When I’m stuck and disgusted with my life…or bored and afraid of the future…or unhappy with all my choices….
this is what I do. I have to do it.
I don’t want to be in a rut. We only get one of these brains and it run out in about 80 years, give or take.
But it has to be fun!
I want to always move my life in the direction that fascinates me. I want love to be my GPS.
I want to do something where the end goal is a surprise until I get there.
I made a list of 30 day challenges. Some of them I’ve tried. Some of them I’m trying now. Some of them I tried and failed.
I’m always in some experiment. Some challenge.
Some are related to career or money. Some are related to just living a better, happier life. Nothing wrong with “better” and “happier”.
Often the best way to find flavor in life is to seek out the sweetness in it.
A strawberry on a cloudy day is sometimes enough.
30 DAY CHALLENGES:
A) HUG one stranger a day. Not as easy as you think, despite the many benefits. I am trying it. It breaks down all of my shyness, my awkwardness, and it gives the benefits of touch.
B) NEGOTIATE once a day. At a Starbucks? Ask for 10% off, for instance. Negotiating is not about “being tough”. It’s about figuring out what your value is.
C) DO STANDUP COMEDY once a week for a month. This breaks down every conception I’ve ever had about who I am, and what it’s like to go in front of a bunch of strangers and make a total fool of myself.
E) LIVE ONLY IN AIRBNBs for 30 days. I’m on my 21st month and it’s been great. Maybe this will change. I’m always open for reinvention.
F) RETURN AN EMAIL to someone from 10 years ago that you’ve never returned. Do this every day for 30 days. You’ll be amazed how grateful and happy you make people. One time someone bought me “jamesaltucher.com” for my birthday. I didn’t respond to his email for four or five years. Finally I wrote back, “ok, I’ll take it”. We’re good friends now. AND I am the proud owner of “jamesaltucher.com”
G) PLAY every day. In last few days I’ve played basketball, ping pong, poker, virtual reality games, etc. “Play” is the way we prepare for the disasters in life. We go into tense situations…and we have fun solving them.
H) GIVE AWAY 10% of your income this month. But not to charities. Just to random homeless people or as extra-large tips, etc. You will have at last 30–50 individual moments of charity you are not used to.
I) PUT YOUR SHOWER ON EXTREME COLD for at least 4 seconds at the end of the shower. This is supposed to be very healthy. But for the first few days until you are used to it, VERY hard to do.
J) TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH A DAY and put it on Instagram. I did this for a month about a year ago. I’d try to find the most interesting person I could find, photo them and interview them. It’s hard to go up to people!
K) WRITE every day. I’ve been writing every day since 2002. The great thing is, if you write 1000 words a day you have enough material for about 6–8 books a year. Because of this “challenge” I started so long ago I’ve written 18 books (13 bad books, one ok book, 4 good books).
L) THE NO COMPLAINTS CHALLENGE. Probably the hardest challenge on this list. Simply don’t complain for 30 days in a row. Whenever I try doing this I realize how often my thoughts settle on complaining thoughts. This exercise is like a training ground to notice-then-deflect those complaining thoughts into something more productive.
M) COME UP WITH ONE APP IDEA A DAY. Then spec it out, put it on and see if people bid to do it. Yesterday I spec-ed out an app for people who are “Going Steady” (the app deletes all the dating apps on your phone). I put it on and then wrote about what happened next (on my FB page).
N) WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH. Think of something you love, write about it every day for 30 days, then upload the result to Amazon and self-publish it as a book. It doesn’t matter how long it is. For instance, if you love TV, write about a different favorite TV show every day and what you learned from it, then title the book, “Everything I Know about Love I Learned from TV”.
O) EXERCISE EVERY DAY. 30 minutes at least. See how you feel after 30 days. Do I do this? Not really. Although if I’m by myself I try to breakdance for half an hour. In private!
Ok, this is a good number of challenges to start with. If you can even do one of these I guarantee your life will change.
At the very least do this:
P) WRITE DOWN TEN IDEAS A DAY FOR 30 DAYS.
Even further, write down ten ideas to help others and send the ideas to them.
This will make you an idea machine and a networking machine. You will meet people and create opportunities.
Creativity + Networking + Humility = Massive success. That’s what this exercise is about. I know whenever I am at rock bottom, this is my first step up the ladder.
Don’t think of these thing as challenges. Think of them as beginnings.