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Following the Rules

A reader came to me with a question about quitting projects too soon. I’ve written about why we do this before, but what you’re about to read are two strategies you can use to sustain motivation on a project, even when you’re bored as hell.

Once you’ve used the Passion Blender Technique to find out what you like to do, you can use this technique to keep you going.

1x1.trans Reader Question: How Do I Stop Myself From Losing Interest When Learning New Skills?

This week’s question comes from Matthew P:

Hey Alex,

I’m finding it pretty hard to find something to do. Now, I get a decent amount of exercise and meditate, but that’s about it after my sixth form work (upper high school for Brits). I don’t have a problem with relaxing but I am not a fan of downtime! I’m looking to be motivated to learn something. Occasionally I pick up something like learning python for example, get into it for a few days and then don’t have the drive to do anything with it. As a result I find myself living the same days over again which isn’t too much fun!

Thanks,
Matthew P.

My answer:

Hey Matthew,

Glad to have you as a reader! Sounds like you’re getting bored with what you’re learning too quickly — I do the same thing.

Quick story: I hated Spanish in high school, and couldn’t get myself to learn anything — I even repeated Spanish 1 three times. I didn’t see a point in learning it except “it would be cool,” so I constantly gave up.

It wasn’t until a friend and I decided to go to Spain last year that I decided to learn how to have a simple conversation and get around, and once I had that goal, I used Memrise to learn conversational Spanish in 60 days. Once I set a specific and tangible goal, the boredom I felt was completely GONE.

Have you tried anything to force yourself to get motivated like learning a project with a friend or promising to give away money to charity if you don’t succeed?

Also, I found that having a specific project helps. For example, instead of “learning python,” try “building a playable video game and showing it to a friend” — you could even get an online course that teaches you exactly that.

Having a solid end point will make it harder to give up, especially if you tell your friends what you’re working on and when you expect to be finished.

-Alex

How To Stop Losing Interest In Projects So Quickly

Step-by-step, here’s how to sustain interest over long periods of time.

  1. Before you start practicing a new skill, decide on a small project that will take less than 12 days to complete.
  2. Find a friend and hand him $50 — tell him that he can’t give it back to you unless you complete the 12 day project, and use the principle of loss aversion to motivate you to keep going during this period.
  3. After those 12 days, if you hate the topic, then you can quit, but if you like it congratulations — you’re one step closer to finding something you love to do.
  4. Once the project is completed, reach out to experts (like I outline here) and ask about more small projects you can complete.
  5. Repeat with 12 day projects until you either fall in love with what you’re doing or start to hate it, in which case you can choose something else and repeat the process.

Some 12 day projects you can take up:

If you want to stay up to date and get more posts like this, be sure to sign up by putting your info in the form below.

Thanks!

-Alex

P.S. Have a question or something you’re struggling with? You can email me right here and I’ll try my best to help 1x1.trans Reader Question: How Do I Stop Myself From Losing Interest When Learning New Skills?

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Welcome to the Ultimate Guide for Figuring Out Who You Are, a curated list of the best self development articles online.

Go through each of these headings, follow the action steps each author recommends, and pretty soon you’ll be more productive and successful than you’ve ever been before.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Overcome Self Talk
Chapter 2: Make Sure Your Life Has Meaning
Chapter 3: Create Motivation
Chapter 4: Figure Out What You Like to Do
Chapter 5: Make New Friends
Chapter 6: Go On Vacation For Cheap
Chapter 7: Start A Blog
Chapter 8: Master A Skill
Chapter 9: Find A Great Job
Bonus Chapter: Reach Out to Experts to Learn More

Overcome Self Talk

The first step to finding your ideal self is to remove the negative thoughts we all experience from time to time. These articles will destroy those mental blocks and set you up for a life well lived.

  1. How to Get Over Self Doubt | Leo Babauta

  2. I Want to Die | James Altucher

  3. How to Overcome Envy | Angela Lam Turpin

  4. Four Ways to Find More Time | Marcia Reynolds

  5. How I Cured My Anxiety | Charile Hoehn

Make Sure Your Life Has Meaning

Once your mind is clear, it’s time to decide what you want out of life. These articles will help you figure it out.

  1. Audi R8 or Bust | Alexander Heyne

  2. How to Discover Your Life’s Purpose | Steve Pavlina

  3. 7 Creative Ways to Change Your Perspective | Ali Luke

  4. Create An Impossible List | Joel Runyon

  5. 100+ Bucket List Ideas | Danny Dover

Create Motivation

Now that you know what you want, and you’ve destroyed the mental blocks that hold most people back, it’s time to get more motivated than you’ve ever been, by learning how to create systems.

  1. How to Make It Impossible to Fail | Maneesh Sethi

  2. How to Motivate Yourself | Erin Falconer

  3. The Power Of Habit | Charles Duhigg

  4. 16 Ways to Get Off Your Butt When You’re In A Slump | Leo Babauta

  5. What Was The Last Thing You MADE? | Alex Berman

Figure Out What You Like to Do

Since you’re moving in the right direction, now’s the time to delve into passion. Use these articles to find a subject you’ll love.

  1. Use This Strange Trick to Find Your Passion Tonight | Alex Berman

  2. The Science Of Loving What You Do | Cal Newport

  3. Why 30 Is Not The New 20 | Meg Jay

  4. 5 Reasons You Should Always Trust Your Gut | Elizabeth Palisin

  5. What The F*** Should I Do With My Life? | Alexander Heyne

Make New Friends

According to best selling author Jim Rohn, we take on the qualities of our 5 closest friends. If that sounds scary to you, it might be time to get some new ones, and here’s how.

  1. How to Systematically Improve Your Social Skills In Two Months | Alex Berman

  2. Simple Advice For Keeping Friends | Neil Strauss

  3. 5 Tips For Awkward People Looking to Make Friends | John Cheese

  4. One Simple Habit to Crush Any Conversation | Charlie Houpert

  5. How to Talk to People Without Feeling Awkward | Alden Tan

Go On Vacation For Cheap

Travel is a great way to learn about yourself and improve your problem solving abilities. These articles will help you travel for cheap.

  1. Why One Year Abroad Taught Me More Than Four Years Of College | Alexander Heyne

  2. 23 Awesome Travel Hacks Everyone Should Know | Emmanuel Banks

  3. Travel Full Time For Less Than $14,000 Per Year | Nora Dunn

  4. Travel Hacking Guide | Nomadic Matt

  5. How to Travel Full Time | Colin Wright

Start A Blog

A great way to reinforce a passion, or find new one, is to write about it online. These posts will convince you why, and then get you setup with your own site.

  1. The Blog | Neville Medhora

  2. Why You Should Build A Tribe | Seth Godin

  3. The Definitive Guide to Starting A Blog | Joel Runyon

  4. 3 Tips For Giving Interviews | Andrew Warner and Paul Hontz

  5. Why Bloggers Fail | Derek Halpern

Master A Skill

The next step is to learn a new skill. It’ll make you more interesting, and you’ll find out more about what you like. The cool thing is, once you understand the method Tim Ferriss is about to talk about, your whole perception of what it takes to learn a skill will be different.

  1. Master Any Skill By Deconstructing It | Tim Ferriss

  2. How to Get Into Sports | Alex Berman

  3. How to Learn Any Language In 3 Months | Tim Ferriss

  4. Learn to Touch Type | Josh Kaufman

  5. Learn Guitar In The Next Two Weeks | Alex Berman

Find A Great Job

We spend most of our waking hours at work, so it makes sense to find a career that’s fulfilling. Use these articles to find an awesome job that pays what you deserve.

  1. Find Your Dream Job | Ramit Sethi

  2. The Canvas Strategy | Ryan Holiday

  3. Networking Awesomely | Colin Wright

  4. Linchpin: How to Become Indispensable | Seth Godin and Todd Henry

  5. Education of Millionaires | Michael Ellsberg

Bonus Chapter:

Reach Out to Experts to Learn More

The last step on our journey of self discovery is reaching out to experts. Once you find out what you want to do and have some experience in it, talking to someone who has mastered the skill will take you to the next level.

  1. This 3 Step Framework Will Get You Meetings With High Value People | Alex Berman

  2. How to Get The Attention Of Your Favorite Expert | Selena Soo

  3. How A Meetup Group I Started At 3AM Grew to 113 Members In A Week | Alex Berman

  4. How to Organize A Conference | Noah Kagan

  5. Why Successful People Don’t Want to Mentor You | Ramit Sethi and Ben Casnocha

Hey, hope you liked the guide, and that it puts you on the path to a live well lived.

All I ask in return is this: if you got anything from these links, email me and let me know! I love hearing success stories.

-Alex

42 comments

A couple weeks ago I sent out a survey asking what you wanted to improve about your lives, and a full 50% said you wanted help finding your passion or direction.

1x1.trans Use This Strange Trick To Find And Reinforce Your Passion (Video)

Passion is a driving force when you can find it — it’s great to have something that makes you want to get up in the morning and work on it.

But it’s not like that most of the time — usually we like a subject for a little while, and give up on it, only to jump to another topic and do the same thing a few months later.

If only there was a way to test several passions quickly before we have a chance to give up…

Introducing The Passion Blender Technique… a strategy you can use to find and develop a passion in weeks instead of years

Here’s how I used it:

A couple years ago I was trying to get into indie music and, no matter what I tried, could not understand why people liked it — I’d listen to some of the tracks and just didn’t get it.

Then I found a podcast called All Songs Considered that features a group of people talking about how great indie music is and playing interesting songs.

After listening to a couple episodes, I started to hear differences in the music, and it wasn’t long before I was listening to indie music nonstop, and writing my own songs.

Within a week, I went from knowing nothing about independent songs, to loving the topic, and I still listen to it two years later!

1x1.trans Use This Strange Trick To Find And Reinforce Your Passion (Video)

It’s all about finding high quality sources.

…And Marketing

A few years ago I wasn’t into business at all, until one day I read the Four Hour Workweek.

Afterwards I read a couple blogs about business, tried a few things and watched interviews with Ramit Sethi, Andrew Warner and Noah Kagan.

I started to see marketing from all different angles, and pretty soon I was hooked.

How Can You Develop A Passion?

Here is The Passion Blender Technique, a system I created that you can use to find and develop a passion for pretty much any subject.

In it I outline the process I used to develop a passion for marketing, indie music, learning spanish and playing guitar, and plan on using a lot more in the future.

Enjoy, and use it to find your next passion.

Here’s How To Use
The Passion Blender Technique:

  1. Browse through Amazon Books and look for a topic that catches your eye
  2. Once you find one dive in. Find a book the same way.
  3. After you find a book read the first three pages in the preview — if it sucks, go back to step one. If you like, it keep reading, you just found the seeds of passion
  4. Browse Google for book and movie lists on the topic you just found
  5. After finding a couple good books on the subject, reach out to experts on the subject for more guidance
  6. Put as much media about the new subject into your head as possible — books, movies, interviews and songs
  7. If you get bored of the topic at any time, go back to step one and try again

Try it out, and let me know what passion you develop!

If you used this and got results, email me and tell me all about it!

Also, if you have any suggestions on other topics you want covered, my inbox is always open. Feel free to email me here.

This is the email script from the video:

Subject: Quick question

Hi Michael,

What’s one book, movie or talk that changed the way you thought about computer programming? I’ve already looked at Code Complete and The Pragmatic Programmer, but would love to get more info on the subject.

Any advice or guidance would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Alex Berman

Author, http://followingtherules.com

Thanks for reading!

-Alex

P.S. Here’s proof the email script works — thanks, Noah!

1x1.trans Use This Strange Trick To Find And Reinforce Your Passion (Video)

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How Close Are We to Robot Servants?

Here’s something a little different than usual: it’s a video about the future.

We have the technology to make fully functioning movie style robots right now, but the thing holding us back is that different companies hold patents to different parts.

1x1.trans How Close Are We to Robot Servants?

This is a video pointing out what might happen if these companies decided to work together.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

-Alex

84 comments

3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

Last week’s challenge was to write a post for Cracked.com. So far, I’ve submitted a post to the forums, and I’m going through the editorial process. Hopefully, that means the post will be up within a couple weeks.

In the meantime, I’ve been researching landing pages.

Quick overview: A landing page is the first page a user sees when visiting your site, and having a really good one will help your company get a lot more customers.

For instance, I was working with a startup who needed more users to buy their product (who doesn’t right?).  Adding a landing page increased their conversion rate by 27% overnight.

That means 27% more people bought just from adding that one extra page.

A simple landing page quickly explains what your product does, and asks the user to either sign up or make a purchase right away. That’s a lot different from what companies usually do, which is sending people directly to the product with very little explanation or context on what they should be doing.

Here are some of my favorite landing pages, and what you can learn from each. This will help you construct the perfect landing page, and get more customers:

1. Square

1x1.trans 3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

This page clearly explains the benefit of Square, and lets you sign up right from the front page.

They have the headline “Sell more with Square,” and then just one button. You don’t even have to type anything in on this page.

2. Netflix

You hit the page and it says “Watch TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere.” They even put the price on there and a button to start your free month.

1x1.trans 3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

Just like the Square page, there’s no place to put in your information, they just want you to click that button and commit to signing up.

They also show a huge picture of a happy family, which could easily be your family if you sign up.

3. Moviepass

Moviepass is a service that let’s you see unlimited movies in theaters for only $30 a month. I love them, and use the service all the time.

1x1.trans 3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

On their landing page they clearly say what the product does in one sentence: it’s an “all access pass” to “theaters nationwide.” Then you put in your zip code to sign up.

Once you put in your zip code, you’re already imagining what it would be like to use their product, and they basically sold you.

4. Appsumo

When you land on Appsumo, they immediately show you what they’re selling. They assume you’re coming to their site to buy a daily deal, and they put their branding in the copy of each product page, so they don’t need to have a static landing page.

1x1.trans 3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

If you buy from them, you immediately get signed up to their mailing list, where they keep sending you new deals.

Appsumo uses their individual product copy a lot more than other startups because Appsumo doesn’t just sell one product, they sell daily deals for multiple products.

Their page is a lot harder to replicate, since you would need to continually update it and write sales pages for each new item rather than have one static page for all of your products.

5. Twitter

1x1.trans 3 Elements All Great Landing Pages Have

The Twitter team knows that everybody already knows what Twitter is, and they figure that if someone goes to Twitter.com they either want to sign in, or sign up for a new account.

With that in mind, they make it really easy for new users to sign up. All you need to do is put in your full name, email and password, then click the button and you’re done.

This is one of the simplest, and cleanest landing pages I’ve ever seen.

Common Traits

So, what do these pages have in common?

1. The headlines quickly answer the question “what is this product?”

2. None of them ask for very much info upfront

No more than a few input boxes, and three of those landing pages were just one button.

3. All have clearly defined goals for new users

They know exactly what they want a first time visitor to do, and make it easy for the visitor to reach that goal. Most of the time, that means users are signing up for new accounts.

Now that you have some information on the best landing pages on the web, I recommend going back to any website  you run, and making sure the first page clearly explains what you do in a way new customers will understand.

-Alex

 P.S. What are some of the best landing pages you’ve ever seen?

73 comments