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30 Days Of Genius Blog: Ramit Sethi

Every interview I have ever heard with Ramit is completely packed with gems. Simple, strategic, actionable advice that you can start using the second you hear it, and start changing your life.

I have taken his interview on 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis, extracted the information, and used it to answer common questions by readers just like you, who are looking to take their lives to the next level, or at least a different level than the one they are on.

Please enjoy.

How Do I Go From Zero To One?

First, recognize that you cannot do everything at once. If you want to do this long term, and you want to do it well, you have to be able to step back, look at the big picture, and take one step at a time.

Second, find people that are actually doing what you want to be doing. Study them. This isn’t about reinventing the wheel, this is about becoming successful. They have already done it. It is up to you to see how and apply it to yourself. You don’t have to start at square one, but don’t start at square 10. The best strategy is to start small, get great at a few things, and then slowly add on to them.

Look at the best. Study the best. Notice how they did things differently. How can you do what they do?

Take it one step at a time. There are probably two or three people you greatly admire. Most likely, they did it differently the “norm.” Pay attention to that. The big secret is, everyone is trying to get you to play it safe, the sure thing, make you vanilla, but as soon as you are like everyone else you are like everyone else. Now you blend in, now you disappear. Play it smart, start it small, and build slowly but surely.

So many of us want to jump ahead in our dreams. We don’t want to start small, or start at the beginning. If we sing we want to be at Madison Square Garden this weekend. If we are painting we want to be at the Louvre next week. Our startup needs to be Facebook by next year. We want the things, the private jets, the fancy clothes, the big house, but we don’t want to take the steps to get there. Patience is a necessity if you want any kind of longevity in the game.

Patience, discipline, and craftsmanship, that’s where you need to start building from. Your success will be a series of subtle, but tough decisions. One step at a time. One skill at a time. One job at a time.

You will need to plug your ears a lot. Not literally, but, well, maybe literally sometimes. Everyone in your life is going to have an opinion about whatever it is that you are trying to do. Be comfortable saying no, and staying focused on what you are good at, and what is going help you reach your goals.

0–1 is all about the basics, the fundamentals.

“Losers have goals, winners have systems.” — Scott Adams

It is about habits and processes.

Your day is whatever you create it to be. I can tell your priorities by looking at your calendar and your bank account. Where you spend your time and what you spend your money on determine who you are. Not who you want to be, not who you say you are, but who you really are.

So who are you?

We all know what we are supposed to do, but we don’t do it. You need to learn your style, learn how you work your best, and then work your schedule around that.

When are you most productive?

When are you least productive?

When is the best time for meetings?

When is the best time for working out?

How do you feel in the morning? Are you tired? Do you have energy all day? How do you sleep?

Questions like these are vital in the world of 0–1. Remember, it is the fundamentals, the basics.

Don’t look for gimmicks, look for what matters.

Health, sleep, productivity, relationships, etc. If you can’t win at those, you won’t be able to win at anything

else. Prioritize.

This is the time that you are learning how to learn and learning how to work. More specifically, how you work.

This is the time for honesty. Ask the tough questions, give the tough answers, and adjust. Make the changes necessary.

A lot of us want to skip the obvious to get to the novel. Find value in the utility, not the novelty. Master the basics then move on to the more difficult. You need to understand the game being played around you and you need to win at THAT game. Play it. Master it.

How Do I Go From One To Ten?

This where people get caught up. As soon as you get a little comfortable you feel you made it. In reality, you are just at the tip of “making” it. All you have done is learned how to do what you do at the basic level.

Just knowing something isn’t enough.

This is the time when your business becomes sexier, more exciting. You can start implementing cooler things, bigger things. But this is also when it becomes more challenging. Don’t be the guy/gal that talks themselves out of going to the next level because you are comfortable. There is so much more out there than what you are seeing right now.

Just understand that the habits that got you here will not get you there.

This is the time you start breaking down your business, studying competition, developing your business model. This requires hard work, patience, a focus on the long perspective, possibly giving up control on some things to focus on others, focus on the big picture. This is when you become a real business, and a real entrepreneur.

What Is Some General Advice To Entrepreneurs?

Go through the mess to find the gems. Work, create, build, and rebuild. If you are focused on the big picture everything you do will help you get to the next step. Even if it is not successful directly, it will be indirectly.

Teach the market to revere your work. Don’t play the sales game, unless you are looking for mass consumption. Make a great product, believe in it, and set it at the full price. If it’s not good enough to draw people in at the real price, it’s not good enough period.

Master the skills to be able to talk about your craft and how you are different, better than your competition. Vibe with your clients, separate yourself. Know your competition, and be able to differentiate.

Build trust, add value, & educate them. Know what you are good at so you don’t take a job that will not get 100%. What you need to understand is when you truly connect, price is trivial. If they ask price first, before they even know your service or how your service is different than others, they might not be the right customer. Be ready for it so you don’t fall in to the trap.

Never beg for work. Either you are amazing, or you aren’t. Either you are right for the job or you aren’t’.


“The habits that got you here will not get you there.”

“There are no gatekeepers except one (us). If you get the basics right, you are setting yourself up for great success and a rich life.”

“Smart creatives know their style and admit it, then work their schedule around that.”

“Set a small goal, win, and then add to it.”

“The world tries to make you vanilla, but as soon as you do, the world abandons you, because you’re just like everybody else.”

Ramit Sethi Links

Chase Jarvis Links

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