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Wednesday Workout: Testing your assumptions

Ramit Sethi

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. — Mike Tyson

Remember in college when you’d read a chapter from your textbook, shrug your shoulders, and say, “Done. I got this.” Then you took the test and your ass royally kicked?

That’s because it’s easy to read and read and believe we “got it,” but when the rubber meets the road — when we have to actually prove it by IMPLEMENTING — we often fail.

I fail all the time — and I love it. I have a tab in my email account titled, “Failures” and, if I’m not regularly adding that tag to different things I’m working on with the blog, partnerships, or testing..I know I’m not trying enough things.

In fact, I now plan for failure. I know that out of every 10 marketing initiatives I take on “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” 7 will fail. And I am fucking good at what I do.

Today, I’ll show you how to harness, anticipate, and manage failure. And if you follow along and TAKE ACTION on what I outline below, you’ll have moved concretely toward your goal within FORTY EIGHT HOURS. Yes. In 2 days, you’ll have taken more action toward your goal than the last 2 months.

From failure to blockbuster success

I found this blog post about a guy whose first business idea crashed and burned. When asked why he failed, I liked his response:

“Shit that you read all the time. The biggest mistake we made with the point was being completely encumbered by this vision of what I wanted it to be and taking 10 months to build the product, all the while making assumptions on what people want that we then spent the next 10 months backtracking on instead of focusing on the one piece of the product that people actually liked. You’re way too dumb to figure out if your idea is good. It’s up to the masses. So build that very small thing and get it out there and keep on trying different things and eventually you’ll get it right.”

This guy was Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon — the fastest-growing company in the history of the world.

Would he have been able to accomplish something so incredible if he continued to sit back and read blogs and study books about starting a business, getting capital, and then turning a profit?

Ironically, we used to understand this, but we quickly forget after entering the real world. For example, in college, after we deluded ourselves into believing we “got it” — and getting a few “C”s on tests, we quickly realized that we needed to do homework in order to pass the class. But after we graduate, many of us read self-development blog after self-development blog, but rarely put the strategies into practice.

For the last 6 years, this blog has been about eschewing “popular” tips like “keep a budget!” and “stop spending money on lattes!” and even the canard, “if you’ve paid taxes, you’ve given free money to the government!”

All sacred cows in personal finance. All nonsense theories that simply don’t work once you put them into practice.

Even worse, personal-finance “experts” continue spreading these myths because people believe they work. (The dirty secret of the industry is that very, very few of these experts even keep a budget themselves.)

My books and courses give you exactly enough information to take action…and then they get you OUT OF YOUR ROOM and into implementation. My book is a “6-week program” (after which your finances are completely automated, including investing).

My Earn1k course on earning more money is 8 weeks and include specific action steps to earn money each week. In fact, I tell my students they should spend 2 hours/week consuming information…and 3 hours/week implementing.

Again, I don’t care about writing things that sound good. If you don’t take action and find success from my techniques, you stop reading and never come back. That’s a powerful incentive for me to create material that ACTUALLY works, vs. sounds good.

Recently, I ran a small test on this site. And the results were eye-opening.

Case study: Putting psychological tips into practice

I’ve written post after post about automation, psychology, and defaults — like this one I wrote for the New York Times. A few weeks ago, I asked YOU to use psychological defaults to design 3 solutions for the following challenges:

1. Help a busy executive lose 10lbs
2. Help a careless 26-year-old save $1,500 in his savings account by June
3. Help someone feel measurably happier

I even promised the winner of the BEST answer a phone call with me, where I’d help you pinpoint, change, amplify, or eliminate one critical behavior. With over 170 comments, things got very interesting.

In general, commenters got #1 (lose 10lbs) easily. “Have an executive assistant (or someone) place healthy food in the executive’s home and office.”

The answer to #2 (save $1,500) was also straightforward: “Set up an automatic transfer” (as I illustrate in extreme, automated detail in my book)

#3 (feel measurably happier) was incredibly difficult. Out of 170+ entries, fewer than 5 people got anything close to an effective answer. Most people got caught up pointing out how it’s impossible to quantify happiness and how “happy” is different for everyone. HEY WEIRDOS. THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDY THAT YOU CONTROL. YOU CAN ASSUME ANYTHING YOU WANT. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU NUTTY CRACKPOTS?

Here was the best answer to question #3, on how to make someone feel measurably happier using psychological defaults, by commenter “Stephen”:

Maybe he already has a dog, or can’t have one. Counting your blessings can have an impact on happiness, but that’s active. To make it a default, I’d have him type out a list of his blessings one time. Set up an account to automatically email him 2x times a day when he’s not busy, and put a unique ringtone on his smart phone and email accounts when emails from that account arrive. Every time the email comes in, take a minute and read through the list.

Note that you can point out lots of flaws in the answer — “What are blessings? He has to type it out the first time…that’s active! Maybe he doesn’t have different ringtones, Ramit! Not all of us went to STANFORD, you know” — but the fundamental answer is sound.

Stephen could have improved his answer by suggesting pre- and post-tests for happiness baseline or, even more cleverly, in-situ data collection on a daily basis.

But by (1) researching what makes the person happy and (2) creating an automated system to remind this person of those things consistently, he has essentially automated a measurable improvement in happiness.

But what have we learned from the meta-lesson of this challenge?

1. Most of us believe that once we’ve read something enough times, we “get it” — but until we’re tested on it REPEATEDLY, we don’t really get it. Having something in your head doesn’t mean you can present it, use it, or master it.

You can see that when I challenged people to operationalize their understanding of behavioral change, many of the commenters could not deliver. This is why pickup artists tell their clients to shut up about their PUA forum-reading and go into bars to talk to actual women. This is why personal trainers focus as much on motivation as technique. And this is why Andrew at Groupon had to test, and fail, before he stumbled upon the most amazing formula in his business approach. You can’t read your way to expertise.

2. Most people over-complicate things. The answers to #1 and #2 were clear and did not require a lot of creativity. Yet once some commenters saw “obvious” answers (deliver food, automate savings), they were compelled to add their own wrinkles. These certainly made them stand out, although it did not make them any more effective. This is one reason why talk-radio hosts and porn get more and more extreme: Moderation is not rewarded in pop culture, yet increasingly extreme opinions (or videos) are. I seriously hope my mom is not reading this.

3. On the positive side, most of you are getting pretty good at behavioral change. There are some GEMS in the comments that would rival any serious master of behavioral change. And most IWT readers understand the surprising difficulty in changing behavior. So when other people (especially online idiots) say things like, “Ugh, why can’t fat people just lose weight?” you guys know better.

Hustling Application: Systematically testing your assumptions

A few months ago, I was talking to a guy who was thinking of going to college, but was having second thoughts. “I don’t want to waste 4 years in class when I already know I want to start a company,” he said. I started narrowing my eyes and preparing to commit violence when he angered me even more.

“I already looked at the classes at Stanford,” he said. “I feel like I already know most of what I’d learn there anyway.”

“Dude,” I said, struggling to stay calm, “You just named off 10 assumptions. You’re assuming college is only about what you’ll learn in class. You’re assuming you already know all the stuff from class. You’re assuming you can’t start a company while in college.”

“How do you know?” I asked. “You’ve concocted all these theories in your head, but you have no idea. You’ve never even been to ONE DAY of college! Why not test your theories? First, get in. Then, if you do, try it out for a quarter. If you hate it, quit! But don’t let your nutty theories determine your life without testing them.”

This year — the year of the Hustle — I want to turn you into top performers.

For years, I’ve been systematically studying top performers to see what makes them different.

There are some obvious things: They’re better at what they do than average people.

But there’s something even more important. Top performers have the same 24 hours in each day as we all do. So how do they get so much done? Top performers choose to work on more important things than average people.

Would you ever see a top performer spending 2 hours / day entering menial data into an Excel spreadsheet? Not a chance. Not even if it was in their job description. A top performer would have convinced his boss to let him outsource that responsibility to get it off his plate entirely.

And that brings us to the Hustle.

Top performers systematically test their assumptions — including their invisible scripts — to see if they’re true or not. For example, after my friend talked to me and other people, he checked his assumptions about college and ended up going to Stanford, trying it out, and realizing he didn’t want to be there.

All of us have assumptions that are UNTESTED. For example:

* “I couldn’t ask my boss to get this off my plate…he would say no.”
* “If you want to build your own business it is better to wait till you have worked at a corporate job at least a couple of years”
* “I don’t have any time to earn money…I’m too busy”
* “I don’t have any money, so I can’t go to college”
* “Courses and all those “skill learning” things (such as Earn1K) are SCAMS”
* “I can’t get a good job if I don’t have the right credentials (Master’s Degree, experience, etc.)”

For each of these assumptions, I have 50 examples of people proving them wrong.

No money for college? Read how I got $100,000+ in college scholarships.

No time to earn money? I have a student who has a full-time job and a family who is earning several thousand dollars/month on the side using my Earn1k material on earning more money.

You can sit around reading articles in your living room and believe in these assumptions — or you can apply what you’re reading about and test your assumptions.

Hustling case study: Optimizing a wedding speech

Here’s a hustling case study from Kenneth, who crushed a “Best Man” speech by doing just a little bit more than everyone else.

With just marginally more work than other speakers, he distinguished himself from the million other crappy best man speeches — the Craigslist Penis Effect in action — that happen at every other wedding. The most important thing to notice is how he went from reading to applying and getting it done.

“Back in April a friend of mine from college asked me to be the best man at his wedding. I had never done this before but I said yes. The wedding was this past Saturday and when I finished my toast the wedding singer took the mic from me and said “No notes, no cheat sheet and that was one of the best toasts I’ve ever heard.” I got a lot of compliments for a brief, ~250 word speech.

After my buddy asked me to be the best man I went to trusty google and researched best man toasts. They were all crap. They all used the same jokes and the speeches were showing off how clever the best man was, not talking up the groom.

I broke up my speech into five parts…

I wrote out my speech in about half an hour one day during a break from studying for my professional engineering exam. Before I ever started writing it I thought a lot about what I wanted to say. I thought about it in the shower, on the way to and from work (sometimes at work). It wasn’t always my top thought but it was often in the background.

After writing my speech I left it alone and then opened up the text file just over a week before the wedding. I read through it, made some changes and printed it off. I took the speech with me as I traveled for work the entire week prior to the wedding.


The morning of the wedding I spent 30-40 mins walking around the living room giving my speech to the dog without my text. When I slipped up I started over and I tried to keep my pace the same as how I wanted to do it in front of the audience.

Throughout the day if I had a moment I ran through the text in my head. I had no choice to remember it as I purposely left the speech back in the room. All told, I think I spent about two hours working on that speech over the course of seven months, including 30 mins of practice the morning of the wedding. The result of which was a lot of “that was the best toast I have ever heard at a wedding” compliments. I thought it was going to be just ok as I had not spent a lot of time on it but compared to everyone else, my little bit of work went a long, long way.

You were right. I hope you enjoyed this.“


Every week this month, I’m going to help you take action. Today, it’s by testing your assumptions.

By simply taking action, you will accomplish more toward your goal THIS MONTH than you’ve accomplished in the last year.

In fact, if you follow through, you’ll accomplish more in the next 48 hours than all of last month.

Here’s why:
1. Today, I want you to lay out 3 assumptions you have that are holding you back
2. In the next 48 hours, I want you to test them
3. 48 hours from now, share the results of your research

The built-in accountability is incredibly powerful. If you don’t believe me, simply give me your trust THIS WEEK ONLY and see what kind of results I can get you.

Let me show you 3 examples

– Barrier: Not sure what idea!
– Tactics: Write down 20 things you could possibly do. (Click here for my free Idea Generator Tool.) Then sort by the amount of income you could possibly bring in on 10 hours/week. For example, photographing models = not likely to bring in $$ since there are tons of other photographers. Tutoring kids in math = very likely to pay $25 – $50/hour = profitable.

– Barrier: The people I want to talk to won’t respond to my emails
– Tactics: Make a list of 3 questions you want to ask, and email 8 people. They could be people you want to work with, or people you read about in Wired, or whoever you want. Simply say, “Hi Mike, my name is John and I’ve been a big fan of you for years, especially your work on ____. I was wondering if I could ask you 3 quick questions about my career. They won’t take long and I can send them by email. Would that be OK?”

– Barrier: “I don’t have anything interesting to say / I get quiet around them”
– Tactic: Write down 7 interesting stories…the ones that you tell your friends that always get big laughs. Go to a bar and commit to talking to a girl/guy within 5 minutes of seeing them. Don’t talk to 1 or 2…talk to 10. By the tenth, after some supreme flameouts (which is fine), you will have tested your stories and found 2-3 that always work. Boom. Assumption tested and discarded.

Don’t get caught up in the details of the examples…they are just examples. You see what I mean.

So here is what I want you to do:

1. Today, I want you to lay out 3 assumptions you have that are holding you back
2. In the next 48 hours, I want you to test them
3. 48 hours from now, share the results of your research

In the next 48 hours, you will make more progress than you made in the last MONTH. But you need to take action.

Do you know your earning potential?

Take my earning potential quiz and get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

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  1. avatar
    Kelly Croy

    Strong! I like this, and I love a challenge. Thank you for such a strong post.

  2. avatar
    Bradley Gauthier

    This is great Ramit!

    Here’s my assumption hurdles I’ve been thinking about for a long time:
    1.) Can I create a profitable workshop for local Real Estate agents?
    Barrier – Cost of renting a conference room & marketing and the time need for reaching out & preparing presentations.
    2.) Is it worth taking the time to launch an online RE sales training program?
    Barrier – I’m rather busy, other people doing it, and it’ll be a lot of work for little certainty of success.
    3.) Can I contact Stephen King with a question that has been plaguing me for a while?
    Barrier – Nervous, doubting he’d reply

    This will be interesting!

  3. avatar

    In this post you stress the Seth Godin/Andrew Mason approach to ship quick and often. But last post you stress to take the extra few months/effort to make your product extraordinary. I can agree with both reasonings but I find it somewhat contradicting? Am I missing something obvious here?
    Great post

  4. avatar
    Chris Clark

    I’m loving this. You’re actually taking on the least sexy (yet most crucial) topic of self development. The crazy notion that hard work pays off.

  5. avatar
    Craig Rodrigues

    That’s a lot of quality info right there. I just wish you wouldn’t have put that nutrition/weight loss question in there. Funny enough I find people make way too many assumptions about nutrition that just aren’t true.

  6. avatar

    I have 3 barriers attached to the same goal (which is about helping a cause, not earning more money). Will test them tonight…
    1) I don’t have time for this project
    2) No-one will want to help me
    3) No-one would be interested in the product

    PS: I signed up but I’m getting info about the Earn1K – not quite what I expected based on what was written just above the signup box in the post.

  7. avatar
    Riley Cabot


  8. avatar

    My 3 assumptions:
    -Starting a side business with a full time job in a different country is hard.
    -I’m not sure if people in Latin America really want to learn about my approach to personal finance.
    -I don’t know how expensive to start the business would be.

  9. avatar

    Assumption- winning freelance projects off of sites like elance is a waste of time and effort
    Barrier- One of my best friends makes his living off of these sites, I just doubt my ability to do the same

    Assumption- I don’t have the know how to set up a solid profile on these sites
    Barrier- Actually researching and planning out how to sell myself as a writer.

    Assumption-I don’t know enough about writing to edit or write for other people.
    Barrier- I doubt in my abilities despite the fact that I know I have the ability.

  10. avatar

    Ship quick and often when you are trying to figure out what will work.

    Ship slow and awesome when you have done the testing to know the rewards exist.

    You wouldn’t want to spend 12 years writing a book with no market, but if you knew you had a market and you could write the definitive book on x that would be sold for decades, it is worth the time.

  11. avatar
    Matthew Peters

    Ramit, I appreciate you candor in sharing the fact that you fail 7 out of 10 times – even with your experience. So many successes never talk about their failures – as if it will take away from a celebrity facade they have built.

    Talking about failing is important for people to understand that every idea won’t necessarily work if you just work it hard enough. I get motivated 100 times more by hearing that successful people failed over and over and over again from their own mouth.

    Too many times people look to try something new, start a business or freelance gigs and it doesn’t work that one time they tried it and they just chalk it up to “that won’t work.” It makes me sick how quickly many people quit after their first failure or even before!

    Here’s to adding to the failure tab!

  12. avatar

    I wrote down my 3 assumptions. I wrote down specific, actionable steps to take in the next 48 hours, one for each assumption …

    now i’m terrified!!

    But I’m going for it!!!

  13. avatar

    Just spent a semester in an ethics course, where we were challenged to take a hard look at our assumptions. Yet, I couldn’t put that effort into challenging my beliefs about making money online. Spent the holidays working on a site idea only to toss it aside as it’s with a new software that I don’t get and the site doesn’t look perfect. Why I assuming people will care about site design over a great idea?

    Thanks for the push!


  14. avatar

    As a lifelong resident of Maine, I have had numerous experiences with Stephen King and I would totally encourage you to contact him. He truly is a very down to earth person, Perhaps you wont get an answer back right off, but there is no law saying you cant keep trying. Maybe he has a cold or is on vacation or something. Dont let your fear of rejection keep you captive and leave your plaguing question unanswered.

  15. avatar

    Assumptions= Our own self limiting beliefs?
    Excellent article. A great kickstart in the ASS for me.

  16. avatar
    Tai Goodwin

    I loved reading this. I’m stubborn enough to challenge assumptions and get really frustrated with people when they want to box everyone into the way it worked for someone they read about – most of the time it’s not even what they’ve done.

    My assumptions/barriers:
    -The entry barrier for hosting a national radio show is high
    – Huge financial investment and lots of people vying for that type of gig with more experience
    – It will be hard to rebrand myself (changing from career coach to marketing/social media coach)
    – Being willing to start over – using the same strategies used to launch the Career Makeover Coach

  17. avatar
    jollibee's history

    I get motivated 100 times more by hearing that successful people failed over and over and over again from their own its happening with every one,,,with u with me n same with others,,,

  18. avatar
    Andrey Zhovnerik

    Ramit, I don’t agree with you about tracking spending and budgeting. I think it’s very useful things for controlling and cutting costs. How could you plan your investment if you don’t know how much you spend every month? I start tracking all my spending since September and I was surprised! Actually, I realized I spend on eating out and foods twice as big as I supposed! The main point is choosing right software for tracking. I use Family10. It’s easy for me to use this soft. The only specific feature is the Russian interface 🙂

  19. avatar

    This is my year for showing up or shutting up and I am ready to start hustling.

    Bring it on Ramit.

  20. avatar

    Amazing! What you wrote is exactly what I’m battling with – and I now have to admit (mainly to myself) that I actually haven’t tested my assumptions.

    Off I go then, time to be brave and prove myself wrong. 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. avatar

    The thing with tracking spending is to realise that all you are looking for is your base living cost for your current lifestyle. This gives you a real tangible figure as opposed to a potential but still mythical, as in unbelievable, earning figure so is something you can instantly relate to.
    We are all individuals living individual lives where we value the same thing differently so getting a handle on your current spending and lifestyle is important if you are to understand ‘where you are’ and why you are there.

    Once you have achieved your current lifestyle ‘cost’ from new income then its much easier to raise that income by replication, at least in my experience.

  22. avatar

    Hi Ramit. This is cool!!!

    Ok- here are my assumptions…

    GOAL:- Become the premier makeup artist in Kenya by starting off in the advertising industry (the industry that I am wary of the most).
    ASSUMPTION:- the industry is too difficult to penetrate (and their terms can be viewed as ludicrous), especially since my work isn’t widely known.

    GOAL:- Run at least 5 miles continuously, in less than 40 minutes
    ASSUMPTION:- running is a pain in the ass, it’s gonna take a while and my goal is rather ambitious.

    GOAL: – Mend a rift between two parties that I love (I have to be somewhat discreet here)
    ASSUMPTION:- What happened hurt too much, and bridges have been burned beyond recognition.

  23. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    I’m sure your readers love hearing that “everything you know is wrong” when it comes to personal finance, especially when you fail to back it up with any sort of citation. The fact is, however, that in this case you’re wrong. Budgeting may be boring, but it is effective – Thomas Stanley found that the majority of millionaires (54.5%) keep a budget. Of course, you’d rather your readers didn’t track their spending so they can’t see how much money they pay out for your “hustles” every month.

  24. avatar

    Exactly my state of mind!
    Bring it on indeed 😉

  25. avatar

    GOAL: Make some side income from party photographs
    ASSUMPTION: No one’s looking for party photographer and even if they do, they pay dirt

    GOAL: See if it’s just an assumption
    ASSUMPTION: Women won’t usually accept being a modeling offer when asked on the street

    GOAL: Do all of the “workouts” you ask this month, I know it will help me. Also, continue a program I’ve already started and make sure I finish it
    ASSUMPTION: I’m not disciplined enough to follow and fully accomplish long term goals

  26. avatar
    Tweets that mention Wednesday Workout: Testing your assumptions | I Will Teach You To Be Rich --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ramit Sethi, Alex Shalman, Jason Doucette and others. Jason Doucette said: via @ramit "…if I’m not regularly adding that [“Failures”] tag to different [emails] ..I know I’m not trying enough" […]

  27. avatar

    Hi wes- clearly you’re new here, so welcome! Keep reading through this blog to see why your comment has got lots of Ramit-readers eyes rolling right now.

  28. avatar

    I’ve been tracking my spending (budgeting) for years, using an Excel spreadsheet, takes me about 3 nano seconds every day to check online bank balance against it, enter latest info, bada bing, i’m done and know exactly where i stand. Including the cash in my pocket. This has helped me get out of debt, create a 5-figure savings account and start investing. If your cash flow is positive, probably not necessary, but if it isn’t, you gotta start with the information about where it is all going. Kind of like testing assumptions, maybe? Like you’re not wasting money, you just don’t make enough? And having a second job to make more money is always a good thing?

  29. avatar

    I’m really tired of all the eye rolling and anger at what you view as financial stupidity, Ramit. Your writing style needs a shot in the arm.

  30. avatar

    Gotta say I disagree with you on the budget point. Takes me about 5 min/wk to input every transaction and budget out the following month, which helped me to get out of debt and live comfortably on a pretty tight income, and now keeps my husband and I in check and in line with our goals.

    That aside, though, I don’t need to agree with everything you say to recognize that what you’re saying could help me a lot. I appreciate your different angle on finance and look forward to learning from you.

  31. avatar

    I agree with the assumptions part. Ramit, how can you know you won’t like sucking an old leper’s penis until you try it? I say you prove your point, do it and post it on your blog.

  32. avatar

    I’ve got an idea for my dream job, within my current organization, but the job doesn’t exist yet, except in my head.

    Assumption 1) There’s no money in the organization’s budget for any new positions, so this is a waste of time.

    Assumption 2) I first need to persuade a few key bigwigs to believe in the power of this new dream position before I can do anything, and they won’t listen to me.
    [The alternative is that I can do work right now and start demonstrating how compelling it will be for the organization to have someone working on the opportunity I see, without needing permission.]

    Assumption 3) If I do this work on the side in a way that demonstrates its potential without getting permission first, I’ll piss people off.

    Hmmm. Great exercise. Stating the assumptions explicitly tells me pretty clearly what to work on next.

    Agree with the commenter who found the sign-up box confusing. I’m already a subscriber to Earn1k, but clicked because it appeared to be the means you were suggesting we state these assumptions. Consider different placement or more explicit labelling.

  33. avatar
    tech girl

    It’s 2011 and I will be 40 this year. Maybe that is what is getting me to get my ass in gear finally. I’m not sure. I’ve vowed to get back in shape as I have neglected a gym and working out for the last 3 years which I have now been (painfully!) doing for 3 weeks now. I have vowed to eat healthier which I have also been doing for the last 3 weeks (except for that one sliver of chocolate caramel cheesecake on christmas eve. I made it I had to try it! 🙂
    So perhaps it is a mid-life crisis, but I am feeling confident and ambitious, so let’s see what else I can do this year ….
    my goal: to work for myself (outside of the tech field) so I have more flexible hours and am not on the road for 3-4 hours a day.
    my assumptions:
    – I don’t have the time to invest to reach my goal (I have a husband, kids, and travel 100-200 miles a day for work)
    – I don’t have the money to invest to reach my goal (Need money to make money)
    – I am nervous and a bit scared what my family and friends will say (I’m hitting techie burn-out after 15 years, but family still has expectations of me becoming CTO/CIO one day)

  34. avatar


    Huh? I read this blog for free. It doesn’t cost me anything to read what Ramit has to say.

  35. avatar

    Ramit’s not saying to not track spending at all; what he’s saying is that spending copious amounts of time doing is a waste of time. He uses, he’s said so multiple times. He’s not going to spend all day writing all of this down though when he can a)do it automatically via mint, and b)spend time doing something useful to increase income.

    Knowing what your income and expenditures is useful so you know where to go from there.

  36. avatar
    Jason Scoggins

    I’m not sure I would consider 54.5% a majority. Technically, yes, but only by a very slim margin. And that’s based on one source. Who knows how many millionaires were surveyed, and how many of them really wanted to let on that they didn’t keep a budget, or perhaps didn’t keep a budget up to Thomas Stanley’s (or is that Dr. Stanley) standards.

    Semantics, I know.

  37. avatar

    Ramit, I think you have managed to extract a key piece of wisdom here and boil it down to the point where any of us can execute it…no training, no frameworks to learn, no reason to delay just doing it.

    This is a true “aha” moment, with stuff clicking into place that I personally have struggled to understand for years. I can see that no matter how smart you are, if you do not take this one step you could waste literally years of your life going after something and still fail. But why is it that I and so many others have missed it on our own? There must a reason (psychological maybe?) that so many people either fail to see it, or see it and don’t get it.

    Thank you. I mean really, thank you.

  38. avatar

    wow I don’t know what it is about your posts, but they always fire me up to get my ass into gear. It’s true I usually just spend my lunch breaks reading personal finance and entrepreneurship blogs, but today I’M GOING TO GET OFF MY BUTT AND WRITE DOWN SOME GOALS!!!

    then i’m going to go out and test my assumptions!

    I feel like you just pulled an inception on me. But maybe I needed it. Thanks Ramit!

  39. avatar

    Did… did you really just send me to

  40. avatar

    Ramit, if this is where I Will Teach You To Be Rich is headed in 2011…. then I am so excited! Great post, I can think of a couple barriers/assumptions that I need to go test right now 😉

  41. avatar
    Léan Ní Chuilleanáin

    Goals scare me, so I’m going to do this.

    Goal 1: Finish my current art project by Sunday’s deadline without having to stay up ridiculously late on Saturday.
    Assumption: I’ll get to Saturday night and realise that I’m hours from completing the piece, sigh, and settle in for the long haul through the small hours YET AGAIN.

    Goal 2: Tidy desk.
    Assumption: Impossible. I come from generations of desk-cloggers and clutter-hoarders. (My great-great-grandfather at one point was paying rent on three apartments in late-nineteenth-century Dublin, two of which were literally too full of books to live in.) Other people may be able to do this, but not me.

    Goal 3 (might as well state the big one, while I’m at it): Make a good living as a fiction writer and textile artist, on MY terms.
    Assumption: Artists who make decent money do so by targeting their work to appeal to a lucrative market, and by constantly following the money – tweaking and reissuing financially successful pieces, and so on. They are not free to explore, to make mistakes, to create art that moves them without thinking of the bottom line.

    Right! Here we go, then.

  42. avatar

    Hello, I’m from México and we really need to learn about personal finance, just try it!


  43. avatar
    Fabian Ramirez

    I’m in on the challenge, I sent in my assumptions. It’s funny how we never test what we already think will not work simply because we think it. Time to test and test again until we break the strongholds that keep us from doing what we really want to do.

  44. avatar

    I submitted my assumptions to the survey because I wanted to keep them kind of anonymous, but I have to say: they all kind of involve putting myself out there in some way and risking rejection. Normally, after doing one rejection-risking activity, I get all anxious and obsessive and I end up hyper-focusing on the outcome – basically going crazy.

    But doing three crazy things simultaneously – that shatters my hyper-focus. So I feel far less anxious, because it’s too difficult for my brain to fixate on three things at once. Also, even if one assumption turns out to be devastatingly true, it’s likely that I will be pleasantly surprised to be wrong about one of them, so that will lessen the blow of any failure/rejection that does occur. Really great unexpected side effect!

  45. avatar

    1. Flip key is too large and we are not developed enough to approach them about a partnership. (I’ll call flip key tomorrow morning – first thing).

    2. We are not “put together enough” to get funded. (I’ll start applications to angels forum, tech stars, y-combinator, etc)

    3. We dont know for sure what pricing model the market wants so we cant finalize a model until we get more feedback. (we’ll decide on our pricing model in the morning, set it in stone, and move forward). obviously we’ll still be open to being flexible but we need an initial decision to be made in order to have something to test our assumptions against.

  46. avatar

    Maybe I’m missing it, but Ramit why isn’t there a share option on your posts? I want to email this to EVERYBODY! Guess I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way *opens gmail*. Lol.

  47. avatar

    Thank You Karla! I’m very motivated… We’ll see what happens.
    Saludos a ti también!

  48. avatar
    Setting intentions, reluctantly | The Rebuilding Year

    […] about it not happening than make it happen himself, so I’m going to try it, for him.  I am testing my assumption that it is impossible to do this and still get a decent dinner on the table at a decent […]

  49. avatar

    Perez Hilton link is gold. Nice touch.

    Goal: Get a job that I’m passionate about e.g. a professional sports team
    Assumption: Lacking connections and/or appropriate experience.
    Tactics: Work network, reach out to high level people in the organizations and ask similar questions to what Ramit outlined above.

    Goal: POTUS
    Assumption: That’s totally absurd, you have no shot. Lack money, background, education, etc.
    Tactic: Take a first step and get involved in politics at the local level. Help a candidate, campaign or organization.

    Goal: Get paid to speak for public speaking.
    Assumption: Not an expert at anything; nothing interesting to say or worth paying for.
    Tactic: Come up with 20 things I’m interested in. Pick three and become an expert at 1 or 2.

  50. avatar

    I guess I missed your 3 hour time limit earlier, I just read your email now. I was too busy getting down to business to read it earlier. One of my assumption dealt with creating a website. I kept coming up with “reasons” why I shouldn’t do it (basically I was being lazy). I am happy to tell you that I bought a domain name and am in the process of creating the site as we speak!

  51. avatar
    Justin L

    Goal: start a business converting home computer users from windows to linux.
    Barriers: I won’t be able to find people who are willing to change their operating system.
    Answer: Bullshit, plenty of people are sick of windows, but don’t want to spend money on a mac because they already put a lot of money into their current laptop!

    Goal: save up enough money to move into new apartment by August.
    Barrier: this will cost at least $2000 (first/last/deposit) and I can’t save up that much in 8 months!
    Answer: Look at budget and make it work. Pick up EVEN MORE OT at work!

  52. avatar

    I’ve been procrastinating writing here, and I was planning on doing it tomorrow, but I’ve already taken some action.
    There’s so much learning I need to do, it seems. I had no idea that putting up a website was so complicated. My blog, yeah, that’s easy. There’s so much involved now, though. Goodness.
    But, as far as action goes, I’ve registered my domain name, installed wordpress on the server, chosen a theme, and thought about what I want it to look like.

    I’ll update tomorrow with everything I’ve done though.

  53. avatar

    I’m sure you can make a business converting people – you might want to look at converting businesses, especially non-profits, too. There’s a lot of expenses in setting up computer systems, and showing them that it’s doable, they can understand it, run it, and make it work much more inexpensively than with Windows, then you’ll have lots of income!

  54. avatar

    I am already stoked about trying something I never thought I would do: eat sushi!

  55. avatar
    WOOOH! Traction! | Hello Sidewalk

    […] I’m finally starting the official blog – le blog officiale! Freshly inspired from this article by Ramit Sethi, I’m testing my assumptions and working on […]

  56. avatar

    Goal – make $100K by end of the year either through supplemental income or a new job that means I have to make an extra $30K per year for a supplemental job (make fixed $70K / year with potential for bonus for obtaining new clients)

    Barrier: I am uncertain on how to make this happen, take the supplemental income approach by trying to start something and try to earn that $30K per year extra or find a new job that makes $100K

    Tactic: Just pick one approach and just do it! Today I listened to the free lancing opportunity and see if earning something at the side will be the answer to my goal. Listen to Ramit’s free material, look at my skills, strengths, passion and also use the Idea generator. I got one, computer tutoring, there is demand, I’m good at it, next step is to see if it’s lucrative enough to meet my goal and sustainable. Checked out craigslist in the bayarea, $25-50 rate per tutor no way in hell that I will meet my $30K per year goal supplemental income with my demanding full time job. Crushed this idea, move on.

    Next route, figure out how to make more money at my current job by being more efficient, be really good at what I know by developing skills and becoming an expert at what I do (I took a second look at what I can do and notice that there are gaps that I need to bridge) I figured out the gaps can be done by passing certain industry certs and taking more high level responsibility at work, overall making my boss’ life easier. The potential to make $100K thru this job alone is possible if I hustle, if not I’m out of the door by end of year.

  57. avatar
    Jonha |

    Wow..this post explodes with ideas not only to get rich financially but also mentally, physically and emotionally, among others.

  58. avatar

    Great post Ramit, do I need a Kick my ass Wednesday.

    Goal 1: get a famous food blogger to do a piece for my company.
    Assumption: we’re too small so he won’t be interested; colleagues will think it’s a stupid idea and we’d need a sponsor to cover expenses.
    Tactic: be prepared. Draft a detailed project outline to pitch it as a concrete plan and argue for it. Then identify possible sponsors and show the blogger the project will be profitable, original AND fun for him. (he’s done similar things in the past, but for bigger companies) Who knows, if I get it right he might want to do it for free?

    Goal 2: get more freelance writing work
    Assumption: I need more experience, employers will know I’m not a native speaker, there are too many writers better than me
    Tactic: prepare a blanket statement to email, write more samples and have them proofread by several people (and do NOT ignore their feedback).
    As one poster said “my friends do it, I just doubt my ability to do the same” = I should make a list of achievements and pieces I’m proud of, it’ll boost my confidence and remind me I’m good at my job.

    Goal 3: get a press/media internship
    Assumption: no one’s hiring (even interns), I tried all the places in town already and they declined, I’ve exhausted all my contacts, “it’s not meant to be”
    Tactic: I’m out of ideas actually. Drop it all for the weekend and come back to it with fresh eyes in 2-3 days?

    I’m still in the process of testing all that so not much to share right now. One thing about goal 3: a friend found new contacts to try and I’m already meeting one for an interview.
    Lesson learnt: when you think it’s over, try again.

  59. avatar
    Ben Thomas

    Goal 1: Email 8 of my personal heroes/inspirations, and ask them 3 questions about how they got to where they are today.

    Last night, I sent out the 8 emails. This morning, I woke up to 8 replies from my heroes.

    Ramit, I don’t exaggerate when I say the advice in this post/email literally changed my life.

    Tonight I’m tackling my other two 48-hour goals. I’ll post an update tomorrow.

  60. avatar
    Adam G.

    Alright here we are.

    3 Current Goals and Negative Assumptions:

    1. Gain 5 pounds of muscle in one month.
    – I don’t have the time.
    – It’s too expensive (supplements/food)
    – It’s not important vs. other goals
    – I’ll look fat! (I weigh 118.5 🙂

    2. Define a career path to move toward!!
    (Im in grad school for design. Helping people. Solving problems. Design/Inventions. Cultures. People in need…)

    – My interests do not have a ready made career choice.
    – People are busy and to bother them is rude. (!?)
    – Deciding one career will stick me there forever.
    – Success is hard and scary, and also vain.

    3. To sell my car.

    – I don’t have time.
    – I will be stuck in the city of SF.
    – I cannot go to parks or other great destinations.
    – Girls like cars.
    – I cannot afford to have a car in this city.

    That’s that. Interesting…

  61. avatar
    Micah Dixon

    1. Big guys like Ramit will not want to even respond to a little beginner blogger like myself.

    2. I don’t have enough web visitors to start a newsletter. And it’s too hard to put in an opt-in form on your website anyway.

    3. I can’t afford to take a 2 week vacation to a tropical destination

  62. avatar
    Behind the scenes of a psychological campaign | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] and people who take action. It’s not just about buying something, either — it can mean testing your assumptions, pursuing your goals, or producing valuable material that helps […]

  63. avatar
    One for the guys - Page 4

    […] the reactions were similar. Disbelief that I did such a thing. I can tie this into the most recent I Will Teach You To Be Rich article. Ramit Sethi pretty much talks about how your assumptions are holding you back. For the […]

  64. avatar

    3 month ago I was in a Maria Sharapova Like shape, both physically and mentally, and I manage to construct a cornerstone plan to realize my dream:
    be self employed and location independent.

    Among lots of other “sweat” inducing activities,
    Moving back home, to lower living costs, was a first.

    I’m home, and fear paralyzed (for 3 month now)!
    Other than consuming a ridicules amount of information and a boatload of e-courses on how to, and ways to, make money online I haven’t actually rolled up my sleeves yet.

    Why not?
    Reasons are plenty, or maybe it all boils down to this:
    I am afraid, I’m not good enough, and I don’t know how.

    Let me explain:
    I physically left school when I was 14, I taught myself everything I know, including English, so I don’t think low IQ is our problem hear, As less intelligent people tried it and pulled it of.

    What’s stopping me?
    I’m missing some basic and fundamental learning skills.
    As an adult, whenever I took on learning something new,
    I quit as soon as these skills are required.
    That leads to self hatred and low self esteem,
    resulting in reverting to,
    using my charisma and physical strength as a surviving strategy.
    Fortunately however,
    this work harder not smarter dose not fulfills me and I keep trying:

    Take 75, Camera roll and action!!

  65. avatar
    Marie-Pier Joubert

    Thank you Ramit for everything. I bought your book and waiting to get it delivered… Can’t wait to read it. You and your posts are very empowering.

    My assumptions have a “lower self-confidence” theme. I feel like an impostor in general. I feel less intelligent than other people. I’m hard on myself. Anyway!

    This year is my year of the hustle. I have 3 projects in route and another one in the back of my head. I’m really fuelled by creativity and good vibes right now. The sentence that changed my life is “consume less, produce more” from your blog.

  66. avatar

    I did it! I assumed I couldn’t get a one-time offer a second time from a company, scoring a major deal in the process. I challenged my assumption and it paid off.

  67. avatar
    Zena and Jason

    This challenge has been awesome Ramit… Testing our assumptions and the results we’ve had so far is really encouraging… it’s addictive. We really want to go India but we don’t have the cash so we devised and built this site ( in the 48 hr timeframe and now we have just received our first donation!

  68. avatar

    Hannah’s right. He is very involved in the community and very down to earth. As long as its not a creepy personal question I’m sure he’ll answer it in his own time. After all writing is his passion and fans come with that!

  69. avatar

    I put this off on Wednesday, but am going to do it this weekend.

    1) Claiming Australian Superannuation refund – I spent 10 months working in Australia in 2007/2008 and have not claimed back my money yet.
    – Assumption: Too much effort with low expectation for pay off

    2) Cell phone bill is too high – I’m paying for more phone than I need.
    – Assumption: There are little to no options for reducing my bill.

    3) Launching new restaurant web site
    – Assumption: Will not attract enough interest.

    This will be fun – I’m looking forward to seeing the results of these actions.

  70. avatar

    I dont know where you are located but you can find lots of available opportunities online. Its not my field but I have a sister who is interested in publications and editorial work after she returns from teaching in Korea (which is why I notice them). Ive seen several virtual organization looking for media and press – I will see if I can find them again, but the point is – if I can find them not looking for them you can too 🙂

    If you arent location dependent have you thought about changing your search parameters to outside where you live? If you are location dependent why not look into freelance editing or working for companies that are looking for virtual workers. There are certainly more media and press jobs in big cities like Washington DC and New York

    Also I would avoid a blanket email. You can certainly have points you want to include in every email but each email should be tailored to the person/organization you are writing to. You would provide different material for a science fiction publishing house compared to a children book publisher.

    Good luck in your search

  71. avatar

    My 3 goals:

    1) Goal: Get the book I’m translating published.
    Assumption: not sure if any publishers will be interested, or even the author. (I started this project to give my friends the chance to read one of my favourite books, but now that I’m almost done, I’m realising that it’s definitely of publishable quality…)
    Ways to test it: email a friend in the publishing industry to learn more about the process and ask for advice on publishing on the English side. Then write an email to the author saying that I’ve almost finished a translation of one of his most popular books, and I’d like to help him find him a publisher in English. Get 2-3 friends to proofread email for professionalism, as English is now my best language. Get an introduction to a friend of a friend who works in the publishing industry in Russia, and ask him for proofreading and advice. Send the email. (I might not get all of this done in the next 48 hrs, but I can certainly get started!)

    2) Goal: more interesting conversations with friends and workmates.
    Assumption: I don’t follow sport or entertainment or current affairs so I have nothing to talk about with most people beyond work. The things I am interested outside of work are too random and obscure for them.
    Ways to test it: Make a list of 10-20 things I am interested in, however obscure. Focus on things that I don’t normally talk about. Start conversations about at least 10 of them with various friends and work colleagues, see who is interested, and record the results.

    3) Goal: Start earning money outside of a 9-5 job.
    Assumptions: I already don’t own a TV and only play one or two games per year – I have nothing to cut down on to find the time. Main assumption: all the things I spend my time on have to be done.
    Ways to test this: Install Rescuetime on my home computer and track how I really spend my time when I’m on the computer, to see if there’s anything substantial that is not in aid of a major goal. Also, review my todo list for the last week. For every item, ask myself: what would have happened if I hadn’t done this? Repeat this exercise with my next week’s todo list, and for anything that turns out to be nonessential, delete it. Do the same with my “major goals for the year” list.

  72. avatar
    Nayland House

    Ramit, another great post. Your site is the gift that keeps giving.

  73. avatar

    Okay, I just got punched in the face.

    Goal: Become a relationship coach.
    Assumption: I need specific training (besides reading/listening to everything I can get my hands on) to do so, as well as be certified as a life coach and/or a relationship coach.

    Test: Keep trying, though everything I’m seeing and reading and hearing is saying that I won’t be effective or credible without these crazy thousand dollar classes!
    Any ideas folks?

  74. avatar

    Well, if I were you I’d initially try to help my friends out for free with their goals or relationships. Since you might already know what your friends struggle with, you can help them structure a plan to reach a goal.

    If you think pitching friends is awkward, then try to meet with several relationship/life coaches (use google or craigslist to find a few around your area) and get to know them. I won’t go into depth about this because Ramit wrote a guest post on this ( and Tim Ferriss writes on how to reach seemingly hard-to-reach people in his book, the Four Hour Work Week. A very critical thing to remember is to provide value for the value you receive. For this, I’d suggest “interning” with one. You can help them with organization or note-taking in exchange for you gaining first-hand exposure in the field.

    I’m pretty sure there are many relationship/life coaches out there who blog. Learn about their contribution to the field and learn from them. Also, look into active forums as those communities generally love to help out.

    Just pick an idea and deconstruct it into specific and actionable steps. Good luck Rusty!

  75. avatar


    1. Bus stops are the only place the bus stops (so I’ll just wait for the next one.)
    2. The DeYoung Museum exhibit is sold out because it’s the last weekend (so I’ll skip it entirely and waste the voucher that I bought to save money on the cost of admission and see it guilt-free.)
    3. I need to work 10-20 extra hours over the weekend to be productive and get my work done (because I’m going out of town and because I need to work a ton, to make a lot of money and be productive.)

    Test Results:

    1. I saw the bus I had to transfer and realized that I would miss the bus (and have to wait 15-20 (if luck was on my side) for the next one. I made my way up to the driver asked if he would let me out on that side of the street, where he was stopped at a red light. He opened the doors and I was on to the next leg of my journey without waiting in the cold. [This also worked for the shuttle I take to the office. I asked if I could board where he was waiting and I sat on the warm shuttle instead of chasing the it, then waiting in the cold.]

    2. I went to the DeYoung, got one of the last tickets available (the online tickets were sold out) and enjoyed the museum for a couple of hours and the exhibit instead of feeling bad that I’d missed an opportunity because I didn’t act.

    3. I came into the office Saturday and Sunday, but both for limited amounts of times. Saturday, I knocked out a wage claim that’s been on my To Do List for months. Sunday, I knocked out two disks and realized I work faster when I’m fresher. Telling myself I’m going to work 20 hours over the weekend, doesn’t work because I dread going in to the office, I feel guilty when I don’t go, and the truth is there’s a balance point where I can get what I need done AND still have a life, especially if I automate my finances and have a conscious spending plan in place, which is what I did with some of the extra time I found this weekend. Such an apple polisher . . .

    Not quite. I thought about the difference in the results between Monday – talking about goals and Wednesday – taking action. I’d agree that it’s hard to take action than it is to talk — talk is cheap. And that accounts for some of it. What I also realized was the blog about goals started a week, which started slow because of two weeks of holidays. The responses were also fueled by the excitement of the New Year because everyone was talking about goals. So it was easy to chime in. By Wednesday, the New Year’s high had worn off and I was knee deep in new work and catching up from the lull . . . but change is all about baby steps. This is one of mine. I can’t wait for the next challenge!

  76. avatar
    Danny Rosenhaus

    One reason why I believe lots of people have trouble testing their assumptions is because they see their goals as insurmountable. With too much on their plate at one time, people are reluctant to take that first step and because people are lazy, this often prevents most from testing assumptions or pursuing goals. But like this article says,, if you break tasks into smaller, manageable parts you are more likely to go out their and get things done. Ramit makes lots of great points, but if you have big goals in mind, having a longer check list of smaller items to accomplish in order to get there helps.You will be more likely to actually do what you need to and feel like you’re accomplishing more along the way.

  77. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Sorry I’m late, I took action before writing. But I wanted to give you a quick feedback.

    Goal 1 : Stop the toxicity in my relationship with my long term girlfriend
    Assumption : I don’t want to/can’t make her miserable by breaking up
    Results : We decided to break up on a mutual agreement. It feels good to have my energy free up for something else. She doesn’t seem more miserable now and she even seems pretty happy that we made the decision.

    Goal : Get up at 5am each morning
    Assumption : I can’t get up so soon
    Results : I put my alarm clock at 5 am, hear it at 5:30 and get up at 5:40. It is relatively easy to adapt this new behavior. Now I need to hear it sooner and get up quicker. I hope to complete this goal before February.

    Goal : Do one think per day to finish Earn1K
    Assumption : I am not disciplined enough to keep that momentum
    Results : So on, 4 days before interruption. I’ll start again and set smarter goals for each day.

    Keep going Ramit,
    2011 will be fun

  78. avatar
    The Shipping Department! - Do Something… Different!

    […] Sethi in his blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, illustrates this point in two recent posts, here and […]

  79. avatar

    Ramit, I seriously suck at finding assumptions that are holding me back, but you’re big on “just do something” so here’s what I got. Let’s fail big!

    Assumption/Barrier: “I’m introverted and don’t know how to connect with people”
    Tactics: Get on the train and if someone is sitting alone looking board (and they don’t look like they can kill me), I’ll say hello, introduce myself and ask who they are. Then I’ll ask if they have any interesting stories to share. Do the same thing if I go to a fast food place or something for dinner.

    GOAL: TALK TO A HOT GIRL (stolen from you)
    Assumption/Barrier: “I’m not interesting / I’ve never had a girlfriend (no experience)”
    Tactics: I’m going to go to a place I’ve never been before where there are single girls my age. If I see a girl that looks friendly, I’ll take a moment to prepare a story, go up and introduce myself, and try to find out who she is. Since I’m new to the area, ask her about how she got here, where her favorite food places are, awesome places to go visit, etc…

    Assumption/Barrier: “I am too busy to get enough sleep”
    Tactics: I’ll set a sleep alarm and when it goes off everything gets turned off (computer, lights, etc…) and I immediately get in bed, even if I don’t fall asleep right away. Or if I plan on going out, I will make every effort to get back home before the alarm hits.

    Thanks for the push Ramit! I’ll report back with what happens!

  80. avatar
    Let’s just assume I have work to do. « Real Live Revolution

    […] Ramit has a great post about testing assumptions. Reading made me pause and consider some of the things I’ve taken for granted without actually examining why I think that way.  It’s all part of rewriting my story. […]

  81. avatar

    Assumptions. Late, because things worked well.

    Assumption 1 – I was stuck doing the same job in the same place.
    Challenge – To do extra paid work. I noticed 2 temporary, one-off days of paid work, so I called up before I had the chance to think of problems. I now have some experience of doing these jobs, 2 days extra pay and I enjoyed the change.
    Assumption 2 – I would get stressed and ill by working extra hours.
    Challenge – Tried it and was fine. The lack of long term commitment was liberating.
    Assumption 3 – My present employer had no extra work for me.
    Challenge – I had an informal talk with my line manager and told him I was looking for extra work and that I wanted to try new tasks. Today I started doing extra, paid, temporary work that fits around what I already do.

    So, very successful. Steps in the right direction.

  82. avatar

    Now I want to read that Best Man’s toast! No fair!

  83. avatar

    Adrianne – thank you very much for your comment!
    I live in the UK and have noticed people don’t seem to trust online experience as much as they do in the US (broad generalisation), but I guess that’s where I use my email/interview to prove they’re wrong..
    Thanks very much again for the advice. 🙂

  84. avatar

    Ok, here’s the 48 hour update:

    1. Mostly failure. No fewer than 4 times I encountered someone on the train or at a food place and just sat alone without approaching them. I just keep getting paralyzed, and I have no idea what I’m afraid of.

    2. Major progress. The first night I went to a place with a decent number of single girls, and spent time getting to meet 5. I feel like that’s about as many as I’d meet in a whole year! I also started up some smalltalk with a girl that was waiting for the elevator with me in my apartment complex which I never would have done a week ago.

    3. Success the 1st night, but I forgot to set my alarm the 2nd and missed it. The first morning I actually woke up with some energy!

    Ramit, this was an awesome exercise and I’m glad you challenged us. I’m going to keep trying and tweaking my tactics to see how far I can push myself.

  85. avatar

    Hey Ramit –
    Thanks for the inspiring blog post. I’ve been reading and playing along, meaning, I’m taking action as we go along.
    Assumption 1 – I couldn’t add an extra revenue stream to my existing freelance business because I’m already too busy.
    Results – I mentioned to 5 friends and ex-clients that I was adding a service I used to offer but stopped about a year ago. Within a month, two of them called me and I billed $5,000, and am slated to bill another $7,500, for a service I’ll partially outsource, partially complete after regular freelancer hours (if those exist).
    Assumption 2 – My credit is terrible (late on several payments over the past few years) and I won’t be able to refinance an existing mortgage and home equity loan.
    Results – I called three banks, told them how I wanted to refinance and pull out some equity to purchase an investment property. All of them told me my credit was stellar and one of them pre-qualified me for the refinancing. Now to find the investment property.
    Assumption 3 – I can’t take two afternoons off to spend time with my youngest (4) son.
    Results – I scheduled the time away from the office, am picking him up early, and have scheduled office time to start up again at 5 pm, with my wife taking over with the kids. I don’t look at email and don’t schedule anything on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and find the time I spend from 5PM to 10PM (or 12 midnight) is much more productive.

  86. avatar
    Nayland House

    looks like at lot of us have similar assumptions. this is a powerful tool for getting closer to your dreams.

  87. avatar
    Behind the scenes of a psychological campaign | Bookmarks

    […] consume and people who take action. It’s not just about buying something, either — it can mean testing your assumptions, pursuing your goals, or producing valuable material that helps others.Today, you’ll learn…The […]

  88. avatar

    Goal: To ask a girl out on a date.
    Barrier: I’m scared to ask out a friend.

    Goal: To get letters of recommendation for medical school.
    Barrier: I’m afraid my professors will say no.

    Goal: To find a job for after graduation.
    Barrier: I don’t know where I want to work.

  89. avatar
    Why am I giving away all this information? | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] *Test your assumptions *Automate new invisible scripts in your life *Learn how to get meetings with busy/important people *Negotiate for what you want […]

  90. avatar

    Goal: Join a professional hip hop crew
    Barrier: I’m not trained in hip hop and lack the natural rhythm required for training.

    Goal: Look at apartments with an acquaintance in our current building
    Barrier: We don’t know each other well enough for me to suggest rooming together.

    Goal: Become a speed reader
    Barrier: I don’t think I have the ability to read any faster and I think most classes are scams.

    I agree that there is a common thread among people’s goals. I certainly share some of those and considered changing my original three after reading through the comments, but I figure if these are those which are what I came up with on my own, they must be the most important or critical to me. In the future, I’ll use this technique to test other assumptions.

  91. avatar
    Year of the Hustle? « Charlie Ford, Jr.

    […] Wednesday Workout: Testing your assumptions | I Will Teach You To Be Rich ( […]

  92. avatar
    Ashley Daoust

    Late to this game, but here nonetheless.

    1. goal: make some freelance money
    barrier: i don’t have a good idea for a side hustle
    insight: i’m a decent editor and also a decent knitter. there’s a market for those things. i’ve been paid to do both in the recent past, so what’s the freaking holdup?

    2. goal: get my dog to behave
    barrier: my dog is too hyper/excitable to learn anything
    insight: she knows how to sit already, and is ok at ‘watch me’ so calming her down might not be so hard. one new command a week could be doable. it’s not like we’re signed up for obedience trials next week.

    3. goal: make quilts i feel good enough about to give away (baptism quilts, etc.)
    barrier: I’m too new at quilting to make a decent baby baptism quilt
    insight: it’s not life-and-death. off points can be ripped and redone if necessary. besides, the patterns and colors i pick are more sophisticated than what a lot of the old ladies are making these days, so parents (more or less my age) might still prefer mine, imperfections or not.

  93. avatar
    Leszek Cyfer

    “1. Most of us believe that once we’ve read something enough times, we “get it” — but until we’re tested on it REPEATEDLY, we don’t really get it. Having something in your head doesn’t mean you can present it, use it, or master it.”

    An old adage:

    You hear (read) – you forget
    You say (write) – you remember
    You do – you understand

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    extreme weight loss

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  95. avatar

    Great exercise!

    I used to be able to freelance successfully when I lived in London, but now I’m in this lovely, but stick-in-the-mud small town, no-one will buy my services
    Person told me about a local millionaire on their school board
    Leader of the local council was a millionaire by 24
    Haslington has a dairy ;millionaire

    If I really want to earn money, I need to get a full-time job doing something unethical
    Elon Musk is moving the world’s vehicles away from petrol
    Trevor Baylis and wind-up technology for developing countries
    Directors of large charities earn very good salaries
    Salvador Dali and Picasso got rich by putting wonderful art into the world

    I’m fooling myself when I think there’s another way – I shoudl just get a full time job like everyone else does
    Pamela Bruner runs a 6/7 figure business heping people realise their business dreams
    Ramit Sethi has a great living from his business
    Karen Williams ditto
    Jack Canfield ditto
    And so on!

  96. avatar

    Hello Ramit, Thanks for the exercise. I’m trio gagnant to kick my fears out so… Let’s go !
    Here are my 3 assumptions :
    1 : Buying, packaging and Selling Healthy raw products from Africa on the US and Canada territories
    2 : Make a website where these products could be found, and a partnership with a big Healthy retail store Canada and US wide to sell it,
    3 : earn money and develop communities and automate sellings.
    Barriers : where do I find money and guts to talking to the right people to invest ?
    Solutions : these morning Will be the 2nd day of my EMBA module so I’ll test with my cohort and tutors.
    Will keep you posted.
    Thanks Ramit and students.

  97. avatar
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  98. avatar
    8 Powerful Sales Page Elements You Can Steal From The Pros - Ignition Thrive Theme

    […] Ramit is obsessive about testing and gathering insights about his readers. He knows exactly which words will resonate with them and what their frustrations and desires are.​ […]