How To Improve Every Day & Harness The Power of Ideas – James Altucher on the Modern Wisdom Podcast (Part I)

Check out the Modern Wisdom Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • There are 3 skills to money:
    • 1) Making it
    • 2) Keeping it
    • 3) Growing it
  • Each day, aim to improve your physical, emotional, creative, and spiritual health by 1%
  • In terms of material possessions, you truly don’t need much in life
  • The last 10 years of entrepreneurship have focused on keeping people on their couches
  • Think of and write down 10 ideas a day—most won’t be good, but that’s okay; all that matters is you’re flexing your creativity muscle and keeping it active

Intro

Money Lessons Learned The Hard Way

  • Originally, James didn’t want to be an entrepreneur—it’s something he stumbled into
  • James started his first business in the ‘90s building websites for American Express, record labels, and entertainment firms, eventually selling it for $15 million
    • However, due to poor money management and investment skills, two years later, he was left with just $143, causing him to fall into a deep depression
      • At the time, James considered suicide—he had an extensive life insurance policy, and he figured his children were so young they wouldn’t reminder him anyway
        • “Better for them to have a life insurance policy than me” – James Altucher
  • Over time, James repeated the same cycle—making millions of dollars multiple times over, but then going broke
  • There are 3 skills to money:
    • 1) Making it
    • 2) Keeping it
    • 3) Growing it
  • Two life lessons:
    • On your way up, everyone wants to be your friend; on your way down, it’s as if no one knows you
    • Just because you’re rich now doesn’t mean you’ll be rich forever

Life Advice

  • Don’t let failure go to waste— examine it and pull out the lessons
  • 🎧 Each day, aim to improve your physical, emotional, creative, and spiritual health by 1%
    • Physical: Are you eating, moving, and sleeping well?
    • Emotional: Are you end toxic relationships and building positive ones?
    • Creative: Creativity is a muscle; are you coming up with 10 creative ideas every day?
    • Spiritual: Are you anxious or fearful about things you can’t control?
  • Life is incredibly complex—it helps to boil it down to the simple things and focus only on what you can control
    • “Things are going to be great in the long run—I never have to think about the long run if I did what I needed to do today”James Altucher
  • Instead of stressing over to-do lists, start by completing your highest priority task. Then, when you finish, move on to your next highest priority task. 
  • One of the best parts about having money: you can buy convenience

Going Minimalistic

  • A while back, James was leasing two houses, and both leases were set to expire. Instead of renewing them, James decided, on a whim, to throw out his belongings and only live in AirBnBs for the next two years.
    • The only items he kept: his computer, phone, and a carry-on bag with some clothes
    • This experience taught James an important lesson: In terms of material possessions, you truly don’t need much in life
  • If you’re game for hopping on the minimalism bandwagon, James has some advice
    • Step 1: Put all the items you don’t use in a room
    • Step 2: Anytime you need one of the items, take it out and put it somewhere else
    • Step 3: After 6 months, throw out everything you haven’t used

The State of Entrepreneurship

  • 🎧 The last 10 years of entrepreneurship have focused on keeping people on their couches:
    • Don’t feel like grocery shopping? Amazon Fresh
    • Don’t feel like cooking? GrubHub
    • Don’t feel like going to the movie theater? Netflix
    • Don’t feel like going to the gym? Peleton
    • “Every company in the past ten years … has been designed just to make it more easy for me to just sit on my couch all day” – James Altucher

How to Build Your Creative Muscle (Your Next Great Idea)

  • Think of and write down 10 ideas a day—most won’t be good, but that’s okay; all that matters is you’re flexing your creativity muscle and keeping it active
  • Once you’ve stumbled on a good idea, think of three immediate steps you can take to execute; James notes:
    • If you don’t know how to do something, find a freelancer on Fiverr (or a similar site)
    • Even if your idea fails, it’s still a learning experience and it’ll make for a great story
      • (James once tried to launch a Kickstarter and GoFundMe campaign to buy Greenland – the sites shut his campaign down, but it was a fun experiment and it makes for a hilarious story)

Additional Notes

  • Everyone does the dinner and drinks date—be different:
    • James suggests: Go to a ping-pong club, a comedy show, a haunted house, or an escape room

Check out the Podcast Notes for Part II