Paul Tudor Jones is Better at Yoga Than Me

Screen Shot 2012-03-13 at 6.09.23 PM

Paul Tudor Jones, worth about 10 billion dollars, was doing a headstand about ten feet away from me in yoga class and I was jealous of him. When you can’t do a headstand you do the yoga pose where your arms are straight in front of you, your forehead is on the ground and you are resting on your knees. It’s called “child’s pose”. I was in child’s pose.

When Jones walks into a room you can tell it’s him. You know why? Because he actually looks cleaner than everyone else. He looks like every pore on his body has been scrubbed of all the oils and microbes and itches and little pieces of dirt that build up over time on the human body (err…well, my human body).

I want to look clean. I’m torn because I know it doesn’t take money to be happy. But I can’t help it. I’m jealous. He’s a few mats down from me. He’s doing pretty good at yoga. In fact, he’s probably better than me!  And cleaner!  So now I’m jealous. I can’t deny it.

Why? No reason. He’s worth 10 billion. And no matter how I philosophize about money and minimalism and mommy – 10 billion dollars is mommy and I’m even in Child’s Pose.

(Sonja Jones, Paul’s wife, is very advanced at yoga. The man behind her is Pattabhi Jois who started Ashtanga Yoga.)

Paul Tudor Jones is my mommy right now. And he’s probably better than me at yoga. And Claudia catches my eye and mouths the words “that’s Paul Tudor Jones” like I don’t know. Claudia, do you know I’ve been writing about stocks for 10 years and I ran a fund of hedge funds?

I tried for a job around here once. At a big hedge fund. And it didn’t work out. And when I was sitting in the lobby of that hedge fund, back in 2004, I was watching all the people walk in and out of the building and I was thinking to myself, “they are better than me. I don’t deserve to be here.” And now I’m back for a week-long yoga class that Jones has funded.

The other day Claudia and I drove around Greenwich to look at all the big houses. Whenever we saw a road that said “PRIVATE ROAD – RESIDENTS ONLY” we turned down that road. The problem was: we couldn’t see any houses except occasionally the tops of houses. We saw one place that was supposedly 14,000 square feet with a 6000 square foot ice rink on the property. But almost every house had big fences and security so we couldn’t actually see anything.

We drove past Paul Tudor Jones house. We found a back street that didn’t have a security guard in front of it.

I kept thinking, why aren’t I here?

(this was one of the smaller houses we passed)

One time my father and his ex-wife were visiting a psychiatrist. A couples therapist. The couples therapist said to him, “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Sometimes the shadow of the father casts darkness on the son.

I said to Claudia, “Most of the guys in these houses go for really expensive call girls.”

Why did I say that? I don’t know if they are or they aren’t. Then I said, “90% of these guys go for girls that are like $14,000 a night.” Where did I even get a number like $14,000. Why not an even $10,000? Where did I pull 90% from? Did I read a study?

She asked, “do you think Paul Tudor Jones likes the spiritual side of yoga?” And I said, “no.”

Why would I even say that? I don’t know anything about the man. He seems very nice.  Then I saw a video later where he did say he liked the spiritual side of yoga. Damnit!

“I wouldn’t want to live out here,” I said. “I like where we live.” We passed a house that was only about 10,000 square feet. “If we lived in that house I’d have to get an intercom just to talk to you.”

And then I felt bad. Like maybe Claudia would’ve been better off with someone worth ten billion dollars.  They’d like her for who she was, just like I do. And I wondered why I wasn’t here. Why one of these houses weren’t mine.

(Jones!)

I said, “I guess I made a lot of different career choices in my life. All Paul Tudor Jones has done is trade the markets.”

I said, “If I had ever made this kind of money I bet we wouldn’t have met. Then what good would all that money do me?”

I said, “I don’t like Connecticut anyway. All the roads have the same name. We just were on two different Main Streets that ran perpendicular to each other. This state is crazy and they suspended my license ten years ago anyway.”

She said, “If you and Paul Tudor Jones went out to dinner what would you talk about?”

And I said, “Nothing.” But why did I say that? And I looked out the window at all the big beautiful houses. House after house.  I want to have dinner in one of these houses. And look at the paintings on the wall. And play ping pong in the 10,000 square foot basement. I want to be friends with Paul Tudor Jones now.

Paul Tudor Jones was doing a head stand ten feet from me. I was in Child’s Pose. Then the teacher, Saraswati, came over to me and tapped me on the back. I kicked my legs up and she grabbed onto them. Now I was doing a head stand! I counted five breaths and she put my legs down. “Next time,” she said, “use this part of your head.” And she pointed to the center of my head instead of my forehead which I was trying to balance on.

(my teacher today, but this photo of her is from 60 years ago)

Before yoga today I had all these ideas that I thought I would meditate on while in the different poses. I had a list. Like I would meditate on ideas for posts. Or meditate about the jealousy I was thinking. Really dive into it. I know for a fact I don’t need that much. I don’t even like any luxuries. I would buy more milkshakes.

But I still felt the jealousy. You can’t just ignore negative feelings. They exist. If you deny them, they find other ways to escape the body. I should invite the jealousy into my mind, invite it for tea, say hello to it, be nice  to it. Maybe then it will wither away. I try to live by the idea that jealousy separates you from what you want.

By the end of the class I was sweating all over. Even the mat was all wet. And my shirt was soaking wet. And my glasses were so wet with sweat I couldn’t see out of them. I looked over to where Jones was. He was gone. I was sweating so much and my body was so sore I couldn’t move. But it felt like a good sore. I wanted to thank the teacher for helping me in the headstand. I was grateful. Grateful also that Jones and his wife had invited her to teach here this week. After about a minute I realized I was the only one left in the room. Even Claudia was gone, taking a shower.

I was glad I had finished the class. It was brutal. I thought I was going to collapse dead in the middle. Then I realized I had forgotten to think about all the things I wanted to think about. In fact, I couldn’t remember anything I had thought about while doing the yoga. I had thought about nothing. Afterwards Claudia and I went for bacon and pancakes and every bite tasted good.

(Mmmm, photo today, post-yoga, pre-pancakes)

 

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • http://www.unmappedcountry.blogspot.com/ Hope

    Love this post, James! So funny and raw. And also I can relate and am jealous of YOU going to a yoga class like that.  So, if that doesn’t underscore how pointless jealousy is, then I don’t know what does.

  • http://twitter.com/rahulajain Rahul Jain

    Nice

  • http://www.kararane.com/ kara rane

    All of Us are practicing.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Very trule. I think people view “a practice” as something they can check the box on and then move on with their day. But it’s called practice for a reason. We have to continually bring ourselves back to it, as all the clutter of the day and of a life build up and tempt us with their distractions.

  • http://snobbyrobot.com/ Erik Urtz

    How did you get so good at this ‘writing’ thing? Damn I’m jellin

  • Bluegillrun

    Great post. You’re right, with a different life you wouldn’t have met your wife.  You’re still at the beginning of a wonderful new life.

  • Bluegillrun

    I’ve always wanted to  drive around and look at the same houses..  Nothing to see.  You’ve saved me from a big hassle.

  • http://twitter.com/RAuguste Robert Auguste

    I could say, ‘James & Claudia,’ were 10 feet away from me. She even kicked off questions. I wanted to say, hello, but nodded as you walked by me on the way out. “Why did I freeze up? Maybe I can blame it on the shavasana or the chaos of the 8:30 class coming in.”
    Keep practicing, all is coming.

    • http://twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga Claudia Azula

      Yes I blame everything on the savasana, it does disorient me, too short!  Nice to meet you!

  • http://www.PriscillaPWood.com/ Priscilla P. Wood

    I bet the billionaires living in those mansions don’t have the best blog on the planet.

    • http://www.tonyfahkry.com/ Tony

       …and get to enjoy pancakes and bacon post yoga – classic!

  • Tabatha

    Money just buys you freedom to make more choices.  Is it choices you want?  With choices come responsibility.  What additional responsibility are you looking for in your life?   If you take on all of the responsibility that Paul Jones has, you’ll make that money, but will you be happy?   
    I know of quite a few extremely wealthy men who ended up committing suicide because they couldn’t handle the responsibility that came with all of their wealth, so many people depending on them.  So what is it exactly that you want? 

  • Pkinvst10

    You are nuts!  Headstand makes one dumb and that is why you forgot everything! 

    • murali

      Considering that the headstand is considered as the ‘king among all yoga postures”, you make an interesting assertion. :) 

  • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

    Great opening line!  Heck, great opening paragraph, sets the stage nicely.  Years ago, while walking the Camino de Santiago, my friend Pat – a wise nurse from Surrey, England – and I passed a large house with walls, security cameras, and she said, “the people who live in there, they must be rather frightened.”  

    Very interesting way to look at it.  Never forgot that.  

  • murali

    Your honesty keeps this blog real, James.  Nice closing lines.

  • MarkW99

    For some reason this post reminded me of “The Tao of Pooh.” Haven’t read that book in years but I think I’ll see if I can find a copy and re-read.

    I’ve personally never been the jealous type so I’m not sure how much I can relate, really. Is 10 billion really that much better than 10 million? I’ve never even gotten close to a million so anywhere north of $50k would be an amazing figure for me. But who gives a fig what some other guy has?

  • http://twitter.com/ClaudiaYoga Claudia Azula

    I am happy things are as they are, I am happy I met you that way! :-)  love you

  • Chris

    “We drove past Paul Tudor Jones house. We found a back street that didn’t have a security guard in front of it. I kept thinking, why aren’t I here?”

    Answer: Bruce Willis’ tennis shoes. ;)

    • Thalia

       Ha! That is funny! I love “Trader”

  • Ericaschmidt85

    Great job on the headstand, James!  This was very fun to read.  Your primary series must be getting pretty solid by now.  Enjoy the pancakes and have a great weekend!

  • Anton

    Is that Paul Tudor Jones’ wife?I fcked her in a gangbang last summer…(hope that made you feel better ,James)

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

    Geez James, you made me feel co- jealous.  I went to my brother’s Estate on Easter, his second home 7 miles from his home on the water.  It’s beautiful, and being totally renovated, but I didn’t feel jealousy.  To me it looked more like non-stop maintenance draining the life-spirit out of a person. Even though the lands keeper came with the property, a person. 

    The estate appeared heavy yet empty at the very same time. 

    Call me crazy but I love the 36k house (an entire house with a yard) we just bought – that’s about all I need. I know you oppose buying a home, but I think it was wise to buy at this price, plus it’s less than two miles from the Lake Erie, and in a pretty nice town.

    I am jealous of myself.

    Anyone interested can follow our progress: http://project1923.wordpress.com/

    • kfaul

      Where’s the house? maybe you could use airbnb and turn that $36K fixer upper into a mini money-making house machine? 

      looks like a fun project!

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

        What a great idea. I never heard of airbnb before.  Thanks.

        The house is in Lakewood Ohio, west side of Cleveland.

        • kfaul

          let me know if you do!

  • Marge

    You know, I feel your headstand pain. I don’t yet do headstand or shoulder stand and it is hard sometimes to feel like the only person in class in child’s pose or legs up the wall. But there are a lot of people who want to be us–like the person I know with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Dyish

    Wow James… I live in Connecticut but certainly not Greenwich. I don’t even live in Fairfield County. I toyed around with yoga a bit but never in a class setting and certainly not headstands! Hell, I don’t even have a blog and I reply occasionally on yours…. I am jealous of you!

    I do have an incredible wife though like Claudia sounds to be for you so I guess I am not that jealous.

    …and I like the names of the roads in Connecticut, once you get out of Fairfield County!

  • Sooz

     “If we lived in that house I’d have to get an intercom just to talk to you.”(J.A.)

    or learn to (((YELL))) really loud..:))

  • TooYoungToLookLikePerryHotter

     I used to be impressed when someone lived in a building with more rooms than mine but I’ve grown past that.  In 20 years, your “dream” house will be an outdated money pit in a so-so neighborhood.  Our world of advancing technology will do far more to make a measurable impact on your quality of life than anything that you could do.   

    You should download a documentary of Paul Tudor Jones from 1987 called “Trader.”  Legend has it that before the internet he bought up as many copies as he could to be destroyed and available copies were going on eBay for hundreds.  Very interesting to watch him in his early 30’s, knowing this guy is going to be a multi-billionaire. 

  • http://kymira.blogspot.com/ Chimera Swa

    It is  funny that although I’m from India and have been to a couple of yoga classes both in India and here, I can’t even touch my toes straight. I guess I have a longer way to go than you! I think we are jealous of the things that we aim at. Like I don’t get jealous of anyone with a large house (I myself live in a small apartment) but I would be jealous whenever a friend gets pregnant (I don’t have any children). I think it is as if our hidden dreams come to haunt us. 

  • PC

    James, maybe you need to kick this guys ass. He may have better poses than you but you could probably take him in a thumb wrestle or game of space invaders or something. Secondly, just being out in the sun post yoga, pre pancake house with that great quaff of hair you got makes me jealous man.

    • zzen321

      I hate to say it, but I’m betting no way. PTJones was a amateur boxer. 

      When I got serious about trading, I watched a docu on PTJones. There was a segment on him donating part of his profits to fund higher education for disadvantaged inner city children. I’ve liked the guy ever since.

  • Dave Shapiro

    Nice post, James.  I once wrote something similar about Bill Gates:
    http://327words.blogspot.com/2006/06/saint-bill-gates.html

    Hope to see you again someday.

  • PC

    As much of the Altucher crowd enjoys good writting I am posting a link to an essay that contains some of the recurring themes of this blog.  Namely, gratefulness and acceptance as well as courage.  If you like the essay then please “like” it.  This author is competing to raise awareness for her cause.  For more info / backround see the second link to her blog.  Enjoy the essay!

    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10151428411155023

    http://findingjoyinsimplethings.blogspot.com/

  • Laura G.

    This is so spot-on! I once read a book (I feel like it was about 10 years ago) called The Imp of the Mind. Basically, it explains the same thing you are in this blog… that WE ALL think bad thoughts and that if we try to stomp them out they will just flourish. However, if we accept that we are having these thoughts and that they are mostly just noise, they will go away. I’ve tried to implement this exercise, and it has worked to some degree.

    We have to accept that we are, after all, human and that we have human thoughts, feelings and emotions– some good and some bad.

  • nosouthwest

    While that big house is nice, it is definitely not cool.  When I make my money I’d do things differently!

  • Otaddy

    Until today I had no idea who Paul Tudor Jones was/is so..  On the other hand I have been jealous of others and I totally understand the point about someone looking so clean and put together.  

    I constantly sweat and when I look at a dress shirt, it wrinkles.  

    As for yoga, I really wish I could get into it as I can see how it is a healthy practice.  But gosh, it’s just so dang trendy these days and my instinct is always to run from the “in thing”.

  • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng

    Dude, I thought you gave up on bacon. I bet Paul Jones loves bacon too.

  • palmeria

    paula is amazing for how she reacts to your moments of insecurity (all men have them). she’s secure in herself, in you and where you both fit in the world together. 

    my ex and i were often in the company of affluent people but were never affluent ourselves. it made him so bitter, and envious and poisoned our relationship. over and over again i told him that it didn’t matter, that i loved him anyway, but he didn’t listen and our fights got worse and worse. until one day i thought: “well if i’m going to date such an a**hole, why not a rich one?” and we broke up.*

    *he dumped me, and i promptly dated a multimillionaire i’d met THAT week for three years. 

    karma is weird.

  • pH

    “I am happy things are as they are, I am happy I met you that way! :-)  love you”

    Mr. A: there is no mortal measure of the value of those words. Stop bleating and heed them.

  • Guest

    Is it jealousy or envy?  I’m not trying to correct you, but to learn the difference (English my second language).  I thought in this context it was envy.

    • Stewart

      you’re correct but in common usage they’re used interchangeably 

      • Guest

        Thanks!

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

    I have never wanted a house like that. I think I’d feel lonely in a place that big.

    I wouldn’t want to live anywhere too large to fill with people I love. I couldn’t even fill that house with people I kinda like.

    I’m jealous of the happiness you have with your wife. I’m jealous of the basic financial security it takes to just take your car into the shop when it makes a funny noise instead of waiting until it becomes a catastrophic need. And I’m jealous of people who make a living doing what they truly love.

    But I am not jealous of that house.

  • Justin Tirrell

    You’re the man dude. Great read.

  • http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/why-you-need-f-you-money/ Jlcollinsnh

    Well, James, I know who you are.  I read what you write with interest.  I even occasionally comment.

    Until this post, I had never heard of Jones.  Never read anything he had to say, and of course never commented.

    You know it must make him crazy knowing the only way he got on my radar was thru you.  

    This very moment he is telling his wife, or his call-girl, “I am so lucky to have been in yoga with James today and even luckier he choose to mention me in his post.”

  • Stewart

    James Altucher is better than me at yoga :P

  • http://twitter.com/brianprogrammer Brian Andersen

    James I have to ask you for a favor.  This christmas season, go to the music and light show that Paul Tudor Jones puts on outside his house, take some pictures and blog about that.  I really want to hear what you think.

  • xo .

    PTJ may be better at yoga than you, but you and Claudia are still Seriously awesome people (PTF is only Quite awesome in a different way…Robin Hood Foundation etc). I think you’ve had life adventures most only read about in fiction novels, and to top that, you are only getting warmed up. Focus on that. 

  • Benchot

    I like jealousy sometimes.  When I am not sure what I need to be doing at the moment, my jealousy sets me straight.  Is it really wrong to want material things?  I want a big 10K sqft house that is just a drop in my bucket…and I want it in the same way PTJ got it (balls+intelligence+effort).

  • Maggie

    I never liked yoga because everyone worships the people who can eventually twist their bodies into unnatural, ugly positions. Too much chance of hurting yourself but no one mentions this. People must be getting hurt doing yoga. Tai Chi is much better and safer.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I think there is much more to yoga than that. Ultimately its not a physical exercise but a philosophy much in the way that Tai Chi is. In yoga you can hurt yourself if you do the methods wrong but that holds for any type of intense workout, like weightlifting, for instance. Tai Chi is a very beautiful art form though. But so is yoga.

  • http://twitter.com/DennisScott5280 Dennis Scott

    Glad to know I’m not the only person who didn’t know of Paul Tudor Jones. #outoftouch

    But I would pay (a reasonable fee) to have bacon and pancakes with James and Claudia. #absorbsomegoodenergy

  • OmScrilla

    I’ve always liked Tudor Jones. I like him even more after hearing he’s a solid yogi. Money has never been particularly important to me outside of practical things but I’m inspired.

  • b3

    I have lived in a 120 sf. trailer (yes,120 sf) at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan for the past two years. In two weeks, I’m going home to my 1800 sf luxury home in Austin,Texas. I’m very happy about it, but also a bit scared. I haven’t missed the house one bit….I miss my wife, my daughter, my dog and my bicycles (in that order). Not once have I missed the house. F the house.

    • Rl

      there you get to the heart of the matter

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683278572 Cyndy Martin-Lovejoy

    I don’t know Paul Tudor Jones, but I know of James Altucher, and lovely Claudia.  You guys are adorable, and this blog is a tasty treat.

  • http://fitness2you.com.au/ Personal Trainer North Sydney

    That’s really amazing working .i like yoga poses like those are all above . And I have also need it I think I am right thinking for better health .because health is wealth..
    I like this article.

  • carl_sf

    I know this might be simplistic, but have you sent him an email & offered to buy him a cup of coffee ?

  • mikeyhell

    Who the hell is paul tudor jones?

  • steven

    I said, “I guess I made a lot of different career choices in my life. All Paul Tudor Jones has done is trade the markets , a lot of us do , but not many of us get even close to those huge gains , he’s my hero , uhmm check a documentary movie about him from late 80’s

  • https://yogasanamats.com/ organic cotton yoga mat

    Yoga is not just simple work out but it has many concepts and the techniques which makes it perfect and help to make body fit and keep health. Thanks for information about yoga.