Life Tastes Best When You Eat What You Kill

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An anonymous commenter named “Frank” wrote on an article I wrote yesterday, “Every time Altucher opens his mouth or posts commentary, he subtracts from the sum total of all human knowledge.”

Frank is absolutely right and I congratulate him for recognizing that. I do subtract from the sum total of all human knowledge when I speak. I’m not human. I hunt humans down. I then eat what I kill. Frank is afraid maybe that I’m trying to take too much of the knowledge he spent 40 or 70 years learning. It’s ok, Frank. You can keep your knowledge. I won’t take it from you. You can go home now.

We’ve become animals in a zoo and wait for our masters to feed us. Our masters are our bosses, the government, the shareholders of massive corporations, the media that spoon feeds us random doses of fear and greed. The banks that squeeze our genitals when we try to break free.

(best movie of all time)

Life only tastes good when you eat what you kill. When you hustle for what you earn and someone pays you money in proportion to the service you’ve offered, the idea you’ve created, your ability to execute on it, and their ability to consume it in a way that benefits them.

Someone asked me the other day “what does it mean when you say you ‘eat what you kill’ “.

It means the greatest pleasure is going into the jungle and mastering the ability to hunt and survive without the help of masters who only pretend to guarantee our safety. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, a homemaker, a writer, it’s time to start forgetting about all the ways the world has promised you safety and comfort.

Human knowledge has torn apart our families, our bank accounts, and lulled us into a creepy sense of Disney stability. A good friend of mine was just laid off from his job of ten years. He found out through an email and was asked to not come into work for the rest of the week and clean out his desk when security came in on Saturday. All of that human knowledge in an email. Ten years of work. Time to cut costs. “What do I do now?” he asked me.

How to Eat What You Kill:

–          Don’t depend on one boss, buyer for your company, product, service you offer, etc. Diversify everything you can. When I was starting Stockpickr I was trying to start 9 other companies simultaneously plus was running a fund of hedge funds. When I was trying to sell Stockpickr, I was in serious talks with 5 other companies. When I write articles, there’s 5 different sites I write for. When I was broke and about to lose my home, I wrote to over 100 different people to try to build up my network. When I worked at HBO I tried to build value in every department, all the time I was preparing my exit by planning out my first successful startup.

–          Become an expert. Read every book, blog, website, whatever, about what you want to be an expert in. When I began daytrading for hedge funds I must have read over 100 books on trading and investing and then wrote over 1000 programs testing out different trading models. And I still sucked at trading. I then spent years doing it before I felt I was halfway decent enough to pull consistent money out. And only then hedge funds started hiring me.

–          Connect people. If you introduce person A to person B and then person B is able to solve a pain point in his life, then you just made a good connection. Each connection is another string in the tightly woven net you build that will catch you when you fall and throw you to higher heights than you’ve ever experienced before. And you will fall. Don’t think it can’t happen.

–          Give ideas for free. If you have no network yet then you have to build it. Nobody wants to help you for free. They are all just trying to survive. Even billionaires are trying to protect their luxury-soaked lifestyles plagued by jealousies and oversexed libidos. You have to build your idea muscle and work hard to come up with ideas that can really help these people. Then send them the ideas for free. Not everyone will respond, but the benefits are:

–          Always work on your exit. No matter where you are: a job, a startup, your startup, writing a column, working at Mcdonalds, always diversify your possible exits and begin immediately working on them. You don’t have to exit tomorrow, but never forget that you can get that email tomorrow that says you have to clean out your desk by Saturday. Build your personal brand, make your boss’s contacts your contacts, make calls, send emails, leave responses on blogs, come up with ideas out of the scope of your job description

–          Never say a bad word about anyone. Don’t betray anyone. Don’t backstab anyone or step on anyone’s toes. Don’t gossip.This might come into conflict with the idea of “eating what you kill” but backstabbing in order to do it implies you have a “scarcity” mentality. That there isn’t enough out there unless you kill someone else in order to get what you want. Let me tell you something: there’s enough out there for you and me. Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck. Avoid those and you avoid competition. Don’t hurt anyone.

–          Don’t care what people think.  People will hate you for being a hunter: your bosses, colleagues, partners, investors, extended family. But they don’t have to feed your family. You do. This is how you do it. Once you care what others think, you’ve lost. Then you’ve just set up the same boundaries for yourself that those other people have set up for themselves. They are all smaller than you and live in straitjackets. It’s easy to kill someone in a straitjacket. Don’t be one of those people.

–          Create your luck. Luck doesn’t come from god or come magically out of the air. When a runner wins a race by a one-tenth of a second chances are he prepared more, he studied his competition, his diet was that much better, he was better rested, he was mentally fit, etc. Once you’ve checked all the boxes on your preparation, guess what, you’ll be lucky. A lot of people say, for instance, that Mark Cuban became a billionaire by luck. I address that in this post.

–          Reward is unrelated to risk. People say, “no risk, no reward.” This is not true. I don’t like to take risks. I have a family to feed. Don’t take risks with your kids. Diversification is not about diversifying your cash investments, it’s about diversifying all the sources of plenty in your life: opportunities, knowledge, friends, networks, investments, risks, health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, i.e. the Daily Practice I recommend). To eat what you kill, minimize risk so you don’t die on the hunt. You do that by diversifying every part of your life. The outcome of this is that if you forgot to bring your knife on the hunt, you still have your gun. If you forgot to bring your ideas full force into the game, you still have your network, if you lose on one risk, you still have the nine others. That’s where you get the reward.

–          Take responsibility for all failures. It’s your fault when you go hungry. Former world chess champion Mikhail Botvinnik said in his book, “100 selected games” that the only way to reach the highest level of success is to develop the ability to critique your own failures. Note the word, “ONLY” in this. Anecdote: Botvinnik used to train by playing against someone who would blow smoke in his face so as to get accustomed to difficult playing situations. He was the world chess champion for 15 years.

–          Patience. Most important. A three year old could be honest but it doesn’t mean anything. They still shit in their pants on occasion. You need to grow up. To check all of the boxes on the above items. To do the Daily Practice to stay in mental, physical, emotional, spiritual shape. To avoid crappy people, to be honest, to take responsibility, and so on. Being a hunter is very discouraging. Sometimes you have to go for stretches of disappointment where there’s nothing to kill and then nothing to eat. To be honest, I’m on a four year stretch. I’m hunting for my next kill and I will get it. During those times its most difficult to keep balanced and stay sane. I’ve talked many people off ledges during these periods, including myself. It’s these times it’s most important to only be around the people who love you, and avoid the damaging people who will bring you to their peculiar and particular circles of hell. You don’t want to go to hell. At the end of the day, patience is the virtue that takes you to heaven.

Don’t worry about adding or subtracting to the sum of human knowledge. Human knowledge is never that great. Be better than human.

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  • Paul

    Your third paragraph reminded me of this video that I ran across last week.  You won’t leave the farm until you realize that you’re on it…  http://elliotlakenews.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/to-see-the-farm-is-to-leave-it/

  • Paul

    Your third paragraph reminded me of this video that I ran across last week.  You won’t leave the farm until you realize that you’re on it…  http://elliotlakenews.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/to-see-the-farm-is-to-leave-it/

  • http://justjoemusic.wordpress.com/ Joe Dixon

    This post is so encouraging. As someone just starting out on a quest to ‘eat what I kill’, I read it with great interest. At the moment, I’m wavering between ‘scarcity’ and ‘abundance’.

    There seems to always be something in the back of my head that holds me back. But right now, I have great products to offer, and I’m confident about selling them. I’m feeling more and more that there really is an abundance of everything!

    Thanks for this reminder, James! :-)

  • http://justjoemusic.wordpress.com/ Joe Dixon

    This post is so encouraging. As someone just starting out on a quest to ‘eat what I kill’, I read it with great interest. At the moment, I’m wavering between ‘scarcity’ and ‘abundance’.

    There seems to always be something in the back of my head that holds me back. But right now, I have great products to offer, and I’m confident about selling them. I’m feeling more and more that there really is an abundance of everything!

    Thanks for this reminder, James! :-)

  • erm325

    James, you inspire me everyday to keep improving my life in a myriad of ways. Thank you.

  • http://www.fangmarks.com Matt Fangman

    I think you could add one other bullet point: Live Lean. It is very hard to be courageous, take risks and survive the dips(financial, emotional, etc.) when you have a ton of obligations and responsibilities weighing you down. Downsizing your life as much as possible(house, car, expensive habits) helps a ton.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree. This is very important and very difficult to do.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree. This is very important and very difficult to do.

      • Steven L Goff

        You guys obviously havent seen my lawn furniture living room set!  It’s “ghetto fabulous” baby!…..yea 

  • http://termpaperwriter.org/ custom term paper

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  • http://termpaperwriter.org/ custom term paper

    Thank you for sharing this article. I love it.

  • http://twitter.com/Toshon Toshon

    “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” Anais Nin 

  • http://twitter.com/Toshon Toshon

    “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” Anais Nin 

  • http://twitter.com/johlt JH

    Wish I had heard this when I was in high school.

    • Anonymous

      let me tell you, even if you heard this in high-school – i doubt you would follow everything to the T or even most of it.

      i guarantee >9x.xx % people who read this post are probably going to go sleep tonight wakeup and follow the routine. Its just like the addiction (to anything) – you have ingrained habits/traits that are hard to overcome. But it is certainly better to be aware/read-this-article, unlike all other sheeple.

      It probably got few folks thinking or quiting that day job, and go for the kill. I doubt though if anybody will really quit. LoL.

      Just like enlightenment, its a journey. You cant read few spirtual books and become aware/englightened. You have to have your own experiences (pain, struggle etc) – first step is to put yourself on the path.

      If you really want to go kill you have to first (learn and) go hunting (take the first step) and its never too late.

  • http://twitter.com/johlt JH

    Wish I had heard this when I was in high school.

  • Anonymous

    Mr.Altucher this is one of your best posts. You touched on every subject that I’ve been thinking about this past year. I always believe that I’m over thinking, but reading this post reminds me that I’m on the right track. thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Mr.Altucher this is one of your best posts. You touched on every subject that I’ve been thinking about this past year. I always believe that I’m over thinking, but reading this post reminds me that I’m on the right track. thanks!

  • C. Martin

    Please excuse my language but the only way I can describe this post is “fucking brilliant”. One of your top posts of all time, in my opinion. And we have the anonymous troll to thank for that!

    By the way, the advice you e-mailed to the 22 year old UK kid was great. As a 24 year old kid stuck in a dreadfully boring corporate job, I can relate to the guy and I’ll be applying the advice you gave him.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous

    awesome, words I try to live by

    thx James

  • Anonymous

    Yesterday my business partner and I were at a meeting that we were really excited and nervous about. The 2 people that came to the meeting have years of experience, are famously successful, flew their own jet to come in, etc (just painting a picture). They could be very important to our business future.
    The CEO of the company after a brief greeting chat said “ok down to business, what am I here for other than to pay for lunch?” They also spent much time sizing us up with an array of questions on relevant and non relevant business, they had fun personalities but there were some under tones throughout the meeting, however we knew the dogs were sniffing.By the end of the meeting the CEO said about 5 times, “So what’s next steps, what do you guys want to do?” We refused to answer other than said we would follow up on some items of interest and be back in touch, after reading this post I think we should have said: “We are not ready to eat just yet, but we are hungry!”

    I also made sure to pick up the lunch tab based upon his first comment, in retrospect (and after my partner telling me I should not have paid) after gaining his interest and I believe respect I should have handed him the bill and said “Thanks for lunch, talk soon”

    Altucher, you rock!

  • Chynna1

    It’s often funny to me how the right stuff shows up at the right time. I recently quit a “soul killing” job. Although, I have a doctorate in psychology, really care about what I do, passionate about what I do and creative…I was afraid to leave. However, circumstances presented themselves and I had to leave…quickly. Reading your blog I can see where I “threw dirt into the game” by not being honest, by not dealing with crappy people effectively and by not honoring myself. I want to use what I have learned to help others over the hump…kinda like the wounded healer, for I am still growing, healing and learning myself. I really want to work with children as opposed to working in a correctional mental health setting where no one cares about anything. I said all of that to say…your blog today was what I needed to hear…Thx.

  • http://tmgbooks.blogspot.com tmgbooks

    Every word of the post is salient but what struck a chord for me, in particular, was when you address the need to diversify in all aspects of your life. I teach the fundamentals of personal financial management and read a lot of books in and around the subject. In that material there is considerable discussion about diversifying your investments but little about diversifying your income.

    Being dependent on one source of income is like being dependent on one source of food. Better, I think, to range far and wide in a sense. The grass might or might not ne greener on the far side of the hill but you will never know if you don’t check it out. You need to take that walk.

    The thought that comes to mind here is of the plains Indians who were simply too dependent on the buffalo and ran into all sorts of problems when they (the buffalo)  were hunted to near-extinction: That is, I think, the perfect analogy.

  • Anonymous

    from one hunter to another: great post, james.

    mac

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      As they say on Battlestar Galactica, “Good Hunting”

  • http://manonthestreet.com manonthestreet

    Excellent James! I am prepping for an exit right now….

  • michael Rusinas

    THANK YOU!,  Once again James for reminding me how to stay on track.

  • Avi

    WOW. Another awesome post…I have lately gotten in the habit of printing out all your posts and sometimes even reading them aloud. You are my NO 1 favorite writer of all time no kidding. ;-)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Avi, thats great. I hope I can stay on the list.

  • LB

    Bullseye! You are the man. I really enjoy when you lay out your philosophy. This one is laser focused and contains practical advice which I am going to implement immediately. Thank you James.

  • https://jarvisapp.com/ Jay Shirley

    People need to troll you more often if it results in posts like this :)  Very good.

    Here’s a question for you about partnerships, though. Lets say your boss is very good (or partner)? Do you make their contacts your contacts and plan for an exit?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes. If he’s very good, it means he has very good contacts. Don’t plan maliciously for an exit, but get to know his network and that will become a very powerful network for you as well. VERY important.

      • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

        Conversely, if someone isn’t willing to share their network, it suggests that maybe that person is not someone you want to associate with in the first place.  I am open with my network and try to help make as many connections as I can, so I am always disappointed when I see others, particularly those in positions to help, choose to close doors to people just because they are younger or less experienced.  A network is an organic thing and should never be treated like some shiny object that you need to simply protect, creating some artificial test for whom you might let in.  I’m not advocating letting it be abused by crappy people…just that there should be no elitist litmus test and to many ladder-climbing corporate tools do things like this to try and validate themselves.

        • Curtis Michelson

          Here, here!  Damn right Dave.

          Just tweeted this blog post to my Twitter network.   Share and it will come back, tenfold.

  • http://jayliew.com jayliew

    Great post, as usual. 

    Giving away 40-70 years of learning is a great way to help others. Hoarding it is selfish.

  • http://anishkothari.posterous.com Anish Kothari

    Great, great post James. This is straight from your heart and it shows.

    Thank you

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Anish. I honestly couldn’t figure out the right RIGHT title for this. Sometimes it just clicks, sometimes it doesn’t.

    • Matt

      I don’t know how long you’ve been following James, but that’s not a JA title :)

      Alternate title: I will kill and eat you, your family, and your friends

  • Tom

    I’m a new follower of your philosophy via Google+. I got interested in your point of view when I read your article on why one should not own a home. In that connection, is your “reward is unrelated to risk” point part of the same thinking?  I’m on the verge of selling a home, and had intended to buy a new one (in another city), so the matter is very current with me?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      It depends. Deep down, when you are making the decision on buying, what does your gut tell you. Do you feel stressed? Your moving, taking a new job (perhaps? or new responsibilities?) Is your family happy with the move? Buying a house is a huge stress. Could you rent for a year or six months and see how everything ‘feels” before committing to the 30 year mortgage? I can take the hard-core philosophical stance but you’re halfway into the process so I’m being practical and realistic.

  • Doc_hawkins

    I have practiced most of these.
    In short have them need you more than you need them. Just don’t break phone hacking scandals.
     
    In short be a lemming and be led over a cliff. Be a dependent and starve.

    Good Article 

  • Travis Fields

    Terrific — right on target for these anxious times.

     

  • http://what-are-my-options.blogspot.com/ the99th

    I’ve been fairly light in comments until now but this post really resonated with me so I’ll do the whole spiel. 

    I’m 25, I have two kids with two different women, live in Buenos Aires, I design games for a living. I’ve been through some tough times, I went years starting when I was 20 doing game design without pay, actually spending a few tens of thousands funding development to get myself a portfolio, I worked for a year and some change in a dysfunctional company earning less than 10k and in that time I impregnated my then girlfriend and went through a lot of pain to convince her to not have an abortion, including 6 explosive weeks of living together in which I experience two occasions of physical abuse. But it’s cool, we’re amiable now, he’s 1 and a half, a beautiful boy, I recently got into a contract with her where my parental rights are more secure, after being in a private arrangement for a while that was verging on exploitation with increasing cash demands and very inconsistent visitation. 

    But wait, there’s more.

    I was fired from the dysfunctional company a few months before my son was born, which turned out to be fortuitous as it opened up a venue for a next, better (but still not completely satisfying) job at a “social” game company, and I got a month’s pay severance which is better than most of my former collegues got when the place went under (most were several months pay in debt before they finally gave up, keeping the dream alive can be very expensive). I was running out of cash, struggling to make a living as a freelance writer (back when Demand Media seemed like a good idea), getting stiffed by clients, my son was born, and then in the nick of time, I got offered this job, more money, enough to keep going. I had also met a new girl and fallen in love with her hard. 

    Naturally, we decided to move in together 3 months after we began dating, and she wanted a baby. So we turned the two keys on the missile, like 40 or 50 times. She got pregnant just in time to have a crisis of confidence about the relationship, another guy was involved, she claims she stopped it at a kiss. Ok. I took her back, then she broke up with me one day a few weeks later, after we learned of the pregnancy, while the mother of my son was threatening to file an injunction against me with fictious legal poise. I had to get a proper apartment to get my girl back, and I did, and the quality of my life improved in the new place even as I could not afford it on my salary, even as I struggled to convince my pregnant girlfriend to move in with me again. She did. We fought a lot. We now recognize she has some negative tendencies she needs to work through and more communication would avoid a lot of these fights, which originate from trivia like a bag of corn chips or stepping outside for some fresh air. When you belive the world is against you, it’s easy to associate anything with a vaster conspiracy of oppression. But I still love her and we’re still tentatively together to this day.

    Meanwhile, I’m unhappy in my job, not making enough money, desperately looking into new options. A company flies me up to the SF Bay area, I don’t get the job but I did get a cool trip. I’m struggling to find the time to compose a business plan for my own shop. I reach out to a businessman already in the process and we team up, I quit the job and start running a project for him. Recruited a team, design documents, economy model, project management, the whole thing – funded out of a $500 a day ATM limit. Scrappy as hell. 

    For a few months, things were good, second trimester of the pregnancy, things are smooth. We’re looking into getting another project with another client. On the night of a team meeting, where I’m talking up the whole emergence of the company, I get home, check mail, am informed that this client did not close the Series B they thought they would have by then (and I think, have yet to 8 months later). I get in a fight with my pregnant partner over dishes, the stress just broke it down. Yelling, awful negativity. So far, (hopefully, ever) was the darkest period of the relationship, even darker than the crisis when she got pregnant. We scramble to secure more of a budget commitment from the other client, which is the perfect opportunity for them to dump us and cancel the project. Christmas was around the corner so I had to spend money even though I wanted to go into a lean mode, gifts to buy, food to share. I’d be dining with a family that emerged from poverty in the middle class and finds its cultural focus in sharing time and food, real earthy latin america stuff, who was I to suddenly get cheap. I left them eating on Christmas day to go smoke pot by myself. In a couple of weeks I would have to start hunting. 

    For 3 months, I try to hunt, I have some success, the only reliable client I have is my mom who needs editing done for the hospital she is an executive of. Looking back, I also fell back on working for her the last time I was in a crisis mode, and she was the only one who paid me more than a couple hundred bucks in that interval. Then I get an opportunity to go the US and work for a rather prestigious company at a good rate. I go, the relationship is nearly ripping apart, the lease of the too expensive apartment is almost up. But things were looking up, 100k annualized fee plus a hotel suite and the plane ticket; Kismet redux. 

    In the Bay, everything is happening. We’re trying to put together a funding round, the company is stimulating and my skills are evolving dramatically, meetings and seminars, potential business deals and brunches, public transit that isn’t too crowded. Things seemed to be going so well, and then on a dime, not so well. I wore a T-shirt into work that says “Fuck Art, Let’s Fuck” and perhaps poisoned the well in the process. It was just another shirt in the clothes pile to me. Wearing it cost me $1000, my James Altucher-style post would be entitled “The Shirt That Cost Me $1000″. I wanted to do a project for them in Argentina, they informed me that they were phasing out all outsourcing. The funding round was not gaining momentum, a score or two of interested investors, but our CTO could not pull together a demo and nobody was bidding on just a deck. And on the very day that I’m informed about the lack of interest in a continued business relationship, we get a mail that turned into a potential deal. It’s on the table, pending a license agreement from a 3rd party, probably too many details already in this post. 

    In the past month I’ve traveled halfway across the globe, volcano ash be damned, a 24 trip turned into a 5 day series of layaways, returning triumphantly to Peron-gifted housing in the province, kicked out by the mother-in-law after a week, found a good deal to rent a nice place in a nice part of town to the end of the year, paid up front, but now I’m out of cash again. Hustled a meeting on my last day in the Bay with a client, did some work for them, since my delivery a week and a half ago no contact, I’m going to let it ride until the end of the month before contacting again. Don’t know if my invoice will be paid. Another client, capped the task at $600, estimated 30 hours, been 50, BUT in this task I’m developing a statistical methodology with tremendous applications to making skill-based games work for the free-to-play business model, so I’m going to be classy and not invoice above the cap because the fact that I’m being paid anything to R&D this is a tremendous boon to future consulting. Have another few clients prospectively interested and yet, haven’t hear from them in a week. I’m about to edit my mom’s PhD dissertation as mothers are the only clients who pay invoices reliably. 

    I turned down an offer for sex from a 19 year old the other week, I fantasized about her for a year since the problems with the mother of my daughter, but when the pitch came up I realized I didn’t need to play that game. Fidelity is more than just a dinosaur brokerage. In the struggle to convince the mother of my daugther to move in with me, give this family a shot, work on communication, I’m not having my needs met, emotionally or otherwise, and am feeling bound by the crushing shackeles of loneliness in this posh hell I’m fabricated for myself. I look back on all the sexy girls I could have been with were I not trying to be faithful to some girl who ended up deciding she didn’t want me anyway, I look back on opportunities to make money trading that I lummoxed with poor money management, I look back on work opportunities passed up because when it rains it pours, torturing myself with counter-factual sums and sex positions. There are as many opportunities for regret as there are straight lines drawn against a coast. 

    But then, I ask myself, conversely, in a year or two, if things don’t go well, what would I look back to this moment and wish I had done? So, let’s fucking do that. You absolutely have to be critical of yourself, tough on yourself when you’re tempted with the consolation of the wet blanked of pathos. It really is the only way to become super-human or maybe all too human, apologies to Nietzsche if the line isn’t so clear. 

    Email people again, wait a week, don’t let a lack of response shut you down. But 3 is probably the limit, goes for potential lovers and potential clients (but not potential lovers to whom you would be a client). After 3 emails, it’s probably not worth the energy to hang on. I sent another email to my old boss, maybe I could get some new work out of that, definitely would get a good beer conversation, which is pretty good. I sent another email to a contact in the Bay about brokering some projects, going to call tomorrow. I will make a prototype of a game I’ve been kicking around for a few months and submit it to the fund started by the company that informed me they didn’t want to do outsourcing, much less fuck art and fuck, but now it seems are open to the idea of funding external projects. You never know, maybe people will move forward with you and pass off a quarter million bucks. All you have to do is ask. 

    I’ve been getting better at the hunt, because this is the only way that I feel is acceptable to live, and by that just a slight margin. Happiness continues to elude me like its a boar disguised as my nose. Maybe next time I’m in this position I won’t have to work for my mother to get liquidity. 

    James, you have been an inspiration to me, when despair threatened to tie me down recently, I thought about your writing, also some of my writing, and I took a deep breath to savor that THIS is what it means to lead an epic life.

    • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng Z

      I would bet $1000 Jimmy would NOT wear a shirt that says ‘Fuck Art, Let’s Fuck’ to work at most companies. Not saying it’s not an original shirt :)

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        I wouldn’t. because I like art.

        • http://what-are-my-options.blogspot.com/ the99th

          It was a gift from the mother of my daughter, I’ve only ever bought maybe 4 or 5 articles of clothing on my own initiative. I need to travel to a conference to get a new shirt, and I once had most of my clothes stolen by underage prostitutes in the street at 1 in the morning. If only they hadn’t stolen those clothes, odds are I would have gotten the extra thousand dollars. 

          • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

            Amazing how life works…your stuff gets stolen, you wear the shirt that kills the job…all hopefully leads to some next great thing.  The world is fucking nuts and we have to be crazy to make sense of it.

          • http://what-are-my-options.blogspot.com/ the99th

            It’s not the world that is nuts, the world just is. Human culture is radically subjective. An offense in one context is a celebration in another. The key is to create the context where you are celebrated. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I see a lot of good news in your post:
      A) you have 2 kids. Congrats. It wasn’t until I was 34 that I had two kids. What a pleasure to see them so young.
      B) You’re 25. When I was 25 I hadnt done 1/1000 of the things you’ve already done.

      What you need to do now is trust the process. Life is long. Things happen over decades, not years or months or days. Success is a snowball rolling down a hill after a blizzard. You’ve started that snowball at such an early age you just have to trust that by keep disciplined and building a daiy practice of self-improvement that by the time you are older (even a little older), that snowball will be a mountaint. TRUST the process you’ve already started for yourself.

      You mention, “I turned down an offer for sex from a 19 year old the other week.” I bring it up because clearly its important enough in your story you bring it up. In yoga this is referred to as brahamacharya (which is different from celibacy). Napoleon Hill, in his somewhat antiquated book “Think and Grow Rich” even has a chapter on this topic (it is a very ODD chapter in such a conservative book).

      This type of disciplined activity brings great power, i’m convinced. Before I met my second wife, I think its because i started turning down the easier opportunities that the true opportunities became available to me and thats when I succeeded in getting what I wanted.

      You will too. Trust the process you’ve already started. Let it play out. Don’t be stressed it didn’t happen yesterday. Wear whatever t-shirt you want. Because what you “want” might also change in this process.

      • http://what-are-my-options.blogspot.com/ the99th

        Thank for you that, I really appreciate it. 

        And you’re right that I should appreciate my kids, they’re both healthy and cute, expenses are transient. It’s funny how many people, I know guys in their 30s or early 40s who say this, are like “I couldn’t handle kids now” and then people who have kids in that age lament not having them earlier. Having the energy to keep up with them is kind of nice, I suppose I’m also less tempered by the malaise of discipline than the stereotypical parent. I want to try some developmental game designs with them as they enter the critical cognitive stages, my son is 1.5 so now that I’ve got some proper visitation it’s time to start structuring some exercises. 

        The girl got a mention for precisely the reason you’re alluding to, and also because I spent a long time thinking of myself as being outside the hook-up culture while being half-envious of people having sex in highschool and college, and then I find myself in the position – probably just by virtue of cultural and currency arbitrage – of being the target of such petulant desire. It was kind of cool to be able to make the choice. I’d fantasized about this girl for a while, but I turned the lust into something else and realized I was better off having fewer sexual partners of higher character. It also reinforced the sense of power that you’re describing. 

        Looked up the yoga term, interesting that they associate garlic and onion with evoking sexual desire, I eat a lot of that along with olive oil. I used to cook a real thick pasta sauce composed of said agreements to feed my ex-girlfriends when they’d stay over, I had no idea I was tapping into ancient magick, it was just the only thing I knew how to cook well. 

        The book you mentioned, page 181: http://books.google.com/books?id=wF74Hf7G0XAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false

        I’d encourage anyone following this thread to take the leap, interesting prose. 

  • Tom Mikolajczyk

    This post is a great read. Not just once, either. I think it’s good to ready weekly, or even daily. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650774911 Joe Harper

      I’m reading this again to flex my idea muscle. Serioiusly I become mentally disturbed every time I go to my day job. Maybe mentally disturbed is just another phrase for “painfully aware” when we stop drinking the kool aid

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    I feel like you wrote this post undergoing some type of motion, maybe on a train. 

    Right now I am overwhelmed, it feels like I am having and out-of-body experience, seeing myself in a huge crowd.

    I hear the ancient footsteps,
    like the motion of the sea,
    sometimes I look there’s someone there,
    other times its only me,
    I’m hanging in the balance,
    of the reality of man,
    like every sparrow falling,
    like every grain of sand.

     

  • http://twitter.com/ChetanChawla Chetan Chawla

    Another great one James, I think the key reason some ppl can’t take this “eat what you kill” approach is that they’ve been trained (by family, friends, media, school etc.) to be passive and follow linear life paths. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Chetan, that is totally true. the problem we have now is… the last decade. It sort of opened up all of our eyes that that passive training will do us no good and we still all (hopefully) have a long time to live.

  • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng Z

    Jimmy, the best things in life are not easy. almost every points you mentioned here are very very difficult to do. one big problem is that people tend to forget. and that’s why Warren Buffet’s second rule is not to forget the first rule. so i am going to remember, subtract and steal your ideas with love.

  • anon

    I second the above comment: ‘Fucking brilliant.’

  • Scott Hapak

    Trying to think of another trollish insult that you can spin into another amazing story…fresh out. Doesn’t do me any good to try to drag you under the bridge with the other trolls. Plus only fuels your fire. I got my own fire to spark. Great post!

  • Anonymous

    James:
         I think you have hit a “home run” with this post.  I hope some of the young guys can see that it took you a lot of years to write this brief essay.  They could save lots of years and tears by paying close attention.   

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Lowell, I can’t even describe how many years. I even felt it in my gut when i was writing it.

      • mthewhite

        Man, I have been at it internally for over 20 years now.  I’m forty now and my mind started in on me young. The battle is between what I know is right (for me) and what I actually choose to do. Filtering the thoughts through what other people may or may not think or how this world (the crazy disney idea you speak of) may react are powerful, life tamping thoughts. It’s a split second decision that can devour a whole bunch of life.  As time is life, I am trying make the decisions that I know are right. Still isn’t easy but when I read these posts James I see there are kindred spirits awakening every day. Thanks!

        • Lucas Weaver

          Your “time is life” philosophy is interesting. Time may be the one thing holding you back from life.
          The Power of Now would be a great read for you.

  • CMS

    Great post.

    I haven’t been a
    hourly/salaried employee since I was in high school. I wouldn’t have it any
    other way. Thick or lean, either way, it is far more rich than a guaranteed
    diet. Being hungry cuts out the BS, motivates,  and creates.

    .

    BTW, I think someone
    needs to send this to Zukerberg, he took it too literally: http://postcards.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2011/05/26/mark-zuckerbergs-new-challenge-eating-only-what-he-kills/

  • Anonymous

    I was talking to a friend this morning about something else. She changed the subject to say, “You know that blogger you like? That thing he wrote this morning about eating what you kill really resonated with me.”

  • Anonymous

    I was talking to a friend this morning about something else. She changed the subject to say, “You know that blogger you like? That thing he wrote this morning about eating what you kill really resonated with me.”

  • Anonymous

    James, is there anything your many fans can do for your friend? Try to generate ideas, perhaps?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      That is a nice idea. I’ll ask him if he wants to crowdsource his next steps. He’s a good guy.

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

    I desperately need to diversify. The problem of course being how to do so and what to put my fingers in. 

    Recent weeks have been so completely focused on my son that even my previous determination and goals have been fading into the background. It’s hard to give all areas of our life the amount of attention they need and deserve. Even more so when you are trying to throw a wider net. 

    As a side note, I love the way you handled the negative comment. Perhaps you’re getting that leak plugged up. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Its a big leak for me but yeah, I’m trying to plug it.

      Diversification doesn’t have to happen in a day. I’ll give you an example: each day I have a writing practice, but ideally I’d like ot have a daily yoga practice, meditation practice, returning messages practice, and then of course, there’s making money and feeding my family. Its hard to do everything every day and finding the right balance is tricky. For me, I start with what I enjoy first (the writing) and then hopefully the rest follows.

  • Jared A. Chambers

    James,

    This is the best post you’ve written in a month.  Maybe more.  It was positive and focused.  You’re at your best when THAT is your message.

    Jared A. Chambers

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Jared.

  • Sooz

    J.A. has been a teacher for a very long time. He just never realized these abilities until he started this blog and even then he has had times of second guessing(human nature). Your students, Beth Agnew, are very lucky to have such an astute teacher that will share this knowledge(via Confidential). 

    I feel so fortunate to have such a teacher!! This is one fine article, J.A.this gave me such a ((BIG)) smile. Yes, you are such an amazing teacher and friend!!!

  • Syren

    Sometimes you write exactly what I need to hear at the time I need to hear it.  This is one of those times.  Spooky, and thanks.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I like being spooky.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650774911 Joe Harper

        Spooky:  I read this while sitting in an insufferable staff meeting and I was all grins. 8:30 to noon with no breaks. The first picture really captures the spirit because it was exactly the way I felt. I was like “you earthlings have no idea how completely moronic / robotic / utterly amoebic you really are. It was so hard to concentrate after reading this during a lull in the pontificating that I felt omniscient and that’s what poured out afterward.

        Your energy has changed my DNA .

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Todd-Haugen/668927570 Todd Haugen

    I have thought of this as taking the high road and my blog for today is on a similar topic: sinning up your warp drive flywheel (http://laststopthissideoftheriverstyx.blogspot.com/)  My philosophy tries to use less aggressive imagery when building a model, eating what you kill feels to me like it builds negative energy.  I try and build happiness and success of those around me thereby building my own success.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      You’ll see in the components I break out  (“honest”, “Patience”, etc) that its actually coming from a very positive place. but positive/negative/whatever – the end result is to build a functional life that can succeed in the good times and survive/fight/succeed in the tougher times.

    • http://wordofgreen.com Mark Andrew Green

      dead link.

  • Jacob Johnson

    Well done. Loved this part

    “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck”

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks. When I was trimming and rewriting I almost took out that line but I’m glad i kept it in. Thanks.

      • Rebeccamorris

        Glad you left it in … best line.

  • Tim Leon

    At first I was disappointed you even gave that Fat Fuck Frank the time of day but now I’m glad you did because it inspired you to write another great piece! BTW, I’ve seen Planet of the Apes at least a dozen times and I love it. What a great film!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      It was a debate in my mind whether to devote any energy to a negative comment. But I decided to turn it around on him and it worked.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    This post was packed with energy and I read a level of aggression that I haven’t really seen from you in past posts. I like it very much. But what you are saying has to be done is a HUGE task.  I am not insinuating it can’t be accomplished, it’s just a tad bit overwhelming.  (at least for me) 

    I think I need a flash card app version of all your lists.  Life, business and love motivational flash card app, designed with your comic book persona.  Every day I could shuffle the deck on my iPhone, re-read the entire deck, or take in a few reminders to keep me on course.
    ______
    Side note: When I first started reading you I was pretty down, sad, and angry, now I am still down (financially), but I am generally happy.  I benefited enormously from your posts, and I just want to thank you.

    Thank you so much. :)

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      736! Thats a pretty cool idea. A flash card app version of my lists.

    • http://wordofgreen.com Mark Andrew Green

      I would pay between 3 and 10 dollars for that app. It probably wouldn’t be very expensive to develop either. You might even be able to do it with existing flash card apps and a couple hours copying and pasting

    • Mainstreetyoga

      The Flash Card App of your LIsts??  Brilliant!  Do it!!  I loved this post, and pretty much everything you put out.  Bravo.

  • http://wordofgreen.com Mark Andrew Green

    This is the best post of yours I have read in a while.  It’s great advice, and I love the focus on honest, simple principles that bring happiness and success.  People often get so convoluted when they talk about self-improvement that they miss out on the basics.  The right answers are easy to know but hard to implement.  Thanks for your words!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree. I find that most self-help books (and I’ve probably read a 1000 of them) are too often written by people with no real-world experience other than building their self-help business.

      • http://wordofgreen.com Mark Andrew Green

        It reminds me of the story of the children of Israel after they left egypt.  The flying serpents made many of them sick and/or dead. Moses put a serpent on a stick in the center of the camp, and all the people had to do was look at it to be healed, but many didn’t.  They didn’t want a simple solution.  They wanted something flashy, complicated and exciting.  People love diet fads, self-help books, get rich quick schemes and all of this other garbage because they refuse to believe that success stems from simple, easy to understand principles. 

  • http://twitter.com/weezrichardet Wes Richardet

    “hey look i heard alot of people say im the luckiest manon planet,i like to think i stay ready.i wiseman once said“luck isn’t some mystical energy that dances around the worldbestowing people with satisfaction and joy,you create your own luck” ~ Jay-Z

  • http://twitter.com/Just3Group Just3Group

    awesome post….so true for today’s environment

  • Misdirectedpuffin

    This post is the stone-cold truth. Well said, James.

  • http://twitter.com/BrittanyCGates Brittany C Gates

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my coworkers and friends to have more than one source of income.  The world is different now and we can’t depend on our jobs as the main source of income.  So I’m working on my dreams of professional writing and self-published my work.  I like to thank you, James, for providing positive posts like these because they do help.  I’ve actually changed my outlook regarding my job (even though I’m trying to find a better one right now) and things are going better than expected!

  • doug graves

    The only thing I have found that scapes the fear off is a near death experience.  The solitude can last for weeks afterward, but eventually the crap begins to start sticking.  What if you cleaned out your desk four or five years ago and woke up in the middle of the worst financial meltdown in history and now McDonalds tells you to get stuffed. What if you just passed your 55th birthday stuck in a foreign country with an expired passport, less than $100 dollars in the bank, and you’re so damned fat you can no longer wipe your own ass. Where do you start?

  • Phil B

    Thanks for this fantastic post James. Patience is the hardest thing; but your blog really helps me with it.

  • Phil B

    Thanks for this fantastic post James. Patience is the hardest thing; but your blog really helps me with it.

  • Phil B

    Thanks for this fantastic post James. Patience is the hardest thing; but your blog really helps me with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottasherman Scott Sherman

    James,

    I just had to write a comment. This is an enormous post. It really hit me square in the gut. So much of life is like an old Chinese proverb… “a great man gets knocked down seven times. But he gets up eight.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottasherman Scott Sherman

    James,

    I just had to write a comment. This is an enormous post. It really hit me square in the gut. So much of life is like an old Chinese proverb… “a great man gets knocked down seven times. But he gets up eight.”

  • Anonymous

    My son is 13. I really don’t think he’s getting adequate preparation for the world he’s about to encounter through the school system. I’ve thought about pulling him out and homeschooling, but I don’t know if I have much to offer either.

    I would really like him to avoid the mistakes I’ve made.  How would you possibly instill in a 13 year old an entrepenurial mindset? How do you relate to him the fact that any “job skill” he might acquire can probably be done somewhere else for 1/2 price? (and will be). 

    I’ve known high-level programmers that didn’t roll out of bed for less than $40/hr (this was 90’s BTW) that can’t find work now.  “Eating what you kill” may become the ONLY way to ensure a decent living soon. Relying on The Man isn’t just a cage, its a sure path to bologna sandwiches and a personal bankruptcy.

    Great post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1672331045 John Schuch

    James, I love your writing and this is one of your best yet.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent stuff!  This article is second only to the one about why you will never own a home again.  

    The two go hand-in-hand and are connected by Matt Fangman’s point above about Living Lean and minimizing obligations and responsibilities that are weighing you down. 

    One point I would add is how much less you need to kill when you are doing it to sustain yourself as opposed to handing over the kill to an employer who then give you whatever cut he decides.  I worked for a great company… for great people…. but now that I am self-employed I am able to spend so much less time on making the kill and more time on stalking future prey.

  • Sooz

    ” I’m hunting for my next kill and I will get it.”(J.A.)

    Could you give me a quick heads up before anyone else?..:))
    Trusting in your ‘Brilliant Mind'(ranks high on most favorite post)!

     

    • Sooz

      ‘BEA..utiful Mind’…:))

  • Michael McGinley

    This is an excellent post, especially the part about patience.  Everybody wants everything right now today.  Good reminder that most worthwhile things require time and effort.

  • Anonymous

    “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will
    you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you
    fail to build…” – I love that advice, so many people are better off learning from mistakes and training to improve themselves instead of wasting time and energy trying to get revenge.

    You might’ve read this WSJ piece on Groupon (http://on.wsj.com/emgoZa) where Andrew Mason says, “You’ve got to go out there and kill what you’re going to eat” – I absolutely love that quote.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/derekdodds Derek Dodds

    one of my favorite posts, thanks J.

  • Anonymous Rick

    Didn’t you say in some other post that most of all everyone should try to be helpful, or to save a life, or something like that?  Killing doesn’t seem very helpful and seems like the opposite of saving lives.  I’d like to be successful but I don’t want to kill anyone.  I didn’t realize that you’re looking for your next kill.  Perhaps I should be more wary of listening to your advice.  Does Henry Blodgett feel the same way?

    How can an anonymous commenter be named Frank? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Hurubaru/100002460903147 Laura Hurubaru

    Thanks for sharing. I am still struggling with my ‘patience’, and hearing, reading about it helps me grow some more of it. Keep saying what you know and believe. There are a lot of us that understand what you’re saying.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Laura, I struggle with patience also. I’d be surprised at anyone who has mastered that part. Everything cycles but when things are at a low its hard to see that.

  • Adnan

    I came across  your blog just recently and i have been a regular follower ever since. I feel that this post as well as  some others seem to be directed at me and telling me what i need to do with the situation im in. Really like the positive uplift that your posts give by the way you narrate your personal life experiences. Keep the good content coming !

  • Mano Subramaniam

    Keep hunting, survive with what ever until you find the beast.  Only thing is , what, where and how to hunt ….. hope to find some answer by reading your older post.

    Good Luck  and  keep writing, its very rare to see someone so honest and not being mad

  • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

    I agree with your points on diversification, but it so damn hard to do.  I, like most people, have a day job and it takes more than just 40 hours a week to do well.  Married, two kids, standard levels of noise and commitment in today’s society…it is almost impossible to do everything.  It is a big challenge just finding the time to exercise regularly and get enough sleep, let alone work on developing multiple sources of income.  I don’t know how you, or anyone else, can do it successfully without taking breaks (or having them forced on you) where you focus on one area and build it up the way you want.  In other words, when I work harder and focus on my job, sleep and exercise suffer as well as any other extracurricular activities.  If I focus on exercise, I find that I am paying for it with that “excess” work energy and often taking from my family as well.  I just don’t think we can do it all and that we are destined to a life where we let most areas stagnate while we focus on one or two.  If we are lucky, we can juggle enough to keep the entire thing moving forward in a general sense and try to fix or address whatever issues might crop up over time.

  • Mary P.

    WOW! This is a classic. Thanks. I forwarded this to my almost 18 year old daughter. Okay–I wish the language was cleaner, but otherwise FANTASTIC! You said clearly said all of the things, explained most of the values and much of life strategy that I’m trying to give her as a parent. Yet, you aren’t her parent, so it’s more likely she’ll listen to you AND you didn’t couch the advice in “mommy terms,” which I’m unable to do. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Agree, this is a brilliant column, a visceral title but underpinned with uplifting moral thoughts.  How refreshing!. . .The idea that well-being won’t develop unless we steal, lie and cheat keeps us from sustainable civilization. Can we get over the idea that there isn’t enough _________  (just fill in the blank)? We were taught/conditioned that only a few are entitled to the golden ring. What if we were rebelled? Shared ideas with honesty and humility? What if we wanted less? Did more? Ultimately, warmongers, criminals and politicians would need to find something better to do.

  • Sussan

    Great column, thank you! I like the morality of this piece. We could have a much better world if we wanted it. We can all be richer, prettier, smarter, healthier, but it depends on our willingness to share what we know and the conviction that the serenity we daydream about won’t happen if we cheat. Just won’t. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Sussan, I agree. Many people feel the world wouldbe better if a whole laundry list of things change on the outside. I don’t believe this to be true. I think it’s got to start from the inside , even on a societal level.

      • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

        “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake
        the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to
        remake ourselves.” ~ Gandhi

  • Clint

    But I’m scared. … Can I have a copy of your book for free?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Sure, in my post:

      http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/05/why-and-how-i-self-published-a-book/

      There’s instructions how to get the book for free.

      • Clint

        I meant the Buffett book.

        Just kidding. Well, not really.

         I really have been enjoying this site, just as I enjoyed your old tech ticker visits (are you still doing that?) and the mixergy interview (still need to listen to Pt. 2).

  • Anonymous

    Now that I know what it means, I like the idea. I thought I’d have to stop shopping at Costco.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    ^ that comment is an error

  • Alexdarcy

    I dont appreciate money, have been very uncomfortable with it for years, probably why I have none. I am struggling to balance material & spiritual when money and commerciality are caught up with so many unpleasant things. Having read this article I can see that it is not an impossible thing to achieve. I find that I trust your wisdom, there is somethig very real to me in the way you write and this has in someway opened a door for me.

    In short, Thank You.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      This is a big issue. Money, by itself, is not bad. In fact, its great:
      A) it buys freedom
      B) it allows you to hire people, creating jobs
      C) you can donate to charity with it
      D) there’s a million other good things you can do with it

      But its our obsession with the American dream, with the Jones family, with the luxuries that mass media hypnotizes us to need, with the home that has “roots” or the college that has “higher education” that causes money to clash with all that is anxiety-producing in side of us. I deal with this every day. The answers are hard. Death is one. Laughter another. Somewhere in the middle is probably best.

      • http://twitter.com/Kumokin Alex D’Arcy

        Die or laugh .. funny, I have given exactly this advice to others in the past with regards to immovable obstacles in thier own lives, it’s a good leveller when the harsher truth of “you’re just going to have to deal with it” needs a softening perspective so thankyou for that. I shouldn’t be surprised when so much else of what you write resonates so strongly with my own thoughts and feelings.

        There’s a huge conversation I would love to have with you about media brainwashing and obsessive materialsm but it’s a balmy Sunday afternoon here and I need to pack to go away tomorrow. My time away requires me to work some fairly major life magic and I hope that my newly refreshed perspective here will benfit the outcome. I hope your weekend has been/is an enjoyable one and thanks for replying.

        Alex.

  • http://mattreport.com Matt Medeiros

    Great article here that most people miss. Stuff isn’t just going to fall on your lap. Stop waiting and start doing. 

    Another point you make, which I just wrote about myself, is about making connections. Not only about making them, but then nurturing them to get more benefit. 

    Great stuff here.

  • http://twitter.com/climbingtbuddha Ken Saunders

    James –  A lot of people have said this already, so I’m not being that original.  But I think this is definitely one of your best posts.  I think you are so much better when you write from the heart, from experience, and from what you know.  So much better than that crap about “name me any war that was ever worth it” or whatever that BS was.  This one is way better and what I perceive you to be about.  I’m printing it to keep a copy handy.  Thank you for saying it so well.

  • Jay

    Amen. Anyone who thinks James is wrong, just check out this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zXOW6v0c8s .  Or this post http://blogs.forbes.com/quickerbettertech/2011/07/18/9-2-unemployment-blame-microsoft/ …..  Robots and software are going to eliminate millions of jobs in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/nelson3748 Nelson Hill

    i want to thank Frank for inspiring this brilliant, brilliantly concise little blog. and JA for writing it…

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Me too. Like, where is Frank now. Is he playing with his kids? Is he loving his wife? Or is he still marinating in his anger?

  • http://twitter.com/climbingtbuddha Ken Saunders

    James – A lot of prople have said this already, so I’m not being that original.  But I think this is definitely one of your best posts.  I think you are so much better when you write from the heart, from experience, and what you know.  So much better than that crap about “name me any war that was ever worth it” or whatever that BS was.  This one is way better and what I perceive you to be about.  I’m printing it to keep a copy handy.  Thank you for saying it so well.

    K Saunders @climbingtbuddha

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    Just wondering what you think of Marshall McLuhan?
    I read an interview of his from 1969-Playboy.
    Very, very interesting.

  • Anonymous

    Luck is most often the result of proper preparation, the ability to recognize an opportunity, and the willingness to sieze it.

    Excellent post!

  • Steven L. Goff

    “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, a homemaker, a writer, it’s time to start forgetting about all the ways the world has promised you safety and comfort.”
     
    ….awsome james!
     
     I also add that anyone who says “life is a gift”…….is a fuckin’ moron. Life is a rat race struggle for survival for most of the human species on this planet. Life is also a BIG SHIT SANDWICH….that everyone of use rich or poor must take a bite of at least once in our lives to survive at some point.
     
    Last thought on what I’ve read so far (I stop and comment as I read as to not lose thought at time)
     
    I  personally, am at my most happiest in life, when I am a productive member of society. Via my job function/services I perform with my many skills and talents (I make my livin w/ my hands) I feel good after hard days work that I was paid ell for and planned and designed and crafted and was rewarded properly and fair for.. Like I have a purpose or a function on this planet. Below is a great poster or the evolution cycle of humans…..look at when man was at his strongest….when he was hunter to survive > EAT WHAT YA KILL! …..now with the human species facing the ill societal effect of exponential growth in technology and and mainly medicine. Actually hurting the species (temporarily) before we make a HUGE transitional leap… intelligence wise as a species. TRUST ME ON THAT ONE!     And  may The Force be with you……lol
     
    http://www.corporationtocommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/evolution111.jpg
     
    I also wanna add in this about what it means for people to have a purpose/function on this planet. “I completed this good deed today (below) He starts work tomarrow morning w/ me. He was so excited and it’s the first time I seen him smile in a bit. It feels really good to help people who need help. Especially when on verge of default mortgage! A man needs to work to feel like a man. At least I feel that way. When work is sparse and I am stressed…women dont even interest me….dont feel manly! ”
    Steve Goff Friday at 10:30pm   Facebook

    “I did good deed today! (so not like me BTW)…..Think I got my unemployed neighbor a job working with me. I will know for sure when they (my boss and him) meet. He is good dude! Married, homeowner, wife works ass of at casino bar- tending. They’re very good people and my friends as well as neighbor. Ya shoulda seen look on his face. People feel good and feel they have purpose when working”Wednesday at 6:10pm

  • Steven L Goff

    “and lulled us into a creepy sense of Disney stability.”
    There is a name for this…it’s called the Disneyfication of America

    Disneyfication (also called Disneyization) is a term which describes the transformation of something, usually society at large, to resemble The Walt Disney Company’s theme parks. The latter term appears in Sharon Zukin’s book, The Cultures of Cities (1996:128), and was popularized by Alan Bryman in a 2004 book, The Disneyization of Society. Disneyfication of urban space is explored in Jeff Ferrell’s Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy. Social scientists
    writing about urban transformation employ both terms

    The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard (who writes about the nature of reality and the hyperreality) has called Disneyland the most real place in the U.S., because it is not pretending to be anything more than it actually is, a theme park. In his essay Simulations, he writes:

    McDonaldization is a term used by sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1993). He explains it occurs when a culture possesses the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a reconceptualization of rationalization, or moving from traditional to rational modes of thought, and scientific management. Where Max Weber used the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of this changing society, Ritzer sees the fast-food restaurant as having become a more representative contemporary paradigm (Ritzer, 2004:553).

  • Steven L Goff

     The Disneyfication of America is a >>>>

    neologism “new”, and λόγος, lógos, “speech”, “utterance”) is a newly coined term, word or phrase, that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. Neolexia (Greek: a “new word”, or the act of creating a new word) is a fully equivalent term.

  • Steven L Goff

    Ok…the little pic of the bondage hottie in the straight jacket and mouth gag…..really turns me on!  Nice art work add James….

  • Steven L Goff

    This is great > Give ideas for free. If you have no network yet then you have to build it. Nobody wants to help you for free. They are all just trying to survive. Even billionaires are trying to protect their luxury-soaked lifestyles plagued by jealousies and oversexed libidos. You have to build your idea muscle and work hard to come up with ideas that can really help these people. Then send them the ideas for free. Not everyone will respond, but the benefits are: You exercise that idea muscleSomeone will respond. And that someone will make you money. When I did this technique, one person out of the 40 gave me money to manage. Another person hired me to write. My life changed.See, Give and you Will Receive.
     
    Ya just never know…..ya just never know!
     
    And I add this > statistical fact…..”ya miss a 100% of the shots ya NEVER take”
     
    I banged the hottest girl of my life 2 days ago. 22 YRS OLD AND A BODY YOU WOULD THINK WAS MADE FROM cgi….. All because I made her smile and had a cute dog. Picked her up at WAWA  while she was getting carded for smokes. She was that young and HOT. I said to cashier who was carding her as I was right behind her in line( drooling) ….Ashley the cashier said can I see some ID?”…to her  >>>I spoke out loud enough for all those to hear in line but mainly her “is she legal Ashley?….God I hope so!”  She turned and smiled at me and looked me up and down and said “is that your dog outside i seen you walk here with?” ….And two hours later she is naked in my bed.   Life….ya just never know….ya just never know

    YA MISS 100% OF SHOTS YA NEVER TAKE!
     
     
     

    • Steven L Goff

      I check my home mailbox everyday when I get home from work for a check from someone I made a ton of money for for free via stock analysis or muse…..lol  No luck yet!  James…you have my address…right?

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        I have to make use of one of the tips first!

        • Steven L Goff

          wow….great answer……lol   cold….that was a good burnnnnnnnnnnn bro…..nice!

          But seriously….ya have the address….right?

  • guest

    I love to read you.

  • Dave

    This should be added in the “Popular Posts”

  • Andrew W

    James, what a great post.  This totally turned my day around.

  • John Hanekamp

    Diversify your holdings in your love life too.  Being single threaded in the sex/companionship area is a recipe for disappointment and pain.

  • David

    James, excellent points in this article.  I am 51 years old and only now beginning to understand my potential as a human being.  I said understand, not realize, but I’m hoping that with understanding will come realization.  I have been working at a job that I hate with a large corporation for over 10 years now, but I am planning my exit strategy and adjusting my lifestyle so that I can become more happy, successful, and productive.  As a hunter, I appreciate the analogy of going long stretches without a kill, but knowing that it will happen if you stay at it.  You’re a good writer.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  • Kevin M

    Fantastic entry, and on point for some personal stuff I have going on right now. I seriously need to record myself reading this entry and a few of your others and play them back to myself driving to work every day.

  • JustinToh

    I’m glad that i was able to read this post. It’s an ‘eye-opener’ for me. And it comes at the right time to keep me motivated. Thanks!

  • Bizinsiderreader

    James,
    What a article. This one is getting emailed to all of my friends. You have a new reader and fan.

    Tom

  • Muhammad Awais

    I think its a wonderful stuff to read particularly for the beginners. I am perceiving myself and I think I really need to work on these things. I am going to put it on my Facebook page. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Keep in mind we’re all beginners. I’m a beginner each day.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Keep in mind we’re all beginners. I’m a beginner each day.

  • http://madpeach.blogspot.com Esther

    “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”

    This is going on my forehead.

    Once in a while one of your posts dovetails with my life in a way that later becomes necessary.  The crappy people posts & this one have been essential in the choices I’ve made over the past couple weeks.  When yet another jerk wanders your way, know that you’re pumping a lot of good into the universe with this blog.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Esther. I needed that.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks Esther. I needed that.

  • http://madpeach.blogspot.com Esther

    “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”

    This is going on my forehead.

    Once in a while one of your posts dovetails with my life in a way that later becomes necessary.  The crappy people posts & this one have been essential in the choices I’ve made over the past couple weeks.  When yet another jerk wanders your way, know that you’re pumping a lot of good into the universe with this blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5305207 Ken Standley

    “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”

    I feel like this sentence would make a good tattoo. Or maybe a great cross stitch pattern. Both?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W6V5KHHPS4IUUIOEKGTDS57P44 Jack

    James,

    Actually this is one of your better efforts

  • Elias Ressegatti

    thanks James, exactly what I needed to read these days.

  • Murtuza

    Hi James,

    I just loved your article. Yes our “kill tastes good” when all what you have said is also equally backed by “Faith Within”. 

  • Richard Allen

    so far i only read the first couple paragraphs but i will say – it is NOT POSSIBLE for me to agree more completely!  i work as a simple house painter, but on my own.  my neighbors all have used me, and they ALL love me.  every customer offers food – like its a phenomenon!  i get a brand new boss on an even keel every week or 2.  the satisfaction in their faces when they put their hard-earned money into my hand.  an they’re grateful to me!!  its something i never got from any hourly or salaried job in my life.  now if i could just work on the health insurance…

  • Boyan Ivanov

    Great post, James! 

    BTW which is the movie?

  • Boyan Ivanov

    Great article, James! 

    Btw what is “best movie of all time”?

  • KK

    James, your link from today’s article took me back to this post. I read it 8 months ago, and I could read it 1000 more times. Thanks for being a great writer who is focused on helping others realize the insight that you have from your own life experience.

    Kris

  • http://www.posterappraisal.com/ Rudy

    Hey, I only eat what I kill was Jeffrey Dahmer’s motton also….

  • Pijei

    Very acute as usual and perfectly developed. You are a good guy

  • The Jiggly Bits

    To me, this is the most important sentence: “Once you care what others think, you’ve lost.” None of the other things can happen without this skill. As soon as you try to step outside of any box, there will always be people ready to step on you. It is just so important to hone this skill. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Bill Powers

    Posted the link to this on my FB. Great post!

  • Herp Derp

    Responding to your a blog like you said I should.

  • Max Man

    Wow I think I’m letting my parents keep me from doing the thing I want.

  • M

    Keep up the great work. Yours is a voice of truth and reason in a society so depraved and beaten down that many people don’t even know they are at the wrong end of a leash. My greatest happiness in life has been the direct or indirect result of following my instincts instead of the herd.

  • amorda

    Thank you for your post James. I love your unique writing style and viewpoints and couldnt agree more with your point of view – especially on this topic. keep up the great posting!

  • Jake M

    You’re advising not to “depend on one boss, buyer for your company, product, service you offer.” Just curious: do you think that would apply to love as well?

  • Robert Coop

    Love the article. I quote you now with great regularity. Keep up the good work.

  • ppaint

    this is the only blog so far where i see a multimillionaire tells the truth and grit that he had went through, and we realize success at such scale is very much more difficult than what we see on wikipedia page and youtube videos. thank you for writing james!