Hi, I'm Ramit Sethi, the New York Times best-selling author and CEO of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab.
A few years ago, my friend and I were grabbing drinks in the East Village. “What have you been up to?” he asked as I pulled up a stool. I’d just come back from a museum tour after breakfast with some CEO friends.
He drank his beer. “You remind me of me when I was single.”
“Yeah?” I asked. I wasn’t sure what he meant.
“I used to do a bunch of interesting things around the city...but once you get in a relationship, it kinda changes.”
At the time, it felt good to hear. Yeah, I knew all the cool NYC things to do!
But a few years later, I found myself in exactly the same situation as my friend:
In fact, when someone asked me “What’d you do this weekend?” my response was... “Nothing really.”
Or: “Same old.”
Or even worse: “Just worked.”
Oh god. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so cool. I was starting to realize how people get stuck in a rut.
(Also, how easy it is to bury yourself in work as an excuse, a shield against trying new things. “Sorry, I can’t go out tonight...I’m working.”)
I started wondering, “Is this it? Is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?” Already knowing exactly what I was going to do every weekend. Going out to beers once every couple weekends. Ho hum.
And it wasn’t just me. How many of us seem to “freeze” at 25 and stop trying anything new?
I remember something that comedian Aziz Ansari said in an interview with GQ:
“I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We both have more money than we ever imagined. And I was like, can you imagine if someone called us a few years ago and said, ‘All right, you’re going to have this much money when you’re this age. What are you gonna do with it?’
You would say all sorts of fantastical things, right? No one would say, ‘Oh, I would figure out how to make more money and keep working all the time.’”
At 21, I never wanted to be one of those “boring” adults who is all work and no play. But at 27, that’s exactly what I had become.
Which is when I took my head out of my ass and started looking around. I wanted to make NEW and INTERESTING a regular part of my life.
Only…I didn’t know how.
What do you do — Google “what hobbies should I do?”
Ask a friend? “Hey dude, I want to do something fun…any ideas?”
So there I was — ready to get out of my rut and ready to do something different. I just didn’t know how.
You know the best way to figure out how to do something new?
Ask people who’ve already done it.
For example, one of my favorite things in the world is seeing an old person working out HARD. Like the 75-year-old woman who works out at my gym in NYC every week.
I LOVE IT!
I always wondered — what makes this woman come to the gym, hire a trainer, and learn how to squat…at 75 years old? What’s different about her vs. the 75-year-old who’s sitting at home watching Matlock?
And then I wondered:
Will I be cool enough to try new things 40 years from now?
It’s not just time. It’s not just money. When you’re in a rut, day by day, your world gets a little smaller. It’s very easy for your rut today to become your rut tomorrow… to become your rut 40 years from now.
But the people who keep doing cool stuff all the time — how do they do that? I wanted to find out, so I started asking…
Like I said, if you want to know how to do something, the best thing to do is to ask people who already do it.
So I did.
I talked to CEOs and a bunch of parents who always seemed to have time to learn new skills even when they were incredibly busy. How’d they do it?
I knew it wasn't that they just had more free time. They actually had less time than most people. In some cases, almost no free time. And yet they still were able to try tons of new and interesting things every year and constantly add new skills and hobbies to their lives.
I also knew it wasn't that they were just more motivated. Millions of people are very motivated to learn new things every New Year, but most people give up by March. I know I’ve done that in the past. These people I was talking to knew something else.
I kept asking questions and started to collect pieces of something deeper — a game being played that I hadn't seen before. It was like they had “accidentally experimented” themselves into a life of learning more — and having more fun — in a month than most people have in a year.
When I probed, the most common answer they gave me was, “I’m just naturally curious! I like to try new things!” But I found out it goes deeper.
They’d built a “flywheel of interest” where they tried lots of things once. And if they didn’t like it, they felt perfectly fine moving on and trying something new. No guilt, no pressure.
They didn't worry about becoming masters of everything. Being "good enough" was much more important.
In other words, they were playing an entirely different game than I had even known existed. And they were loving it!
They didn't just focus on a single skill or hobby. Their success wasn't just about taking a class on scuba diving or painting or any one random skill. They built fun and experimentation right into their lives. They had learned how to learn.
I started to apply these principles to my life. Look what happened.
I LOVE IT!!
That's when I realized that trying new things didn't need to be a chore. It didn't need to be hard or scary or take up all my time.
When I decided to learn how to learn, I started having a lot more FUN.
And learning new things got easier every time. And faster.
I realized I had concocted a bunch of hollow reasons about not wanting to try new things — like needing to be perfect, wondering if I would even like it, or just plain being embarrassed of trying something new (like this):
But all those rationales fell apart when I started learning.
I saw I had never taken the time to really focus on the process of learning. I hadn't thought about how I learned new skills or how I could try lots of things and not worry about becoming an “expert” at everything.
Now that I knew how to learn fast, it opened up all kinds of doors. I could decide the kind of person I wanted to be.
Not many people talk about the process of learning how to learn. But I think it’s one of the most important skills we can master. It completely changed my life.
Here’s what I learned.
6. Learning how to learn is a superpower that accelerates everything you do
Once you master the game of learning new skills, you'll discover you can add new skills and talents to your life faster than you thought possible.
Every accomplishment in our lives is built on the skills we develop. The faster you can add new skills, the more you can accomplish.
5. What’s your answer to “What’d you do this weekend?”
Other people: “Nothing” or “Hung out, mostly.”
You: Instead of the usual boring response, you'll always have something fun and interesting to share:
(Side note: Does that sound exhausting? It did when I first heard people saying it. But when I learned how to learn from people who were already doing it, I understood how it wasn’t a burden — it was fun.)
4. We’re not just talking about learning from boring lectures
Learning today isn’t just about a boring classroom. It can be amazingly fun. Here's just a few of the ways I've learned new skills:
Enrolled in a defensive driving class taught by former Secret Service driving instructor
Took a Disney class on leadership
Wine tasting, which I promptly forgot the next day
Took a Columbia University class on corporate finance (even though I have accountants who work for me)
Traveled to Japan and learned about a traditional tea ceremony
Bouldering in SF
3. For 99% of skills, you don't have to be a master
It’s surprisingly easy to get "good enough.”
Let’s take cooking. Sure, it takes years to become a master chef, but you can learn how to cook an amazing omelet in an hour. Is it a Michelin-starred omelet? No, of course not. But you can learn how to make a pretty damn good omelet in just a few hours — and use that for the rest of your life.
"Good enough" will change your life.
2. Fast-track your career
It's shocking how closely people's career paths follow their learning:
The people who advance the fastest in their careers are the ones who can quickly and easily add new skills that complement the talents they already have. Think about…
By the way, when you talk to your boss about raises, be sure to mention all the new skills you’ve been learning — inside and outside of work. It shows the kind of employee you are.
1. And most important, learning new skills just makes life more FUN
Stop doing the same boring things over and over again. Fill your time with new and exciting interests. Meet new people who share your interests and try new things together.
When you do, you realize that what your life looks like today doesn't need to define what it could look like tomorrow.
That freedom is the ultimate gift.
All you need to unlock it is one simple skill: learning how to learn.
If you’ve tried to pick up new skills in the past but got frustrated with the vague, messy process…
If you’ve taken classes that didn’t measure up…or you didn’t stick with it…
If you’ve struggled to find the time to practice…
Or if you want a new hobby and just don’t know where to start…
Then Teach Yourself Anything will finally give you the precise, actionable system to explore and build any new skill into your everyday life — without adding commitments to your already busy life.
(We’ll even give you a list of cool things to do this weekend.)
I’m not going to ask you what you’re trying to learn this year. I’m going to ask you another question:
What did you learn last year?
What if you’d learned 5 amazing new skills last year? Then this year, and next year…
Where would you be? What kind of life would you have?
Teach Yourself Anything gives you the master key for radically speeding up how you learn ANY skill.
Not only will you learn my favorite learning strategies, I'll introduce you to many of the experts who influenced how I approach learning.
Every lesson in Teach Yourself Anything comes in video, audio, and transcript formats
The best strategies for learning more — at your fingertips for the rest of your life.
What does it really take to learn a skill fast? How much do you need to practice? What’s essential and what's a waste of time?
Teach Yourself Anything is an inside look at…
And that’s just a sample of the insights packed into this course.
There are countless frameworks and theories about learning out there.
But in my years of speaking to successful friends, building my own multimillion-dollar company, and expanding my life to be full of exciting new skills and experiences, I learned a few simple rules of thumb.
They are practical, easy to apply, and extremely powerful.
Best of all, they are FUN.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE learning. I have a feeling that if you’ve read this far, you want to learn more, too.
I see it as a privilege that we get to learn anything we want.
In this course, I've collected the very best tools and frameworks for learning, along with specific stories about how I accelerated how quickly I can learn any new skill. You can apply these instantly to your work, your personal life, and your business.
These tools will help take you from zero to “good enough” — and help you learn skills fast. Aim for at least 5 per year. Even one of these lessons can speed up how quickly you pick up new skills.
Put them together and you have a complete roadmap for picking up and accelerating your progress in any skill. One you'll be able to use for the rest of your life.
Teach Yourself Anything will not specifically teach you how to code, speak Italian, or dance the tango. It will teach you a more universal skill — the skill of HOW to learn new skills fast.
For example, if I told you right now, “Take 30 days and learn to play the piano," would you know what to do? Sure, you might look up some videos on YouTube or take an introductory class on piano, but are you sure that’s the fastest, most effective way?
Teach Yourself Anything gives you a step-by-step system you can use to pick up any new skill that interests you.
Even though most skills seem different on the surface, when you break them down there’s actually a repeatable sequence of steps you need to take in order to learn anything you want — fast. When you learn how to learn, you can apply that to any new skill you want to pick up.
You might need to use your fingers to play the piano and your legs to ski, but the process of learning how to do each one is the same.
While all IWT courses deal with the inner psychology of that topic, Teach Yourself Anything is the only one that deals with the meta-process of learning HOW to learn. Because of this, all the lessons included in the course are brand new.
However, to illustrate key lessons in the course, we've included exclusive content from interviews with rapid learning experts like Michael Ellsberg, Scott Young, and Josh Kaufman. These interviews were initially shot for Ramit's Brain Trust, which is no longer available. If you were a member of Ramit’s Brain Trust you may recognize these interviews. But in Teach Yourself Anything they now come with brand new action steps and commentary from Ramit designed to help you execute on lessons you may have missed before.
You could do that, in fact we even recommend reading books, hiring teachers, and watching videos to help with your learning process. But if learning was as easy as just watching a video or reading a book, everyone would be experts at everything.
Accelerated learning goes deeper: Which books or videos should you use? How often should you practice? How do you fit it into your busy life? How do you get feedback?
The human brain is an amazing thing. We’re actually capable of learning a lot more than we think. For example, in Teach Yourself Anything you’ll hear from our friend Scott Young, who was never good at language…but taught himself 4 languages in less than a year.
Look, we may not be able to teach you how to dunk like Michael Jordan or sing like Beyonce, but we will show you how you can get good enough to have fun playing a game of pick-up or tearing up the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding.
The great thing about Teach Yourself Anything is once you learn HOW to learn things fast, you can apply the system to any skill. So if practicing a certain skill is more than you want to invest, pick a new one. There’s so much to choose from! In Teach Yourself Anything, we’ll help you find new and interesting skills to learn for any budget, from solving a Rubik’s cube to flying a plane.
If you’re ready, you can learn the secret to learning any skill fast so you can impress your friends, get (and stay) ahead at work, and just have more FUN. And from now on, whenever you're feeling stuck in a rut, need a jolt, or want to learn something new, you'll have an ally with you for the rest of your life.
We've packed a lot into Teach Yourself Anything, and I want to make sure that you not only get all that content before you fully commit to this — I want to give you 60 days to let it digest, integrate it into your daily life, and make sure this is really working for you.
Try the entire course. 60 days is enough time to take the course twice and then decide. If you don't LOVE it, I insist that you get 100% of your money back. I'll even eat the credit card processing fees.
It's simple: Join the program and try it for yourself. If the powerful mental exercises and scripts don't help improve your life in 60 days, I want you to email me. Show me you did the exercises, and I'll give you all your money back.
This guarantee lasts 60 days, which completely covers the course. That means you can try the ENTIRE course and then decide if it's right for you.
While building this course, I asked my team what cool new skills they've learned recently. Look how awesome these answers are.
And perhaps my favorite answer:
It's not rocket science: What makes people interesting? They do interesting things.
If you want to be more interesting, learn new and interesting things.
If you want to have more fun, learn how to do fun things.
If you want to be more successful, build the skills that make people successful.
The "secret" to making all of this fast, effective, and enjoyable is to start by learning how to learn. Learning is a skill. That means there are tools and best practices you can model. There are strategies you can practice and improve at.
It might seem like some people can just learn faster — that they naturally lead interesting lives, with lots of hobbies and interests, and can do anything. But very few people talk about how to learn.
You can learn this ONE skill — how to teach yourself anything fast — and that will impact everything you ever do in the future.
Skills that might otherwise take months or years to learn, you’ll know how to pick up in a fraction of the time. And the skill of learning becomes incredibly fun.
But it won't happen unless you're ready to make a change.
A year from now, you're going to be a year older. What do you want to learn?