am doing this but also in the society I am in it’s almost a sin if you choose to work over being a homemaker. I feel like I have to come up with reasons why I have to work rather than being ok with working because I want more in my life.

  143. Liviu

    Last year, I left my comfortable yet increasingly-stagnant position as an academic and began freelancing and pursuing my passions of art and writing. I started in hard and fast, supporting myself through programming and design work while reading and learning from the best. I tried writing “seriously” for the first time, and submitted my work as an application for the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. I also joined an advanced course on visual arts, and pushed my skills to the level of winning first prize in a competition for scientific-themed art.

    Halfway through the year, however, I transitioned back to full time work: the time commitment of freelancing, if I wanted to make anywhere near the money I was used to earning, was much too high to fully engage with writing and art the way I would’ve liked… the time-to-money ratio was too low compared to full-time work, even given the massive increase in flexibility.

    Moreover, I found that I was taking on more jobs just as a confidence measure: constantly tackling so many things I wasn’t good at was making me feel stupid and useless, and I actually found I needed the confidence boost of doing something I’d already mastered in order to motivate me to get back to work on the stuff that I hadn’t. I would get more good writing and art done on days where I spent most of the day working to pay the bills, than on days where I was completely free.

    Now I’m a researcher again, in industry, and I’m very happy with the position… but my progress at improving myself is relatively glacial – though my consistency and motivation are much improved. I practice my writing and read/listen to materials on writing during my commute, about 30 mins of writing and 30 of study per day. I get some art done in a big burst every week, wherever I can find an uninterrupted block of at least three hours, as well as taking six hours of lessons every Saturday.

    I guess there is no perfect balance, and some would consider this pretty ideal, but at this rate I feel as if I’ll be retired before I’ve mastered either writing or art. I’m falling behind, and I want to do better.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve got for us this year, Ramit.

  144. Simone

    My critics would say… “you should stay in your job for as long as you can”
    “how could you possibly make as much money in a side business as you do at your job” “why would you want the uncertainty in your life”

    I would say I have a different idea and goals for my life and I’m not going to let societal norms or pressures dictate my life.

  145. michele c.

    My Critics say, “Why are you doing that?” Do you actually think you are going to make a lot of money doing it? Why do you want to be an entrepreneur in this economy? You’re going to fail.”

    I say, “I’m willing to test myself and see if I can do this. If I fail I can get another job, even though I am older than most who enter the job market. I don’t want to deal with “If I shoulda, woulda, coulda done X, Y and Z, then….” Besides, if I don’t do it now, I’ll be dead before I get another chance. Besides, the MD’s say I can’t go back to the job I loved. It’s time I do something else. I may as well work doing something I WANT and LIKE doing…then it won’t be a job. It will be waking up to fun.

  146. Michael

    Everyone in my life is supportive of me but myself. I am really good at making to-do lists but terrible at executing them. I’ve always had a problem finishing projects no matter how small (putting away clothes) or big (getting six-pack abs). I’ve gotten to the point where I know I’m probably not going to finish something so I’m less motivated to try new things. Need to find a way to fix this because I know I have more potential than I’m showing

  147. Jason

    Hey Ramit, thx. I have been putting your stuff TO WORK( No, not just “thinking” about it lol!) and it works. I also wanted to pass along a valuable resource( not scam or spam) for those who REALLY want to get serious about implementing this stuff. Put your goals into ACTION!

  148. Josh

    My Big Win is to start and grow a business.
    – My grandparents would say “just stick to your job and be happy you have such a good one. Save and dono’t spend anything. Ever.” My answer would be that times are different from when they were younger, but I generally would worry them until I was successful.
    – My parents would say “just stick with your job and don’t make us disappointed in you. All that study to throw it away? And whatever you do, don’t tell your grandparents!” My answer would be that I don’t plan to give up my career until I’m satisfied that my lifestyle won’t be taking a hit.
    My girlfriend would say “I can’t believe you’re being sucked in by some dude online. You’re smart enough to do this by yourself.” My answer would be that seeing as I haven’t done it yet and have been wanting to for years, that I need help and accountability and I trust this guy. Also I’d tell her she looks pretty.
    I would say “I’ll probably make a start and give up again or get side tracked. Is this just more “keeping busy” instead of actually taking action?” This is just self-sabotage. I’d tell me where to go.

  149. Erinina Marie Ness

    Thank you for this post and being the unapologetic, optomistic leader you are. I’ve followed off and on for a few years. But this post made me fall in love. Cheers.

  150. jon

    Everytime I think a plan or goal to go for I am my own worst enemy by saying, :silly you, you dont want to really do that, you wont like it, you’ll get tired of it and then you wasted all that time”.

    So I do nothing…

  151. stacey

    Well, people are going to say: it’s unrealistic, it can’t be done, there is something wrong with me, my parents will say they don’t know what they did wrong with me. When I announce my boyfriend of another race it will be another disappointment and embarrassment even if they get over it and see he is a nice person. If I move country, I will be told it will be like putting myself at risk on purpose and shortening my life. When I start my business, people will say I have no clue. When I publish a book, the ones who have masters in literature will say it is mainstream crap of no merit. Also, the ones who think I am a receptionist because I am not in finance or something they understand will say I have no qualifications. I am used to this now and keep to myself a lot however there is a network of people I can reach out to.

    • stacey

      Oops be specific in handling skepticism:
      1. I have to get boyfriend to meet parents and present him as conservative, nice and similarly human to them and as career minded and a good prospect for me. I want this to happen by Easter.
      2. I will initially look for jobs abroad with a company or org. that is international so my family will have a point of reference there and feel a little more secure in my choise.
      3. I will not tell my friends about my book. I will keep it to my online writers group which is more supportive than my in person writers group. My friends aren’t the target audience anyway.
      4. I won’t tell anyone about my freelance business or Earn 1k, just the boyfriend who is encouraging. In fact, I will just trial my own contacts, or new approaches.
      5. My career seems to be going nowhere so I will create specific projects to complete for a portfolio to actually get a body of work together, see if I enjoy it enough to do as a job, and put something out there for market to give feedback. Additionally, I aim to upgrade my skills further by undertaking a diploma or masters but in the second half of the year after I have my folio updated.
      6. My friends who are all hipsters and think owning property is a sell=out suburban mainstream fat thing to do – I will just worry about doing it myself and not talk to them about it. I have a few encouraging contacts and will do my research thoroughly.
      7. I aim to keep up swimming at lunch time or in the mornings as the exercise and breathing change seems to cancel any prior negativity or stress, or at least significantly reduce it. Also whilst swimming, I can practice my thought modifications.
      8. I will go back to morning pages where I can write out the crap in my head and restructure it. Especially for this tight money few months. Complete awareness of intention for the day really helps me stay focused.
      9. I will have a tick list of fruit and veg as I know eating crap makes my mind in a darker place and I stay clearer headed and sharp on the health stuff.
      10. I need to move out and away from the city I am in. The environment is not gelling with me and most people here think I am very old to be unmarried, not a high flyer or home owner etc… and most of my interests are not things on their radar at all. (Writing a book – must be a girl thing, I think I read one back in school – from colleague). My plan is to sell half my stuff by end of February, get money by this date too and apply for jobs in another area. (search jobs every second day for 15 mins).

  152. Joshua B

    Member of E1K and Finisher’s Formula.

    I want to make more money to put back into self-development (Success Triggers and a monthly of RBT to start) and to invest in freeing up time (getting a housecleaner and laundry service) and to take my wife out on more dates. I’m deadly afraid of not finishing, but I’m working on this script (“I can try breaking this down and seeing this as an experiment). Next step is making this measurable and actionable.

    And eventually want to move to a job where I can work at home to take advantage of my late-night productivity.

  153. Madeline

    I’m a single mom with three kids and a very loving family. Every time I try and think of ways to increase income (side job? better job? go back to school?) or I try and start working out, I get the same reaction: But you already have so much on your plate, so many responsibilities, how on earth can you possibly take on more? And to be brutally honest, this is also what I have internalized and tell myself. I have NO idea how to handle this because I do very much feel overwhelmed already and am fearful of taking on even more…

  154. João

    The one area people would be my eating habits. I am not fat but I’m not lean either, so I’d rather take care of this now before I tip the scales any further. However, my family and even myself doubt I can do this.

  155. authentic Pistons jersey

    Direct wholesale Nuggets cheap jerseys with Paypal

  156. wholesale 76ers jerseys

    Bills jerseys china With Direct
    wholesale 76ers jerseys

  157. pool vacuum cleaner reviews

    Everything is very open with a really clear description of the issues.
    It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!