How To Never DiSSS Your Abilities: Tim Ferriss on the Secret To Learning Any Skill!

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Tim Ferriss is a name that will be familiar to those interested in the self-help genre. He’s not yet forty but already wears many hats as a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, author and life coach. Another thing he’s known for is the DiSSS method of learning, which is meant to be a model by which one can approach and master new skills, be it learning a dance, how to cook, or a new language. We think it’s an effective method, particularly if you need to introduce kids to new concepts and ideas. Here’s how DiSSS can help us all!

What’s Up With DiSSS?

Don’t be intimidated by the acronym, we will try our very best to explain what Ferriss meant when he came up with the idea. As far as success stories go, Ferriss claims that using this method, he’s been able to pick up and master more than five languages, how to cook, swim, dance and kickbox. According to him, he used to fail Spanish in school, but employing this technique as an adult, he was able to master the language in a mind-blowing three months! Before we get into the thick of DiSSS, we’ll have to let you know the “i” doesn’t stand for anything at all, it’s just there to make the word “DiSSS” roll off the tongue a little easier. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into what DSSS stand for, especially in the context of learning.


This just means breaking down the skill you intend to learn to its simplest form in order to understand it better. This helps to put things into perspective at the very first stage of learning, so as not to get too overwhelmed with an onslaught of new or intense information. Think of it as a way to ease yourself into this new idea. For example, in learning a new topic at school, instead of getting anxious or nervous about the potential difficulty of said topic, one could try to instead focus on the minimum requirements it would take to learn this new topic, and slowly build on to more as time goes on.


Now this part involves a little bit of Math, which is a favourite of Team Zap Zap, naturally. Ferriss employs what is called the 80/20 rule at this stage. This rule is actually derived from a Mathematical concept called the Pareto Principle. It is taken to mean that 80% of results are derived from 20% of effort put in. Check out the video below for a detailed explanation on Pareto, if you want to learn more about that!

This is where being picky is important, naturally. When someone chooses a component of learning that is suitable in aiding the process or even speeding it up, this is a classic case of selection. So in this context, there is no need to make big or monumental changes, but an emphasis on taking the right baby steps towards the end goal of learning.


Sequencing takes the first two components of Ferriss’s method and puts it in a more logical order. This isn’t to say the established or mainstream order is incorrect, but that everyone learns differently. Ferriss notes that testing is the most important part of this phase, so experimentation is encouraged before one decides what is the most legitimate path to take in the learning phase. Once you find a method that suits you best, use that. Being unconventional in learning may just help you get where you are, as there isn’t just one correct way to learn, but many ways. It’s just like how some kids will be able to grasp concepts from their textbook exercises alone, but some will find learning simpler when it happens in a more hands-on way, like through play.


Stakes may very well be the toughest component in the DiSSS method. Why? Well it requires self-discipline. And in Ferriss’ own words, “No matter how good a plan is, how thorough a book is, or how sincere our intentions, humans are horrible at self-discipline,”. How then can we overcome this hurdle if we plan to learn a skill, whatever it may be? According to Ferriss, a clever way to do this is to set goals, but also make sure that if these goals are not met, there will be consequences. Of course these have to be decisions made on an individual level and is not supposed to be punishment doled out by external parties. It is pressure in a way, but it is effective, because it is self-imposed and one would naturally feel inclined to follow through to avoid failure.

To DiSSS or not to DiSSS

That is the question. Honestly, we feel quite partial to Ferriss’ method, mostly because we think kids will be able to utiilize it using Zap Zap Math. We feel kids will be able to deconstruct content as they see fit, and select and sequence the topics, levels and game types of their own accord as well. Finally the very inclusion of a game adds a stake, as they will have to essentially compete with themselves to beat their last scores, thus resulting in improvements. So whatever it is you hope to learn, give Tim Ferriss’ method a go and see if you see a positive outcome for yourself. You have nothing to lose!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>