Every week I do a Twitter Q&A from 3:30 – 4:30. What was fun about this one was that I did it from San Francisco, immediately after meeting some friends at Twitter’s offices.

@socialhotchocoPriscilla Wood Asks: How do you deal with perfection? Many times I feel I can’t execute ideas until I know it 100%.

ANSWER: Perfectionism ONLY leads to eventual shame or regret. Nobody is perfect, and there’s always the chance of the unknown occurring in every work. Then, when the perfectionist loses control of an event, project, business, etc then what happens? Shame results. Shame with colleagues, friends, bosses, investors, and family.

A very public example is Madoff. At some point he started his hedge fund and lost some money. He was a perfectionist. He couldn’t handle telling people that he lost money. Everyone thought he was an investment genius. The result: a massive Ponzi scheme as he attempted to cover up his imperfections and still be the “genius” everyone thought he was.

So my advice: if you have an idea for a project: START IT. Start it RIGHT NOW. Spec out the minimal features you need, hire a programmer (use scriptlance), or find a customer, and just GET STARTED. Even if you are not 100% ready.

As an example: I have an idea for a novel. I don’t have the full plot outlined. I don’t even know if I will have the time to finish. But today I’m going to start it. I’ll write just 500 words for it. It doesn’t have to be perfect (that’s what rewriting is for), but we’ll see what happens.


@idiotlaureate asks: How can a humor writer bleed?

ANSWER: THE ONLY THING humor writers do as bleed. Bleeding is about sharing a situation that we can all relate to: usually disgusting, embarassing, and humiliating, and finding the truth in it. Some examples from some of the funniest people around:

(Sarah Silverman bleeds AND pees)

Sarah Silverman’s book: “The bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee”  (right in the title)
Paul Feig’s book: “Superstud: Or how I Became a 24 Year Old Virgin” (Feig is director and writer of the show “Freaks and Geeks” and has directed many funny movies)
Comedian Mike Birbiglia’s book: “Sleepwalk with me: and other painfully true stories”
David Cross (“Arrested Development”, “Mr. Show”)’s book: “I Drink for a Reason”
JIm Norton (super comedian): “Happy Endings: Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilc”
Artie Lange: “Too Fat to Fish”
And so on (I also recommend Ellen Degeneres’s three books and Judd Apatow’s collection of stories he found funny).


@lennin59Luis Cardenas Asks: I have an idea for a short story, maybe book. But I have serious writer’s block. Suggestions?

ANSWER: YES! It just so happens I have ten suggestions. Stay turned for a blog post on this this coming week.


@YoavEzerYoav Ezer Asks: What are your favorite self-help books?

ANSWER: “Self help” is a weird phrase. I don’t like most of the self help industry and here’s why: it’s 1000s of books written by people who have experienced mild failure and little success but they want to make million crowding that section of the bookstore. So who are they helping? Also, when you look at recent self-help books (a lot of the authors mentioned in “The Secret”) they seem to be doused in scandal. Who needs it?

Also, what are they helping you do? Many self-help books are about making money. I’m convinced before you can truly make money (and keep it, and be happy with it) you have to first make sure all the energy is properly flowing inside of yourself. This is the entire basis of my post on “The Daily Practice”

So instead of recommending anything that is on the bookshelf I’m going to recommend a few public domain titles:

-“The yoga sutras of Patanjali” are not just for people interested in yoga. The text is from 300 BC and contains 195 lines. I think what was happening is that Buddhism was stealing so many adherents of Hinduism that it provoked in a very marketing-like fashion, a response. So this guy, Patanjali, basically repeated what Buddha said but added a few more things (“sitting straight”, which led to yoga) and more on breathing (which led to the study of pranayama).

My post, “How to Deal with Crappy People” was based on Chapter 1, line 34 of the Yoga Sutras.

#2, I recommend the Lojong Slogans written in the 12th Century AD. It was a set of 59 lines used to transmit Indian Buddhism to Tibet. And basically discussed how to work through the things that plague your soul (similar to many self-help books today). Pema Chodron (a popular self-help writer today from the Buddhist tradition) bases much of her work on these slogans.

#3. More contemporary. Wallace Wattles book, The Science of Getting Rich (written in 1900 so is public domain) is the basis for most self-help books afterwards (even Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” from 1937 is based on Wattles’ earlier works and “The Secret” is almost 100% based on it). Wattles approach is very serious: money is good, never think about poverty, only think about getting rich. Never worry about your past, never talk about it, never associate with anyone who can bring you down. Only think about being rich and how good that will make the world.

If I had to recommend one contemporary guy I’d pick Eckhart Tolle. While he mentions Jesus frequently in his book his work is very much based on a sect of Hinduism called Advaita Vedanta and mostly based on the work of a guy named Ramana Maharshi.


@lakergodSK  who is your favorite president?

ANSWER: There really was only ONE good President and the rest were failures: George Washington:

– He stayed above the fray of party politics
– He basically turned down a lifetime Presidency at the end of his two terms, recognizing that a country needed change and not succumbing to his own ego.

Everyone else had their shortcomings. Of course, it’s easy to say that in hindsight and I’d be happy to discuss this further in the comments but who else was good? One person mentioned to me FDR but: the Depression lasted a full 7 years longer when he became President. None of his policies worked towards solving the Great Depression. NONE OF THEM. He got us into WW II only AFTER all the Jews were being demolished by Germany. He even turned away Jews who were trying to escape to America. How many Americans died once we got into WWII? He tried to flout the Constitution by stuffing the Supreme Court. He ran for 4 terms, the first since George Washington to even attempt to stay more than two.

Well, what about Lincoln? My question is: why didn’t he free the slaves immediately? Isn’t that what it was about? Turns out the answer is “no”. He let his VP run the Union Army. And then, when the North was losing, he freed the slaves to try and get a little extra help. The Civil War was fought about the North’s need to get a piece of the cotton action in the South via tariffs. Nothing else. Which is why the British (who freed their slaves in 1832) were eager to get the North out of the picture (slavery issue aside) and help the South. Money trumped the horrible sin against nature of slavery. That’s Lincoln.

Anyone else?

Finally, what does the President actually do? As per the Constitution. I think it’s time we revise things and Abolish The Presidency altogether and actually save the economy in doing so.


@mainlinewifeMain Line Housewife Asks: been a stay at home housewife or 8 yrs & want to go back to work badly but feel defeated & hopeless about finding a job. How do I get out of funk?


I obviously do not have direct experience with this BUT, that doesn’t stop me from offering advice.

First off, being a “stay at home housewife” seem embedded in how you view yourself. Your twitter handle is “mainlinewife” and your “name” associated with the handle is “Main Line Housewife”.

We need to break you free from the identity you’ve created for yourself, from the cage you have put yourself in, from the boundaries you have personall drawn around you, like a kid playing with chalk on the playground during recess: “Nobody can walk in these lines!”

Second, congrats on everything you’ve done. Obviously spending eight years devoted to raising children is a heroic and underrated task in our society. People shower credit on Mark Zuckerberg and make movies about him but the blood, sweat, and tears of making a brand new human being a responsible member of society is often forgotten.

BUT, now it takes work to get back into the job world. You need the confidence, the health, the idea engine, the spiritual engine, all working for you again. The idea muscles atrophy as quickly as any other muscle.

Most important: you need to exercise every day. And you need to write ideas down every day. Write ten ideas a day, about anything under the sun: ideas for jobs you can do, ideas for how you can help people, ideas for articles you can write, specific ideas on businesses you can start.

Assume that for one month you will only come up with bad ideas. That’s ok. But give it three to six months and everything will be different. Particularly if your other relationships are more or less smooth, and physically you stay/get in shape. The key is to not lapse back into thinking, “Damn, I can’t do this. I’m just a housewife.” In which case, follow the advice in this post. 


@himynameissteev asks: Should I follow my lifelong dream or go to college?

ANSWER: My stance on college is very clear. Some people might say, your dream will always be there but you might as well have college to fall back on.

Actually, the reverse is true. Your dream might not always be there (college has a way of dampening dreams) and college is no longer there to fall back on.

Going to college means:
– graduating with enormous debt. You become a debt slave
– taking five years out of your life to get a piece of paper with your name on it
– spending five years NOT pursuing the things you are truly interested in. Life is short. 5 years could be 10% of your life. Why waste this valuable time?

Pursue the dream first. Pursue it in every way possible. Throw yourself into it because when you’re the ages of 18-22 is when you have the passion and energy to try things and nobody is expecting much from you anyway (other than expecting you to go to college).

Later you can change your mind. You can always change your mind.

But if you consistently make it a habit to put dreams on hold, the only thing that’s left is nightmares.


@MarquesDeeClairMarc Clair asks: What is the best form of government?

ANSWER: I’m not political in any way. In addition to the “Abolish the Presidency” link above I also think we need to “Abolish Congress” and I’ve even given up on voting. I think politics is largely a scam.

Here’s what’s important to me: I don’t want people to run stop signs. Sometimes interesections are confusing. It’s good when a local government figures out where those interesections are and put up stop signs. I’m not speaking metaphorically but literally. We NEED stop signs.

What else do we need? We don’t need to go to war with anyone? I don’t really think we need to give our hard-earned money to any other countries. Experiments like the Dept of Education have largely failed as have most government initiatives. What else do we need? I just don’t want my kids crossing the street and then someone running them over because there were no stop signs. I’m in favor of the “Stop Sign Party”.


Several people asked what I thought about this. I’ll tell you one thing: 99% of the country doesn’t care about Occupy Wall Street.


Clearly people are angry. 9/11. The dot-com bust. The housing bubble (which provided for housing for many people who could not otherwise afford it) followed by the BUST (all of those people then lost their houses), the Lehman crisis, the financial and unemployment crisis, the government bailouts that didn’t seem to have any check at all on CEO compensation. Heck, I’m angry. And filled with regrets over this past decade and what I could’ve done differently to avoided some of the pain that spread throughout the country and world.

But, lets keep the pain in check. It’s time now for people to clean their own house before barging in and cleaning everyone else’s house. I wrote about this here.

But to say even more. Every decade our quality of life gets better. The botton 99%, the top 1%. All 100% get’s better. Literacy goes up, lifespans go up, violence goes down (see Stephen Pinker’s results on this), the number of families with two cars goes up (and the number of car deaths go down), etc etc.

Someone once told me, “Don’t look at what’s in my wallet and I won’t look at what’s in yours.” The same thing here. Ok, CEOs took too much money. That sucks. Bush AND Obama gave them that money. It was horrible.

But now is the time for recovery. Get healthy first. That’s your choice about whether or not you can get healthy: physically, emotionally, mentallly, spiritually. Build your health. Be a beacon to those around you so they can be a beacon to those around them.

There’s been horrible violence in these Occupy movements and there’s been no real demands. If you want to do some good in the world, get healthy, start a business (or manage one) and make your business do the right things instead of the horrible things that have happened this past decade. Become a leader, not a protestor, an innovator, and not someone peeing in Zucotti Park (a park where many people I know (chessplayers, food vendors) have had their lives disrupted negatively by these protestors of graduate students.) Now is the time to move on and be successful and show the CEOs of last decade how it’s done. Don’t blame them or the government on your own failures. Now is the time to succeed.


@Morgan_03Marked-to-Model asks: whats your biggest fear?

ANSWER: I somewhat wrote about this in “I Woke Up Scared and Angry Today”

but basically I’m afraid of just about everything. I’m afraid I will go broke, get sick, something will happen to my kids, something will happen to Claudia, Claudia will hate me for some reason, other people will hate me, people will expose me for the fraud I feel I am deep down inside, and so on.

But the key is: do I need to think about these fears? Many of those fears are left over remnants of how I felt in years past. But they stick to me like tiny parasites still sucking my blood. I need to clean myself of these things.

It’s reasonable to worry about the future. I have a family to feed, for instance. And it’s reasonable to learn from mistakes in the past. I’ve made many.

But fear of repeating those mistakes, and anxiety of the future will prevent me from doing what I need to do TODAY. Today is the only day I truly have in my hand.

Today I can do a good job finishing this post, for instance. Then I can do a good job if any companies I’m invested in need help. I’m also on a bit of vacation so I want to make sure I enjoy it to the fullest and help Claudia to enjoy it (her first trip since getting sick). I also need to get ready for a talk I’m giving in San Jose on Monday. I will work hard doing a good job for that. I will respond to emails I get today as best I can.

Also, for longer-term, I’ll make sure I exercise today. I’ll try to avoid the people who bring me down. I’ll come up with ideas and keep exercising the idea muscle. I’ll also respect the fact that today, TODAY, I can’t control every thing happening in my life. So to some extent I have to shrug my shoulders and hope for the best.

That’s what I can do today. Tomorrow is another day. Yesterday is long gone. Good riddance.


@estheriaestheria asks: what should you do if you’re avoiding a friend and you don’t know why?

ANSWER: This has happened to me repeatedly. You have to ask yourself one thing: Am I avoiding him today simply because I avoided him yesterday. An “avoidance bubble” of sorts. In other words, are you feeling so much shame about avoiding your friend that that is preventing you from reaching out today. If the answer is “no” then move onto the next paragraph.

Something is wrong. Your body and mind are telling you to stay away. You can do some self-enquiry and start lisiting reasons why your mind might be telling you to stay away, but your mind might not answer. Your body and mind might be keeping it a secret. But respect the secret. Don’t force it. You are a busy person. If you’re body is telling you, “this person is bad for you right now. Stay away.” Then after briefly considering the reasons why this might be, take the advice: stay away.


valuewalk jacob wolinsky  asks Whats your dream? Like whats your biggest goal in life?

ADVICE: My biggest goal is to have much fewer goals. This sounds sort of cliched but it’s true. Goals are stressful. Let’s say your goal is to have $100 million. That’s hard! It’s stressful to accomplish. Requires a lot of work. ANd then the question is: is it really necessary to have $100 million to be happy?

Or let’s say my goal is to publish a novel? That’s hard also! Will take time away from my kids, from my wife. It’s hard to make money writing fiction (you have to be either lucky, SUPER-talented, or super prolific, or all of the above) so you end up having to market yourself a lot, which is stressful.

We all have to support our families. But when that goal is largely acocmplished to the best of our abilities, what other goals should we have? I don’t want to lie around watching TV all day. But I guess if you constantly seek to improve yourself physically, emotionally, mentallly, spiritually, then that’s the best goal to have because that’s the goal that will keep you happy, and help those around you, and turn you into an idea/innovation machine that will inspire others. I hope I can get to a point where that’s my only goal. Instead, I probably have too many “extra” goals that are nothing but baggage I have to carry around all the time.

Someone also asked: if you had to choose: physical health over mental health, what would you choose.

The answer (and I hope I never have to make that choice) is physical health. The reason is: you want high quality of life into your elder years. This gives you as much time and energy as possible to pursue the other three types of health I talk about. That said, they are all linked (stress will decrease your physical health, for instance).

Every Thursday (except Thanksgiving, when I will be on a plane all day), I do a Twitter Q&A from 330 – 430

Follow me on twitter.

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  • TheAcsMan

    There are two ways to assess a US President’s legacy. A conventional approach would do it on the basis of accomplishments, but that’s distorted by time and the need for political revisionism.

    On the other hand, you can use the “do no harm” approach and assess an administration’s legacy on the basis of how little havoc they wreaked on the lives of citizens.

    On that basis, the 31 day term of William Henry Harrison stands alone. Other than calling Congress into special session, which occured after his death, his administration caused no harm to the populace.

    I’m amazed that the concept of a 31 day presidential term hasn’t caught on. Maybe it can start here.

    • Anonymous

      As a Libertarian, I might consider taking your recommendation a bit further. It’s almost like the concept of 8 Minute Abs. Why not 7?

      I don’t endorse getting pneumonia and dying 31 days after inauguration, but why not transition from a 31 day presidency to 30 days, then to 29, etc…?

  • Wolf Pascoe

    James, James, James. 

    Why didn’t Lincoln free the slaves immediately? Um, because he didn’t have the authority? He was able to justify the Emancipation Proclamation as a war measure against states in rebellion, but complete emancipation could only be accomplished by an amendment to the constitution, not presidential fiat. As I’m sure you know, Lincoln orchestrated passage the 13th amendment in 1865, when he had the political capital to do so after the south’s defeat was assured. And it barely passed even then. 

    The Civil war was fought about the North’s need to get a piece of the cotton action via tariffs? Nothing else? This would have come as a surprise to many at the time, including the leaders of the rebellion, whose arguments and declarations overwhelmingly framed the issue as a matter of their right to own slaves and to secede.  

    Lincoln let his VP run the army? Really? Hannibal Hamlin ran the army? News to me. And all that time Lincoln spent at the telegraph office reading dispatches, and all that correspondence with his generals, all that hiring and firing, and all those cabinet meetings, and all those field visits–do you know that Lincoln was the only president ever fired on in combat? Oh, well. 

    • Anonymous

      As far as the cause of the war, it was a mixed bag to say the least. One thing Lincoln did was promise Maryland they could keep thier slaves if they stayed in the Union. And abolitionists were reviled by some in the north as well (the economic boon from slavery wasn’t just concentrated in the south).

      Jefferson once said that slavery was like having a wolf by the ears — because even as frightful as that is, you also don’t dare let go.

      • 736hundred

        The quest for money and power and control never ceases to exploit those beneath them.

        At least now, those slaves ( in America ) aren’t in physical chains.

        • James Altucher

          Ultimately, the indusrial revolution did more to free the slaves than anything else. It just simply became cheaper to have machines than to feed people who were working 18 hours a day on your farm. So I agree with you.

          As for the Civil War, I know everyone argues that it was about slavery because that’s what was taught in elememtary school but its simply not the case. Lets not forget that Britain freed the slaves in 1832. Why did they do this? Because their “agriculture” was happening here in the US. Were they better or worse humans than us. Who knows? But it certainly underlines the dynamics at work.

          • Julian

            It’s more like outsourcing the slaves. It also freed the masters from a lot of concerns, as freed slaves now had the entire responsibility to take care of themselves (housing, food etc). And the authorities no longer had to run after fugitives. But the conditions didn’t improve much for most and worsened for some.

            Today we have various forms of debt bondage, the modern evolution of slavery.

          • research papers

            It is very interesting!!

  • Evan Meagher

    Yet another insightful Q&A full of variety. Thanks for swinging by Twitter HQ the other morning! Was great to meet you.

    • James Altucher

      Evan, is was all my pleasure. What an exciting trip for me. To see “Home Base”.

  • Priscilla Wood

    Wonderful that you posted my question, thanks!

  • MikeSchinkel

    @James – Since you started doing these multi-topic “Ask James” posts, I’ve lost interest in reading your blog.  The “Ask James” is fine, but please consider doing just one topic per post?

    • TheAcsMan

      I see the “Ask James” posts as the equivalent of a sampler package of cereals. There are lots of topics to choose from, suited to your personal tastes. It’s nice to pick and choose, especially in conveniently packaged sizes.

      What’s especially useful, particularly for relatively new readers, are the internal references to past blogs. Also, the ideas raised in weekly questions may form the basis for full length follow-up blog entries. Taking a pulse of the interests of your readers is a great way to make the blog continually relevant.

      What interests me, though, is the thought that you’ve lost interest in reading the blog based on the recent appearance of a feature that appears on a predictable basis, Saturdays only, knowing that regular blog postings appear on most other days.

      To me, those shouldn’t be related.

      • MikeSchinkel

        Then, as my father would say, “To each his own.”

        • TheAcsMan

          Mike, we may be related. My father’s favorite expression, having escaped a communist country was “It’s a free country”.

          He also said “never talk about sex, politics, religion or money.”. If that were the case, the weekly Altucher Confidential blog would just cover various aspects of weather, as I guess would the daily blogs.

          • James Altucher

            TheAcs, thanks for the replies.

            Mike, I suppose “to each his own”. I write a post a day. It’s hard. Not that that should matter. But overall I try to provide hope, help, and I do it totally based on my own experience which I share via stories and honesty. I have found that most people don’t do that which is why I try to shed a little light via my personal story.

            To each his own, though. Its certainly not a requirement for anyone to read or comment on this blog but I don’t actually understand your suggestion. As TheAcs says, if I stick with one topic per Saturday post that would make you decide to continue reading all the other posts? Why not just not read the Saturday post?

          • MikeSchinkel

            I get a notice of your posts in email. I haven’t been paying close attention, as have you of course, but my *impression* has been that this is what you are writing lately; I simply haven’t noticed other posts in my email. I had no idea it was only Saturday because I haven’t been paying close attention, but it seems like a lot more often, and lately they are the only posts I’ve actually noticed.

            Now, like most super busy people, I filter things out because there are a million times more things vying for my attention than I can actually afford to pay attention to. Thus, only some of your posts have been of interest to me (as I would suspect would be true of all your readers, expect maybe your mom. :) For those article, I’ve enjoyed reading. All the others I’ve skipped. And I make the decision on what to read based on the title of the post.

            When you create a post with 5 sub-topics, you don’t give me enough of a hook in the title but instead put the burden on me to scan through your post to see if I might be interested. But because scanning an entire post takes so much longer than just scanning the title I don’t do it. While I’m sure you’ve seen this article before, it might help further explain how I process your posts:


            These multi-posts actually create a mini-emotional burden for me; I want to read them and feel guilty that I won’t take the time to do something I want to do. But each time I read them I don’t get enough value out of them that I feel like I’ve just wasted my time. And if most of the posts I see are posts that I want to scan but don’t have the energy to scan then at some point I realize it’s better just to unsubscribe.

            Please realize I’m trying to describe a process that I don’t think about so this explanation is very rough. But the bottom line is if subscribed to your posts starts to feel like more like work than enjoyment, I will unsubscribe.

            Also please understand that this is *just* my feedback because I assume you want reader feedback? I may be alone in my feelings about this, or the vast majority of your readers may feel the same, I don’t know; I’m just giving you feedback from my perspective, do with it what you will.  If most other readers like it, or if you just damn well want to do it because, after all, it is your blog, then more power to you.

          • Mehranalmasi

            Mr. Schinkel, I, for one would feel pretty bad if the vast majority of readers felt as you do! 
            I also feel (from comments) readers here are here for more than “enjoyment” but from your own comment I feel that if you unsubscribe, you’ll replace your mini-emotional burden with a mini-remorse! “Just” my feedback.

          • MikeSchinkel

            Why is it that people on the Internet want to challenge other people for their opinions when they give feedback?  It’s only my opinion, why challenge me on it? If you want to register your opposing view, tell James, not me.

          • 736hundred

            Well Mike, there is a feature on this blog’s comment section which allows people to comment directly in response to other people’s comments.

            This comment section has the ability to be conversational among all that read and post here.

            It’s not a big deal.  If you only want James to reply to your posts, you should mention that so the rest of his readers won’t bother. 

            Something like this might work: Disclaimer: This comment is for James ONLY: the rest of you people on the internet mind your own beeswax.

          • TheAcsMan

            Thanks for that link. It was interesting to compare writing styles and usability improvements.

            With regard to the comment about challenging peoples’ opinion when they give feedback, to me it seems that feedback is a dynamic process, one where both sides can come to some kind of convergence based on a mutual respect for the perceptions of the other side.

            Or not.

            A month or so ago at one of the very early GOP debates, the candidates criticized Brian Williams, the moderator, for asking questions that they perceived as divisive, because they sought to draw out difference among the candidates.

            My initial and final thoughts on that stance were the same: “isn’t that what a debate is supposed to do?”

            By the same token, feedback is a starting point for discussion, but also to point out differences of opinion that may be shaped by experience, personal  needs and future outlook.

          • Julian

            I won’t challenge the opinion. But can’t help to publicly write a remark that the comment above itself was tl;dr.

          • MikeSchinkel

            I see you have that personality disorder that forces you to comment in a condescending manner, even when the comment on which you comment does not address you and does not effect you  in the least. Well played.

          • jaltucher

             Hmm, I wonder if I can make a table of contents to that post thats linkable to the rest of the post. I bet I can with just a little bit more work. Interesting.

  • Mehranalmasi

    “people will expose me for the fraud I feel I am deep down inside”    and I thought “what??”
    then I read Wolf Pascoe’s comment     and I thaught “maybe James has a point!”

  • Macwild

    Do you still feel that a collapse of the Euro zone won’t crush our markets and the economy?  It sure looks gloomy when you look at swap spreads.

  • Lassenza Orciztive

    This is the first time I write a comment on your blog even thought I’ve been reading your articles continuously and sometimes twice to absorb the precious information in it. In general, I feel that that most of what you write is sensibly accurate to a great extent. Maybe what the “Secret” book  theory about like-like thought attraction is true!                                                               I just wanted to thank you for listing the self-help books. I’m sure it will be helpful for many people. Keep up  the good work!

  • Julian

    > physical health over mental health

    I think you are absolutely wrong thinking physical health matters most.

    Neuroscience proved that the same areas are activated when experiencing mental (emotional) pain and physical pain. Mental and psychiatric issues can cause extreme suffering, to the point of people scarring and mutilating themselves to relieve that pain. Or they commit suicide.

    On the other hand there are people that are extremely damaged in terms of physical health, but still enjoying life.

    What matters is whether the good things you appreciate outweigh the suffering you experience. If mental impairment prevented you to appreciate the good things and made you feel pain even though you were in excellent condition otherwise, you would want to die.

    And of course physical condition will impact mental health, and the reverse is true.

    And actually physical health and mental health should not be viewed as separate issues. That would have made a better answer.

    • jaltucher

      You are right, academically, but let’s just look at the common sense of it: if you have the flu, chances are you can’t enjoy other things in life. It’s impossible. 

      My goal is to be healthy well into my 90s so I can enjoy high quality of life and be able to pursue anything I want then: spiritual, mental, emotional, etc. 

      Although I do, think, they are all four legs of the same chair and need to be all cultivated simultaneously. 

      • Julian

        I can’t speak for all, but my own experience with flu and other conditions that hurt is that, well, it hurts sometimes really bad, but I could still manage to find pleasure in some things (being with friends and family, movies, games) and it provides relief (and research have shown that it helps recovery). And there are many examples of people terminally ill that sincerely enjoyed life until the last moment.

        Of course health is your most precious asset and taking care of it will make it easier to enjoy it more for a longer time. It helps a great deal, like having enough money over the stress of not being able to pay for first necessity things. But bad things can still happen to perfectly healthy people. You could say “stop thinking about that now”, but then if you already think of your 90’s…

        The risk is that if you think that you first need good physical health to enjoy life, when (if) things turn bad you will think that you can’t enjoy life anymore. And you won’t. Self-fulfilling prophecy. That would be sad for you and your loved ones.

  • 736hundred

    By the way, for those who haven’t participated in any Ask James Twitter Sessions, they are really fun.  Rapid fire, very diverse, always a laugh or two and always interesting. 

    • jaltucher

      Thanks 736!

  • Veeh Waithira

    Totally took on the books you recommended, and loving the science of getting rich…Wallace Wattles was the original godfather so to say :)  I learn something new every time I read your blog James, thanks!!

  • web promo

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  • Damnedchou

    could you do your usual 10 things to learn how to concentrate?

  • estheria

    James, a belated thanks for your response!  I read it when you posted it and I’ve been mulling it over since.  I’ve always thought I should give into my instinct about walking away from friendships, but I usually feel too guilty to follow through, especially when there’s a good amount of history between us.  Plus when I can’t determine why I want to avoid them, I figure I’m just being a prick.  But I’ve decided it’s probably pretty simple — either we’ve outgrown each other or the friend has become a drain.  Both reasons to move on.  Thanks again.