Why 2014 Is The Year You Change

 

I stopped going to classes. I had a scholarship that paid all my living expenses ($1200/month) so I didn’t want to quit (ugh, and get a job?). So I stayed a student but I failed every class I took for three semesters in a row.

Finally Merrick Furst the Dean, wrote me a note that said, “We have to ask you to leave. You can come back when you are more mature.” I haven’t gone back yet.

* * *

Many years later I was at a job and in the middle of a meeting I walked out, walked out of the building and never came back and never returned the phone calls. I quit.

Another time I stopped coming to work until the CEO, Tom Clarke, asked me, “What’s going on?” and eventually they got rid of me.

I’m not saying this is good advice. I’m not “Dear Abby”.

I knew for sure in each situation that change was needed but I didn’t know why and I didn’t know how. I just knew who (me) and what (quit).

* * *

Sometimes your mind doesn’t know what’s happening. Your mind is really just a tool.

About ten times so far I’ve made complete changes in my life. Some horribly painful where I had to puke up all the garbage that had been shoved down my throat. And those were the fun changes.

The changes that weren’t fun were the changes I didn’t make. I wish I could apologize here for the changes I didn’t make. I wish I could cc the right people right here. (I’m sorry, W). But it’s too late and always will be.

I suspect I have another 10-20 big changes left in me. As for small changes, I make them every day. Or I lose practice.

* * *

Saying “No” to a change that’s begging for you, will kill you.

Benjamin Franklin said, “most people die at 25 but are buried at 75.”

You can’t ask the world to change… you have to change first.

When you start a new change, here is what happens. Well, I have no clue what happens to you. Here is what happens to me in a very no bullshit way.

FEAR.

I get scared:

What will happen to me? I’ll go broke! Or be lonely! Or get sick!

Practice dealing with uncertainty is the only way (cc: Jonathan Fields) to get comfortable with this fear.

Everything is either an obstacle to growth, or an obstacle to keep you from growing. The good thing is: you get to choose.

ARGUMENTS.

Bosses won’t want you to quit. Colleagues will get scared because it means change is forced on them. And depending on your change, maybe family is unhappy (when I was thrown out of school, my family was certainly unhappy).

Whoever wrote your script will be unhappy. You’re changing the movie.

There’s NOTHING to say to the people who argue with you.

Because they are right also. In their life situations, it’s very right for THEM for you not to quit. Why argue with them? Conserve your energy for your change, not for the weights on your back that will try to hold you down.

GUILT.

Let’s say you are leaving a relationship or a job or an agreement. I can tell you: someone is ready to make you feel guilty about this.

It’s hard not to feel guilt, particularly if someone is sad because of “what you are doing to them”.

But much worse is the guilt you will feel if you don’t make the change your body and the universe is telling you to make. The universe is much bigger than the person on the other side. To go against that flow will make you sink and drown.

TEARS.

I don’t think I’ve ever once made a change in my life that didn’t involve me crying either on the day of the big change or sometime that week.

Why cry? Isn’t that a bit wimpy?

It’s because you have no idea what you are doing. It’s a change! You’re not supposed to know what happens next.

The faster you can say, “I have no clue why I am doing this but I do know this is the right thing” the faster you can stop crying.

How do you know if it’s the right thing? I can tell you but the reality is: with practice you know.

Change is very lonely.

But you will never be lonely if you enjoy being with the person you are alone with.

* * *

None of the above sounds that great actually. So why change at all?

PREVENT MUSCLE ATROPHY

– When a car doesn’t start all winter, the engine will get ruined.

– When you don’t walk for two weeks, your leg muscles atrophy and you need physical therapy to walk.

– Change is a muscle.

STEEP FEELS GOOD

When you change you go from a flattening learning curve (your old situation) to a steep learning curve (the new situation).

Steep learning curves feel good. Like the feeling of new love.

So do flattening learning curves because you learn deeper subtleties. But upside down learning curves feel…like fuckness.

YOU WERE IN THE WRONG SCRIPT.

At every stage of our lives, the people around us try to write our scripts.

When we are young the script your family writes you might be: school, cubicle, promotions, management, CEO, retirement, death.

But you might realize that the right script for you didn’t include “cubicle”.

You have to rewrite your script.

If you stay in the old script it’s like acting in a role that is not written for you.

The final production will be a disaster. People will throw food at you and spit on you in the street.

You want to be in a work of art, not a forgery or a plagiarism.

EVOLUTION.

For 400,000 years, humans were good at hunter-gathering. Which meant we had to know all of the terrain around us, we had to know all the foods, poisons, animals, enemies. And then we would move to a new terrain. Change was part of our DNA.

But for the past 10,000 years (a blip in evolutionary time), we had to specialize and be good at one thing and in one place.

Nobody told evolution this.

So our bodies break down, our minds get sick, we need all sorts of medications, we die. Evolution wants us to constantly change.

PLAY.

When we were kids we played different games all the time. We would never play the same game for 300 days in a row, for 20 years in a row.

But then we got handed our “scripts” by our parents, schools, political parties, jobs, institutions, etc. We were told to stick to the script. But we never stopped being the boy or girl who wanted to play.

When you stop playing, you enter the vast world of excuses.

WORLD DOMINATION.

If you are good at making cars. And then you get good at design (a totally different area), then suddenly you might be the best in the world at car design.

When you change and learn from new fields you get to have idea sex (and idea orgasms). Your ideas have children.

Your ideas evolve many many generations very quickly. Suddenly now you are the exponential result of your changes.

Your cheeks are rosy with the fresh air that constant idea sex bestows on you.

Being uniquely the best in the world at something is fun and valuable.

And it’s never too late. If you want examples, I will give you them. But you are never too old, no matter who tries to tell you you are.

Getting good at change (big, small, tiny – every day) means getting good at life.

Do it without expectation. Wish for nothing. Care for everything. Happiness will be in between.

Do I feel bad about that scholarship from 22 years ago? Yes. Sometimes I feel bad about a lot of things. Sometimes people will judge you and it will hurt.

But that’s just life. Trust me, you will have plenty of time for death later.

Read More: How To Be The Luckiest Guy On the Planet in 4 Easy Steps. 

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  • http://www.SociallySpeakingLLC.com/ Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP

    “When you stop playing, you enter the vast world of excuses.” Wise words indeed. If there is one thing to think about changing in 2014 it’s the way we view our work/life seesaw! It’s time to better balance our humanity and technology for truly meaningful change. So that we are actually productive, not just busy. So that we deviate from the script, and let creativity ensue. So that our digital avatars mean something. So that our real time and cyber time lives intersect more positively, for the greater good. Thanks for another thought provoking post!

    Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP

    CEO Socially Speaking LLC

    Director: The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship

    Author: “The NICE Reboot: How to Become a Better Female Entrepreneur-How to Balance Your Craving for Humanity & Technology in Today’s Startup Culture”

    Creator: Socially Speaking™ App for iPad

    Websites: sociallyspeakingLLC.com, niceinitiative.com

    Twitter: @PopGoesPenina

  • Renew 2014

    The tears are also mourning the past. That’s how attached to it we are, no matter how crappy it was, we’ll cry for it when we try to kill it.

    • soup-to-nuts

      This is exactly right. Grieving is a normal reaction to separation. We don’t mourn the crappy parts of the previous situation but we feel a sense of failure. We may also feel regret for getting into the situation or for “letting down” others who may have depended on us.

  • Beth

    At first I read “Being uniquely the best in the world at something is fun and LOVEABLE” LOL. Valuable is good though! I do want examples! Thank you for this article. Big changes pushing and it is terrifying at times. You remind me that they can be for the better.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      LOVEABLE is good also. And it also applies. I like that interpretation.

  • Jeff

    James great post as usual. There are those who challenge the status quo and then there are those that surrender to it. James, you clearly challenge the status quo and encourage your followers to do the same. I am glad you do this, you are a wolf among sheep. I say this as a compliment, as you are one of the few people experiencing life for what it actually is, without the blinders on. All of the technology we have today can easily distract us from reality and the life we are truly living. Our higher-power gave us the ability to think and ponder, and unfortunately it seems this has become an endangered pastime of the species. Keep up the good work James, this planet needs people like you. You have become a major influence in my life, you have helped open my eyes, and for that I am deeply grateful.

  • http://www.mjsielerjr.com/ Michael J. Sieler Jr.

    2 months ago, I made a really big change in my life. I moved to a city where I knew no one. Everything you said about change rang very true for me. The loneliness, the fear, the worry, etc. It was a change I felt needed to be made. It hasn’t been easy, but I also started the daily practice the same day I moved. That’s been my life preserver.

    Everyday, I check off the list “physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.” I didn’t notice any changes at first, but I stuck with it. One month later today, I can honestly say that doing those 4 simple things works magic.

    Thanks James!

    • LDBusinessSolutions

      I agree, Michael. The daily practice works! Its sometimes hard, but anything worthwhile is never easy.

      • http://www.mjsielerjr.com/ Michael J. Sieler Jr.

        “anything worthwhile is never easy.”

        Well said.

  • LDBusinessSolutions

    James, great post. I’ve made a major chance in my life and there are days I have no idea what I’m doing but I pick myself up and plug along. The alternative (going back) is not an option for me. I DO feel scared but its from reading your stuff that keeps me positive..

  • http://the-dame.com/ The Dame

    The last ever office job, or even REAL job I had, I got up and walked out. My boss thought I was going out to lunch, I didn’t return. I was in my mid 20s and figured: 90% of my time and money goes to someone else, when do I get to do what I want to do? We are not put on this earth to be machines, I am not meant to live like this, this societal treadmill, ever since I’ve been on the fringes. I went and became a stable hand, then a stripper, then a dominatrix, and now an entrepreneur and holistic health coach in training. I still have a ton of other things I want to do in my life and I’m excited. We are just consciousness experiencing itself as human, life is one big experiment, there is nothing that we SHOULD do, there is only whatever we do and none of it matters in the end, so do what you love, do what excites you, or don’t, it’s your choice all of the time. Choose yourself, or someone else will choose for you.

    • Sumit

      That was very Insightful and tremendously Inspiring …. Thanks for sharing …. I don’t know if i have the courage to always choose for myself but stories like yours always help to know the difference between what we are told we are and what we think actually we are… Thanks again.

  • Cherry Scoth

    I’m just going to say Thank you James. I’ve learn alot from this today. Seems like you are giving me the right advice at this moment of my life. Thank you.

  • Rich

    Instead of tears I have had joy and a feeling of weight being lifted. Just think Gene Kelley in Singing in the rain.

    • Deb

      I felt joy when I was let go from a job where I was there too long & making too much they said. A weight lifted describes it. I went shopping and bought a new coat.

  • Jonny Hung

    I went to college for two years, hated it and left.

    After a summer of hopelessness, I went back and dropped out again after one day.

    Guilt, Arguments, and Fear used to control me. Now they just dance behind my face while I look at what’s in front.

    Change is the only constant. To resist change is to limit life.

  • Maria

    It’s completely useless posting here. I used to feel validated by telling you I felt the same way and that this article hits the nail on the head, but now I feel absolutely nothing by saying that here. The only way it’s going to feel good, is when I leave my stupid safe job that pays my mortgage, and move to Los Angeles which my husband feels is the armpit of the universe because it has gangs. I have told him I want to be at the center of the entertainment universe and that’s L.A. (no, you cannot do this from anywhere else, because the deals are made in L.A. I want to be immersed in it, not do it like a boob from m. f. Maryland. BTW I have nothing against MD, it’s a gorgeous state). I love him desperately, and I’ve told him he should leave me and stay here where it’s safe, and find a younger woman and have kids, but he wants to come with me to L.A. where the sun shines 24-7 (he hates the sun but I love it). Go figure. Maybe it’s because I pay all the bills? I don’t know. I just know that I really want to sell the house and move to L.A. and it won’t happen soon enough. Oh no doubt L.A. will suck ass for the first few months but I’m sure we’ll survive, provided we don’t lose limbs driving with our stuff and the cats across the country… good God! Life is insane.

    • Jake

      I relocated to la twice from the east coast and didn’t regret it at all. Gangs can’t be his real reason for hesitation, can it?

      • Maria

        TWICE?? Wow. How cool! Actually, I thought the gangs were in fact what he was worried about. I did read that they kill without reason, etc, that they kill people who are unrelated to the gangs, etc. Could you please tell me what your L.A. experience was like? What do you think he is really fearful about? You’re a guy – perhaps you will have more insight?

        • Jake

          I really enjoyed my time there. Have you guys visited la together? I am not a world traveller, so take it for what it’s worth, but I found the area to be quite endearing. I miss it. The geography and climate alone allow for so much adventure but perhaps that had more to do with where I lived. I lived in Manhattan beach which is 15 minutes from lax and about 15 minutes from Compton but they are really worlds apart. As with any city, it all depends in what part of town you reside, but I never felt uneasy about my surroundings. I only lived there for 2 years combined.

          • Maria

            Thanks for responding. That sounds like a good idea. It’s probably super expensive but it may be good to visit before moving.

          • julietannerino

            Girl, you need to come to LA. I came here 12 years ago from Chicago and LOVE it. The weather is gorgeous. The people are friendly (sometimes strangely so, and sometimes “flakey”). The cost of living is lower than any major city I’ve ever lived in or visited. Do a little homework and you’ll be safe. Way safer than NYC, Paris or Chicago, in my opinion. We have here every kind of atmosphere you can imagine from beaches (Venice, Santa Monica), to mountains (Big Bear), to fast-paced city vibes (Downtown and Hollywood), to suburban quiet (the Valley) to the desert… It’s exciting and fun, and though I love to travel all over the world, I will always come back home to my City of Angels! My only regret is that I did not come out here when I was 16 yrs. old. I would have done better to have skipped my worthless years in “college” and to not have even bothered graduating from High school. Gangs? Tell your hubby to grow a pair or drop him!

    • LA Woman

      When I was in my 20’s I moved from the East Coast to L.A. I left home with two suitcases and few hundred bucks in my bank account. My introduction to L.A. was the 1992 riots and the Northridge Earthquake. I survived both and stuck around until 2012 when I relocated to another city. I can tell you that I had a seriously love/hate relationship with that place. I’ll be damned, I miss that crazy place and the eclectic people that live there now. It’s an experience! The livin’ can be tough sometimes, though. BTW – the gangs and crime were much worse there in the 90’s… they’ve cleaned it up considerably.

    • Ayesha Yaseen

      Hahahaha do it with a loving energy manifest what you want and either is energy will align or fall away :) , with the right intention emotional carnage can be minimized perhaps ?

  • Micke

    The real reason most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick is because people expect a 90 day total transformation, a quantum leap to a “new you”.

    And then they drop the drive towards the positive goal when at 90 days the change is not yet apparent.

    For anyone who wants to make a lasting change, the book “The Slight Edge” (by Jeff Olson) explains how to do it the way that works, one small step at a time over a longer period of time.

  • http://www.about.me/nninoss Ninos Youkhana

    very nice…I love your writing!!!

  • Benjamin

    Another great eye opener. Funny enough, your post came just after I saw this quote from Henry Miller which I think sums it up, too: “If you persist in throtting your impulses you end by becoming a clot of phlegm. You finally spit out a gob which completely drains you and which you only realize years later was not a gob of spit but your inmost self. If you lose that you will always race through dark streets like a madman pursued by phantoms.” May 2014 be the year that we finally change the story line and lose the “phantoms.” Thanks again.

  • FrenchyUS

    Another great post. Thanks James.

  • Osaghae Napoleon Irianan

    I am Speechless! I love you James!! you are my best fucking Mate!

  • Scott Koon

    I struggled with this post. I agree that refusal to change is an invitation to entropy. However, not all change has to be cataclysmic. Sometimes the only change required is a change of mind or change of heart.

    To me, the biggest change James has made (regardless of his many life situations) is his focus.

    When things were the crappiest, his writing seems to indicate he was focused on himself, his reputation, his net worth, getting laid, etc. As long as he focused on those things, he moved from one bad situation to another with brief periods of “distracted pleasure”, but no real happiness.

    When he focuses on his daily practice, on loving himself, loving Claudia, serving/teaching his daughters, or helping others (us), his life becomes satisfying. He frees himself to enjoy what life brings him.

    Sometimes running away means you miss the lesson. So, yes, choose. But choose from a place of gratitude, compassion, and a desire to explore, rather than a desire to escape. Thanks for making me think. Keep writing!

  • Ashish

    Once again, you seem to have a web feed into my life. So how exactly (concretely, in the moment) do your respond when a family member wails about “what you are doing to them”?

  • canuckystan

    Is it change, or is it running away? There’s also something very noble is doing the tough mundane work (like finishing college) that leads to better things. Supporting a family and being a rock for them is very rewarding.
    This post feels like “it’s all about me, and if I don’t like something or it’s too boring or doesn’t seem like my script, I’m outta here.”
    Jumping to new things may work for people like James, but I’ve seen many others quit jobs, leave spouses, change careers, and man, do they ever regret it later.
    Sorry I’m not jumping on the bandwagon here like the other posters, but there is always the other side of the story.

    • AtlasAikido

      Here
      is how Harry Browne who wrote How I found Freedom in an UNfree World
      solved that problem. By looking to what you want instead of starting
      with where you are and what you don’t want. If you come to find what you
      really want and dream about IS the same as what you have already then
      great. But did you start with or choose the life you want or was it
      accepted by you and assumed as the most noble way to live YOUR life? Too
      easy to rationalize if start with where you are! (I use the “you” word
      as I am replying to you but “I” can only speak for myself).

      Indeed anybody can just quit their job and or college or break
      up with the boyfriend or girlfriend or move to another country and
      that’s just
      a lifestyle change. You see failure all around you but apparently this
      site tells you that there is an alternative band wagon mix with results
      outside your paradigm.

      Check out TEDxPhnomPenh – Colin Wright – Extreme Lifestyle Experiments
      http://wn.com/colin_wright

      And

      In
      today’s culture, a better education can be had from the internet than
      the one I got from Public schools and a State University.

      HERE is a really good one…:
      http://www.khanacademy.org/

      Scroll down and marvel at the enormous selection of subjects!! 119,864,477 lessons delivered

      Watch the founder explain it…:
      http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/82347.html

      Now THAT is being creative!!

      I see Tim Ferriss shows 4 different ways to deconstruct solve and act on many big space,
      time, energy LEARNING arcs and side step the problems and go for the fruit 20%.

      http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/12/01/premiere-tonight-the-tim-ferriss-experiment-live-tweeting-giveaways-qa-behind-the-scenes-and-more/
      http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_ferriss_smash_fear_learn_anything.html

    • Napoleon Irianan

      nah the article isn’t about “running away”…though it may subtely sound like that. i do agree that most times, you have to stay and fight some tough battles, “some” being the key word here, but you should ONLY fight the battles that are worth fighting!
      The problem with most people is that they feel like they have to “fight” every single battle, no! Save your energy.

      And James covers both sides of the coin or story, by also saying change isn’t easy and every time he made a change he cried. That “cry” could be in the form of regret like u mention, it could be being broke, lonely etc…

      The point is you made the change and the sooner you realize that the outcome of the change couldn’t be any worse than your current situation which ignited you enough to make that change in the first place (if you don’t let regret get in the way) the sooner you can start living your dream life!
      Just my thought
      Cheers!

    • Sandags

      My good friend, we are all selfish at heart. Even doing those things to feel fulfilled and rewarding may really be one iota of selfishness. But the good man knows exceptions.

  • Nolodie

    James, I have been a fan of your blog/newsletter since discovering it a year ago. Your writing is a concise mini-zeitgeist of our confusing times. And it’s always amusing.

    Just purchased the Kindle version of Choose Yourself and look forward to reading it.

  • http://www.craigmcbreen.com/ Craig McBreen

    Hi James,

    “But you are never too old, no matter who tries to tell you you are.”

    So true. Well, I’m pushing 50 and did something recently that made me want to puke. At first I didn’t think it would, but after the fact I realized again why big changes are so difficult. I moved from a 3500 sf house with a view to a 900 sf apartment. Elation, followed by a strange kind of misery to elation again … because after the shock of the change I realize why the hell I did it in the first place … Part of it is freedom, the other is about 1,000 things I want to do, and the first step is getting rid of baggage … house included ;)

    • Calvin

      Power to you!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Craig, you might be my hero for this.

    • Heidi Elise Haaland

      #PrioritiesInOrder

  • Boundsie

    Hey James, I’m loving your book “Choose Yourself”. Didn’t know where to say it. I guess here is as good as anywhere else. Crazy F**** – it’s hilarious, generous & wise. Brilliant writing, too. Looking forward reading to the rest of it. Thank you!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Boundsie, thanks so much. THe funny thing is: from May 2013 until about 3 days ago I didn’t read “Choose Yourself!” at all. I was feeling self-conscious.

      But the other day I picked it up and I was happy to say I couldn’t put it down. So I am really glad you are liking it also.

  • Steve Pierson

    I honestly cannot wait for 2014. This past year was the first time I’ve realized I don’t want to be stuck in the cubicle farm and that NOTHING is forcing me to be here, I could walk out at any minute if I wanted to. Even though I may not quit my job yet (FEAR), I’m focused on the change in mindset (EVOLUTION). The past three months alone have been full of major personal revelations on how I view the world around me, along with this change in mindset will bring new opportunities. It’s going to be an interesting 2014, I cannot wait for its challenges!

    • Stimpy

      The cubicle farm chucked me out. My hair was gray. Your company getting rid of you is a possibility that James has pointed out.

  • http://isaiahhankel.com/ Isaiah Hankel, Ph.D.

    I love this topic, and that muscle atprohy metaphor is perfect. I used to hate change until I started making it a priority in my life. I look forward to it now. I have relaized that risking everything for my dreams is the only way to get them. Things like bankrputcy and losing my other options used to scare me, but you know what? Bankruptcy isn’t the end of the world. I went through it growing up. It made me more self-reliant and creative. There is always something positive about changes.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Isaiah, I agree. Many people are afraid of change for a variety of reasons.

      And I get it. Change is scary. But the universe changes every second. We can’t stop it from changing. We try to hold onto the way it is but it escapes our grasp. So we have to get used to changing with it or we die in the molten heat of it’s change.

  • cocomomolulu

    I love this. This is so relevant to me in this moment, I’m bursting to talk about it. (Sorry: this is going to be long).
    When I was younger (and fearless) I changed industries several times, often with great personal growth and success. I transitioned in and out of different positions gracefully, never leaving anyone in the lurch or burning any bridges. I have a strong work ethic, I need to pull my own weight, and my first instinct is to deal with each person and situation with diplomacy. That’s how I learned to manage difficult personalities when others could not. This is a great skill to have, until one day you get it into your head that this is reason enough to stop you from leaving an abusive employer, or even a reason to stay (because you can handle it, so why be weak and selfish and leave?).
    Until a few months ago, I would never have dreamed of walking out on a job just because it was difficult or “not for me”.
    And then the migraines came, three and four times a month. Climbing the stairs to work one day, to face another eight hours in the absolutely wrong environment, I hit an invisible wall so hard it knocked me off my feet and I just sat there, unable to take another step. When I tried to keep going, I got hit with so much pain I thought I’d been shot in the head.
    I have been trying to ease my way out of this position by working from home and decreasing my hours a little at a time, trying to be the good girl and fulfilling an obligation, but posts like this (and reading Choose Yourself) help me understand how I’ve been screwing myself–and not in a good way. It’s time to make a clean break. This is what I needed to actually do it, like a shove out of the nest.
    I’m not going back. It’s not a self-righteous act; it’s self preservation. But it’s not running away, either; it’s finding the courage to make the change that works. Change is work. I’m ashamed that I ignored myself and what I need to thrive for so long. I wasted years enduring out of obligation, and the benefit to others turned out to be minimal at best.
    I’ve been tinkering around as a freelancer for 15 years, but always thought I had to have one foot in the world of the reliable paycheck, and prioritize my employer, so I wouldn’t go completely “off script”. What the hell is that about? I’m so over this idea.
    Now that I’ve left the last employer I’ll ever have, I can give my clients more time and attention, and better, more creative work because I’m no longer exhausted and dreading the next day. My earning potential is so much greater employing myself, so what kind of crack was I smoking to think having a stable job with lower pay was necessary and right? And why did I give so much of my energy to someone else? Do I believe in employers more than I believe in myself? Bah.

    • Ayesha Yaseen

      Fantastic and well written I identify with this completely . I am starting my own business also this year also for the same reasons .

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      You are drinking from the magic elixir. People are afraid to try it. But once they do they see it cures all illls, brings abundance, and helps you live a better life. I forget if I mention it in this article but in one of the jobs above I literally fell to the ground once and could’t walk for days afterwards.

      Bad situations will slowly (and sometimes quickly) kill you. I am glad you are moving onto a new path.

  • Jose Rum

    Can’t even say good-bye for somebody giving you a paycheck…. what a fucking putz!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Well, I never said they were giving me a paycheck. It was before the first paycheck.

  • Morning Star

    Just finished Choose Yourself. Went out to the porch and stood in subzero weather watching the snowfall. A moments silence in a busy day. Had never been afraid of change until the last few years…Two failed business, personal financial crisis, a miscarriage, and 100 plus job applications and NOT ONE phone call caused a temporary glitch in my coping mechanisms…the status quo wasn’t working but changing it? Hell no. Better the crap you know than potentially bigger, smellier, generally crappier crap. I was afraid. Late last year saw the beginnings of change, not always at my instigation but still. Another miscarriage that was sad but brought hope, the first pregnancy in three years of trying after the last one. Mental shift from despair to anything is possible….again. A part-time job that took financial pressure off but allows time for the idea machine, a gift from an extended family member that showed me how people I loved saw me and it was a revelation. I am taking better care of myself and the benefits are starting to show. Your book, which I had downloaded a while ago but only recently had the mental energy to read, was the next step. Change is necessary. Just these small ones have had a big impact. I need it and ready or not, am embracing it and prepared to make it happen. Thanks for the book and the post; 2014 I Choose Me.

    • cocomomolulu

      “Better the crap you know than potentially bigger, smellier, generally crappier crap…” Sing it, sister. That’s been my best self-sabotaging tool for years! But who says there has to be more crap? Here’s to a much better year for you — crap-free as possible.

    • Ayesha Yaseen

      Beautiful thanks for sharing I love being where you are .
      I’m standing in the same place and it’s exciting .

  • effbacon

    James – John Taylor Gatto said the following:

    “You either learn your way towards writing your own script in life, or you unwittingly become an actor in someone else’s script.” It’s a good reminder you have, because we can easily float down the stream following the current cultural plot.

  • Ann

    James~Happy new year and thanks for your refreshing, honest and helpful writing. You make a difference in ways you may never know, but I hope you do.

  • Peter Connor

    In 2014, I finally tried your method of eating dinner before 5pm, even before 4 sometimes. Outstanding, adds at least 10 IQ points!

  • Osaghae Napoleon Irianan

    Just in response to “CanuckyStan” and others who think it’s about running away…

    nah the article isn’t about “running away”…though it may subtely sound like that. i do agree that most times, you have to stay and fight some tough battles, “some” being the key word here, but you should ONLY fight the battles that are worth fighting!
    The problem with most people is that they feel like they have to “fight” every single battle, no! Save your energy.

    And James covers both sides of the coin or story, by also saying change isn’t easy and every time he made a change he cried. That “cry” could be in the form of regret like u mention, it could be being broke, lonely etc…

    The point is you made the change and the sooner you realize that the outcome of the change couldn’t be any worse than your current situation which ignited you enough to make that change in the first place (if you don’t let regret get in the way) the sooner you can start living your dream life!
    Just my thought
    Cheers!

  • Hooty

    As I read many of JA’s posts I always seem to come away with the same underlying Message: That “Life” is dynamic (like a motion picture) and not static like a photograph taken at one point in time!

  • Max

    Thank you for this article James, very helpfull and made me understand that overthinking is not an option. If you’re not happy, moove, don’t stay in the same places doing the same things or nothing will ever change.

    Your blog rocks
    (sorry for the spelling, frenchy here)

  • SteveMacCormack

    That was awesome James!! The best I’ve ever read about making change!!

  • endofrope

    Love your writing james. This has been a sort of life line for me..I am 53 and in another HORRIBLE job, I feel like I have been trying patch it together, jobs, some consulting in between, back to a job…with degrees etc from decades ago..And I don’t want to do this stuff anymore, i hate what I am doing now, I was basically a generalist doing development of non-profit govt programs and lately managing and writing grants. I now have a job just doing grants, not being very successful at it, and the place is depressing. it’s oppressive…I moved back to western Ma (noho) where I am from and love the area, but once again hate my job, and am barely making ends meet as it is. I feel like I have hit bottom, and I can’t do this anymore.
    I don’t want to go back, and want to quit now!! I have been imaging doing everything from a pet sitting business, or whatever, but I don’t know what to Do! If you have any words of wisdom, I am listening.

  • CraigWinston

    Seriously love your ideas. “You will have plenty of time for death later.”

  • Meteorlady

    So 12/31/13 I shut the doors to my business. I employed 122 people, paid good wages and made a profit. Seems though that the profit got to be less and the government took more and more.

    I am currently working for two charities in my community and I feel FREE for the first time in a long time. No more government regulations, no more government mandates, no more social programs like Obamacare that I have to pay for, and I will no longer be insulted by liberals because I am a business owner and one they perceive as “rich”. I will not be called names, or told that I didn’t create my business.

    I am free to pick charities and people that I want to help, not the ones the government helps in order to buy votes.

    • iMarcusCicero

      You went Galt.

  • Max Anderson

    Excellent use of “fuckness”.

  • Galvis

    I want to thank you for the spiritual support, because people and me are always thinking about changes, but no one wants to face it (or thinking if it is running away). Right now I’m beggining to do it, and u give me a good perspective.

  • Elle

    I had an “epiphany” of sorts in 2013 – after my 18th, yes 18th (and I was only 26!) job was getting ready to get rid of me. But before they did, they recruited and asked me to train my replacement on my secrets and ways that I got the job done. The AUDACITY, I thought. If I know so much, am so good, am such a “good person” then why were they getting rid of me? Simple. Because they could. Just like my other jobs. Yeah, there was small things like being on time and being out the office. But at the end it did not effect my work – apparent by them keeping me on to train. Anywho, it was then that I realized, I couldn’t let whether I paid my bills or ate depend on what someone else felt like they could let me go and replace me. I quit mid-training, and never looked back. It gave me a chance to go to school, for something I knew nothing about but always loved and allowed me to get into real estate how I dreamed I could be. Guess what? I’ve been doing this a year and haven’t sold ONE house….YET. I’ve had negative balances in my accounts, my mortgage is so far behind who knows if I’ll get a modification( still crossing fingers), I had to sell my car and some goods and sometimes eat a yogurt for dinner but you know what? I have been the happiest, less stressed than I have EVER been in my life. And I’m working – every day. On my health, my wealth and peace of mind. And so far so good! Moral of the story – do what makes you happy!! The universe is like a song, what’s your life is your verse to it. What’s you verse gonna sound like? :)

  • http://vitapramdevputra.worpress.com Vitap Ramdevputra

    Hey James, this one is amazing. You know what, I too believe in “Be the change rather than being part of it”, and I have also published a blog post on the same. But I didn’t read this article before, else, I don’t think I would have posted mine, as this one covered all the “changes”.. :D (y)

  • gayatri

    This is cent percent correct,,,the point that universe tells us to make changes is true bt sometimes we are so much involved with someone that we really don’t want to listen to that roaring voice..how do we get to know that changes are required at certain point of time?