Ramit’s Therapy Sessions

Ramit Sethi

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

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

In actuality, I got questions like this:

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

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


That’s right, people.

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

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

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

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

Submit your questions by commenting below.  

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  1. Masha

    Hello Ramit!

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

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

    Feeling unsupported.



    • Andrew Williams

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

    • Andrea

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

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

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

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

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

    • Masha

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

      Thank you!

  2. Paul

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

    • Jazzman

      +1 for this one.

    • Ivan Kreimer

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

    • Leah

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

    • Brian

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

  3. tinornit

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

    • Thomas

      Click here to see if you require a Canadian work permit:

    • Ramit Sethi

      Wow. We actually had a Q&A in the comments that didn’t erupt in name-calling, crying, or feigned indignity. And the question was actually answered with substance. Has hell frozen over?

    • vikki

      Yes, Ramit. Hell, Michigan is definitely frozen over now.

  4. Samuel

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

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

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

  5. Joseph

    Hey Ramit,

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

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

    • Ramit Sethi

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

    • Neville

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

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

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

      Thanks Ramit.

    • Ramit's Ego

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

  6. Patrick

    Hi Ramit!

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

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

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

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

    What’s up with that?

    • Ramit Sethi

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

    • Andreas

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

      Good luck!

    • Sylvia

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

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

    • Lindsey

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

    • Patrick

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

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

  7. Kendel

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

    Also, how do *you* remember names?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Even if I gave you the most magical script, do you think they would listen?

  8. Bobby

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

    • Ramit Sethi

      What? Pick some people who will give you good recommendation letters, ask them if they’d write a good one, and get them.

  9. John

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

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

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

    Any advice?

    • Angie

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

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

    • Jeff

      Hi John,.

      I can think of 3 options here:

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

      Hope this helps



    • John

      Angie & Jeff,

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

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

      Thanks for your help.

  10. Veronica

    Hi Ramit,

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


    • Nina

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

    • Cristi


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

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

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

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

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

    • cam

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

  11. Rebecca

    Hey Ramit,

    I’m having a hard time figuring out what it is that I want to pursue work-wise, and I’ve been like this for a long time (I’m in my early 30s). I’ve had good, fulfilling, full-time jobs, but I seem to be in a constant state of evaluation: “Is this the right fit? What would I rather be doing? What would be more fulfilling? what else can I offer?” etc. I have never committed to a job for more than 1 year at a time, knowing that it gives me an easy out just in case I think of something better. At the moment I am piecing together part-time and freelance work. I know that I have the patience, organization, and motivation to do something great and to do it well, but I get stuck when I have to decide what that thing should be. It’s not that I don’t think I have any valuable skills or talents to offer, it’s just that I get stuck in a perpetual state of never taking any of these skills/talents further.

    Am I just lazy? How do I change this?

    Your emails bring a smile to my face. Thanks.

    • another Rebecca

      Hear, hear. I hope you choose this q Ramit.

    • Ramit Sethi

      I’ve already covered this in Earn1K (freelancing) and Dream Job (9-5) jobs in exhaustive detail. If this is truly your biggest challenge, and I have the answer available in the course, why not join?

    • Emily

      I believe Ramit is right. He can say “well duh,” and that answer would be welcomed in my book. The best investment we can make is in ourselves. Sometimes things cost money upfront, but if you are willing to invest then it can save you a lot of money in the long run. Imagine if you and I (ha, I need to speak this to myself and not you) sit and keep trying to decide (which is actually what I do) and keep making what we currently make. Nothing changes. Now imagine if we invest in ourselves, and then we start earning more. If we do not take action, think of all of the money that could have potentially been made within one year. That money has been lost since we did not take action. Did I explain that well…. Ramit explains it better than me.

  12. Clarita

    How do I give money advice to my parents? It is very tough. I have recently been making a lot of effort to get financially enlightened and this is making me notice how much more my parents would have achieved till now. I want to help them make better investment choices but they don’t take anything I say seriously and they say they are doing fine.. They could do so much better.

  13. Jonathan

    How can I avoid coming across as an arrogant, know-it-all jerk?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Can you be more specific? What exactly is making you think you’re coming across like this?

    • Megan C.

      Gretchen Rubin has some great suggestions:

    • Janir

      Here’s another from Gretchen Rubin – perfect title for you:

  14. Q-iwt

    What, if any, are your personal techniques or spiritual practices for quieting the mind?

  15. Joshua A.

    I’m 25 turning 26 and have begun thinking about the legacy I want to build and share with my family. Should I wait till I get older? How does one build their legacy?

    • cam

      Don’t ‘wait till you get older’ for anything other than hemorrhoids and dentures. Take small, daily actions that are in alignment with what you want to be remembered for.

  16. Alex

    Hey Ramit,

    So I just landed my first professional job as an IT consultant. Your tips and interview strategies helped me DESTROY my competition during the process, so big thanks for that. So here I am, a little under-qualified in a new industry. I don’t have doubts about myself, it’s just I don’t know really where to start when it comes to my personal/professional development.

    My question:
    I am lost and I can’t focus. I don’t even know where to start, as I don’t have an assigned trainer. I have plenty of resources, but really I don’t know what questions to ask. How would you suggest I get over this hump in this terrifying new industry?


  17. Mike

    Hi Ramit,

    I thought this might have been covered in your previous post on jealousy, but that seemed to be geared more toward jealousy relating to success. I tend to have an issue with self confidence, which manifests itself as jealousy in romantic relationships. I know that it’s irrational; I have charisma, good looks, good education, a good paying career, great family, friends, and plenty of success. I should really be a cocky asshole, and after reading that last sentence you might think I am. But I’m not. I look around me and see people with half of what I have to offer who are twice as confident. I’ve actually been told that I should have more “swagger.” I hate that word. Ultimately I know that I should have more confidence, and I need to figure out where that comes from.



    • cam

      Confidence comes from recognising you actually have positive qualities to contribute and letting go of self criticism. Most people feel deep down they’re not ‘good enough’ in some way or another, so don’t worry, you’re not alone. Mentally start noting when you do something cool or nice. Make that a larger part of your inner dialogue and you’ll start to feel less insecure. As for jealousy around women, you can never control how someone else feels or what they do – you have to make peace with that or you’ll be a controlling a’hole who’ll never hang on to a girl. When you have a full, satisfying life, it will be less of a blow if someone leaves you and you know what, it could happen, but it won’t kill you. You’ll just be pissed for a while and have a legitimate reason to listen to shitty heartbreak songs, drink too much and stop taking care of your personal hygiene for a couple of weeks. Eventually you’ll get over it and find someone better. Jealousy is only a problem when people think they won’t be able to bounce back if someone left them. You will. Don’t worry.

  18. Chris

    Hi Ramit:

    When tackling a daunting project, is it more important to focus on small accomplishments or the over-arching goal?

    While at first this one seems kind of obvious, I find that if I have a lot of missteps or failures early on, no matter how amazing the big win at the end is I’m too demoralized to continue. It seems like I’m just spinning my wheels rather than working towards something greater. On the flip side, while working on little wins helps keep me motivated, it can often times distract from the greater purpose that had me tackling a project to begin with.

    I’m struggling to find a methodology that will keep me motivated enough to build the discipline I need to succeed.

    Thanks for the help.

  19. Andrew Williams

    Here’s one that’s baffled me for a long time. What is Twitter for? I even have an account set up, but I’ve yet to discover any especially practical use for it. Can it be used to market yourself, or will you only ever usually reach those people already following you?

    • Kelly

      My opinion on Twitter, as a long time user who began using it when I worked in journalism, has had private and open accounts and now uses it for my own businesses:

      Twitter is for connecting with those who have similar interests – following hashtags or searching for topics is like eavesdropping at a party and has garnered some great business contacts for me. It can be used to share projects or your own work, but you are likely to find more success when you share the work of others that you curate to your own interests and likes, and results in reciprocity more often. It’s great for catching trends, keeping abreast of great news articles and information (I use it quite often as a way to keep in touch with local news in a few different cities I visit often) and asking quick, casual questions of someone you may not necessarily be on the level of email or coffee with, yet. But it’s a great way to get there!

      People who only use it as a tool to shout about and market their work, their projects tend to be the driest, most boring users, I find. Also a good ratio you often see is 20% personal, 80% business related if you are using it for work reasons. It’s both casual, personal and businesslike.

      Overzealous use of hashtags, RTing and DMing to get attention and autoposting to links of Facebook posts of blog posts are the quickest ways to get find yourself getting unfollowed, at least by me. The culture of retweeting has really come into its own and helps others find content and users who are interesting and helpful. It’s a nice way to send a subtle head nod to someone you admire, or whose work you enjoy, even if you have never met them in person or exchanged a single email.

      The most important thing I think to know is that Twitter isn’t as much about broadcasting, it’s about listening and sharing. After all, you wouldn’t run through a party yelling HEY EVERYONE I JUST POSTED ON MY BLOG instead of engaging in conversation about your interests and hobbies while learning about others, would you?

    • another Rebecca

      Thanks Andrew for asking and Kelly for the very helpful answer. I am going to be doing some social media work for a client… just copied out Kelly’s response for reference.

    • Ramit Sethi

      In my experience, it’s for satiating my enormous ego

  20. Ryan Hanchett


    I have a question that has sent me on a lot of soul searching. I am not usually someone who is self-conscious and most of the time am a very happy guy. But every once in a while it seems that my mind starts working against me and I sent myself into short periods of paranoia and stress. These normally have nothing to do with events in my life and seemingly come around randomly.

    It seems that at times, my own mind turns against me and I start thinking absurd paranoid thoughts for a while. This always seems to hinder my social abilities for however long my episode is and makes working and socializing harder. Do you have any tips for working through stints where your own imagination and mind turn against you?

    Thanks for your time,

    Ryan Hanchett

    • CAM

      When you start having your ‘episodes’, I bet your thoughts are very specific – by that I mean, I bet you’re obsessing over a very specific piece of information that’s bothering you. It helps to slow the momentum of obsessive thoughts by switching from specific to general. So for example, say I’m a paranoid bitch who is worried my co-worker is undermining me at work – (insert own mental and irrational rant here). Ok, then when you start to feel the panic of these thoughts gaining momentum, tell yourself – Whoa! Go General! and find something true and believable about the same topic that is general in nature and moves you to a slightly more positive mental state – e.g. “Well, look – I still HAVE my job, don’t I. Even if she really IS trying to undermine me, I’m still here. And I enjoy my role, most days. The company has got some good management and direction and I can see that the future will most likely present some good opportunities for me here…” And then you slow down at that point and just dwell on that last, general positive statement. So see how you go from ‘specifically negative’ to thoughts that were progressively more general and positive about your present situation? I’ve successfully coached people with depression and anxiety/panic disorders to use this technique and it really does help. Don’t be afraid of your mind. You CAN get control of it. It just takes a bit of effort to start thinking in new ways.

  21. Andrea

    I do a pretty good job at what I do. If the delivery is at time T, I work diligently, smartly, carefully. At time T-1 the product is really good for being still unfinished.

    The problem is: I loose it at T-1. I cannot properly finish it, adding the last touch, finalizing the details that will make the product really perfect. This has nothing to do with time constraints (in my job, most of the deadlines are very flexible). Rather, I freak out at the moment of polishing. I become anxious, and inevitably I deliver something that is often perceived less good than its true quality.

    Thanks a lot for your advice!

    • Raluca

      Sounds familiar. I suggest you look for a partner to team up with, the “I love wrapping up and tying the bow” kind. In other words, your energized up to T-1 and need extra help at T.
      Hope this helps!

  22. Suz

    After working at my job for 14 years, how do I get the enthusiasm back for the job? I have more responsibility and more work now than ever, so I need some motivation. I used to love waking up knowing I got to go to work..

  23. Viral

    Hey Ramit,

    What advice do you have for students looking for programming/engineering internships without having any/little experience? I’ve seen your resume webinar and I’ll definitely follow the advice there, but do you have anything for the job search itself?


    • Ceili

      I’m not Ramit, but I can help — do you have an account on stackoverflow? Yes? Good. Actively participate in their community. It will basically give you free experience. You will network with other developers, hone your skills, and build yourself an impressive portfolio. Done? Good. Next step is to pimp that portfolio. Go to developer meetups in your area, be friendly and sociable and open about wanting an internship. Be proud of your open source contributions. Then, young grasshopper, your internship will find you.

  24. Christian Cox

    Why is it that I know what needs to be done for my business to grow yet I find someway not to do it? Am I just really this big of a procrastinator or is there some invisible script keeping me from wanting to move forward?

    • Christian Cox

      I also would like to know the answer to Ryan Hanchett’s question as well because I struggle with those same thoughts myself sometimes.

  25. Janir Thorndike

    Ramit – At this stage of your life, do you ever feel overwhelmed by anything? Do you ever feel like crying and/or raging at things? If so, how do you deal with it?

    • paulina

      i agree with this… i have some things that excite me in my life and others that drain me, but everything leads me to a state of overwhelm which makes it hard to get anything done, productively.

  26. John

    I talk to much. I think it’s because I’m afraid of being misunderstood even for a moment. How do I get comfortable with being misunderstood, misjudged, and disliked?

    • Andrea M

      “Life is like a box of chocolates..” NO, no, I’m not going to go there, sorry.

      John, it seems that you’re just living in fear and when you operate your entire life from that locus of ‘non-control’ you will destroy every facet of your life.

      None of us can like everyone, nor can we be liked by everyone, but why is your litmus test ‘everyone’? Why care? Care about the important people as to whether you are liked or not. Now being *likable*, that is an entire other concept. *That* is something that you might definitely want to focus on if you want to go into a more public sector job or have your own business where public perception of you as a professional counts for a lot. It literally means business.

      If you feel constantly misunderstood and misjudged by others, perhaps it’s time to take a real step back and see how often that really occurs. If it truly is very often then maybe it’s time to flip the phone onto yourself and record some responses, questions and quasi conversations you would have in real life and test how YOU are communicating. Maybe (and I say maybe here) there is some sort of gap in your communication trail that you need to hone and refine and improve upon.

      Check it out and good luck and for the rest of your life- someone, somewhere is not going to like you, not going to get you and not going to be on board with the train called John, so just accept. Accept and forget about being comfortable in it. Discomfort or comfort is not always the true test of success.

    • John

      Thanks for the thoughts Andrea.

      Mostly, I need to feel undeterred by my fear of people not wanting to get on the John train. I’m a high-performing sales rep who just landed a sort of dreamy startup role in a super cool company, and this is pretty much the story in most other branches of my life. Lots of success, lots of people jumping on the John train.

      But I’m aware of the fact that in my new role it’s more important than ever to be listening more carefully to the market, because I’m the principle eyes and ears for my new team as head of business development. My fear of not winning people over is, I think, causing me to cut off opportunity for greater learning about the market and the customer.

      Those who know me would say I listen much better than any sales rep they’ve ever dealt with. Seriously. But I know how often I’m listening only for my own purposes, and I think that in this next phase of business I need to kick the sincerity up a notch — not for my customers but for me. I need to be more open and fearless, especially of things like silence and unwieldy conversations.

      I’m so good at controlling conversations that I wonder sometimes what I might miss one day. So far I’ve surely missed a lot but I’ve done well.

      But I know I miss quite a bit at home. So I must be missing things at work too.

    • cam

      Hey John, do YOU understand and like everyone you meet? What if everyone you met insisted that you truly, deeply understood them. You’d be like – “wtf?! why are you being so needy? – can I get on with my life please?!” The harsh fact of life is, most people are too busy being wrapped up in their own little lives, that they don’t have a spare moment or an ounce of inclination to attempt to understand someone else, so I think you’re pursuing a hopeless dream. Know and understand yourself. And how to be ok with being misunderstood? Recognise that most people feel like no-one understands them – even some people in long term committed relationships – their biggest grip is: ‘my partner doesn’t really understand me!’. It’s just par for the course. Welcome to planet earth! Not everyone likes everyone else and no one really truly feels understood.

  27. Steve W.

    Thanks for helping all of us with our fears, Ramit! Here’s a big hurdle that I haven’t been able to clear…

    I took the leap about two years ago and now run my own design business full-time. My company is in a very niche business, and it seems like there are 2-3 companies that have a stronghold on this market.

    How do I get over my fear that I will never be able to “break through?” It seems like they are doing everything right and I am the proverbial “little guy” that has very little to offer potential clients.

    Thanks again! I greatly appreciate any advice.

  28. Roberta


    How do you overcome inertia? I have a “good” job — part-time, six-figure salary, great benefits — but it is stifling, and I hate it. Plot twist: I am a 47-year-old married woman with a young daughter, so changing my livelihood affects more than just me. I have lots of skills and creativity, and I’m used to working hard… but nothing *excites* me enough to get me moving to resign and start my own thing. How do you choose the thing that motivates you, and then light a fire under your own ass? (PS: Corporate jobs seem specifically designed to sap every drop of motivation from your soul, and I’m pretty sure staying in that environment is contributing to my inertia, which makes me stay longer… etc.)

    • Michelle

      Roberta, how did our comments end up right next to each other? You sound like my mirror image, same plight

  29. Michell


    Why can’t I seem to figure out in my own head what I want to do with my life? I have dozens of interests, can figure out how to do anything if I set my mind to it, but have no idea what to do with my “career”. Instead of finishing college, I got married. (Probably first mistake) My husband of almost 12 years is great, he’s a pastor, looking for full, instead of part time, employment. We now have two boys, 3 & 5. I am 33 and work as a fee accountant. Which while I was still learning, (I’m trained in B&W darkroom and have 3 years of marine bio under my belt)was challenging enough to keep me busy.

    Now I’m bored, have a husband with limited job opportunities, two kids, we live near their grandparents. Why would we ever leave right? I’m looking for something to take get me excited, challenged and I’m just not finding it. I have no idea how one is supposed to re-invent themselves when life didn’t turn out the way you thought it would.


  30. Scott

    Therapy session…What do you feel the best way is to break through the mental barriers that we put on ourselves to becoming rich/wealthy/successful? I have read a lot recently on the “inner game” of success but haven’t found any real answers. Just things that don’t seem to work like affirmations. How can we get past the limiting beliefs we have about success and money?

  31. Austin M

    I have a lot of small side projects and even more ideas but not that one big thing. I don’t feel I’m spread out as I have free time but something is still missing.

    Why is it so hard to move a small project to a larger scale or find one that will fund everything?

  32. Jazzman

    Therapy, great idea!

    I have a boyfriend for 3,5 years and I am deeply in love with another guy.
    The fact that I can’t think of anything else the whole day keeps me from doing things, because I can’t concentrate for more than 5 minutes on ANY task.

    What should I do?

    My options:

    a) Stay with my boyfriend, loose contact with guy#2
    1) Feel bad, because guy#2 could have been “the one”
    2) Feel bad, because I’m ready to get serious and my boyfriend is not
    b) Break up, try it with guy#2
    1) Get rejected, feel like an asshole, be alone forever
    2) It works and I partly feel bad, because I left a perfectly good boyfriend for a new one

    Do you regret offering therapy? 😉

    • dj

      Johnny Depp had great advice on this one:

      “if you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.”

    • Richard

      Be honest with yourself. Why do you stay with your boyfriend? Why do you love the other guy? If you’re with your boyfriend out of obligation but the other guy makes you feel more fulfilled then the answer if obvious. But if you get more satisfaction from your current relationship and you’re just excited by the other guy because you want to try something different, then don’t waste what you have. Maybe you only think about him because you can’t do anything.

    • Andrea M

      Sorry, these are all too good not to chime in.

      I agree very much with DJ about the Johnny Depp thing, but at the same time, you’ve really whipped yourself up into a scenario frenzy where you think you know all the outcomes that have to do with you and two other people.

      What do the two other people really think of all this?

      Also, I am not sure how you can give up everything to “try” it with guy #2 when you say you’re so in love. Is guy #2 so in love? Maybe then, take the leap. Until you confirm that #2 feels the same about you- what is there to leap for?

      But whether or not #2 comes into play, if #1 doesn’t know any of this is going on and this is not a consentual, open relationship where you can date/have relationships with others, then the thing with #1 probably needs to end. It sounds like you’re in a quandary where your feelings need to be explored not because they are related to person #1, 2, 3 or 4…because they are feelings that you would probably have no matter who was in or out of the picture.

      Also, the “be alone forever” line. Come on- really? Always, forever, never- such silly phrases for anyone wanting something real in life. You need to get to the root of all this and figure out just what is really going on with YOU. Yes, good ole you. It’s all about you on this one, not #1 or #2.

      What got you so disinterested in #1 to be so infatuated with #2? Something is going on or missing or something is up inside of you that you’re not admitting. Check it out.

    • Jazzman

      Andrea M,

      thank you, very valuable input. That makes me rethink the situation from a whole other angle.
      Also thank you, DJ and Richard.

      – And, the “alone forever” thing: Humor. 😉 I don’t feel that. It would just fit perfectly into this mindset of a 16-year-old, that I acquired recently…

    • Chris

      If you really are in love with both your boyfriend and this other guy, then you may want to consider broaching the subject of an open/poly relationship with your boyfriend. I can recommend Tristan Taormino’s book “Opening Up”, or check out Maria Baczynski’s website for resources to help you figure this out. Best of luck!

  33. Lauren

    I know I have a fear of succeeding, but I can’t figure out why. I know I’m intelligent, capable, and probably very able to succeed at my dreams, but instead of starting them, I always seem to find something else to do, usually very unproductive things to do. Why do you think that is?

    • Amy

      I feel the same way. It is also coupled with a fear of a failure to launch for me.

    • Sabrina

      Ditto…Fear of Success has always been my biggest set back. I have always been told I have so much potential and talent, and I do have a good job, and a great life. But at the same time I know I can do so much more with my time, and if I even put in just a little more effort I could achieve so much success but I always end up stalling or wasting time doing too many things at once and never really doing anything at all. Help…

    • cam

      Could be a number of things: what kind of things do you associate with ‘success’? – e.g. some people say they don’t want to lose their life to their business (e.g. if I was a success, I’d have no time for family time/friends/relationships as earning X amount of money would consume all my time). You might feel that you’d have no one to relate to if you were a raging success – e.g. how would you fit in with your family/friends – would anything change? would ppl be jealous? Or, if you have a deep seated belief that you’re not good enough, you could be stalling because you worry that once you’re a success and in the limelight, you could be criticised/don’t want to be scrutinised and be found lacking in some way. Getting together with people who are on a similar trajectory as you might help – so long as the group is led by someone who will help you get results and hold you accountable. Getting started is the hardest part – even those first small steps (so make the first steps you take basically miniscule so that you can see some progress) – don’t try to figure out the whole thing out at once, just take one tiny step towards whatever it is you want. Literally just take one in the next 24 hrs. And then take another. Rather than telling yourself that you’re taking these steps because you’re trying to ‘get to success’ (whatever that is), tell yourself you’re taking them for YOU – because you deserve to feel better about yourself. You deserve to invest time and effort in yourself. And you deserve to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and not let old negative, self defeating procrastination tendencies ruin your life. Take the steps because it’ll make you feel good just to get started.

  34. Christina

    My sister is a pathological liar and cokehead that has ruined my grandfather financially after not making payments on student loans that he had cosigned on. She recently received a settlement from a car accident (approximately $50,000) and told my grandfather that she had completely paid off all the loans. Two months later, my he’s getting hounded by debt collectors again, and my sister says she “didn’t realize” she had more loans.
    There have been a multitude of other problems in years past, but this last stunt has sent the rest of the family over the edge. She takes no responsibility for what she has done and has now burned through all of her settlement.
    So…LONG story short, family is number one for me. I love my sister, but she is a total, delusional moron. Do I cut her out of my life and my son’s (tell her why I’m doing so) and just wait until she hits rock bottom? Or should I just listen to her bullshit every so often when she feels like calling and pretend like nothing is wrong?

    • cam

      Just because she’s blood doesn’t mean she can treat you like shit. She would be cut out of our family until she got her act together. If that happens to be never, she’s made her bed and will need to lie in it. If family is as important to her as it is to you, she won’t want to be cut off and will do something about it. If it’s not that important to her, you’ve saved yourself the heartache of more stressful episodes.

  35. Andrea

    I’ve tried a lot of tactics for figuring out what type of business is right for me, but it’s still eluding me. I just can’t come up with an idea that I’m really passionate about pursuing as a business. I really want to get starting, but I can’t get over this roadblock. What is holding me back from taking this important decision making step???

    • Ramit Sethi

      Honestly, just join Earn1K. I cover this in exhaustive detail. While you’re spinning your wheels, my students are starting businesses and earning thousands and thousands every month.

  36. Mohamed


    Part of growing is to learning from mistakes. But it is somehow tricky.

    How do you know the difference between the situation when you are doing something wrong and move on and the case that you need to be patient and persistent to get results ?

    in a situation where you can’t afford a mentor.

  37. Pauline

    How can I be kind to my mother when she’s driving me nuts by passive aggressively bringing up her past issues with me or us and I just don’t want to deal with it. I just want to get through it, and be a nice daughter to her.

  38. Tina

    I’m a college graduate working for a Fortune 10 company (ie great benefits yet soul sucking) for the past 3 years and I’m looking for a job role change with help with the soul sucking part. Now I’m looking beyond that and I think I want an MBA, but do I want full-time or part-time program? Should I leave all of the comforts of this company behind for 2 years to purse hopefully bigger and better opportunities? I see the pros and cons for both programs. I have top racked universities in San Francisco that both offer excellent programs. I have been to information sessions on both programs. I’m still really torn, esp living in this really expensive city.

    • Ramit Sethi

      In general, only do an MBA if it’s a top 5 program

  39. Abby

    What can WE help YOU with, Surrogate Asian Dad?

    • Corinne

      I like this one, Abby. Surrogate Asian Dad, can we offer you anything?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Surrogate Asian Father doesn’t need help, he just dispenses it

  40. Pauline

    How can I get my mojo back when I’m feeling not good enough- like in a room full of people who are all getting on great and I don’t really have much to contribute, or when a bunch of moms are all talking and I don’t feel confident enough to get in on the conversation, or when my 4 year old embarrasses me in public and I want to crawl under a rock.

  41. J.B.

    Fear prevents us from moving forward in life. I believe it’s the number one roadblock. Regarding financial fears, I overcame mine by visualizing the worst case scenario – losing all of my life savings. When I did this, I realized that life could still be very good. For example, relationships are much more meaningful than material things. (By the way, this exercise was not comfortable for me because I am normally a positive person).

    What are some effective tools, based on your experience, to overcome some common fears such as failure, embarrassment, rejection, etc.?

  42. Matt


    You’ve talked about making sure that the big things in your life are secure- house, car, finances- so that you can focus on taking risks on the big things like your website and career. Yet i am stuck in a situation where i don;t have that safety in the large things. I’m young, in college and spending a lot of time just making sure my grades are top notch so that my parents will continue to pay for the vast majority of my expenses (I live in Silicon Valley) even though to grow and do what i need i have to leave. It would be a massive risk to leave and venture on my own so i really don’t know what i should do. My questions are:

    1) What criteria do you use to evaluate risk? Would some sort of insecurity in money, experience or skills lead you to change that calculation if you had them in stronger concentration?
    2) Are there any risks that you want to take that you decide not to? How would you come to such a decision?
    3) If you were me what do you believe you would think and do and why?

    I appreciate your forthcoming insights and hope that your answer will help. No matter where i go, i know that there are a lot of incredible opportunities for me which i know i can take full advantage of.

  43. Dayna

    How do you emotionally move from being a one-man-band to having the support you need and trusting that it will, in fact, support you?

    In my life, I’ve always been in situations (relationships, businesses, etc.) where I could only truly count on myself. I’m now in a relationship with someone who pulls his own weight, but 30 years of conditioning shows up in situations that require us to work together, and I often end up feeling overwhelmed. I don’t have to do it all myself, but it still FEELS that way, and I can’t seem to move past it.

    I imagine this could also be an issue for someone transitioning their solo biz into a larger company, and trusting employees to do the necessary work, or someone moving into a management position. It could be easy to get overwhelmed with the details when you essentially see twice the work in front of you, even if you’re not doing it alone.

  44. k

    For me, I’m finding that I feel like I’ve spent years asleep & am waking up to all the things I need to do to get current. I would love to create side income for myself, & am subscribed to the productivity course, but am literally having issues just motivating myself to DO the productivity course to BE more productive, because the sheer volume of everything in front of me is daunting.

    At this point, I’ve committed to staying in the office for an extra hour or two three nights a week simply to work through the professional & personal backlog I have because when I get home, I’m just not productive. Would love some additional thoughts on how to feel less overwhelmed by all the things that need doing.

  45. Sylvia

    Hi Ramit,

    That’s a great opportunity because I’m preparing a paper on (working title)
    “Why We Obsess Over Meaningless Nuisances” – it’s about those small pains we can’t stop thinking of when we lie in bed sleepless and in the morning they’re gone.
    I’d love to know if you have them and what you suggest to get rid of them.

  46. ashok


    The truth is that all the glorious things we could achieve are out there. We just need to make a sincere effort, give our best shot. Even if we don’t achieve what we desire (absolute rare case), we will be far ahead from where we were initially.

    What more we need from life?

    Makes me glad that you are out there, helping those who need.

    More power to your elbow!


  47. Richard

    As you, me, and other IWT readers work hard to improve ourselves we not only make our own lives better but help others around us because we can be more understanding and supportive and we have our shit together. At the same time it only becomes more and more obvious how they are not making an effort, and some of them would rather just work harder at demanding more from us instead of helping themselves or actually being a positive force in their relationships. How do keep working to have better relationships with people who don’t appreciate it and just expect more?

    For me a large part of this feeling was centered on one person. Fixing that helped a lot, but it still comes up sometimes. I know I could make all of my relationships wonderful by saying and doing the right things and I know what those are. But why? Do I even want to do that? What’s the point of all the effort if it’s going to benefit people that you ultimately don’t care about that much?

  48. Aaron

    Here’s one that came up recently:

    I’m pretty busy these days. I work probably 12 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week. As a result, my relationship with my girlfriend has been taking a hit. She is concerned that she is not a priority in my day. How do I make my girlfriend feel like she is more than an item on my calendar?

    • Leslie

      By making her an item on your calendar. If you set aside specific time for the two of you, she will not feel neglected.

    • cam

      actually give a sh*t about what’s going on in her life – YES, her problems with her colleagues, YES the fact she thinks her ass is fat. Women want to feel understood and that can just mean asking a few probing questions – so e.g. Instead of ‘how was your day’ her: ‘fine’ Conversation ends. Try: ‘well what are you working on at work at the moment?’ – let her talk. ‘are you enjoying it? why /why not?’ Don’t worry if you’ve never shown this type of deeper interest in her life before, just say something like: ‘hey, so I know I might not have asked deeper questions like this before. I’ve always thought them though, but I guess I’ve never vocalised them – I suppose I’m a bit of an emotional retard like that (self deprecating – wins you added points) – but I just wondered what you’re looking forward to in life at the moment…’ let her rant – then maybe plan something you can both look forward to together. Bring her flowers or her favourite chocolate bar – be thoughtful – do something small but thoughtful once a week – like organising dinner so she doesn’t have to. Book her a massage (giving you some extra guilt free time at work – bonus!). Put a note in her handbag telling her she’s beautiful. Just make an effort outside of the boring normal stuff. Learn how to say I love you in random languages and make a fool of yourself trying to recite it back to her at odd times – like when you kiss her good night or when you’re cleaning your teeth together. It doesn’t matter how long you’re with a woman, we want to have the pants romanced off us. It’s just the way it is. Accept it and your life will be easier and the things you want out of the relationship (nudge nudge wink wink) will be more plentiful. Go forth and seduce!

  49. Emma

    I have a full time job as a software analyst and work with a particular software I’m certified in. I also live in a rural area with limited job opportunities, so I spend 2.5 hours/day commuting to/from the only organization that uses this particular software. It isn’t a job I’m highly interested in- I used to be a software trainer, which I did enjoy, but this organization doesn’t have any training opportunities.

    Before being a software trainer, I owned and operated a retail business with over 10 employees. It was very rewarding and very stressful. After it closed (due to the economic downturn), I vowed to never again work my ass off for a corporation that didn’t recognize or reward me for that hard work.

    I have now been asked to take over a large, multi-faceted project, as the organization is unhappy with the current Project Manager. Coming into the project midway, I can see a large number of issues and I have gone over my concerns with my direct supervisor. I know that I could jump in and work my ass off (for no additional pay) and be the hero, but I truly have no desire to be the hero. I’m not particularly interested in the subject of the project, or in climbing the corporate ladder. I just want to go to work, do the very best work I can in the time I’m there (40-50 hours/week), and go home and enjoy my life. I’ve been very productive, and apparently it hasn’t gone un-noticed as they have requested that I take on this project. I’ve offered the organization a compromise – I offered to co-manage the project, but my supervisor never gave a response and is just sending all of the project related emails and meetings to me. How can I gracefully extricate myself from this project? I don’t want to quit, and I don’t have a back up plan at this point…

  50. Samuel P.


    I don’t care about the therapy session but I would like to get some information on the following scenario if you’d like to respond.

    What strategies would you recommend if the goal were to position a small, privately held, niche market soft skills training and consulting firm, to have a high probability, (greater than 80%), of selling at 10x earnings within five years?

    I am currently working on executing several plans designed to increase profitability to targeted levels. The purpose of which is to increase the value of the organization in order to sell it.


  51. AD

    How do you overcome imposter syndrome?

  52. Nina

    Hey Ramit,

    I am in a pretty ok place right now career-wise. I have a good job and am starting up a side business. However, it’s been suggested to me several times that I apply for an overseas job at my dream company, and they have a position open right now which would suit my skills. What is your advice for choosing between the steady but ‘boring’ route I am on right now, or taking the leap into the scary but seemingly more interesting move abroad? My main fear is that the grass appears greener. Plus what a disaster it could be if I were to get laid off while abroad. Still, if I do not go for this, I may regret it for the rest of my life.

    Any feedback welcome.

    • Rebecca

      What does it hurt to apply? You can hem and haw AFTER you get the position.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Ding ding ding to Rebecca

    • Nina

      That is a really good point, so simple yet I hadn’t thought of it myself. Totally putting in my application. Fingers crossed. Thank you!

  53. Kathy

    Hi Ramit! I love you and everything you stand for and have managed over the past 4 years since I’ve been following you to make it to being full time self employed doing something I love.

    The problem I have is now that I’m doing what I love, even over stresses like my husband having a stroke 3 years ago and my daughter is now 5. Now that I’m juggling my own business as a photographer and a business consultant for photographers, I’m having issues finding out the next step for me. Do I build this larger? Do I find something else to do on the side?

    I’m also scared I’m going to fail and have to take another 9-5 job because we can’t sustain this….how do I get past that?

  54. Alex

    Hey Ramit,

    What do you do when you’re more of the left-brained person of a partnership? I’m in the beginning stages of starting a venture with my more right-brained, creative partner.

    It’s great to have this dynamic but I’m considering business courses to help teach us how to start and grow an online audience and future business. My partner prefers that we don’t invest initially and figure things out for ourselves.

    What would you do in this situation? We both want to take a different risk: pay for a course and follow a model or see where intuition takes us.

  55. Avi

    How can I ask better questions?

  56. muriel

    Hi Ramit,
    I have been following your blog for a while, got to read the first chapter of your book and about to buy it to as I like the way you convey the information, to the point and relevant to the reader. I want to get into a clothing business but I get paralyzed about all the legal work as I am from France, live abroad and want to get the clothes made in Asia; I just don’t know where to start…

  57. Michelle

    I’m reading your “…Be Rich” book and loving it. Since it’s catering to younger people, I wonder what I should be doing at my age – I’m 44, single, no kids. I bought an apartment 2 years ago in NYC, have a mortgage of $1900/month. I have credit card debt ($9000) which I’m paying off aggressively. I called my bank and, using your scripts, got my APR reduced by 6%. I contribute 10% of a nice salary to my 401K (my company matches 3% of the first 10% I contribute) Anyway, I’m following the steps in the book but wonder if I should do things differently because of my age – like opening the ROTH as a next step? Thanks Ramit

    • Suz

      Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for asking that question. I find myself in a very similar situation, 44, single, no kids and thinking about my future. I have also been thinking about a Roth lately and would love to hear the answer.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Step 1: Do what I talk about in my book.
      Step 2: You can adjust some of the investments for your age. All of this is explained in the book.

  58. ZI

    I’m no stranger to interviews being in the IT industry and doing it as much as I have over the years. I’ve been unemployed since November of 2013 and noticed that in the interviews I’ve been doing recently, I seem to be running out of breath while I’m speaking, as if I’m suffering from an anxiety attack. I’ve never had this issue before and want to know what could be causing it and exactly how to deal with it, since I believe it’s the prime reason for why I haven’t scored some of the positions I know I would have been an excellent fit in.

    • Raluca

      Pay a therapist specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). First because this type of therapy has logical steps, so chances are you’ll find that easy to apply. Second, because investing in yourself so you can move past your anxiety will pay off later. And last, because everyone can use the help of a coach/expert to up their game, provided they identify what those areas are – which you already did a good job with.

  59. Josh Morris

    Hi Ramit,

    I just started a new job and it requires some cold calling. I keep getting a block when I do this. I feel like I’m assuming the worst. Either they won’t want to set up an appointment with me or they will ask me a question I don’t have the response for. I really need to make this job work and I don’t want to go back to a corporate desk job.


  60. N

    How do you learn to care and get over extreme indifference?

  61. Anastasiya

    Ramit, I am an easily carried away person. If I read a book, or watch a movie, or have an idea it feels like I am all into it and my mind starts to develop it into a pattern which will lead me somewhere over some time of persistent studying of the matter. If I get distracted or become interested in another idea, I might forget all the others. And it can continue over and over again, without me being really “attached” to something. Over a period of time I end up in the situation where there is simply too much information, ideas, interests, aspirations and I find it extremely difficult to pick few and concentrate on them. Is there a way to break the vicious circle? I know you are fond of having systems to be better organized. Can you recommend a system that might be useful in my case?

  62. Jen

    What’s the best way to objectively assess whether my time and energy (mainly health) are so overstretched that further business pursuits are unrealistic?

    I know there are always ways to carve out a certain amount of free time and energy. And it may be more about creating more efficiencies/delegation in what I already do.

    Just trying to assess my work/non-work balance here.

  63. Abdul

    Qsn on Psychology:
    How do you overcome the fear of failure?

    Qsn on Marketing:
    In a highly competitive e-commerce space, and a limited marketing budget (<$5000), what is the best use of marketing dollars in your opinon to generate sales & build a customer base?

    -Hiring on writers on elance to make weekly blogposts, targeting keywords?
    -Offering pdf in return for signups and then emailing the list?
    -Trying video, display & keyword advertising on google or bing?

  64. Deb

    Hi Ramit,

    Thanks for your emails and advice. I understand you are busy and I appreciate your time for reading.

    I’m 24 years old and very lucky to be working in a very secure and respected position for a Fortune 500 company for the past 3 years. Since starting, I have not been very happy and am slowly becoming more disengaged by the day , but my parents keep reinforcing how proud of me they are.

    When I tell them I spent 10 hours at the office working on a frustrating contract, they beam and are so proud of their “professional” daughter, but when I tell them about my other successes in my side projects and how much people love the things I make, they roll their eyes and say I’m occupying myself with “frivolous” extracurricular activities.

    I have a side project that I can turn into a business plan , but am worried that it will not yield the salary that I make at my current job (At 24 years old– I know I can make even more if I stay longer…). I know for me to launch my new side business, I cannot keep working the hours I do at my job, but even if I start my side project full time, I worry I will not be able to make a living for a couple years.

    Any input you have would be very appreciated. Help!

  65. Jesse

    Let’s say there’s a new app that’s created that will take a picture of your body without a shirt or pants on. You then enter in how often you’d like to work out. What your general diet is. Then it accurately projects into the future how your body will look in three, six, nine months, etc. Do you think that would actually affect people’s motivation to work out and eat healthier? I often think that one of the biggest barriers to doing these things is not being able to see your results immediately.

  66. Amy

    Terrified to even post anything here, but whatever. (Hops up on the couch.) I actually got to meet Ramit in person at the 99U Conference. Before I went to talk to him, I had to take a minute to calm myself down in the ladies room (no, not like that… LOL…). I think I rambled like an idiot and then maybe insulted him before retreating to avoid a panic attack. I also told him I’d draw an illustration of him if he signed my sketchbook (which he so graciously did). Then I got home, all inspired from the conference, and totally froze. And then… did nothing. Letting all momentum die and disappear. This is my M.O. I see the level I want to be at. I know my friends worked hard and made meaningful connections to put them at the top… but my own path to get there seems impossible by my own doing. Is it just the cliché “fear of success”? How do I work past that? I want to feel confident that I belong in the crowds I run in. Right now, I feel like a fraud. I have an opportunity this year to be published in a book and I don’t want to blow it. I’m pissed off that I seem to piss on every opportunity handed to me. The list is seriously staggering (and disheartening). 🙁 How do I shake this feeling that I don’t belong at the top?

    • Lindsey

      Take a look at Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap (non-affiliate link to Amazon: He talks about how we self-sabotage because of beliefs that we don’t belong at the top — and what we can do to stop the self-sabotage as well as increase our barometer for accepting more good in our lives. I can’t say enough things about this book.

      Good luck!

  67. Toni

    I have been open and engaging with my children about handling money. We talked about where our money comes from, where it goes, saving, and investing. We have worked with them to set up a budget since they were 12 and they have bought their own food (breakfast, lunch, snacks), clothing, and fun items, since that time. They have done really well and continue to do so with the money they receive from us (parents). Since they have had their own jobs, my son seems to still be saving some of his money (I can access his account). But my daughter thinks that any and all of the “job money” is for spending. She is a Junior in HS and she has had a job for about 6 months and every penny that she earned at it, is spent. She doesn’t see any problem in spending $70 to $80 on makeup at a time. A friend of hers is a big influence in the spending spree. She see’s so many kids around her, just blowing money and she wants to be like them. She has not saved any of this money for the future and I cannot get it through to her that she needs to. Yes she is planning to go to college. She still keeps the money we give separate and budgeted. We have always told them that they have to pay half of the college bills. I don’t want her to mortgage her future by financing her college bills with student loans. Do you have any suggestions on getting through to her? p.s. the job is now gone, and she is feeling the pinch of not buying that amount of makeup and such again, but I feel that when she gets another job, it will go back to the same pattern as above.

    • Ramit Sethi

      What the hell. Your daughter is not your friend and you don’t need to coddle her. If she lives under your roof, you tell her what she can do with whatever money she makes. If you want half of it to go into a savings account, tell her and that’s that. This is not a discussion nor is it friendly friendly Kumbaya time. This is your Surrogate Asian Father laying down the law.

  68. tobin

    Love the blog Ramit!
    I’ll preface this by saying I hate my job at a well known healthy drink corporation, and plan to buy your dream job course one I’ve saved up….

    Know of any tools or worksheets for clarifying and writing down goals that I have floating in my head?
    Also how do you keep your bookmarks bar from ruining your productivity? Mine reflects the fragmented, shallow interests I like to keep tabs on( pun intended).

    Thanks in advance!

  69. Zelda

    I like to drink at night.its a son says its habitual energy.i want to change this and focus on kettlebell training so that one day I can become a trainer that can teach people i care about proper form and how to use kbs to get healthier. i am 53..i feel like I have “tried” so many things and just quit them…maybe I am adhd…dont think so .but i love to learn and when i get passionate about something i go gung ho…i just feel like maybe i am too old to change my body first before i can help others. and i like my wine and the feeling of the buzz..

    • cam

      Hey Zelda – go to the gym during the time you usually booze it up. You’ll get a good feeling buzz from your workout and shouldn’t need to/ or feel like drinking when you get home (I don’t know about you but after a workout is the LAST time I feel like alcohol). Also, avoid the activities you combined with drinking when you get back from the gym – e.g. don’t sit down to watch TV if that’s when you’d normally have a vino. Instead, come home, have a shower, eat a pre-made healthy meal, drink heaps of water and then spend some time reading up on kettlebells or researching your next steps online. Then have a cup of herbal tea that will help you sleep. Don’t try and cut booze out completely either, start small – like one day a week with your new routine and gradually scale it up. Even if you only ever get to 4 days a week- that’s still a great improvement.

  70. Rohit

    Hey Ramit,

    Whats the best way to get over social anxiety and caring what people think of you? I know logically its irrational, but subconsiously I find myself in that place over and over again.

    • Dan

      I used to have this problem. For a long time. Not anymore. What I did:

      Focused on my body:
      Got in great shape
      Gave up red meat
      Started a qi gong practice

      Spent a year improving my psychology:
      Worked through traumatic memories
      Identified mother/father related psychological norms which limited me
      Put off pleasure
      Quit habits which did not serve me anymore

      Good luck!

  71. Daniel

    What is the best approach to peer leadership in the workplace when a coworker (same level) just isn’t producing?

  72. Erin

    I’m uncomfortable marketing myself. I’ve tried to examine my past to figure out the root. I grew up in a very isolated environment, and wasn’t allowed to speak/express myself at the school I went to. I also lived in fear for four years, that my family wouldn’t love me anymore if they found out I was gay (which ended up happening to an extent). In my personal life, I fear that my viewpoints and opinions are offensive and hurtful. In my professional life, I am confident in myself and what I have to offer but I prefer not to talk about it or be on display. I think my personal and professional self are invariably linked, but I don’t know how to solve the problem. Is this something that I should focus on getting over, or is this a quality I should accept (like being a night person) and outsource to someone who enjoys promoting and marketing? If this is something I do need to change, how do I do it?

  73. Ivan Kreimer


    Every time I open Linkedin and see what other people are doing with their so called “professional life”, I feel that I’m behind them. I don’t know why that happens, but I feel that my life is so much more fragile than them, when I think it’s not. You see, I’m an independen online marketing consultant, and even though I’ve just started, I’m my own boss, and I don’t rely on anything but me.

    Still, every time I watch my contacts (mostly from college and local entrepreneur circles) I feel that I’m doing so much worse than them, and I feel awful. And when I say “awful”, I mean that I feel helpless, quite depressed, and I start to doubt everything that I’ve done so far. I kinda ruins my day.

    Why do you think that may be about? Is it because the so called “self-sabotage”?

    Anyway, thank you Ramit for this amazing opportunity.

    Take care,

  74. Kishan Patel

    Your target audience seems to be adults; however, I was wondering if you would share some tips/strategies on what a high school teenager, like myself, can do to get started early in order to become successful.

  75. Paula

    This is really specific-if you were a successful fitness trainer wanting to create a video series to promote yourself worldwide, but didn’t have time to learn how to make videos, where would you look first to find a videographer/editor to help you do it? Referrals, LinkedIn, Facebook, somewhere else?

    • Thomas

      Try your local community college/university -> aim for the Broadcasting/Television department. Explain to the co-ordinator your situation and he or she will either refer you to an expert or have their best students help you with your videos (i.e. internship).

  76. Jasmine

    How do you actually get people to listen to you?

  77. Kelsey

    Hi Ramit,

    There are so many things I want to improve at, but I know one thing about myself that holds me back. I’m bad at failing. And by that I mean that I take failure way to hard and it holds me back from a lot of things. I was a type A perfectionist through high school and college and got excellent grades, though I realized near the end of my college career that there are WAY more important things in life. Still, having been so good at “school” and other pursuits for my whole life, I find it doubly hard when I’m “bad” at anything.

    Logically I know it’s stupid and that I can’t possibly be good at everything. Also, I know that not being awesome doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad. But my ego takes a bruising and my first instinct is to quit any time I can’t catch on to something quickly or can’t master it.

    Do I need to just keep socking my ego until it gives up and gets out of my way? Any other methods you suggest for staying on course when failure hits you too hard? I tell myself to stop being a wimp but there’s still a voice in the back of my head whispering “You suck. Get out before anyone realizes it.”


  78. Laura

    Hi Ramit,
    I am 36 years old. I am a 3rd year lawyer (I got a master’s before going to law school). My husband is a doctor. We have 2 kids, ages 4 and 1.5 years. My husband is successful. We live in an expensive city with crappy public schools, but we could get by, and maybe even swing private school, on his salary. We have a house, healthy amount of savings, good retirement savings, no debt outside of the house, etc. I work 70% time at a boutique firm. I am good at my job and getting better as I learn more. However, I know I do not want to stay in this type of law forever. My roots are in social justice work, and I would like to return. In fact, just yesterday, I saw an attorney position at a nonprofit that was really exciting, and I think I could be a good fit. My concerns: My husband is supportive of my applying to the nonprofit job, but even so, I am worried about not pulling my financial weight in the family. I didn’t pursue law as a vanity project; while I do put my family first, I am also serious about my work. I generally think that one’s choice of career, to the extent one has a choice, is the result of how one balances vanity and necessity, with necessity encompassing the need to make money, the need to have a certain schedule, the need to be in a certain geographic setting, the need to be able to attend to other responsibilities. My current job is generally an acceptable balance (works out better for the necessity side of the equation than the vanity side), but like I said, not my dream job. I’m not sure my dream job exists, though– reasonably paid social justice lawyer who works 70% time? So my question is: go for the nonprofit job? Revise my vision of a dream job? Accept the status quo gratefully (and I am grateful)? Thanks for all you do.

  79. Gilbert

    I know the most important decision is to decide to decide (e.g. stop bullshitting and making excuses, but actually agree to stop looking for reasons why not in order to focus on the reasons why to). Is the next decision strategic (prioritizing areas to attack) or tactical (getting something done to ensure an early success to build on)?

  80. HeidiW

    Hi Ramit, I took Dream Job last year knowing I had been at my job too long. Last week I was downsized. I knew it was coming, but I failed to line up a good offer fast enough to prevent the inevitable.

    What are the most important steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a layoff? I feel I’ve actually been given a huge opportunity to move forward and I don’t want to make a mistake.

    • Ramit Sethi

      1. Let yourself feel horrible for a while, but set a time period. Like 1-2 weeks.
      2. Pick yourself up and begin the process of finding a new job. You already have DJ so you’re light years ahead of every one else. Start at Module 1. Good luck.

  81. Adam

    A friend and I were just lamenting about network building… We are both very knowledgeable about our professions (A/V engineering, and social media respectively). But there always seems to be a barrier between us and those we’d like to work with (who would help expand our network). No matter what, we never seem to be quite “cool enough” to work with. Instead these people go with their less-helpful but more-familiar friends. What gives?!?!

  82. LL

    Why won’t my guy friend stop trying to date me/sleep with me even though he knows I’m in a longterm relationship with someone else? (Why isn’t it enough to just be friends for some people??)

    • Ramit Sethi

      Who cares? Just stop hanging out with him.

  83. Doug

    I have Entrepreneur ADD. I get an idea, and it sounds good. A little research and fact finding and sometimes it is a good idea. The idea passes your test for will someone buy, do they have money, and is it a pain point.
    From there I make some plans, realize there is a good deal of work to make a real business out of the idea, and get discouraged.
    If not a new idea, I convince myself I need to build my own web site, learn a new programming language or secure VC money, so abandon the effort.
    I know this is a block that lives in my crazy brain, but it is hard to root out from the inside.
    Even if I am working on one idea, there is always a new idea popping into my head, and the cycle repeats. In the end, nothing real gets done. I signed up for your “Finisher’s Formula” and that helped, but this was not addressed completely.
    How do I keep focus on one idea and see it through to completion?

    • Ramit Sethi

      Step 1: Stop labeling yourself with “Entrepreneur ADD.” It’s a cop-out, just like I used to say “I’m a skinny Indian.” You have not practiced focusing enough. What can you do to focus on ONE thing this week and eliminate distraction?

    • Doug

      OK, it is not easy with a wife, mortgage, 3 kids and the day job. I am a professional, serial entrepreneur, so I will ship, as he says here.
      I owe two complete blog posts to a mastermind partner, so I will get them done.
      … and a pinewood derby car.

  84. Travis

    How do I get motivated and actually do things I’ve been wanting to and talking about doing for years like learn computer programming?

    I feel like I used to really work hard and go after things but as my income grew and my family grew (I now have three boys 5 and under) I feel as though I’ve lost the time/motivation to go after new things. For example I once took a promotion managing websites even though I’d never done a thing with websites before. I learned how write XHTML, CSS, and modify basic javascript. I then parlayed this into making websites up the side earning a couple hundred $ per month. I hit a roadblock when I needed to do more programming e.g. PHP and decided I wanted to learn to be a programmer. That was around the time my first son was born. Fast forward 5 years and I am really no closer to that goal and in fact may be further away since I quit making websites (time constraints).

    In my current job I have an opportunity to actually use and program basic test scripts in Java as well as write SQL queries in my daily work assuming I learn Java. On top of this I have time during the work day to learn these things though Udacity or paid training by work (SQL), yet I find I waste my time doing nothing during work hours and feel to tired and unmotivated outside of work since I’m so focused on my family.

    I just want to find a way to setup a system to get me in the habit of learning what I need to learn and actually programming something so I don’t forget what I just learned. Make sense?

  85. Chris

    Ramit, in taking an honesty bath I realized that I can only do things when under a tight deadline imposed by someone else. Last November I completed writing a 50k word novel because I signed up for NaNoWriMo and followed the strict daily writing deadlines for a month. Since completing it I’ve only picked the novel up twice in a vain attempt at rewrites. So in order to stay motivated to do anything you would tell me to find someone who I can use to impose deadlines on myself. My response to that advice is that I don’t like imposing on other people. I don’t like asking for their time. There’s no question here. I’m just ranting on my personal psychology. Thanks for listening.

  86. Serena

    This is true. Every single day i follow all the positive habits in the world. Eat ultra-healthy and clean, learn languages or something new, work as focused as i can, nothing of tv, enthusiasm at work, near to zero distractions (almost no Twitter, zero Facebook), floss my teeth twice a day, brush my teeth three times (no wonder i have NEVER got caries), work-out almost every day, dress ultra well (keeping a close eye on fashion magazines and blogs). But i am not as rich as you are ( i am pretty poor by usa standards, i live in Spain). I don’t have time to sleep eight hours with all these things i have to do and organize. i am very proud of myself and i am getting better in my job (my hope is to become ultra rich) but the problem is: since i don’t experience the feeling of laziness or procrastination (NEVER) i become too focused and nervous. Sooo nervous for all the things i learn With you (and others authors) that i don’t live: I run. But i don’t know if i will get to my own dream (develop a great idea i have to turn it into a multimillion business)
    Will i die of working before getting my goal?
    I am 29 and i am in extremely in good conditions both phisically and mentally but god i want big results not living this damn and mediocre life similar to all the people outside who don’t floss their teeth.

    • Kristin

      Please feel free to take this with a grain of salt, but to me it sounds like you’re not living your passion. You’re doing all the things you’re supposed to, but that doesn’t get to the core of your heart and just light your whole self on fire. You may not know what that thing is yet, or maybe you have some ideas of what it could be… but until you start chasing that passion, you may not be satisfied. It took me several years to find mine, but I just stayed patient and knew that I’d recognize it when I found it. Hang in there!

  87. Natalia

    Therapy Week With Ramit! Ha ha! I literally laughed out loud when I read this email. Love it and all your sass, Ramit.

  88. Kristin

    Dear Therapist Ramit,

    I struggle with becoming a total wimp around stronger personalities. I think that if you and I were meeting in person and you said the things on your blog and in your videos directly to me, I’d probably cry. You are strong, confident, and can easily dominate a room (or so it seems). I have been described once as someone who lights up the room (best compliment ever!) and I am comfortable around a wide variety of people, but if you get me into a 1-on-1 situation with a strong personality, it’s all over for me. This can have obvious impacts on running a business, as well as in social situations. Aside from telling me to grow a pair, what, Mr. Therapist, would you suggest?


    • Kristin

      Can I tell you that this JUST HAPPENED again about 15 minutes ago? Instantaneous caving. Guy was perfectly nice, but I couldn’t handle the situation at all and just ceded all my expertise on a subject to someone who doesn’t know it at all. So disappointed in myself, but I don’t know what the solution is. 🙁

  89. Samantha

    My problem is that I hate university and it is really making me stressed. I think I hate mumy major but changing it is out of the question and I also hate my university’s system. I feel like I waste most of my time and procrastinate because I have no interest and I am not motivated. People used to tell me I wad one of tge smartest kids at school but now I feel like an idiot because I cannot pay attention or work hard on something that I do not like. This has affected my confidence, made me stressed and also took my energy to do other things that I enjoy. I had big dreams and I used to work hard but now I can hardly get anything done

    • paulina

      just letting you know you’re not alone.

  90. Brian

    Main question: How do we maintain mental focus?

    Auxiliary questions: Is it a matter of having physical vigor and energy? If so, how can we create such energy? If not, how do we mentally train ourselves?

  91. david

    why won’t you return my unconditional love, Ramit?

    • Ramit Sethi

      I have too many other options

  92. Marc

    I have a strong urge to be a top performer – but at the same time, I understand it takes a tremendous amount of work upfront, and the thought of it paralyzes me. I have a fear of becoming “professional,” or successful. It’s more comfortable to stay on my current job where work is repetitive, and I don’t have lots of responsibility – but I also hate the thought of staying in the same job without any career advancement. How can I overcome by mental barrier and start getting things done?

    • Cate

      Marc, I feel the same way–and have the same mixed feelings. It is paralyzingly ! And then I watch time go on and on, while stuck in no movement forward!

  93. Eveline

    Hello Ramit!
    I am a college student, about to graduate with Computer Science major, and looking for a job. I just do not think I am good enough at programming. I have been struggling with this entire time. I enjoy programming, but just feel like I am bad at it and cannot become good despite my efforts. Though on the other hand it could be just my imagination, or me being too hard on myself. I do not know which one it is, and feel completely lost about how to overcome the problem if it exists, and find out whether it exists in the first place (the problem being that I am bad at programming. And if that’s the case, then I have no idea how to get better because all I can think of that I could do to get better, I already am doing).
    Don’t know if you can actually help with this kind of problem, but thought I’d give it a try.

  94. heART

    Hello Ramit. As always, thank you for the wonderful e-mails. They’re always so informative and usually exactly what I’m looking for.

    I do quite well with productivity. I have my morning rituals to get me going for the day. Waking up early, hitting the gym, getting all my work done etc isn’t too much of a hassle for me. I enjoy it. Honestly, I don’t feel quite right if I don’t do any of it.

    Between my endeavors, sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. It seems like I want to do it ALL!!! The graphic design, the music, the clothing label…. It seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done, but I keep pushing and chipping away at it all, little by little. This desire to do everything. To have all of these “ventures” or projects I’m working on. What is it deep down inside of me that wants to take on such difficult, difficult tasks all at once? I feel like I’m trying to do a heros amount of work. Just curious. Hope you’re well brother.

  95. Corey

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

    I get that the language you use is the marketing strategy you have chosen….it’s a lot like the “Rich Jerk” persona. I genuinely congratulate you. The mindset is the hardest thing to conquer of all.

    I can do almost anything I put my mind to. It’s just that I am lazy…..and I would love to change. I have an opportunity to make $1500 /week, here in Australia, driving a dump truck on a mine site, but I don’t want to. It’s like I just don’t have a big enough “WHY”.

    It’s the “WHY” that I miss. As I have gotten older, I have become more cynical, less vivacious, less…well anything positive. Like everything you do, the “MAN”wants a slice of it. Why bust your hole just to make someone else rich, yet I have absolutely desire to be “rich”, I just like comfortable…..and it is here that I am in trouble.



    • Ramit Sethi

      Take an improv class or get a personal trainer. Pick one and do it for at least 1 month.

      Which one are you going to choose?

  96. Patrick

    Ramit, I’m a huge fan. I actually have two questions:

    First, I’m “that guy” you call pissed off, and hang up a fan of the company. I have always been exceptional at turning angry callers into people who buy more from you. Most companies I have worked for do not train this well, nor do most employees care. How can I turn this skill into a consulting type of business?

    Second, I am currently working as a project manager for a Saas company. The job is very stressful. One of the aspects that keep me up at night is the”what if” type of scenarios. What if I missed something, what if client x calls me or my boss pissed, how can I manage those what if scenarios better? How do I manage my time better? My company pushes the getting things done techniques.


  97. Jenny

    I have a successful consulting business, I run a user group, and am a member of the board for a professional group related to my business. I have a reputation for being both skilled and reliable among my peers and clients.

    Helping my mother, who is aging and has a failing memory, turns me into a whiny kid. (It triggers memories of helping care for my grandmother in a similar situation in high school and college – I know the path this leads down, it was hell the first time.)

    I avoid things that I know need to be done, I resent the way she expects me to do things one time and then is insulted when I do them again because I’m “treating her like she’s crazy/incapable/a child”. She changes her mind constantly, so you can’t rely on any decision she makes being final, or any suggestion or advice being taken. (We’ll begin the same conversation multiple times and she’ll make different choices each time.) My sibling and I are the only family she will consider allowing to help her. (She’s paranoid of other people.) But she’s not QUITE at the point where she needs long-term care.

    I want a reasonable solution to a problem that defies reason. And better coping strategies.

  98. Tiffany

    HI Ramit!

    My question is, how do you prepare for a job when there is no job to prepare for or no information available?

    Situation #1: I’m graphic designer and I am signed up with a few creative placement agencies. Every so often, I will get a call from one of the staff (I guess you could call them a recruiter but as I am already recruited & am in the company I am not sure that would be the right title). This staff member may be calling to update my info and availability or may have a job for me. Either way, the staff member is just there to ask questions, including how much money I am looking for… and this is just info for them, there may not even be a job in the first place! How do I get around the money questions if they are demanding a response?

    Situation #2: I find a good amount of work from Craig’s List ads. The problem is that sometimes the ads do not have a lot of information and is asking for items like salary requirements. Before I even have a chance to speak to anyone to learn that I have an interview I am already pinioned down by having to respond about money without getting the chance to negotiate. Also, because Craig’s List (and other sites like it) preserve the privacy of the company placing the ad, other than the ad itself there may not be any other information to go research on. No company name, contact title or even location or about the company. How do I prep myself for situations like this and not sell myself short by saying a compensation amount to early (for fear that the company won’t respond because they ask specifically for this info in the ad with stating that the responder, “me”, will not be considered at all if I don’t send this info)?

    Guess I have a lot to ask! 🙂

    • Paul

      Hi Tiffany,

      There’s a whole section on this in the Dream Job “negotiation” section, which I thoroughtly recommend, but maybe also in Ramit’s free DJ-related material.

  99. Tosh

    I am a 42 yr old mother of two and never finished college. I’m wanting to change career ideas do u think that I could be successful without going back to school even if I’m not sure what it is I want to do in life?

  100. poonam

    Hello Ramit,
    I have been following your emails/blog for quite a while now. I have following questions.

    1) I wanted to get fit and decided last yr that i will be fit by my next birthday (in march), so i started going to gym and recently started running (I am 10 KM finisher now ), i did good till now, lost 6.5 KG weight (i am 5’3″ and 50.5 kg), but still i am struggling with healthy diet (I am still addicted to sweets, tea and milk, i want to make conscious choice here). I implemented the no carbs diet (not to 100%), but still i need motivation to keep my self eating healthy diet, how to do it?

    2) I am software engineer, I want to get certified as architect (need to clear 3 certifications) by Oct 2014, but still not finding motivation to do it. I am quiet good technically and do think certification will help me in my carrier but I seem to be keep it putting off, its been 4 months and no action 🙁 . Still sometimes i feel i don’t like this 9 to 6 job when it comes to taking leaves whenever i like to go for trekking expedition or to visit home , even though i earn good 🙁

    3) I am struggling with question from parents/relatives/friends who ask” when r u getting married? you are going to be 28 and getting older, why are you delaying so much , you wont find prospective match after 2-3 yrs” All this makes me sad, whereas i don’t want to get married just to be married. i want to get married to person whom i know well( still search is going on and struggling here, i have no. of good friends but not the person with whom i can say, this is the person i want to spend my life with. some friends i like but conversation just stops after initial talk).


  101. Ivana

    I really really need help finding what i wanna do in and with my life.
    What what what where when help!

  102. Bilal

    Hi Ramit,

    How can one overcome the need to have a “business partner”? I am struggling to start a business by myself and it seems it would all be easier if I had a sidekick.

    Everytime I’ve tried that in the past, it has failed miserably, the other person not being able to keep up or wasn’t dedicated enough to see it through.


  103. Emilie

    After listening to your video, the 5 productivity mistakes, i read The 4 hour work week. Problem: I am French and I can’t just leave my job because i would loose my work VISA. Having to stay for now, my question to you is: how to deal with a boss that loves procrastination, and love your colleague more than you for the only reason that he is a brown noser (he’s not even subtle, but guess what, he got a promotion 2 months ago…). Help please. How can i play it smart without losing my integrity?

  104. Bill

    Why do you like responding to comments even if its from a totally newbie?

  105. Shailey

    Hi Ramit,

    I read a similar comment on figuring out a “right” job for yourself in the above comments but I wanted to talk about my situation. I was planning on going into auditing or accounting, but did an internship in accounting that I hated and switched to teaching. After going through grad school and getting a job I am now teaching and am still miserable. My parents tell me that I need to just stay in teaching because it is stable and allows me to support myself. One of my friends said that I must just not like to work. I was an athlete in college, had a 3.8 gpa, and worked sometimes 2 jobs in college,, so I don’t think it has to do with me being lazy. I am interested in baking and music but am not well educated in either. What do you suggest? Taking a risk (even somewhat of a calculated one) is scary for me.

  106. Split Personality

    Ramit, thanks for the offer. My question is how do you deal with what seems like a multiple personality disorder? 🙂

    I am great at my professional life – have won multiple awards & earn an enviable income as a tribute to the quality of my work. Every boss of mine won’t hesistate to recommend me in a heartbeat etc.

    However, in my personal life, I suck and can’t seem to shake this. I have an autoimmune condition manifesting major alarming symptoms yet don’t follow through on action steps that others have used to recover (have read blogs or bought books but don’t act). I have steadily gained weight over the years but I don’t do anything about losing it (pay for training & quit going). The same for mental / psychological / self improvement (purchase a lot of material but don’t follow through on action plan). I have a savings exceeding USD 150,000 but don’t do anything about investing and it just sits there!

    I know this is a form of self sabotage but why do I do this only personally & not professionally? I could really use your help as I want to improve but don’t understand this!

    Thank you.

  107. Dequan

    Hi Ramit,

    Why does it seem that as people get older, they tend to operate out of fear? When i was younger, if i didn’t like my job, i would give notice and quit even if i didn’t have anything else lined up. When i was younger, if i wanted to experience a different part of the country, i would easily pack up and move. Now that i’m in my thirties I am scared to do both of those things. I have a career and live a comfy lifestyle but i am not happy. I read blogs and books about people truly living life and doing what they love. I get inspired but thats all i do, never actually taking the steps towards what i want. When does this fear creep in our lives? and how can I conquer this fear? esp when i’m not exactly sure what it is that i fear

    • Jack

      Excellent question. I want to get out of that fear mode as well. How to ..?

  108. ThOmas

    How do you break your goals down to a daily to do list?

    (For a twenties person who has many interests)

    I’m starting to think this very rigid style of goal setting doesn’t work for everyone, I’ve tried since last 2 years now to make long term goals ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years…or 3 years’, and I’ve failed many times with a few small successes.

    Now I’ve done these exercises of uncovering the things you’re REALLY interested in, the themes in your life and whatnot I did exercises that suggest you identify you’re values that will carry you on for the long haul, in December I ended up writing up a word doc that’s over 8 000 words long including like over 10 pages on paper.

    And just when I thought I’ve figured out what I’ll be ‘anchoring’ myself with when I can finally work towards having real life effects of working towards something, I mind goes blank when I REALLY try to implement week to week, day to day actions. This is how my momentum went down in January.
    So Ramit how come when I sit down and try to make a list of things I’m aiming for, for the week nothing important or meaningful comes up, and when I sit in the morning to write out a to-do list, I’d sit there and 30 minutes later the only things that would come up are lame things not even summing up to 5 things that are important.

    With this and a lot of time on my hands (unemployed) I feel like crap because I know I’m going to die one day and I shouldn’t be letting my time go like this. I even start questioning the point in pushing myself in exercise if I don’t I’m not even moving forward in the bigger aims…I don’t know maybe that’s unemployment-moodiness speaking.

    Then I’d end up frustrated and if I’m not aware enough, I’ll end up feeling down for the rest of the day because I know I want to move towards doing big things in my life and I want to take action but when I try write out some actions to do – I’m blank. I’m not feeling the sense of urgency that I want to experience.

    Have you experienced this before, it doesn’t seem like it? It doesn’t make sense, because I’ve made it as clear as I could. The main goals this year are

    1) Self-Reliance
    Get a consistent job/income, then move the ef out my parents place…then try out making income on the side with trying you’re Earn1K course.

    2) Personal Good Habits
    Making myself just more a disciplined and consistent person and doing things I find important.
    Reading on a regular day-to-day basis, meditating, being consistent in thinking a certain way etc.

    3) Social Life
    Social life simply means making sure I go out to social place for a certain number of days a week.

    *There are more details within these main 3 aims but this is what they look like simplified.
    Next question –

    *Ramit How do you condition yourself to think in certain ways that support certain beliefs?

    I’ve seen how I’ve still got some bullsh*t my actions show I believe in, even though I know on a logical level that I should believe in something else when it comes to certain things; but I think it’s because it’s been an accepted way of thinking for a long time on a subconscious level while growing up…So

    I’m aiming towards, as strange as it might sound, being more of a person who thinks for himself instead of being too quick to get different opinions. This is connected to the Self-Reliance but on a mental level.

    I see you successful guys and you’ll seem to ‘buy into’ your own world view *more* than the outside worlds one.

    So what resources would you suggest regarding this? Books?
    That’s as clear as I could write it.

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  110. Dasika

    Hey Ramit , Its nice to see you put your psychology degree to use in an actual sense here. The problem I have is

    1. I feel like a 15 year old self – who is scared of competition , smart people and losing my place . Exactly how I felt when I left my school where I was a star . I found it hard to mingle in with other brilliant people in college . Now when I’m almost fitting in the college , its my final year and I’m going to join a company to work. I just want to avoid competition at all costs. It hurts my ego . I don’t want to compete unless I can win it , which no one can predict .

    2. Weight loss makes me cry like a baby . Its just too hard to run . I’ve avoided running all my life because of a hilarious reason . I’ve lost a race in my primary school , and strongly felt an indignation . From that day onwards I hated my body , else its awesome .

    I hate to lose Ramit .. And I don’t have any relationships because of this inner attitude of mine. I feel like everything will work out well when I’m an achiever . That’s where I want to get back . Can you help me ?

    I hope you had a good laugh 🙂

  111. Sara

    This is funny. I love the imagery you created with wings of pity and all that shit. I wonder what wings of pity would look like? But I digress. I am actually writing because I am a CRAZY night owl. I am very productive late at night which is cool but it causes me to sleep all day. Even if I get up early I’ll just run around crazy sleep deprived an stay up until 5am that night anyway. Now I don’t need to be going to bed at 9 or anything but 2am would be cool. How can I get my ass in bed a bit earlier?

  112. Jack

    Hello Ramit,

    I do have a therapy session question:

    One of my biggest dreams is to become a published fiction writer. I can write, I have ample ideas for stories and I am 200 pages in with my current project. I write daily and whenever I do I feel great.

    So why do I have such big troubles (and more important: how can I just ditch them once and for all) to get started each day? I procrastinate, rummage around get lost on the internet. It is so pradoxical and it confuses me. And even if I reach my daily goal of writing which is 90 percent of the time I always have the feeling that I am not doing enough.

    My suspicion is that I am afraid of failure – what’s your five cents?

    Much obliged,

  113. Ellie

    1. How do you deal with clients who say they can find someone cheaper? Unfortunately there are plenty of people doing not so good work for very cheap.

    2. How do you deal with a client who treats you like an employee?

    This client wanted me to work in his office. He was told I would come in for half a day to go over their systems. I did that and then began the work. The next day he calls me and demands to know where I am and to bring a sick note. I was really trying not to laugh. The agreement was in writing for the work to be done.

  114. Rob

    Ramit et. al,

    So I have a spouse who has a very different threshold for risk. She thinks I am crazy when I talk about wanting my own business, (too risky, loose money etc.). I agree that she has some reason on her side but I still hear that siren song. I think that if I ask for a blank check that will be too much but if I say “I want to spend XX dollars YY hours per week and in ZZ months it will be either making money or kicked to the curb. ” I think it will be harder to argue with, quiet worry instead of nagging. Specifically I have been thinking about setting up a dropshipping service. I want to know is how to determine or bound my unknowns and has anyone else had experience with this situation (reluctant / fearful SO)?

  115. Mary Anne

    How come, the very day after I’ve made a major decision about where I want my business, I either a) go into a major brain freeze regarding what to do next or b) suddenly find the idea behind the decision boring?

    Thanks, Ramit–I have scrolled through some of the questions/responses below–seems you really hit on something here.

  116. scott

    Why does fear and uncertainty stop us dead in our tracks? Why is it that when we are faced with stepping outside of our comfort zone, we just want to go fetal and run from the challenge? Why doesn’t this go away…ever?! How do we understand what’s going on so it is no longer a barrier to taking action so that we can thrive?

  117. Bill

    I’ve got an idea for an online business, but I’ve got a few concerns: #1, it isn’t a new idea. There are over 1500 existing patents for this idea, I just don’t see anyone actually executing on it. (Or at least not very well!). #2, I’ve read a lot of articles about patent trolls and I see this as a major potential hurdle to doing any business online. The last thing I need when my business may start getting traction is to have a patent troll firm hit me with a suit and drag it out until I’m out of cash. How would you proceed with this without incurring mega-expenses for patent research (thousands of dollars) and potential frivolous litigation (tens of thousands of dollars!)?? Thanks!

    • Ramit Sethi

      What is the idea?

      Everybody watch this response.

    • Bill

      I’ve emailed you details. Thanks, Ramit!!

    • Bill

      The idea is to develop a gift recommendation web site that uses Google Analytics to help recommend a gift for a person based on their interests. The site would provide links to sellers of the items. Revenue would come from two places: 1) portion of the sale from a click through to the site, and 2) ads from vendors on the site.

      I think my target market would be hard to narrow. I mean, almost everyone has had trouble finding a gift for that one friend or family member who already has everything.

      Thoughts on how to proceed with this? Would you enter a market knowing that you may be subject to litigation from groups like patent trolls?

  118. Paul mooney

    From 1980 until 2012, I was the owner and president of a small manufacturing company. It was my only career. Now I am faced with looking for something else and I am stuck. ” what do you really want to do? “, I am constantly asked and yet nothing comes to mind. I have my real estate license but am not motivated to enter that business. My wife said I should get my life and health insurance license and while I bought the review course, I have procrastinated and haven’t studied for it. The same goes for the CFP. I took all the courses nine years ago, recently bought the review course yet haven’t looked at it. Why am I procrastinating? I can’t say that it is a new trait as it has been part of my life forever but I do not have the resources to do nothing. I have even procrastinated reading your book (” I will teach you to be rich”) that I bought a long time ago. Any suggestions how to get out if this funk? Thank you


  119. Anisha

    Pitch to connect with a University Professor for assistantship:

    I’ve read and applied nearly all of your scripts on connecting with people (posts dated Jan 18, 2013; Sept 23, 2013; Jan 20, 2014) – to excellent results (got me a job I didn’t even ask for – and a mentor. Priceless). But I just can’t seem to get through to university professors to apply for assistantships as an aspiring Masters degree student. I’m an international applicant so it’s all down to the pitch I use in my emails. Logic (and your scripts) tells me that I need to make it all about the professor, so I’ve read their research papers, talked about specific things which I found interesting and told them what skills I possess and how I can add value to their research work. Even wrote a subject line very specific to their research work so they’d notice. I haven’t heard back from anyone yet.

    Is there something I’m missing? Maybe something else works on university professors, as “professors”, not as normal people (like they need a different incentive perhaps)?

    Would be great if you could address this. Thanks!

  120. Ryan

    Hey Ramit,

    I work in sales and am held back by the fear of failure. The nature of my particular sales leads me to pursue people in my personal circle and also people I have not met, most of which would be business owners. I sell insurance, a product that most people need and probably already have. The company I represent offers a superior product and as a result is not the cheapest product. I have been coached by my boss who offers Canadian based inspirational quips such as “If you don’t shoot the puck you won’t score”. Although inspiring to any maple lover, I still am blocked by a shroud of fear. Confidence while preparing a proposal is plentiful, but when I am about to see the prospect I start to question myself. What if I say something stupid? What if I am harshly rejected? or What if all they want is the cheapest price? – I know I do great work for the clients I assumed as part of my employment and often get emails praising my service. I need help pushing myself past these fears.

  121. Katherine

    I regularly make daily and weekly schedules to “get everything done”, but I always fall horribly behind schedule…usually only accomplishing about half what I’ve set out to do. Obviously I need to schedule less, but all my activities seem so important for future professional success, current financial stability (a.k.a. my job), and staying healthy and fit. So Ramit, how do you decide what’s really important?

  122. Lindsey

    Hi Ramit –

    Thanks for your follow up blog post covering common themes (motivation, procrastination).

    Lets be honest, I’m no unique snowflake, but I did read through all the comments above and saw maybe only 1 or 2 that are about family. This is where I need your help.

    I grew up lower middle class, to great caring parents, who are not wealth-creating or socially savvy. The issue really is my dad – his being, thoughts, outlook, and attitude. He was just recently laid off from a job he hated, but he hates working so much that he doesn’t want to look or get another job. He would rather pursue his hobby of running every waking moment and live poor. His habits and thought process/attitude indicate that he should have been a single man his whole life… but clearly, that’s not what happened. My mom still lives with him because she can’t afford to live on her own. Since I’ve grown up and moved out, they get along better, but apparently still fight as they did my whole upbringing (about money mostly, but really everything else is game).

    From childhood, I grew up thinking that I had to take care of my parents. My purpose in life was to stop their fighting by physically interjecting myself into their fights, the followed by a longer term goal of going to a good college and getting a career to make good money so that eventually I could help care for them. My goal in life was to be the opposite of my dad – get a good job, build a network, not worry about bills, aim to teach my future family about money, business, and friendships.

    My dad has no interest in improving his situation. He lives day to day as a lazy perfectionist – if a good job doesn’t fall on his lap, he’s not going to look for one (because he hates working). While money doesn’t buy happiness, per say, it does allow you to live a full rich life. At this point, if we could help him get a semi-regular paycheck, I would feel relieved. Even though he’d still have his deep seeded self-esteem and confidence issues, he would be on a better track.

    Back to your offer Ramit. What can we do? I know you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help, and I know it’s better to teach a man to fish. But I need a better framework for myself and for my family. Their livelihood depends on learning something better than their current selves.

    I may have deep-seeded Invisible Scripts from my statements above – if I do, please feel free to shout them out and tear them down. I don’t need to give you permission, just do your thing! If you can’t find any ISs, then maybe we have some real problems to fix.

    My family means the world to me, and despite the tough upbringing, I want to maintain a loving relationship. I’ve learned so much from them and from my upbringing and I want to show them the light. I don’t want them to lose the house and I don’t want them to live on the streets, get sick, or feel down/out. I just want them to be happy, healthy, safe, and to be pursuing their own dreams.

    Sincerest thanks for who you are and all that you do and offer the world, Ramit. I’ve followed you for 2.5 years now and you’ve helped me change my life.


  123. Mandi

    My Question: How do I survive Burnout?

    Since starting at my current company (going on 3 years now) I have performed at 120% and fast tracked up the corporate ladder. Today am so exhausted – bordering on depression.

    I have started taking care of myself (more exercise/sleep/healthy food) and physically I am a lot better. I am struggling mentally.

    There is a lot of context that I can add, but it boils down to: I am burned out and don’t know how to fix me.

  124. paola

    Dear Ramit,
    my problem is called networking.

    I know networking is not ASKING but I feel like I was a burden for people when i try to do it.

    How can I overcome?


  125. Michelle

    Ramit – how do I distinguish emotionally between wanting to do things that are better for the brand vs. wanting to do things that I enjoy or that might give me more value? How do I put the company before my ego? I am a photographer/film maker for a large clothing company. So here’s an example – having short, low budget product videos on our website would probably sell more clothes but a gorgeous shoot at the beach with models would be great to run in our stores on the giant screens. I’d rather do the beach shoot with the models than shoot an employee, on a seamless in the office, talking about a cardigan.

  126. Jeremy

    I’m good at a lot of things, but one thing that I’m terrible at – and probably my #1 business obstacle – is anything to do with reaching out to other people. Branding/Marketing/Advertising/Networking, anything like that.

    I think that the problem is that I hate all that stuff. Receiving it, not doing it. I unsubscribe from pretty much every email list, even lists I sign up for. Anything except for a personal email from someone I know is “spam” in my mind. I avoid commercials, advertising pisses me off, if someone on the street hands me a flyer I’ll throw it away without even looking at it. I find it offensive. I took a webinar the other day, and a day or two later someone from the company called me to follow up. That’s almost enough to make me never do business with them again.

    I feel like I more or less understand branding/marketing/advertising on an intellectual level, but I just can’t get behind it on an emotional level. If someone suggests that I, say, find people on LinkedIn and try to set up meetings with them, all I can think is how much that would piss me off if someone did that to me. It’s like coming into someone’s house without knocking and putting your feet on the coffee table.

    Obviously this is a block I need to get past. Thoughts?

  127. FreeBee

    Hi Ramit! Hi Everyone!
    First of all, sorry for my English……I am from South Asia
    My biggest problem is that I am not sure about my sexuality…….how can one be sure about what they want to do in life when they aren’t even sure about who they are?
    I am a boy but I am woman from the inside……whatever I do, whatever I feel, Whatever dreams I see, everything has to do with me being a woman. What should one do in a situation like that. I am 20, if things would have been in my favor, I’d have already achieved so much in my life. I am quite smart, very positive thinking and want to give my best to whatever I want to do.
    But, the question is what I want to do? I actually do know that what I want to become, but is that gonna happen ever?? Consider the fact that everything you do in your life is related to your sex……..where should I put my hard-work? what life I should be looking for? A guy’s or a girl’s?? These are the questions that derive me nuts, I feel I am becoming schizophrenic. No wonder LGBTs find it easy to die than to live…..
    PS people’s behavior towards me is a whole different topic that I can mourn over for my entire life….

  128. Sonie

    Hi Ramit! I want to change careers – I’m not happy with what I do…I just registered for your ‘Dream Job’ course. Just started the classes and am getting started but sometimes I’m not sure if I need to change jobs or keep working harder at what I’m currently doing to make it better for myself financially. Still struggling with that. Also, not sure if I need another degree to make the career change that I think i want to make. Many unknowns – and feel as if my decisions making skills are very weak. When do we know it’s time to move on?! from our current job .

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