Was It Worth It?
- Posted by James Altucher
Boy, that guy really screwed up.
Can anyone name the person in this famous photograph? Or the year? Or the cause he was dying for (it wasn’t Vietnam, which was my first guess).
100 years from now will people even remember this photograph?
I don’t know who he is. I’m not going to google it.
There’s been plenty of times one could take the easy way out. Dying like this is easy. Within 45 seconds he passed out from the pain of burning. Within two or three minutes he was dead from asphyxiation or his organs burning and the skin peeling away from his bones. Big deal.
Every day we’re on this planet we’re persecuted. It’s hard to live. Our body fights us. Our families. Our governments. Our bosses. The economy. Our customers. The ones who no longer love us who now hate us. The IRS. Our kids. Even our lovers because we can’t always provide for everyone’s needs.
So set yourself on fire in other ways.
The hard thing is to:
A) Physically stay in shape. And I don’t mean rippling with muscles. But doing what it takes to keep the quality of your life as high as possible as long as possible. Exercise. Eat well. Sleep a lot.
B) Emotionally stay in shape. When you’re in that moment of anger with a girlfriend or spouse or father or whoever, that’s when you have to thank god you have an opportunity now to grow, to move beyond the pain. Feel the pain in your body. Think of someone you are angry at rigjt now. Right now where do you feel the pain in your body? Are you angry in your head, your stomach, your heart? Feel it. Let it sit there. Breathe and feel the air going right to where you feel the pain. You might have to live with it for awhile. But eventually the pain dies down. Breathe deeply again. When you’re emotionally upset you have to do two things:
- Dis-engage from whatever it is causing you to be upset.
- Feel where the pain is. Study it. Breathe into it. Eventually when something itches, if you’re just aware of it, it stops to itch.
- Find people who love you or you love. Picture them. Feel love. That has a physical effect throughout your body.
- [See, the Crappy People FAQ]
C) Mentally stay in shape. It’s hard to stretch mental muscles. I tell my kids the best way to be creative is to take two things you’re interested in and combine them. If you’re interested in writing fiction and also starting internet businesses then set up a new paradigm of publishing companies. Or write a novel about a guy who starts internet businesses. And its ok if you change interests tomorrow. Every day find some part of yourself that needs to be reinvented and do it. Write down ten new business ideas a day. Or ten people you’d like to meet and how you can get yourself to meet them. Or ten things you’d like to improve about yourself. Write ideas until your brain hurts. Don’t stay the same ever day. Creativity also has a physical effect. Enthusiasm that fills you up. I get enthusiastic over this blog. I love it and coming up with ideas for it.
D) Spiritually stay in shape. Every form of exercise involves some pain. Forget everything you’ve learned about spirituality and god. We’re all afraid of the word “spritual”. All of that was written and created by someone else. Why don’t you stand up, now get on your knees, now bow. Bow to everything in the universe that’s better than you. Say thanks. Bow again. Some singularity, black hole blew up 15 billion years ago so you could exist for a microsecond of time. That’s pretty cool. Thanks black hole.
Who am I to tell you to do this? Nobody. Don’t do it. Don’t change your life. Don’t reinvent or stay in shape or be creative or get emotionally healthy. Be like the guy in the photo. He’s never going to change again. He’s going to be a photo forever. And his cause and everything he ever believed in is going to be remain exactly the same forever.
Some guy wrote me an angry letter the other day. I googled his name. He was all over different message boards being angry. He’s on fire forever. And he will be maybe until he dies. That’s his choice.
At the end of your life nothing is worth it. You’re the only one who will know what your last thought is. Everything beforehand is training to make sure your last thought is not an angry one, a hateful one, a non-useful one, or one that will only leave hate for your heirs. The way you do this is by setting your soul on fire every day. Burn yourself to the ground. And every day rise like the Phoenix. As for me, I’m going to watch an episode of “The Twilight Zone”, work on a novel, and avoid the heat outside. I don’t like it when it gets too hot.
P.S. I want to start a “Dear James” section of the blog sort of like “Dear Abby”. Send me your questions (a paragraph or so that you aren’t afraid to have printed on the blog. The questions can be anonymous. ) I’ll pick the best ones I think I can answer. And I’ll answer them on this blog.
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