How to Have More Common Sense

coffeemachine

A lot of people who know me personally think I have ZERO common sense. For instance, Claudia says, “you went to freakin’ Carnegie-Mellon for a PhD and you can’t figure out how to operate a coffee machine”. To which I have two things to say:

A)     I was thrown out of Carnegie Mellon’s grad school and as anyone there can attest I was easily the least competent person in my year. Of the 8 classes I attended in two years I failed seven of them and got a B- in one of them.

B)      You are not fooling anyone when you say “freakin’”. I know EXACTLY what you mean.

C)      Making a cup of coffee using a coffee machine involves about five or six different steps using various chemical compounds in the right combination. It’s not as easy as the box claims. I can’t just turn on a button and have a cup of coffee.

And I know I said “two things” but I wrote “three”. So?

I get stressed so much during the day. Probably because of all the coffee I drink. But it seems like there are some basic common sense rules that would make me a little less stressed.

A)     Don’t Dance. And that doesn’t mean I can’t turn up a little tango music, grab Claudia, and start swinging her around. That might be fun, it would surprise her and make her laugh, unless I swung her into a wall, in which case she would cry. But it wouldn’t be my fault. Since I never take credit for anything bad.

What “Don’t Dance” means is “do not respond in anger to the people who are trying to provoke you.” And you know who they are. People ask me, “What if it’s your mother/spouse/boss/friend.” Let me tell you something: It’s ONLY those people. Else you wouldn’t care.

(you can Breakdance though)

I’ve gotten three emails and at least one directed blog post that have tried to provoke me in the past few days. One of them I “danced” with. I responded to all the accusations, some of them 20 years old (“historical equals hysterical”) and the only end result is that ten emails went back and forth and I’m still angry. The rest of the emails, and the blog post about me, I ignored. And now I don’t think of them. When I woke up this morning, though, I thought of the one email I had initially responded to and I was already getting mad. I put it in my mental Spam folder (I labeled it “not useful” as per my “Power of Negative Thinking” – that technique very much works for me) and then I forced Claudia at gunpoint to make me a cup of coffee.

Getting angry accomplishes nothing. You can never win an argument with people who are irrational. You’re never going to win an argument with your boss, for instance. Or with an investor. Or with a customer. Or with a relative. It just won’t happen. They are always right. So common sense is to ignore them as much as possible and you will be happy. It’s one of those things where you can say, “On your deathbed are you really going to wish you had just responded to that one email one more time?”

Related to this: Don’t Judge. Let’s say someone treats you bad in a store. It’s a gut reflex to get angry at them. But what if their wife just left them? Or their kids just got pregnant. With each other. Who knows? Anything can happen. You don’t know anything about them. Again, on your deathbed are you going to say, “I really hate that guy at the cupcake store who dropped my cupcake.”

B)      Don’t do bad things to your body. I walk down the streets of NYC and I can tell you: 80% of the older people walking down the street look hideous to me. They are out of shape, their faces look like they are frozen in stress and anger, they are stooped over, dreaming to themselves of all the times they have been angry. All the things they should’ve said.

 

(Helen Mirren at 63)

I think in most cases this is a direct result of treating your body very badly for 40 years. I’m not innocent of this either. But it seems like common sense: no junk food, no cigarettes, no alcohol, walk as much possible if you don’t feel like doing hard exercise,  and no coffee. See!? I don’t follow this advice as much as I should. And I’m 43. It’s almost too late for me to get back on the right track. But if you don’t, you won’t enjoy your 70s, 80s, and 90s  as much as you should. Quality of life will be lower for you than for the people who are using common sense now. Almost every illness you’ll get later in life is a direct result of what you put through your digestive system right now.

C)      Don’t Talk Behind People’s Back. About ten years ago I trashed the CEO of a company I was invested in. The company was called “Mighty Seven”. The CEO was Josh Schaub. I was then having dinner with him and his girlfriend that night. Needless to say, because nobody keeps anything private, Josh heard what I had to say about him and we had to talk about it all through dinner. What a waste of time. And I was embarrassed. When you talk about people behind their back, one out of three times they are going to know about it. Why stress yourself out that way.

 

(gossiping is not the same as intimacy)

And couldn’t you have used that time when you said those words in a more constructive way. For instance, I should’ve sat down and instead of yapping my mouth  off I could’ve come up with some ideas on how the CEO could’ve improved his business. I could’ve contributed and been more helpful.

Instead, because of a constant arrogant  attitude where I was talking behind peoples backs (and somehow everyone ALWAYS heard what I was saying) businesses went out of business, I lost money, and I got unhappy.

Another anecdote. I helped a friend of mine get a job at a company I once worked at. One time she told me she was talking about another person and then she realized that person was standing right behind her. She got really embarrassed (Embarassment and Words go hand in hand. If you stay silent, you’ll seldom be embarrassed. If you use lots of words without thinking, common sense says you feel more embarrassment in life). So she apologized to the girl.

But then that girl never spoke to her again, even though they had been friends. And that girl made my friend’s work life miserable. “How come she is doing this?” my friend said. “I apologized to her!”

Well, tough shit! She thinks you’re a bad person now and always will and  you can’t ever change that. So common sense: if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it. [See my post, “Shut Up“]

Someone once wrote a very negative blog post about me. We had a lot of mutual friends. All of our mutual friends and a few other people asked me what I thought about the post. Maybe they were curious if I would dish out some good gossip. All I said was, “He’s a good guy. I don’t know why he wrote that.” And that was true. Common sense: saying that was a lot better for me, both internally (I didn’t get angry)  and externally (people thought better of me for it) than wasting five minutes of my life trashing the guy.

D)     Cash is king. I’m starting to agree with the people who are against the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913. Society has slowly inflated itself to a point where the cost of things we need are costing more than our deflating incomes, making it impossible to continue enjoying the fruits of middle class-dom.

(a painting by JSG Boggs)

People think when I say things like “Don’t send your kids to college” or “Don’t buy a home” that I’m just being a contrarian so I can spew my filth on TV or whatever. But the reality is, I think the banks and the government and corporate America come up with fancy marketing campaigns that get baked into our societal mythology so that we are encouraged to give up our cash as soon as we make it.  Common sense is that one should always question your beliefs about why you hold something to be true. Constantly challenge the brainwashing. It’s MOST IMPORTANT when it comes to your money. The entire world is set up to take away your heard-earned money. Challenge every belief that reaches its hand into your pocket. [See, “The Ten Commandments of the American Religion“]

I made a lot of money in 1998, for instance, as part of the dot-com boom. By March, 1999 I had already  bought an apartment way too expensive for me and only 3 years later I lost it. I bought dot-com stocks that went down. I flew helicopters to Atlantic city. I got summer homes. I bought paintings. In short, I lost all my cash.

How much happier would I have been if I had said in 1999, “you know what, I have enough cash now to live forever and pursue creative , charitable, or spiritual pursuits so I could become a better person.” [See, “What it Feels Like to Be Rich“]

We can say “it was meant to be” but I was horribly unhappy for years and still regret many of the things that happened in that period. There are two ways to respect the Cash that you’ve earned: Question everything you buy and spend on. Do you really need it? Will it make you closer to living a healthier, high quality of life for as long as possible? And two, Reduce some of the long-term fantasies that society, through TV, books, culture, etc has told you  you need: the nice car, the fancy house, the great schools, the fancy traveling, etc.

It’s common sense: if you have more cash in the bank, it’s better than having no cash in the bank. And when times are hard and you have little cash, your friends will disappear and nobody is going to be out there giving you cash.

 

E)      Turn off the TV. The average household spends six hours a day watching TV. So what do they watch. Snooki having sex with The Situation. Simon Cowell critiquing some 9 year old on her singing ability. January Jones cheating on Don Draper or the other way around, murders, crimes, legal dramas where people just like you and me go to jail.  Car chases. We all love a good car chase. Cars slamming into each other left and right while our heroes weave around them.

Oh, and then there’s the news on TV. Which only means someone is lying to you about something they know nothing about. I know this from personal experience.

So what does all the above do: it scares you, it makes you want things you can’t have , it makes you paranoid (hmm, if January Jones can do that, can my wife do that? If  Ashton Kutcher can do that does that mean it’s ok for me to do it?) It makes you even more scared (Will Greece really cause my checking account to go to zero? What?)

Common sense: everyone on the news is lying to you to get you scared so you keep watching (“Stay tuned. Will Libya’s new leaders we even worse than Qadafi? We’ll be back after a commercial break.”)  And everyone in sitcoms and dramas are being overly dramatic and lying about everything because that’s part of the show. But some part of your brain thinks its happening in reality. Which means it can happen to you. Which means you get scared or paranoid.

It’s hard to do. I can’t do it. I watch “Mad Men” even though deep down I know it’s not so good for me. But I limit this as much as possible.

F)      Don’t Cheat. On wife, IRS, in business, in games, etc. Common sense: Everything you do has consequences. If you truly don’t love your wife, then get divorced or figure out some other arrangement that can make you happier. If you don’t pay the IRS they will eventually catch up to you and it will cost you more. If you cheat in business you’ll most likely get caught and go to jail or get sued and have to deal with that stress. Common sense: for short-term gratification you will deal the rest of your life with the consequences. I’ve seen it – some of those consequences are so unbelievably horrible and painful that you’ll never overcome it but perhaps that’s also how you learn it’s common sense to not create more of those situations.

G)     Make other people better. If someone is an employee then help them figure out how they can advance at their job. If someone is your boss, then work hard for them and give them full credit. If someone is a friend, then listen to their troubles. If someone is an “enemy” teach them to treat others better by ignoring them when they try to engage you in their troubles.  If there’s someone you don’t know but you would like to know them – then think of ways their life can be better and send it to them. If you have a business or want to start one, then make sure your idea makes the lives of all of your customers better. If  someone is your spouse, think of how you can help with some of their burdens. Don’t split the difference (“She cooks, I clean”). Figure out how you can do a little of the cooking also. Common sense: if everyone around you is better, then they will do everything they can to make you better.

H)     Sleep 8-9 hours. This might apply just to me. But I know if I want to sleep 9 hours then a couple of other common sense things will fall into place. I won’t waste my time eating late dinners and putting junk into my body while watching prime-time TV. I’ll wake up very early. And by the time most people are waking up I will have either written, been creative in some way, or exercised.

(my favorite over-used photo of someone sleeping)

I one time had dinner with some old friends who I love very much. But all night they were drinking, eating, desserting, and talking about all the creative projects they eventually wanted to work on. You can’t work on those if you spend 5 hours at a dinner every night and then have a hard time waking up by 7am in the morning. You have to sleep earlier, eat better, drink less, and wake up before everyone else. Common sense: you’ll be healthier, you’ll get more stuff done, and make more money by the time everyone is just groggily waking up.

Common sense is really easy. It mostly involves having as little drama as possible and making the people in your life as empowered as possible while you get things done and live healthy.

I can tell you when I don’t have common sense. I stay in relationships way too long that are unhealthy for me, I let people walk all over me, I buy houses I can’t afford, I waste five years going to college and graduate school for computer science and then have to take remedial programming courses on the side once I have a real job. The people around me begin to hate me and trash me behind my back, I get fired from jobs or passed over for opportunities and I don’t get anything done creatively.

On my deathbed, I want the opposite of all of that. I want to be around people who love me. I want to say, “I love you Claudia” as my last words. I want to be happy at that moment.

 

(By the Deathbed by Munch)

 

SEE ALSO, 7 THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU WHEN YOU ARE COMPLETELY HONEST

And also, Please follow me on Twitter.

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  • http://twitter.com/PurviRajani Purvi Rajani

    You should get one of those Keurig K-Cup machines. They make great coffee and are easy to use – no PhD required. Cheap at CostCo but get the coffee on Amazon. Mine is in storage back east, so now I just make instant unless people are coming over. Like tonight.

  • Ray Fitzgerald

    That woman has too much of a smile to be sleeping.

    I don’t take any drugs, smoke, drink, and am primarily a vegetarian. The most difficult thing to give up was coffee. That stuff is addictive. It took me two months to feel normal.

    It’s good they put it in orange soda, so the kids can become addicted at an early age.
    (On the list of things that are a scam)

    • http://www.facebook.com/marksurfas Mark Surfas

      Are you drinking something instead of coffee?  Like decaf tea or anything?  My diet, sleep and exercise are incredible, but coffee……..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3KPFINHLTQZP3425BTE3242WDM Andreas Moser

    So you are also thinking about what to think/say on the deathbed already? Me too: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/deathbed-thoughts/ 

    • Anonymous

      Oscar Wilde mastered this.His last words were (reportedly) “The wallpaper and I are in a duel to the death. One of us will have to go.” Hours later, surrounded by supporters, he died.

      That’s panache!

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

    I think I will take up smoking pot for as my daily practice for the next 30 days and see if that works any better that my failed attempts to get my life in order.

    I know what I should do, I understand the benefits, yet I do not do all of them.  I was born to be on vacation, that’s the only thing I am truly good at.

    • Doc_hawkins

      Born to be on vacation. I love it! Should be a Tshirt and/or bumper sticker

      • Anonymous

        Great idea on the t-shirt. Run with it.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve seen your blog. You’ve got other talents beyond vacationing  :  )  Like the idea of smoking lots of pot though. If my job didn’t piss test me once in a while I’d return to my youthful habits in a heartbeat.

    • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

      I’ve been working on writing a software tool to help me. It’s still rough, but if you’d like to be an alpha tester it may help and I’d love any additional feedback to make it better. :) It nags (er, I mean reminds). James inspired me to not only start working on deliberate daily improvement, but a lot of the other things that went into building it.

      It’s been hard to keep up on the daily improvements, but I’m getting better. I just went on a vacation and my strategy for keeping up with it failed miserably. It helps me to see how bad I’ve been failing, anyway.

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

        I am happy to attempt to help test it.  But if I find I don’t have time to really contribute constructively I will let you know straight up.  If that’s okay with you, and you have to agree not to take anything personally…lol…all these rules…geez…I’ll send you an email you can use, through twitter.  :)

  • Jsinger

    James….you should ask 60 minutes to become the Next Andi Rooney.

  • Andrew_Ferri

    I admit it, I don’t read your blog every day, but it doesn’t mean that your writing isn’t very important to me.  I like to take what you teach me and go with it, like on cruise control.  When shit gets too heavy for me, it feels as if you write just for me and its there when I need it.  Thanks.

  • Walsh Emmet

    What!? January is cheating on me!?!?

  • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

    I don’t know about this one. 

    There is plenty of evidence that those who keep things bottled up end up dying of cancer.  If someone makes me angry I let it out by giving them an earful.  THEN I move on. 

    Sometimes reacting in anger is good. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/altucher james altucher

      I don’t suggest bottling up.but fighting anger with anger will never ultimately make you feel better or win people to your side. Better to decide quickly that fighting or even engaging at all with people who don’t have your back is a losing battle and not worth the short amount of time we spend on this planet.

    • Johan

      Placebo, you say there is plenty of evidence, would you mind posting links to any studies done as to confirm what you said?

      • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

        Anecdotally, both of my parents died from cancers that I believe were
        caused by emotional factors.  It drove me to look into the subject more.  I found:

        PNI or Psychoneuroimmunology, the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the body. 

        Psycho-oncology, the study of both post-diagnosis psychology and, more interesting to me, the psychological factors that play a role in the development of cancer. 

        There are several recent studies including a Spanish study.  You can find them by using Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com/  (Emotion Suppression Cancer).

        Keep fighting. 

        • Prologgie

          Might I suggest forgiveness?  I think James’ underlying point is not to bottle up the slight, but rather dismiss it, completely.  You can only do that if you forgive the person who slighted you.

          When you look at why you’re angry, I think you’ll find that you believe the other person is evil or ignorant, or somewhere in between.  If you bottle it up, you’ll spend countless hours imagining ways to “get even” or doing some ill to that person in return, including letting him/her have a piece of your mind.  I assure you, this behavior will not serve you well.  It is negative.  And, nothing positive comes from a negative.  In fact, this one will eat you alive.

          Try pure, unadulterated, unreserved forgiveness.  Then let the incident, or comments, go.  You will find a great burden lifted from your shoulders.  Unburdened, you can move forward with your life, positive and refreshed. 

          • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

            Absolutely, forgiveness is one important key to a long-term optimum outlook. 

            Trouble is, all too many who adopt this “Eastern-way” tend to do exactly as you suggest.  They offer pure, unadulterated, unreserved forgiveness. 

            They are forgiving their attacker as he is swinging the club down on their head rather than giving him a good swift kick in the nuts and wrestling the club from him.  They offer forgiveness to another over protection of themselves.  Both external protection and internal protection. 

            We need look no further than the ultimate proponent of this philosophy, the Dalai Lama, to see the failure of pre-emptive forgiveness.  He teaches from Dharamsala rather than Lhasa because of it. 

            On a larger scale these Eastern philosophies – and especially the philosophy of Passive Resistance – have been encouraged and promoted in our culture (by those in power) because it encourages us to be passive and manageable.  We do love-ins rather than forcing change. 

            That said, forgiveness is an important element in an optimum outlook: forgiveness when it is best for the forgiver, not when it is best for others or for the universe.    

          • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

            Absolutely, forgiveness is one important key to a long-term optimum outlook. 

            Trouble is, all too many who adopt this “Eastern-way” tend to do exactly as you suggest.  They offer pure, unadulterated, unreserved forgiveness. 

            They are forgiving their attacker as he is swinging the club down on their head rather than giving him a good swift kick in the nuts and wrestling the club from him.  They offer forgiveness to another over protection of themselves.  Both external protection and internal protection. 

            We need look no further than the ultimate proponent of this philosophy, the Dalai Lama, to see the failure of pre-emptive forgiveness.  He teaches from Dharamsala rather than Lhasa because of it. 

            On a larger scale these Eastern philosophies – and especially the philosophy of Passive Resistance – have been encouraged and promoted in our culture (by those in power) because it encourages us to be passive and manageable.  We do love-ins rather than forcing change. 

            That said, forgiveness is an important element in an optimum outlook: forgiveness when it is best for the forgiver, not when it is best for others or for the universe.    

    • ama

      There are a couple studies out now that say venting anger just feeds the anger.

      • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

        Those studies frequently compare rumination, distraction and venting on SHORT-TERM outcomes.  In that case it is typically true that people who distract themselves from the anger fare better immediately following the angering event than those who vent.

        My comment is more concerned with the long-term implications.  Cancer is long-term.

        You may feel better tomorrow if you bite your tongue when that distracted guy rams your legs with his shopping cart.  But the long-term cost of continually holding back the natural urge to spurt, “BE CAREFUL!”, may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. 

        We have the ability to suppress our immune systems.  Practicing suppression can leap from one system of the body to another, and it can become a habit.  Anyone who suffers constipation or IBS can attest to the emotional and psychological elements of their aliment.   

  • PC

    James, this post was vintage. I thank you for hitting the important points and drilling the fundamentals. Skip the battles and empower those around you that you care about. Don’t talk behind anyone back! Common sense, I guess its a discipline – the analysis you give is brilliant.

  • Anonymous

    Glad to see you starting to finally question the Fed.

    It’s outlived it’s usefulness and is obviously incapable of accomplishing it’s “prime directive” — ie keeping unemployment low. Hard to know if a precious metals based currency is workable in a modern economy either though.

    Also, small point, but how do you “turn on a button?” — LOL

  • Mike Greczyn

    My one-year-old daughter has some choice opinions about my desire to sleep for 8-9 hours per night.

  • BP

    Trustworthy
    Loyal
    Helpful
    Friendly
    Courteous
    Kind
    Obedient
    Cheefrul
    Thrifty
    Brave
    Clean
    Reverent

    • Anonymous

      Go Boy Scouts. A fine way to live.

  • Sumit Sabharwal

    One of my favorite posts yet!

    I know I said “two things” but I wrote “three”. So?…..You’re a rockstar!!!

    • RE

      There are 3 types of people in this world…those that can count and those that can’t.

  • http://waqasali.me Waqas Ali

    As per your reaction. I think after some time, your friend would probably think.

    “James’s a good guy. I don’t know why I wrote that.”
    Very good post James. I’m sleeping some 9-10 hours these days. And I’m happy about this.

  • Mehran

    Are you starting a new religion?

  • Kristian j. Olsen

    It takes practice to have consistent common sense. We all have it in spurts, but to have it all the time, that’s an acquired skill. Like dancing. If you don’t practice enough you end up tossing your wife into the wall. Never a good thing. 

  • Johan

    James, in a previous post you said we should keep up with new developments. But also that the news is very manipulative etc (which is of course true). But what should we read to keep up to date with new developments in the world, in order to get ideas for startups, trading etc? 

  • Anonymous

    James, I’m slightly heartbroken that I have only just discovered your blog.  You are voicing opinions and theories that I have struggled to convey to my peers for years, and it’s great that so many people are reading about it!

  • Mikenny79

    What’s the difference between reading a book and watching a tv show? Arguably Mad Men is tantamount to some literary work.

    Anyway, keep up the good work on the blog, a regular pleasure to read!

  • me.

    great read..thanks james.  gold….

  • Lori

    agree completely with your statement that getting 8–9 hours of sleep makes other things fall into place. i call this the upward spiral — fixing one thing makes all the other things you need to fix that much easier, and the more fall into place, the easier the rest follow. and you can start anywhere. if you get more exercise, you’re more tired at night, fall asleep more easily, and stay asleep better, plus you start craving healthier food. if you fix your diet, you have more energy for exercise and work and caffeine and sugar aren’t keeping you awake at night. the key is to pick something and fix it and not get overwhelmed by the big picture.

  • Mike

    I agree with your points about the Fed, banks, gov’t and the media. I came across a book, the creature from Jeykel Island about the creation of the Fed. You might be interested. It ticked me off.. I also read alot from this web site about economics, history etc… http://mises.org/    Maybe you might find them interesting too.

    Peace Man.

    Mike

    • Locjeb

      I am also a fan of mises.org and the Creature book – and FYI Altucher has been on Lew Rockwell’s (the founder of the Mises Institute) podcast a couple of times now so he most likely knows of Mises.org – maybe not though. Here is one of the podcasts: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lewrockwell-show/2011/10/12/227-stay-healthy-physically-mentally-spiritually-and-financially/ Actually, I went to a Mises conference featuring Rockwell&Ron Paul at Jekyll Island last year on ‘The birth and death of the Fed’ – you know the J.P Morgan’s clubhouse that they stayed at and plotted the central bank at in 1910? It is a hotel now, and they have a Federal Reserve meeting room with framed pictures and information showing each of the six men that meant there and why! http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2010/02/jekyll-island-club-pictures.html

  • Anonymous

    Waking up early doesn’t work for everyone. I prefer to work till late in the evening. But got what you mean. Great post as usual

  • Rob

    ” Cash is king. I’m starting to agree with the people who are against the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913. Society has slowly inflated itself to a point where the cost of things we need are costing more than our deflating incomes, making it impossible to continue enjoying the fruits of middle class-dom.”

    I have to respectfully disagree.  Cash is trash.  If it’s being inflated away like you say, why hold on to it?  

  • Alecto

    I’m hopelessly out of fashion, but I think alot of this advice can be found in Proverbs.  To all of this I would add that it’s very important to start each day acknowledging gratitude for something or someone. 

  • Anonymous

    Honestly James, did you really try during your time at Cargenie Mellon? Or did you work on novels and speed chess and ignore your classes?

  • Anonymous

    Agreeing with Jsinger, and I love the last part of this post, and – the “favorite over-used photo of someone sleeping” is so fake!  There is no way someone sleeps with that huge of a smile on their face or in that position.  Next time I want to see a pic of someone totally passed out with drool hanging out their mouth! :)

  • Anonymous

    Great advice regarding Don’t Dance. It takes 2 to tango. It is impossible to fight with someone who won’t engage.

  • Aec

    Thank you for the Helen Mirren pic.

  • Carpenter

    A few comments to the good advice:

    B) Yes, most old people look terrible. In fact, many women aged 27+
    already age terribly. You don’t need coffee and you don’t need much
    sugar. Remember that you’ll be old for at least three decades –
    shouldn’t you plan for that? Or do you think of that old you as another person who you have nothing to do with?

    C) When you tell someone a secret, you’re also telling everyone he is
    more loyal to than you. And those people have no obligations toward you.
    Another reason not to gossip is that the people you gossip to think
    you’re probably saying bad things about them too.

    D) You should be able to go AT LEAST TWO DAYS without buying anything at
    all. If you can’t, then you have a problem. Practice not buying.

    • http://twitter.com/BarrieAbalard BarrieAbalard

      Remember, you’ll be old some day and look terrible, too. I’d rather be old and “look terrible” than dead. :-D

      Helen Mirren has had work done. No woman over 60 can look that good without help. Trust me on this.

  • Aslynn

    I always learn something in your posts, and usually what I learn is that, what I had been thinking was not only correct, but that I was not the only one with that particular thought. There’s some validation in that and I thank-you for it.

  • Anonymous

    to find out how the central banks control the world watch
    the video –

    The Money Masters – How International Bankers Gained Control of America

    link here-
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936

    you will have a better understanding of money than 99.9% of the rest of the
    population.

  • Larry

    James, if you want to exercise quickly (without walking. I can’t do much anymore. I’ve got a nasty arthritis in my right big toe) investigate kettlebells. They look like bowling balls with handles on them. You can lift them like regular weights but–and this is much more cool–you can swing them around and get a fantastic workout in an exceedingly short amount of time. The average guy starts out at 36 pounds and usually progresses to 54. If you’re exceedingly buff you can ramp it up to 72 pounds but in my view, if you’re older than 40 that’s probably crazy. Check out Pavel Tsatsouline’s books on kettlebells. He’s at Dragon Door dot.com.

  • Ws

    I just bought Ham On Rye and read it all in one night. You read a lot like him with some of these posts you do, both in content as well as style. 

    You should talk about fighting more though. Have you ever been in a fight? 

  • Mike Talbot

    Some words of wisdom in all this. Between war, periodic self imposed poverty, debauchery and all points in between I’ve been rather rough on the old bod.  I was disappointed in the doctor’s words after my last physical: “Mike – good news.  You’re 62 years old but you have the body of a man 61 and a half…”

    • http://twitter.com/jaltucher jaltucher

       Haha, the key in all this is not necessarily to “look good” at 62 (or 72 or 82) although that would be fine. But to be able to enjoy quality of life so that the fruits of your work can be enjoyed and allow you to pursue meaning and, if lucky, adventure later in life. Else, what’s it all for?

  • Brad

    James, go out today and buy a keurig. I wasted years of my life being scared by the task of making coffee … Never again.

    • https://www.coldhardcode.com/ Jay Shirley

      I’d recommend the Nespresso capsules over Keurig. It’s pricier, but I think the quality of brew is worth much more than the price.

      I say this as I just gave my Nespresso machine away in favor of a French Press and stove-top Espresso maker. Sometimes the basics are the best!

  • Locjeb

    For those that still support the Fed in any way, I would point you to these two YouTube videos: A presentation by UGA economics professor George Selgin called ‘A Century of Failure: Why It’s Time to Consider Replacing the Fed': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLynuQebyUM  

    And this great speech by historian/economist Tom Woods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAzExlEsIKk His book Meltdown: A Free Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse’ is also a great read! 

  • Locjeb

    Also, I love this Mark Twain quote on anger: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

  • Steve

    James, thanks! Found you via the one & only Lew Rockwell. Wish I’dve practiced the “Don’t Dance” principle much sooner. In fact, I usually do just the opposite. Thanks to you, I will be diligent in breaking the habit.

  • john

    I like your version of common sense. I’ve always been baffled by the conventional version.

  • Zen Pen

    “I’m starting to agree with the people who are against the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913.” – from the above post

    Chalk one up for common sense!
    The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression, as Bernanke recently admitted.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG4TbJT1bLQ (:42-1:13)

    “The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That board administers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people’s money.”- Charles Linbergh, Sr.(U.S. Rep. and the famous aviator’s father)

    The Federal Reserve is a bunch of private banks who are given the power to print money out of thin air and regulate themselves.In other words, they are wolves guarding AND fleecing the sheep.

    For decades, people have been told that any questioning of the Fed banksters was anti-semitic.

    FACT: Bankster J.P. Morgan, on whose estate on Jekyll Island The Federal Reserve Act was written, is of Welsh descent.FACT: National City Bank president Frank A. Vanderlip who attended the meeting on Jekyll Island, is of Dutch descent.FACT: The Rockefeller family banksters who benefited from The Federal Reserve Act, are of French descent.

    Any talk of any one racial group running the show is a LIE.

    I don’t agree with everything Ron Paul has to say, but he’s right about one thing…END THE FED!

  • CLand

    James – That’s not a photo of a woman asleep. Its a photo of her collapsed after the 45 minute orgasm you mentioned.