10 Things to Do When They Don’t Call Back
- Posted by James Altucher
I pitched a TV show and they loved it. I was going to mike up tables in a restaurant and tape record dates. I would know the woman (she was beautiful, funny, etc) and the guy would not now he was being videotaped.
We created a reel (two dates). One guy admitted in the middle of the date he was confused about whether or not he was gay. Another guy got a call from his wife in the middle of the date. Great stuff. “Great TV” as they say in “the Biz”.
I pitched it to Dave Bartolis who worked at HBO Independent Productions. They loved it. He was going to call me back the next day. He didn’t. Or the day after that. I would call his office. His secretary would say he was on the other line. I can hold. Oh, he’ll call you right back.
(See also, “How to Succeed in LA Without Really Trying”)
Finally I called his home number. “Oh, uh, we LOVE the idea. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
He didn’t. Or the next day Repeat the whole process above.
Another time someone wanted to buy a company I had started. They came around, they LOVED the company. It would fit right in with their company. Their company was named “Google”. I won’t get into it. They didn’t call back. Same as above. I didn’t call anyone at home this time. I had gotten better. But I had wet dreams at night. And then I would cry as the sun rose.
Why wouldn’t they call me back?
And then a girl. We were apart for a vacation. She was going out to dinner with her ex. She’ll call me AS SOON AS she gets back. I fall asleep. At 3am I wake up and realized I never got a call. So I call. No answer. Why didn’t she call me back? Where is she? Two months later she was pregnant. Who was the father?
Sometimes I hate the phone, emails, facebook, twitter, the call back. Why am I sitting here. Waiting. Don’t they realize I’m waiting? Don’t they want to talk to me: give me money, love, sex, fortune, fame, even just a little respect or generosity? You would give me those things. Won’t you?
A) Expand your alternative ideas. When you are waiting for ONE person on ONE idea, you’re screwed. You are in a perpetual state of “I need this or I die”. So… we need to prevent you from dying. Here’s the surgery you must perform. Find at least one more idea you are excited about. There was one time I was raising a fund. People weren’t calling back. I decided, ok, time to focus on creating a business of skin care products. Eventually, I raised the fund.
B) Expand your list of people to call – why did I just call HBO Independent Productions? Why didn’t I call Showtime? Or Comedy Central. I knew all the people. EVERYONE would’ve said. “I LOVE THIS” at the same time. This is the key to getting people to call you back. Even if nobody individually plans on calling you back, if everyone is saying, “I LOVE THIS”, someone will call you back.
C) Just DO it: I had two dates in the can. They were perfect. We did a third date. The guy wouldn’t sign the release form unless the girl, my friend, would have sex with him. Another perfect date in the can. Why did I need HBO to pick me? PICK YOURSELF! I could’ve just done fifteen of those dates and I would’ve had a perfect documentary. Or a complete pilot that I did myself without the help of any studio. I no longer pitch books to publishers who might sit on them for months. I PICK MYSELF. I no longer wait for buyers to come knocking on my doors for companies. I make the calls and SELL my company. And I DUMPED any girl who I was suspicious of.
D) Repeat: “infinite patience brings immediate results. “ This is a saying from something. Claudia told me. So I don’t want to plagiarize. Even though I am right now. But, truly, deep inside, I don’t, because I wish it were my original quote.
I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this quote is. Everytime I think I need ONE thing to happen to make me happy, I repeat the above quote and follow some of the ideas below to take my mind off of the ONE thing and it’s amazing the result. Something else happens and it’s usually better.
Einstein discovered that time is relative. My guess is, he was waiting for a girl to call him back when he made this discovery. Because everyone does run on a different schedule. One guy might say, “I’ll call you back tomorrow or so” and that might mean two weeks for him and it might mean fifteen minutes for you. And time expands exponentially the more ideas, the more choices, and the more you are capable of PICKING YOURSELF and doing also the below items. Infinite patience then does, surprisingly, produces IMMEDIATE results. I can’t describe further. You have to try it. It’s magic.
E) Work out or have sex. When you have a great meeting or phone call or date and you are now waiting for a follow up, it’s really similar to your body being mugged. When you are mugged the adrenalin inside of you spikes up to unheard of levels. It’s the “Fight or Flight” syndrome. You MUST fight or your MUST flee.
Instead…you are sitting, immobile, by the phone. But the adrenalin is still there, building up, unsure why you are not fighting or fleeing. Then you die. That would suck pretty bad just because somebody didn’t call you back.
So you have to get your body moving. Working out, sweating, sex – release all the adrenalin, get the endorphins or domamine or whatever the latest hormone they are calling it, running through your body to fight the adrenalin.
F) Clean. Yeah, take a shower. You stink. You’ve been sitting by that phone for days. Scrub with one of those hard brushes that take thedead cells off your skin and really open up your pores. Then turn the shower on super hot so you start to sweat it all out. All the pain, all of the “Why didn’t she call back” that has buried itself into the molecules in your arms, legs, face, head.
And then clean your house. It looks like shit in here. This is a reflection of what your brain looks like. Clean it all up.
Then throw stuff out. Why are you even keeping all these extra books around that you read ten years ago. Are you ever going to read “The Hobbit” ever again for the rest of your life? And yet, everytime you’ve moved since high school, you’ve carried that book with you. But it’s a special edition with drawings! Throw it out!
Then clean your expenses. Do you really need to buy that extra book, t-shirt, movie, taxicab, hot dog, glass of wine? Clean everything. There’s a saying that all the cells in your body change every seven years. This may or may not be true. I have no idea. Everyone says it. But it’s also true about mental cells, emotional cells, spiritual cells. In fact, those might change every few months. Make sure the new cells have a fresh clean home to come to. You’re disgusting, sitting there by the phone.
G) Don’t Guess. “Well, it’s the holiday season so they must be busy to call but they will call right afterwards.” Or, “this is good news. It probably means they are running it up to their board and getting final approvals.” Or, “she got home early but didn’t want to wake me. She knows I like to go to sleep early.” Don’t try to guess what they are doing or why they are not calling back.
I have this big problem. I’m obsessive. Combined with being a chessplayer. I look down every angle. Over and over. I picture everything ten moves ahead as to why they are not calling back. And I usually find two variations: the one that works best for me and the one that works the worst for me. And I obsess on both.
What a waste of time. Don’t guess. 99 times out of 100 you are wrong. And the one time you are right out of the 100 it’s for the wrong reasons and, by the way, it’s your worst case scenario. Congrats on being right.
H) Don’t Judge. When I was going to start writing for thestreet.com, Jim Cramer was excited about my ideas and introduced me to Dave Morrow (R.I.P.) who was editor in chief. Jim said, “use this guy!” to Dave about me. I would call Dave and call him and call him and he would never call back or he would say, “I’ll call back tomorrow.” What a godamn drag!
Finally I said to a friend of mine, “that’s it! I don’t even want to write for a company that treats people like this.”
And he said, “you need to calm the fuck down. Once you start writing for them you’ll never even deal with this Dave character anymore. And then you’ll be writing for thestreet.com. It will be great for you.”
And eventually Dave did call back, I started writing, I sold Stockpickr to them, and I hardly ever dealt with Dave (R.I.P.) which leads to an important corollary but I’ll make it a separate point:
I) Life is Short. They didn’t call back. They never will. You’ll call them and argue with them and plead with them and beg with them. The baby will be aborted. The company won’t get bought or sold. The deal will never be signed. The money won’t be raised. The TV show won’t get done.
But in 60-80 years we’ll all be dead. Tiny dots. On a tiny planet. Remember back to the days before the Big Bang happened. When we were all just happy being pre-nothing, before information even existed. Well, that will happen again. See you then, buddy.
J) Don’t be afraid. You’re sitting by the phone, sweating. Is she having sex with someone else? Are they never going to buy my company? It’s Friday afternoon, am I really going to have to wait until Monday when they said they would call back by the end of the week with the decision?
Don’t be afraid my poor little child. You’re waiting by the phone because you had the brush with love, the first kiss, the smile, the intent, the ambition, the ideas, the ability to network and connect, the assets to sell, the clients to introduce, the companies to build.
I want to hold you and hug you. You don’t need the call back to be happy. You don’t need to be scared. Everything that ever will happen to you starts from just a seed. Plant more seeds.
Be fruitful and multiply.
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