Courtesy of EcoPlum
What happens when you’ve lost millions, struggle to pay your rent, and lose your family? Should you kill yourself?
Thankfully, James Altucher didn’t and ended up becoming a lot more successful after his experience.Author of recent bestseller Choose Yourself (apparently, he’ll refund your purchase price if you can show that you’ve read the book!), James is a hedge fund manager, trader, author and entrepreneur all rolled into one.
In an inspiring episode on Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation podcast, James shared various lessons on how one should bring the mojo back to one’s life. This can be boiled down to what he called the “four faiths” (also known as 4 daily practices in his blog), namely:
The first step is to get one’s health and fitness back into shape with some form of exercise. If possible, try to do it regularly (James prescribes a daily 20 to 30 minute routine) and use it as a way to reduce stress, improve your health, and calm your frazzled nerves.
Beyond exercise, one should also sleep well. Yes, this means no more late nights in front of the keyboard, tapping furiously away at an email or proposal! Minimally, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is necessary for the body to function at its peak.
Finally, I’ll add that one’s diet is also important in regaining physical balance. Where possible, avoid deep fried foods and reduce your meat intake in favour of more vegetables and fruits. Try to limit sweet desserts and treats, and always choose the low sugar variety.
Being emotionally healthy also makes a big difference to one’s life. Here, James proposes that we should cut out toxic relationships and cultivate positive ones regardless of their relationships to us. While I wouldn’t advocate such a drastic measure, there is some truth in surrounding yourself with people who can build you up – and whom you can in turn nurture.
I’d like to further suggest that emotional well-being also involves knowing when to hold on and when to let go. Too often, we get so caught up with the passion of the moment that we fail to recognise that the aggro and anguish which we feel is just a passing phase. Seek ways to empty your heart of these ill feelings by sharing them with supportive loved ones.
Use it or lose it. This saying becomes even more significant when it comes to one’s mental faculties. Here, James proposes that one has an “idea muscle” which needs to be constantly worked out to keep itself performing at it’s peak.
Naturally, reading and writing are essential habits. Personally, I always bring a book along with me wherever I go and make it a point to try to read in transit – on a bus, on a train, while waiting for others, etc. Weekly blogging helps me to exercise my brain muscles and keeps the ideas flowing even on days when I feel totally washed out.
To raise one’s intellectual capacities, one can also create lists. Some topics you can consider include 10 ways to improve your life, 3 tips to strengthen relationships, or 7 strategies to raise your profile. A convenient way to do so is to invest in what James calls “waiter pads” ie cheap memos that you can scribble on any time an inspiration hits you.
Finally, it is vital to keep oneself plugged into the spiritual lifeline. Whatever one’s religion or beliefs are, it is important to observe regular practices and rituals that inculcate a positive attitude and approach in life.
Here, James proposes that one should pray, meditate, be grateful, forgive others and study spiritual texts. I’d like to add that it is important to make it a habit to seek divine grace and wisdom in one’s activities, and to think beyond one’s mortal circumstances.
Speaking from my own experience, I find that whenever I start my day right with God, things are more likely to fall into place. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be zero frustrations or fears on that day, I will somehow have an inner peace in my heart that He will be there to lift me up when things start getting hairy.
By embracing the above tenets, James seeks to achieve three simple goals in life. Quoting from his blog, they are:
Sounds too simple to be true? Well, I do subscribe strongly to these views, as do millions around the world judging by the popularity of self-help “happiness” books!
As a practitioner (to various degrees) of the four faiths above, I can attest to their effectiveness in helping me to be a happier and more balanced person. Having said that, however, I feel that I’ve still got a long way to go and hope to continue growing my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states of health.