The year was 2002. James Altucher was going to die.
The financial markets had crashed. The Internet had crashed. His family left him. And he had millions in debt.
Left with less than nothing, James wanted to commit suicide so that his kids could get access to US$4 million in insurance payments. Fortunately, he didn’t.
In Choose Yourself – Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream, author, investor and entrepreneur James Altucher shares how we should “choose ourselves” in order to live happier and more fulfilled lives.
Seasoned with episodes from James own life, Choose Yourself is part personal development, part entrepreneurship, and all heart.
In what Altucher labelled as the “permanently temporary” era of downsizing, job outsourcing and offshoring, you have two choices. You can either become a temp staffer (bleugh!) or an artist-entrepreneur (cool!).
“You no longer have to wait for the gods of corporate America (or Singapore), or universities, or media, or investors, to come down from the clouds and choose you for success.”
The main message here is this: do not let any one person – or organisation – have control over your life. By choosing yourself, you have the ability to withstand rejections, break free from addictions, and only do the stuff which you enjoy.
The heart of Choose Yourself lies in what Altucher called The Daily Practice. By undertaking these rituals, you can keep your four “bodies” healthy and happy:
You can find a more detailed write-up about The Daily Practice in my blog post on The Four Faiths of Life here.
Beyond the Daily Practice, Altucher further recommended what he calls a Simple Daily Practice. This entailed doing one thing every day.
The list of things here includes stuff like the following:
The key here is to do a positive and uplifting action, and repeat it daily until you have achieved physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Now that certainly sounds like a great thing to do!
James Altucher (courtesy of Beastly Gentleman)
A big chunk of the book focuses on how you can find your life purpose and get back your freedom by making money off the grid.
By escaping the enslavement of the corporate world, you can work from any location and thrive in an increasingly employee-less society. Your ideas become currency, and your innovation gets rewarded more than manual or managerial services.
What are the factors for us to think about here? Altucher shared the following considerations:
How then can you proceed to find this dream job or business?
Altucher proposes that you should do the following:
So how can you ultimately live a dream life and make millions? Altucher recommended that you consider the following steps:
Beyond these basic points, you could also follow the example of billionaire entrepreneur Sara Blakely by doing the following:
A big part of the book focused on generating ideas. Altucher is a whizz at this, and he offers various strategies for us to exercise your idea muscles.
For a start, you should try to read daily. If possible, read or skim chapter from books on at least four different topics!
You should also write down 10 ideas each day (sounds familiar?), ensure that all parts of your life are in balance (keep physically healthy), activate different parts of your brain through art and music, allow your ideas to collide and shake things up a little.
Beyond this, you could also list down our childhood passions, surf the Internet, look at Groupon coupons for ideas, hyper focus and freewrite for say 25 minutes, or go into YouTube.
Other than these suggestions, Choose Yourself also includes lessons from various celebrities like the Beatles, musician Alex Day, Mahatma Gandhi, Woody Allen, and even Superman! Each of these provide interesting insights on their own.
More motivational than prescriptive, Choose Yourself entertains as much as it enlightens. I love the author’s no-holds-barred style of “BS-free” writing.
Being somebody who has experienced over 19 years of corporate life, I can certainly attest to much of what he writes.
If you are looking for something to stoke your inner fire, you need to pick this book up today. You can also visit James Altucher’s blog to tap on his amazing insights on life, happiness and wealth.