Look at this cute text message from my mom

Ramit Sethi

She sent this to me a few weeks ago:




For an Indian kid, this is basically the equivalent of arriving in heaven.

My parents taught me so many weird, valuable lessons about life. They didn’t go to any parenting school or read any parenting books. They were new to the USA and they just did the best they knew how.

A lot of what they taught me is different than this new-age style of parenting, which makes me want to vomit.

For example, I remember one night — probably around second grade — when we were driving home from some family event. My parents had put me in karate and that night was my yellow-belt test. Like any little kid on a long drive, I fell asleep in the backseat, so when they drove me to the dojo and woke me up, I was super irritable.

Stupid Ramit: “Waa, I don’t want to go inside! Let’s just go home…I’ll do it next time!!”

New-age parenting: “OK, ok…I would never want to oppress your choices. Can I get you a cookie? Do you want a taco? Anything you want!! Just don’t cry!! Here’s my shirt!! I would never make you do anything you don’t want to do (even though you’re a second-grader who doesn’t know anything). Please don’t call CPS on me!!”

Indian Mom: “Ok, beta (affectionate term for kids in Punjabi). You don’t have to do the test. Just go inside and say hi to your sensei. If you want to leave after that, we’ll leave.”


Of course, once I went inside and saw my sensei, I lit up and took the test.

My mom knew damn well what would happen. Somehow, intuitively, she recognized that we’re inherently lazy and want to do as little as possible. But with a little push, we can accomplish big things.

Looking back, I’m thankful she pushed me to do more than I wanted to do at the moment. The next day, little Ramit was so happy with his new yellow belt.

That’s a lesson my parents showed me over and over again — the lesson of sticking to something, even when I didn’t want to at first.

Imagine what would have happened if they’d let me just go home and skip the test because of how I felt. Maybe I wouldn’t have remembered that one example.

But imagine if the next time I didn’t want to do something, I just shrugged and said, “I’ll do it later.” And then I repeated that over and over…into 6th grade, then high school, then college and real life.

The idea of not following through would have become the new normal. Like a muscle that’s never been built, I wouldn’t even know how to start something and follow through on it.

Working out. Starting a business. Managing my finances. Just getting so overwhelmed with the options, that I’d sit back down on my couch and give myself the ultimate label: “Ugh…I’m so lazy.”

I’m lucky that my parents pushed me to do things, even when I didn’t want to. It wasn’t even about becoming the tee-ball champion or karate master. I sucked at art class.

But I built the skill of following through.

If you’ve ever told yourself you’re lazy, or you start things (but don’t finish)…I can help.

If you’re interested in conquering laziness and picking a few things you want to do — then relentlessly following through, time after time — I’m teaching a free mini-class this Wednesday evening.

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