Choose Yourself by James Altucher



The world is rapidly changing, and middlemen are disappearing from every industry. Traditional jobs are no longer safe or secure. In order to make it through these volatile times, you must choose yourself.

20 lessons

Choose Yourself

– by James Altucher –

1) We need to adapt

Industries are rapidly transforming and jobs continue to disappear because of technology, outsourcing, and globalization. We can no longer rely on traditional institutions or major corporations to guide our lives. We must choose ourselves.

2) Never ask permission, you can ask for forgiveness later

Nobody questions anything you do if you have confidence, intelligence, and you are proud of your product. Don’t be afraid to go after what you really want.

3) Find balance in your life

We must build a positive foundation to serve as the basis for our lives. In order to thrive, we need to be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy. Only when these four aspects are working in harmony can you hope to succeed. Get more sleep, eat healthy, be grateful, and stay positive.

4) Don’t rely on things outside of yourself

We often attach our happiness to external goals and motivations. When things go wrong, the external pain is immediately reflected in our internal bodies. We feel sad, disappointed, and in pain. Try to build an identity that is strong and independent of outside factors.

5) Fear of rejection is the biggest impediment to choosing ourselves

Keep trying over and over again. Rejection is inevitable, but you can decide how to react to it. Humans are born pioneers. Success only comes when we push ourselves and continually expand our frontiers.

6) Our thoughts shape our reality

If you think you can do something, if you have confidence and creativity, the big ideas become smaller and smaller until there is no idea too big that you can’t attempt. Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t – either way you are right.” If you’re having doubts or negative thoughts, simply recognize these feelings but don’t attach to them.

7) Live in the present

Stop obsessing over regrets in your past or anxieties in your future. The past and future don’t exist. They are memories and speculation, neither of which you have any control over. Just do one thing at a time. When you wash your hands, don’t try to brush your teeth. Hear the sound of the water, feel the water on your hands, scrub every part. Focus on what you are doing.

8) Choose carefully how you spend your time

Without being cruel, make a conscious effort to avoid engaging or dwelling on people who are constantly draining you of energy. Reach out to people you admire or who have similar interests. Build relationships with individuals you can learn from. Phase out negativity from your life and do things you enjoy.

9) Become an idea machine

The idea muscle must be exercised every day or it will atrophy. Read every day and from a variety of different topics. Break out of routines and activate new parts of your brain. Research other ideas and compare them to your own. Think back to topics you were passionate about as a kid. Push your mind to come up with 10 new ideas every day, but don’t put pressure on yourself to come up with something amazing each time.

10) Stop trying to control everything

We often want to control everything around us. But sometimes things are bad and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you have to surrender and say, “This is bad now but good things will happen later.” Then a great weight lifts off your shoulders.

11) Add value to people’s lives

Think of two people in your network who don’t know each other but you think can add value to each other’s lives. Introduce them. Do this whenever possible. The more value you bring to the people in your network, the greater the value of your network, and then the greater value you will have. Every day ask yourself, “Who can I help today?”

12) Don’t be afraid to pick a boring business

Everyone is always on the lookout for the ‘next big thing’. But you don’t have to come up with the new thing, just do the old thing better than everyone else. When you are smaller and more flexible than the traditional companies, you have the opportunity to earn their customers.

13) Solve a problem

Some of the most profitable companies achieved success by setting out to solve the simplest problems. Wherever problems exist, there are business opportunities.

14) Blog for trust, not for money

Instead of relying on your blog for income, use it to help create opportunities. Become a trusted source in your industry and build an audience. Expand into different social networks and develop your authenticity.

15) You are always selling

People shy away from the word ‘salesman’, but the only way to get anywhere is to come up with ideas and then have a strong ability to sell them. Don’t be afraid of cold-calling. If there’s a need, people will want to meet you. Everyone has a ‘yes’ buried inside of them. A good salesman knows how to find where that ‘yes’ is buried and then how to tease it out.

16) Never be jealous

If you are envious, then you will distance yourself from success and make it that much harder to get there. Never be jealous or attribute someone else’s success to luck. Never think that someone is undeserving of the money they have, because that only puts you one more step removed from the freedom you aspire to.

17) Don’t have opinions

Too often, we allow ourselves to get sucked in to petty arguments and disagreements. Most people are so set in their beliefs that you have no hope of changing their minds, and it’s a waste of time to even try. Besides, we’re often wrong and there are always people who will know more than us. We never learn when we are talking. Try to talk less every day and make an effort to listen more.

18) Honesty is the best way to make money

Dishonesty works…until it doesn’t. Everyone messes up. And when you are dishonest, you are given only one chance and then it’s over. You’re out of the game—at least until you get your act straight and you have to start from scratch with your tail between your legs. Honesty compounds exponentially, not over days or weeks, but years and decades. More people trust your word and spread the news that you are a person to be sought out, sought after, given opportunity, given help, or given money. This is what will build your empire.

19) Be yourself, not what others want you to be

Nobody can tell you what to do. No matter what they pay you. No matter what obligations you feel you owe them. Every second defines you. Be who you are, not who anyone else is, or who anyone else wants you to be. An entrepreneur, for instance, has investors, customers, partners, employees, and competitors. Everyone wants their input heard. But only you can act to change the world with your ideas.

20) Master skills before experimenting

Master the form you want to operate in, get experience, be willing to be imperfect, and then develop the confidence to play within that form, to develop your own style. Study the history of the form you want to master. Study every nuance. Draw inspiration from other art forms. Go back to the influences of your inspirations, and go back to their influences, and so on.