The James Altucher Show – Why We Are Who We Are with Robert Greene

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James Altucher’s Website

Key Takeaways

  • People are constantly wearing a mask to portray interest, happiness, and to try and impress people
  • Always ask yourself – “Is this my opinion or a group’s opinion?”
  • You will never be content when comparing yourself to people who have ‘more’ than you. Compare yourself with people who have almost nothing. Only then will you realize you have everything.
  • Don’t accept emotions at face value
    • Dig deeper to figure out why you are having a particular emotion
  • Lower peoples’ self-defenses by confirming their self-opinion. This will allow them to open up.
  • The source of our emotions runs deep, down to our childhood experiences

Introduction

Self-Evaluation

  • Be able to step outside of yourself to analyze emotions, thoughts, and decisions (self-awareness)
  • At an early age, we learn how to act in various ways to achieve certain goals
    • Example – Learning to cry a little harder to get that toy
  • People are always wearing a mask to portray interest, happiness, and to try and impress people
  • People do not understand the source of their emotions (neuroscience backs this up)
    • The part of the brain that processes emotions is not linked to the frontal cortex (area of the brain associated with rational thought)

Evaluating Others

  • Everyone has an opinion of themselves
    • External clues give others an idea of this
    • How is this self-opinion portrayed externally? – Perhaps a fake smile, open body language, and other visual cues etc.
  • True character is visually displayed through behavioral patterns
  • The Dark Side (Shadow)
    • The repressed side of people – their secret desires, part of ourselves that scares even us
      • Sudden bursts of emotions are clues to a person’s inner dark side
      • (Podcast Notes comment – this is why going through truly tough struggles with a person shows you their true nature. Times of stress make these bursts much harder to contain. Everyone can act nice when all is roses.)

Laws of Human Nature

  • Law of Conformity: “The more you attach yourself to the herd, the more irrational the decision-making is”
    • Avoiding the Law
      • Be honest with yourself, realizing who you are, and what you are capable of. It is natural to conform, you are not immune.
      • Ask yourself: “Is this my opinion or a groups opinion?”
      • Being in denial of the fact that you conform in various ways is a tragedy
    • Intuitively we believe people in power are happier, but they tend to be more insecure
    • It is difficult to go through life without influencing people
      • We want to impress others and make ourselves look better
    • Thinking about someone else first, rather than yourself, can open a very powerful influential door
      • They have an opinion about themselves, as do you

Three universal opinions every individual tends to have about themselves

  1. I am an autonomous individual
  2. I am intelligent and rational
  3. I am a good person
  • Law of Covetousness: “Becoming an object to desire, reduces the supply of yourself, and another person’s desire of you will go up”
    • Law of Economics: Supply and demand – by reducing the supply of something, the cost goes up
      • Romantically, if you are constantly present in someone’s life, you inadvertently suffocate them, lowering your self-esteem by trying to constantly verify their interest in you
      • On the other hand, if you are absent, there is no connection to grab onto
      • Balance: Become sensitive to the person and moment
    • Napoleon said –  “If I appear at the theater too often people will take me for granted, so I have to learn to appear at the theater in Paris once a month, so that when I do, people are excited.”
  • Law of Compulsive Behavior: People never do anything once, they always seem to repeat it
  • Law of Aimlessness: Advancing with a sense of purpose
    • As we get older we lose touch with our younger creative, imaginative side. We listen to what we think we should be.
    • Continue trying without the fear of failure, to eventually find what excites you
    • We live in a skill based world, the more skills you have the better off you are
      • Look also at what you hate, what turns you off  (stay clear of these)
  • Law of Fickleness: A good leader develops his/her inner authority
    • Inner Authority: Understanding the emotions, awareness, and decision making of oneself
  • Law of Envy: Developing your self-worth from an internal standard
    • You will never be content when comparing yourself to people who have ‘more’ than you. Compare yourself with people who have almost nothing. Only then will you realize you have everything. 

Training Yourself

  • We are humans, flawed with limitations
    • Work with your limitations. You won’t be perfect overnight – analyze yourself and work at it.
    • There are incredible benefits from absorbing information about where your emotions arise
      • Understanding is different than controlling, albeit both work together.
  • Don’t accept emotions at face value
    • Dig deeper to figure out why you are having a particular emotion
    • If you can begin to question yourself, it will become more natural. Before you know it will become a second-hand reaction.

Self-Opinion

  • Validate someone’s self-opinion, so that they open up.
    • If you have a conversation with someone, and get them to think that they are stupid, the person becomes defensive, and closes off.
  • Do not be self-absorbed (Does this person like me?)
    • We need to get outside of ourselves and think about the other person’s needs
  • Clues about self-opinion are brought out over time

Being Mysterious

  • Being mysterious is unnatural
    • If you can shake things up and figure out what is ahead of the curve, people will always be interested in you
      • Your most creative years are in your early 30s, albeit this should not hold you back
    • If you realize you are not rational, start divorcing emotions form your decisions, to become rational
  • You need the confidence to say –  “I don’t care what my audience thinks, and I will move on to different forms of art”
    • Bob Dylan, Picasso continuously innovated their craft to accommodate the future
      • Write down what you loved as a child
        • For example, Steve Jobs loved gadgets
      • Whatever that love was, advance it to today
        • Where does the interest lay now? – Steve Job’s love for gadgets evolved with his development of computers

Inner Self (Higher – Lower Self)

  • It is human nature to be insecure about ourselves
  • You have a higher and lower self
    • Lower self – When you slack off, give in to pressure
    • Higher self  -When you work hard, succeed in solving problems
      • How can you develop Inner Authority?
        • While working towards mastery, you are building confidence, and a sense of self, so that when you fail you can learn to pick yourself back up
  • Being able to organize your thoughts and ideas is the most important skill of all
    • Some have great ideas but don’t know how to organize them

 

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