How to Learn Anything

Timothy Ferriss

Timothy Ferriss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leo Babauta shares this:

It’s not often you get to talk to someone so intensely focused on learning.

I had that chance recently, as I sat down with Tim Ferriss, who just launched his massive new book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life.

Tim spent some intense months learning how to do the thing that has kicked his butt for his entire life: cooking. He sucked at cooking, and decided to conquer it, and in the process shows us how to learn anything, from languages to sports to survival skills. The book teaches us how to cook, but more importantly, it teaches us the art and science of learning.

So I sat down with Tim to talk about learning, and asked questions submitted by Zen Habits readers the week before:

  • What is your set protocol for when you catch yourself procrastinating?
  • How are we supposed to devote several months to learning when we have 9-5 job, family, etc?
  • Do rules set us free? More specifically, is habit essential when trying to be productive?
  • Do you know any secrets to self-imposed moderation? For alcohol, food, or anything really.
  • Learning something new involves memory. How important is a good memory in learning? How can I improve my memory?

via » How to Learn Anything :zenhabits.


15 Great Excuses Not to Form the Fitness Habit

Leo Babauta writes:

Lots of people know they should be getting fit, but they can’t seem to find the time to form the fitness habit.

And while I understand this completely — I was stuck in overweight, unhealthy mode for years — I think it’s useful to take a look at the justifications we give ourselves to put it off.

I put things off because I didn’t have time, or energy, or I had too many family commitments, or not enough motivation, or work kept getting in the way, or I didn’t feel good enough to run, or I was sick, or other people would make things difficult, or I didn’t have the money for a gym membership … you get the idea.

But I’ve learned to kill all the excuses. Or to put it less violently, I’ve found loving ways to let them go and embrace the joy of a fit and healthy life.

I did it with six kids and a wife, a full-time job (and now my own business), a ton of family and work commitments, freelancing on the side, building a blog on the side, while writing various books … and so the excuses were ultimately meaningless.

Why might you be putting things off? Let’s look at the justifications, and try to blast them.

Full story at:  » 15 Great Excuses Not to Form the Fitness Habit :zenhabits

The most important skill to master


Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta writes:

If you’re like me, you are constantly learning new skills — gardening, carpentry, pizza-making, languages, sports, and so on. And I think this is a fun and wonderful thing to do.

But what’s the most important skill?

That’s debatable. I think compassion is a huge one, as is mindfulness. I’d go with those two any day of the week.

But if I had to pick just one, it would be this: learning to be happy with yourself.

That seems too simple, to trite! Too mushy and New-Agey! And I’ll grant all of that, but I stand firmly by my pick.

Why? The answer has to do with how this one thing can affect everything else in your life. If you are not happy with yourself, or your body, you become insecure. You think you’re not good enough. You fear being abandoned and alone. You do lots of other things to compensate, and these lead to problems.

So many of the problems people have stem from this one thing — being unhappy with themselves (often in the form of being unhappy with their bodies). Let’s take a look at why, and then look at some ideas of how to master the skill.

Get more here: » The Most Important Skill to Master :zenhabits

How I Used the Power of Bad Habits to Change My Life

Leo Babauta

Spread the word! Leo Babauta’s doing a free webinar on bad habits later today. Here are the deets:

Today I’ll be holding a free webinar, “How I Used the Power of Bad Habits to Change My Life“, and I’d love for you to join me.

The webinar will be held today Mon. April 23 at 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern, on the Habit Course channel on Ustream. You don’t need an account to watch, but if you’d like to ask questions and chat, I recommend signing up for a free account.

In the webinar, I’ll talk about my struggle with bad habits, why bad habits are so powerful, and how I used the principles that make bad habits stick to beat them. I then applied these same principles to forming good habits, and will share how I did that in the webinar.

You’ll also be able to ask questions about habits when I’m done with the talk, via text chat.

I hope to see you there!

Join me here at 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern:

How I Used the Power of Bad Habits to Change My Life

via Free Webinar: How I Used the Power of Bad Habits to Change My Life.

Get some!

The Habits That Crush Us


Leo Babauta

Image via Wikipedia

Leo Babauta writes…

Why is it that we cannot break the bad habits that stand in our way, crushing our desires to live a healthy life, be fit, simplify, be happier?

How is it that our best intentions are nearly always beaten? We want to be focused and productive, exercise and eat healthy foods, stop smoking and learn to get rid of debt and clutter, but we just can’t.

The answer lies in something extremely simple, but something most people aren’t aware of:

We don’t know how to cope with stress and boredom in a healthy way.

Source: » The Habits That Crush Us :zenhabits

Go to the source if you’re interested in the rest of his thought on the topic…

7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless

Pelican cleaning itself

Image via Wikipedia

Leo Babauta writes this morning…

1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.

2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.

3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.

4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.

5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.

6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.

7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.

Follow the ‘via’ link above for the rest of his thoughts on the topic…