Four Psychics, Two Successes, and Unrequited Lust

psychic

In 1997, a partner at a venture capital firm mentioned to me that he owed all of his success and millions to a psychic named Mercedes that lived right on the other side of the tunnel in NJ. It took three months to land an appointment. I got there, in her heavily Hispanic neighborhood, and I had to wait. She had a customer. Her store smelled like incense and was filled with little statues of Jesus, and other statues of things I didn’t recognize.

I walked up and down the street. I kept thinking, like I reflexively do in these situations, I could hide here. I could get an apartment for almost nothing. I could meet an Hispanic girl. I could eat Cuban food every day. And I could sleep and read. Maybe forever. Nobody would ever find me again.

 

When she was ready for me she did something with some cards. She lit incense. She was very kind and said kind things to me about my present and my future. I went back a few times, mostly because the partner at the VC firm was a multi-millionaire and would swear everything was due to her.

A few years later something similar happened. The #2 or #3 guy at one of the top 3 phone companies (starts with “A”) told me he owed ALL OF HIS success to a psychic in Connecticut. He insisted I go to her. I went to her. It was a far drive and as usually the case with me and Connecticut, I got lost. In fact, Connecticut is the state that took my license away. Every street in Connecticut has the same name and they all run parallel to each other. In the woods. And although they are parallel they all run in three or four dimensions so you never know where you are and you’re never quite sure how late or early you are.

But I got there. She had the cards also. Also a computer-run astrology chart of me. We spoke for a while. Two hours. It was more like a therapy session.

Nobody ever told me anything that came true. The second psychic did think Wall Street was going to collapse at some point but I think, living in Connecticut, she probably had more inside information than Stevie Cohen. Her clients were probably all hedge fund managers and CEOs. I should’ve listened to her. She’s still saying everything’s going to collapse.

 

Why do we want to “owe” success to someone else. Why do we want to blame failure on others?

I was one time in a hotel traveling and I couldn’t sleep. It was 4 in the morning. I turned on CNBC and I saw the second friend ( the #3 guy from the “A” phone company)  right there on the TV. He was on for only 20 seconds so I was lucky. He was in Hong Kong talking, I guess, about the phone situation there (I wasn’t paying attention. I was just amazed to be seeing his face on TV after not seeing him for five years). I wrote to him and said, “I just saw you on TV!” He wrote back seconds later, “Now, James, what are you doing up at 4 in the morning? Only you could be working that hard!”

But what was he doing in Hong Kong on TV? He’s 65, working 80 hours a week for The Man, and is on TV in Hong Kong. He clearly doesn’t owe success to anyone but himself. No psychic told him to work that hard, or to fly to Hong Kong, or to be as visible as possible every chance he got, or to network with everyone he’s ever met over a 40 year career, or even to respond to me just seconds after he left the TV studio. And with such humility. Assuming I was working harder than him, which I wasn’t. I was just an insomniac. Trying to sleep against the hordes of demons from the land of fear that kept invading my dreams at that moment in time.

Success, in every case, comes from the alchemy of your health, your mind, your positive energy, and the real world situations you persistently improve for yourself. Anyone I know who is successful is the wizard of that alchemy.

A psychic wins all the time. If she predicts success, and you were successful, then she was right! If she predicts success, and you fail, then nobody is going to be asking you for advice anyway on what psychic they should go to. Its easy work to predict success for someone. And you can charge a lot for it. But its hard work to make the future happen.

I’ve only gone to two other psychics (not counting the time I met Michael Jackson’s super-psychic, Uri Geller) . One time in 1996 I was on a date with a girl. “Psychic $15”. The girl wanted to go. We went in and I paid, assuming that would guarantee the psychic saying what I wanted her to say. But she said she had to see the girl by herself. And then the girl refused to tell me what the psychic said. I never saw her again.

The other time in 1994 I had just moved to the city. I was feeling very lonely and wanted to talk to someone, anyone. Around the corner from my apartment on 14th and 7th I saw a second floor apartment with a red light on. On the sidewalk was the sign “Psychic ⇒” pointing upstairs. The door was open. I went up. Two little kids were in a livingroom. “Mama,” one of them called. Out came the psychic and the two kids disappeared. She was about 50. I was 26. Heavy cleavage, heavy everything, wrapped in layers of silks. A scarf over her head but long brown hair. Acne I could barely make out in the dark red lights. A pseudo-gypsy.

“Sit,” she said. And she took my hand. I felt electricity.  I didn’t listen to anything she said.  I wanted to be touched so badly. I wanted to grab her and kiss her and pull her to the ground, unravel the silk scarfs, and spread her open, with her kids right in the other room with only a red curtain separating the rooms. If I did that, and more, I had a sense the future would be laid out in front of me like a treasure map.

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

    I think for a lot of us, it is quite natural to owe our success to someone else and yet take the weight of our failures on ourselves. 

    Look at religion for examples. When your needs are met you are supposed to thank God. When they are not you are never supposed to BLAME God for your problems. 

    Psychics are fascinating. Recently I have been having inexplicable urges to go to one. Inexplicable because I don’t believe in that kind of stuff at all. Perhaps it is simply a symptom of desperation. Desperation to be touched. Desperation for wealth. Desperation for answers. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.altucher James Altucher

       I can understand the need. heck, I followed the advice of both of these guys who were successes that I still look up to to this day. Maybe the fact that the American religion equates money with happiness that we look for alternatives for some extra solace to fill in the spiritual gaps we find in daily life.

  • Syren

    Success, in every case, comes from the alchemy of your
    health, your mind, your positive energy, and the real world situations
    you persistently improve for yourself. Anyone I know who is successful
    is the wizard of that alchemy.

    I think that is one of the more profound things I’ve ever heard – or read – anyone say.  Ever.  

    • Kevin M

      I agree. Why is it then when we see someone successful, we tend to shit on them? Like, oh his daddy probably got him the job, he inherited the money, etc. I do this. Maybe it is because I am moderately successful but haven’t really had to work overly hard?

  • JohnZach

    What Syren said. Awesome. JA you rock.

  • michael Rusinas

    James, Do you write freehand i.e. yellow pads, ‘Daily Practice” and then transfer to a computer or do you sit down at your computer and write?  I find writing on a yellow pad harder but more creative.

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

      I can’t answer for James but I can say that I do a fair amount of both. Often when I am blocked at the computer a piece of paper can unblock me. The opposite is also true. 

      At any given point in time I have a yellow pad of paper in my purse. And also some sort of electronic writing device. 

    • Anonymous

      i believe in a previous post he said he uses pads of restaurant guest checks that he buys in bulk online.

  • https://jarvisapp.com/ Jay Shirley

    I had the good fortune to talk to a very established up-from-little to the top guy. I asked about the journey and his family. He said, “I’m divorced and missed out watching my kids grow up. But for me? Yeah. Family was never fulfilling and I wasn’t drawn to it.”

    At that point I realized that I’m not fit for that type. I’d much rather have my family.

    Now I am curious to go to a psychic and see what they say. I think I’m pretty well-grounded, but who knows. Maybe they can tell me something I don’t know. Would you recommend it to people? Would you have gone if tycoons wouldn’t have said they owed everything to psychics?

  • WaggingFinger

    I laughed at the end of this post.

  • http://economicdisconnect.blogspot.com/ GYSC

    X marks the spot??  Wow that last paragraph made sense to me somehow.

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    The Future = Function (however you choose to see it)

    There are always an infinite number of ideas, people, businesses, good and bad events, all bouncing inside the world like hot molecules. 

    You as a participant and observer can literally choose your own frame of reference and take some kind of partial derivative of the entire system of collisions.  You see things the way you want to see them.
    Some people seem to be able to do this naturally.

    But the basic choice is to choose what you want and how you actually want to see things.
    This is a self-developed app that you then install and run on your own personal operating system.
    This app has a built in algorithm which starts sorting events, news, people, information and it gives you updates in some kind of built in command viewport that you can almost see:

    IF-you want that result upon which this personal app was built and designed to give you
    THEN-you need to focus and talk to that person right now

    “Leaks” seem to be bugs in the code that you thought you never needed to fix, or viruses that you download along the way somewhere, staying out too late (after you purposely shut down the app center)

    Some of these apps you create use different methods to build your solution.
    Some use crude numerical methods and iterative methods while others seem to be like
    laser pointers giving exact answers.
    Most peoples brains seem to use some kind of a gathering method.  A crude Riemann sum if you will.
    Approximations do go along way.
    And they work lots better than some of the all or nothing get rich quick f-you methods that people think will give them easy salvation.

    For a long, long time I was using canned apps I  foolishly purchased from either con-men or knaves, with my only goal being to stay busy.  I never had any knowledge or faith to think I could do any better.
    Some kind of internal program took over one day and seemed to help me get my life back together.  Not sure what exactly that was. 

    • Syren

      I wish I understood this better because it makes sense and I’d like to better understand how to ‘do’ what you describe.  You give a somewhat technical version of what up to now I’ve only learned as either a spiritual or a psychological activity.

    • Syren

      I wish I understood this better because it makes sense and I’d like to better understand how to ‘do’ what you describe.  You give a somewhat technical version of what up to now I’ve only learned as either a spiritual or a psychological activity.

  • http://www.dinosaurtrader.com dinosaurtrader

    Had to laugh at your fantasy of disappearing into the Hispanic neighborhood in Jersey just so you could read a bit. Totally get that.

    -DT

  • Guest

    Funny. I just had a psychic stop me on corner of 62nd & 3rd Ave. She read my spirit and said a lot of things about me that were actually true. Then she kindly offered to clear my Chakra’s for the small fee of $700. LOL

  • Anonymous

    Magical thinking has been instilled in us from a very early age.  The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus exist for just this purpose.  The younger the believer the more pronounced is the inertia of lifelong belief in magical thinking. 

    Randomness and chaos are scary.  We WANT to believe there is a hidden order in the chaos, a determined hand behind the randomness. 

    Further, our brains evolved to connect the dots that exist and create the dots when they don’t.  We are pattern recognition machines.  We abhor the unknown and create patterns to explain it. 

    So, not only have we been genetically programmed to believe the psychic knows all, we actually want to believe it and we’ve been brainwashed since birth to believe it.

    Oh well.   

  • Anonymous

    Magical thinking has been instilled in us from a very early age.  The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus exist for just this purpose.  The younger the believer the more pronounced is the inertia of lifelong belief in magical thinking. 

    Randomness and chaos are scary.  We WANT to believe there is a hidden order in the chaos, a determined hand behind the randomness. 

    Further, our brains evolved to connect the dots that exist and create the dots when they don’t.  We are pattern recognition machines.  We abhor the unknown and create patterns to explain it. 

    So, not only have we been genetically programmed to believe the psychic knows all, we actually want to believe it and we’ve been brainwashed since birth to believe it.

    Oh well.   

  • Anonymous

    moral of the story: if you ever go to connecticut, take a gps?  haha streets run parallel and in multiple dimensions in the woods – that cracked me up.

  • Bilge Pump

    Money = Freedom = Time = How long you have to live = Life, where Life = How can you make the world better and how many meaningful relationships can you create, which is why I think the ability to happily make money is the most important skill a person can have. AKA – Starting your own business with what you were born to do.

    People get lost though, for some it’s:
    Money = Ego, where Ego = survival, Ego boosting (materialism), and cashing out (freedom AKA retirement).

    I don’t know, – it’s all messed up -, and I blame capitalism – It’s raising our children :)

    P.S. Good Book: Conspiracy of the Rich – Robert Kiyosaki

  • Anonymous

    Economics, Politics?

  • http://manonthestreet.com manonthestreet

    James have you ever read any David Bohm? I suggest that when you have some free time you take a look.

  • Beyondbeige

    I went to a psychic. Once. Scared the crap out of me. Everything she said was dead on accurate. All the shit she said would happen did. That’s just crazy 
     If your interested her name is Melanie Vail.

  • http://www.marketmentat.com GT

    JA, I dunno if you’ve experimented with hallucinogenics (be it shrooms, peyote, acid or huasca) but looking at your oeuvre it’s clear that whether you did or not, you have had the benefit of that ‘something’ that clicks on in the mind, that brings clarity that plenty of people find really hard to cope with.

    @JoeRogan:twitter  knows about it – as does @Redban:twitter  ; I shudder to think how awesome it would be if you and Rogan sat down and talked for two hours. Throw in @SamHarrisOrg:twitter  and that shit would be ti-zight. Sha-fucking-ZAM, bitchez.

    You seem to oscillate between a real sense of yourself, and a deep well of insecurity (it’s more than just awareness of one’s own flaws, or it reads that way). Either way, you’re an interesting cat.

  • zzen321

    I once dated a woman who worked as a psychic. When she told me that, I couldn’t help but smile. I could tell by the look on her face she knew I wasn’t buying it. And I knew I could never take the relationship seriously … not that I wanted to :)

  • http://rodolfogrimaldi.com Daniel Mihai Popescu

    More and more ravishing experiences, James, :)
    I never trusted psychics, especially when mother seemed to know a lot of my endeavors, from them. She knew the present, she knew the future, almost all of it, :(

  • Poonky

    I love how people are quick to dismiss pyschics. Are their quacks out there? Sure. But that”s also true of financial analysts. If we can marvel at how a pitcher can throw at 98 mph, something an infintesimally small number of humans can do, why can’t we believe certain humans were born similarly with mental abilities far beyond the norm. 

  • http://www.relativitycorp.com David Skul

    Nice one!pretty simple concepts here. You are a cool guy and I dig your vibe. Keep hunting and watch out for other hunters like us in the forest. David Skul