How To be a PSYCHIC in 10 Easy Lessons

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I was in a bad state of mind. I was lying on the floor of a random hotel room in NYC and it was Thanksgiving several years ago. I was by myself because I had recently separated from my ex-wife. Anytime someone separates from someone there’s never anything nice about it. There are some bad moments. Maybe police get involved, maybe some neighbors, and certainly the children. The children are always involved.

One friend of mine knew my situation. She asked me over for that Thanksgiving. She and her daughter were making a turkey. There was going to be stuffing. And I’m sure biscuits. It was cold and slushy outside and something seemed warm and comfortable about being with another family that holiday. But her fifteen year old daughter put an end to that invitation.

She googled me and saw a recent Financial Times column I had written where I had mentioned having a “wife”. I can’t even remember which column, if any, she was mentioned in. The fifteen year old daughter said to her mother, “Mom! Why are you always going out with married men??” So that invitation was over. And, not having anything else to do, I was lying on the floor of the random hotel room.

So I came up with an idea for something to do: I wrote an ad and put it on the most amazing internet invention ever: Craigslist.

The ad said, “I was very sick for awhile. I would get piercing headaches all the time. But when the headaches finally stopped I realized I was psychic and could tell the future. I don’t want this ability. It’s too much of a burden and I can’t shut it down. But right now, today, I’m willing to answer any question that anyone emails me.”

The emails started pouring in.  I don’t know if it was selfish or not. I wanted to help people and by doing so, maybe that would help myself. One woman wanted to know if she should keep pursuing a guy at work who slept with her once and “she felt a very strong connection with him whenever they were together” but that he seldom called her anymore. She wanted to know if she should pursue that connection and if a year from now they would be together.  I told her, first off, anything could happen. Nothing is ever written in stone. But as long as she was thinking so much about this guy, she was spending energy that could be used on either improving herself, or doing activities to meet other guys. Chances are she would not be with this guy in a year, I wrote.

Another woman wrote to me and said, “tell me something about myself that nobody knows so I know you are a legitimate psychic.” This is an easy one. I wrote to her, “When you were a little girl, you had long beautiful hair. Everyone commented on how beautiful your hair was. But one day you got a haircut and it was cut too short. You cried about it and no matter what anyone told you, you could not be consoled. You remember that to this day.”  She wrote back, “THAT’S AMAZING! HOW DID YOU KNOW?”

Trick question: How did I know?

Another email: “I’m a designer of children’s clothes. Every year I work on new designs. But I’m tired of it. I have ideas about doing nutrition consulting using holistic methods combining the spiritual , the physical, etc. What should I do?” I wrote back, “Start a blog with your ideas. Every day give tips. Offer to have people contact you directly for help. Submit content to magazines, other blogs, etc. Come up with a 12 week plan that people can sign up for where they achieve greater holistic health by the end of the plan.”

She wrote back and was excited. I wrote back. We decided to meet. We wrote each other back and forth all day. She told me her friend thought she was crazy for wanting to meet me. We met a week later at the bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. She was married but it was an open marriage, but it was open for her to have a lesbian girlfriend. That was the same friend that thought she was crazy. I wanted to kiss her.

I responded to about two dozen emails that day. I felt outside of my body. Like my fingers were typing and I couldn’t leave the keyboard or I would miss an email. Most people continued to email me for the next few days until eventually I needed to leave my room and do other things. Some days you get down and you need to reach outside of yourself to pull yourself off the floor. Other days you need to ask an anonymous person if a connection is real or a career is satisfying.

You can argue with whether or not what I did was ethical. But it wasn’t about that. Or about the people who responded. It wasn’t about my friend who invited me for Thanksgiving. Or the woman who needed a connection. It was about how sometimes everything changes and doesn’t get better until two lips touch in a first kiss.

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  • Michelle B

    But we keep truckin’ along doing all kinds of unrelated things no matter how long it takes until that first kiss does happen and the healing is recognized by the one being healed.

    • James Altucher

      Michelle, I think thats right. The “first kiss” doesn’t count until healing has already begun. Its all connected.

  • http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~tucker Tucker

    Love to read your posts. Great writing. Something like Mark Twain would write if he were a New Yorker.

  • Steven Goff

    “We all have our own time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”

  • José P

    James,

    I think you are in a mid-life crisis and dealing with your gosts, but you are a great writer.

    • José P

      I mean ghosts

  • James Altucher

    @Jose, you’re definitely right. And I have a lot of ghosts. Although probably no more so than most people.

  • Dugafish

    I love it…great way to just shake things up! Sometimes, you got to do something to reconnect yourself…and it usually needs to be something random and different…to get the jolt needed to recharge the batteries and get back in the game. I always tell my kids who compete in high level sports that when they are playing on the court or the field and they feel themselves out of the game -do something to get yourself reconnected with the game. That something may be quite unconventional, such as purposefully engaging in a foul (nothing too outrageous) so that they can reconnect with the flow. Its no different than what you did on the floor of the hotel room-its just more of a compressed time frame. And it works!

  • James Altucher

    @Dugafish, Yes, the key is (that most people dont realize) is that it works. I’ve done tricks like this on a number of occasions and you use a good analogy: its like recharging the batteries. People need to do it, companies need to do it, marriages, etc.

  • Jamie Smithson

    James,

    I’m really enjoying the blog. I’ve been tunnin’in for just a couple of weeks now. Keep up the good work!

    Jamie
    Atlanta, GA

  • http://stocksonwallstreet.net/ Stocks on Wall Street

    Can’t wait to read this one James.

  • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

    I was thrilled when I cut my long hair off. I loved it.

    Mainly because my father hated it and I’d done it to spite him.

  • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

    I once posted an ad to criagslist in the personals stating I was willing to answer any questions from the female perspective. Entertained me for three days and got me to do something besides stare at the wine bottle and cry.

  • http://www.highballblog.com/ Constantin Gabor

    :-)))) Awesome!

  • http://eelsecreto.com Meditacion y Relajacion

    Great post! I’d never think people will write to this kind of posts.

  • Miguknom

    Probably four lips.  No biggie though.

  • Sense Schooler

    it’s spelled PSYCHOTIC

  • The Pattern

    profound experience.thanks for sharing.  makes me think about the visceral reality of what you did. your unusual behavior activated some powerful hormones that totally changed your situation. The message to me is that there is no reason why i can’t do something like that anytime (or at least whenever i think about it)

  • ROSIE

    HEY JAMES, 
         I’VE SPENT THE PAST THREE DAYS READING YOUR ARTICLES AND LISTENING TO VIDEOS AND PODCASTS.  LOTS OF GOOD IDEAS YOU HAVE, SIR.  ALTHOUGH SAYING YOU’RE PSYCHIC WHEN YOU’RE NOT…WELL…BUT, THE INTERNET ALLOWS US TO TRY THINGS WE’VE NEVER TRIED.  SO KUDOS TO YOU FOR PULLING IT OFF FOR THOSE FEW DAYS.  HOPEFULLY YOU HELPED SOMEONE.     MY COMMENT IS ABOUT YOUR MISSING A MOTHER’S LOVE.  I HAVE FOUR GROWN SONS.  AGES 16, 18, 21, 23.  ALL FOUR WERE BORN IN SIX AND A HALF YEARS.  I WAS BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT FOR ALMOST SEVEN YEARS.  AND YES, I KNOW WHAT WAS CAUSING IT.  I COULD KISS AND HUG MY BOYS AND DID AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  KISSING BOBOS, AND KISSES FOR NO REASON.  FLOWERS FROM THE  NEIGHBOR’S YARD, (OH NO, MY NEIGHBOR’S GONNA KILL ME…AGAIN) OR A FIELD WITH ALL THOSE WHITE AND PURPLE FLOWERS THAT GROW IN A LAWN WAITING TO BE MOWED.  SO MUCH LOVE.  IT WAS GREAT.  WHO KNEW RAISING FOUR BOYS WHO BUZZED AROUND ME LIKE BEES, WOULD BE SO WONDERFUL?  EXCEPT…FOR THE ‘WIPING BUTT’ FOR TWELVE YEARS STRAIGHT, WITH NO BREAKS.  (I GET ‘HEAVENLY’ POINTS FOR THAT, OR I’D BETTER, ANYWAY)  I WAS OVERWHELMED BY LOVE WHEN THE BOYS WERE ALL SMALL.  NOW THAT THEY’RE ALL GROWN.  I’M IN A LOVE DROUGHT.  I’M NOT ALLOWED TO HUG FOR TOO LONG, OR FOR NO REASON.  NO KISSES ANYMORE.  MAYBE A KISS ON ‘MY’ CHEEK EVERY NOW AND AGAIN.  I SUPPOSE IT COULD HAVE BEEN MY YELLING AT THEM OVER THE YEARS TO JUST, “GET OFF MY TIT FOR FIVE MINUTES!”  SO MOTHERS WANT TO BE LOVED.  TO BE ABLE TO JUST SIT AND LOOK AT THEIR BEAUTIFUL CHILD, AND LISTEN TO THEM.  THINKING OF THEM NOT NEEDING MY ARMS AROUND THEM, OR SITTING IN MY LAP AND LOOKING UP AT ME ANYMORE.  SO GO HUG YOUR MOM, OR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM WHEN YOU NEED COMFORT.  THEY’LL LOVE IT.  MAYBE YOU COULD TRY THAT AND BLOG ABOUT IT. lol  I HOPE YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO HUG YOU JAMES.  OFTEN, OR WHENEVER YOU NEED IT.  TAKE CARE.                                                                                                          ROSIE

    • thanks rosie

      yes thank you for sharing rosie

  • Joe

    His name is Jesus. Haven’t your heard of him?

  • Anonymous

    How interesting. I was in a similar situation some years ago and advertised myself as the Love Doctor on Craigslist. I gave advice to love-lorn people. It was weird, I started getting marriage proposals from women that read my advice. I wasn’t separated though.

    So after I getting the marriage proposals I thought I should stop. Like you I had made some money in the 90s (not as much as you), and then lost it all in the crash. It was still very difficult to deal with and I figured if I helped someone else I’d feel better about myself.

    I love your blog and you inspire me every time I am here.

  • GG

    Hahaha!! I am also considering putting an Ad in craiglist…

  • Amira

    I can relate for me it takes a different form, like the urge to help people by volunteering and I love volunteering. The weird thing is it works because as you help others you also help yourself since you stop dwelling on yourself so much. You must admit to being a little bit self-absorbed right? No worries, I am also quite often… ;)
    By the way, when I was a little girl and my hair was cut too short, a colleague of my dad’s said something like how are you my son and I was so upset, I have not cut my hair short since! Although that guy was really old and probably had poor vision, and let’s just say my figure has changed since puberty in such a way that I would never be confused for a boy… Hahaha ;)

  • Pearl

    I’m a girl. I have super thick, long, black hair.( I always get charged extra when I go for a colouring appointment because they have to use way more hair color than normal.) And noone ever cut my hair off when I was younger. I chopped it off myself when I was 14. I liked it. My head suddenly felt so light. And people were actually looking me in the eyes. No more hair to hide behind. I’ve chopped it off several times since but have grown it back, it takes too much confidence to  have short hair.
    Anyhow, before I tell you my life story, my point is: there you have a girl (me) who’s never had that experience. 

  • TheLastPsychiatrist.com

    I think you were hunting for the narcissistic supply. Using people is not a “cool technique” – and, you do know about jack squat when it comes to “psychic abilities.”

  • vikas

    brilliant !!!!!!!!!

  • Trina

    I so agree! I’m 36 and I feel as if SOO much has happened and time has been very slow!

  • http://brendabrewer.blogspot.com/ Brenda Brewer

    HA HA HA HA. I need to start doing tarot readings again. I did this, posted an ad on CL and did readings for barter. I lived in a big mansion in San Carlos, CA in the hills back then with a bunch of other people so it was safe. That was soooo fun and people really think I’m psychic.

  • REAL TESTIFIER

    I really didn’t believe that Africa still possess mystical powers because of scam stories i read online but the real truth is Africa possess powerful magical powers and i am a testimony to this fact. I am Jamie Powell and i will explain in this article how i got help that if my friend or someone dear to me tells me i will get help, i will believe it to be a lie.
    I was in a relationship with this young lady who was 28 and everything moved on smoothly until one certain day, i didn’t really know what came over her, she just started avoiding me and right from time her parents hated me, they never wanted me to be with their daughter and so Laurel gave them point for them to hate me the more.
    During those period, i couldn’t think straight because i loved this woman so much, i really wanted to propose marriage to her but she told me her parents has cautioned her to stay away from me and that i was a bad ass. Because of this situation, i begin to have seizures at work and this affected my performance at work. Then, a co-worker of mine who knew i was going through stress because of my girlfriend’s issue told me when he needed her ex lover back who left her because he had weak erection searched everywhere for help, some people who claimed has powers to bring back ex lovers couldn’t help, all they did was to add problems to his problems and said luck came his way when he met and contacted one Dr. Esiendo at {hoodoospellcasts@outlook.com} who brought back his wife and cured his weak erection and when he finished, i believed in my heart that if he could get help then i certainly, will get helped.
    Then, i contacted him and to my greatest surprise after three days, a girl who first told me her parents has cautioned her to stay away from me and that she doesn’t love me no longer apologise and asked for my forgiveness and said her parents wanted to see me. From my heart, i hugged and kissed her and went to see her parents and they also told me they were sorry for not letting us be and that right now, they have approve we get reunited and right there, i propose marrying Laurel and they were happy and blessed us both and gave us a go ahead.
    Today i am reunited and happy with Laurel and her family and all these were possible because of Dr. Esiendo’s help which is why i am urging everyone in need of help to get help from him before the year comes to an end, for he is the only trusted and reliable source of help anyone will desire to get help from.

  • Eugene

    Reading this article i feel like my brain just boomed. It doesn’t matter how old you are if something happens to your family or at least to what you thought was your family just drops you down that deep on the floor that you simply feel empty inside. Until you touch those lips of course.