How To Choose Yourself & Live Your Dreams | James Altucher on The Reader’s Journey

Check out The Reader’s Journey Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • “You only have one life to live and you want to do things that you love doing” James Altucher
  • Choosing yourself means not waiting for approval from gatekeepers and starting the venture you want:
    • Want to be an author? Self-publish your book on Amazon
    • Want to make a TV show? Record it and upload it to YouTube
    • Didn’t get into MIT? Take their free online courses
  • “Choosing yourself, to summarize, is when everyone is telling you you can’t do it or you need to go through these gatekeepers but you just go ahead and figure out how to do it anyway” James Altucher
  • You don’t have to quit your day job tomorrow to choose yourself
    • James started a website design company while he worked at HBO and didn’t quit his job until 18 months after started the business
  • James’s advice for finding happiness:
    • Have a strong sense of community
    • Have good friends and relationships
    • Work on mastering a skill you enjoy doing
    • Be financially independent (it gives you the option of leaving your job if you hate it)
  • Don’t dwell on the past:
    • “Yeah it’s too bad I lost millions of dollars but it happened. I can’t go back in time and I got to just focus on physical health, creative health, and emotional health.” – James Altucher
  • “To be a great writer, you have to read great writers and the best writers are fiction writers because they spend their entire career learning how to write” James Altucher

Intro

Books Mentioned

Do Things You Love

  • James has been an entrepreneur, investor, comedian, poker player, podcaster, chess master, and more
    • One thing he’s learned: Doing something new is difficult, but you only live once and you want to pursue things you love
      • “You only have one life to live and you want to do things that you love doing” James Altucher
        • James was the least happiest in life when he was only doing one thing like just focusing on investing

Choose Yourself

  • Choosing yourself means not waiting for approval from gatekeepers and starting the venture you want
    • Want to be an author? Self-publish your book on Amazon
    • Want to make a TV show? Record it and upload it to YouTube
    • Didn’t get into MIT? Take their free online courses
      • Scott Young, the author of Ultra Learning, did a four year MIT computer science degree in 10 months by taking their online courses
  • The internet has made it easier than ever before to choose yourself
  • “Choosing yourself, to summarize, is when everyone is telling you you can’t do it or you need to go through these gatekeepers but you just go ahead and figure out how to do it anyway” James Altucher

4 Ways To Find Your Passion

  • Let you heart and mind talk
    • Reflect on what activities make you happy (heart) and think of ways you could earn money from it (mind)
      • “It’s really great when your heart and mind have a conversation” – James Altucher
  • Write 10 ideas a day
    • You want to exercise your idea muscle by coming up with 10 different ideas daily
      • “When you’re exercising that idea muscle, you’ll startt to see ways in which you can pursue different interests” – James Altucher
  • List the things you loved doing as a kid
    • Chances are that you still love doing the things you loved doing as a kid
  • Ask yourself, what area of a bookstore do you love?
    • If you’re an accountant but always gravitate towards the cooking section, perhaps you want to be a chef or open up a restuarant

More Advice on Choosing Yourself

  • You don’t have to quit your day job tomorrow to choose yourself
    • James started a website design company while he worked at HBO and didn’t quit his job until 18 months after starting the business
  • Don’t let failure keep you down:
    • In the 2000s, James had 9 businesses that failed in a row. But, it was his tenth idea that worked and it became a successful business.
  • Look at life as a series of experiments: Some will work, some won’t. Either way, learn from each one.
    • Make sure to cap the amount of risk in any experiment 
      • “Figure out a way to test the idea without spending a lot of money” – James Altucher
  • It’s never too late to choose yourself:
    • Rodney Dangerfield was in his 40s when he started his stand-up career
    • Stan Lee was 44 when he created the Marvel Universe
    • Ray Kroc was in his 50s when he started building McDonalds

How To Find Happiness In Life

  • James’s advice for finding happiness:
    • Have a strong sense of community
    • Have good friends and relationships
    • Work on mastering a skill you enjoy doing
    • Be financially independent (it gives you the option of leaving your job if you hate it)
  • Take responsibility for your life and situation:
    • “It’s always my fault, I cannot blame someone else” – James Altucher
      • An important caveat: Don’t try to control things that are out of your control
  • Take care of yourself both mentally and physically
    • Cut out toxic people and exercise often
  • Don’t dwell on the past:
    • “Yeah it’s too bad I lost millions of dollars but it happened. I can’t go back in time and I got to just focus on physical health, creative health, and emotional health.” – James Altucher

Lessons From Billionaires

  • A lesson James learned from interviewing billionaires: Ready, Fire, Aim
    • Billionaire Sara Blakely was a fax machine salesperson who created one sample of Spanx and pitched it to a big retailer. The retailer loved it and placed an order for $300,000.
      • Sara didn’t know anything about manufacturing or retail, but said yes and eventually found a manufacturer who helped it make it happen
    • Billionaire Richard Branson was a 27-year-old magazine publisher who decided to start an airline. He didn’t know anything about airlines but figured out a way to borrow a plane from Boeing.
  • Another lesson: Billionaires are often incredible persuaders 
    • Sara was able to convince a major retail chain to buy her products
    • Richard was able to convince Boeing to give him a plane

Books That James Loved

Additional Notes

  • A lot of times when somebody tells you that you can’t do something, the truth is that they can’t do it so they want to prevent you from trying
  • “To be a great writer, you have to read great writers and the best writers are fiction writers because they spend their entire career learning how to write” James Altucher
The Reader's Journey : , , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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