Good Valentines Day all, no I am not going to share love in this post, just some vibes with James Altucher the brilliant mind behind Choose Yourself which I am reading right now. The book is quirky but makes a lot of sense when portraying its ideas of choosing yourself when doing anything. This interview is from Lewis Howes and the school of greatness podcast. He and Lewis have done numerous interviews if Im not mistaken 4 of them, I decided to go old school and check out the first one. In this one James is gonna be talking about being Happy, making millions, living the Dream I know its gonna be put across in a very unique way. James has a blog with many good reads and has been involved a lot of start-ups, he has earned lots of money and lost lots of it but its his resilience to keep at it is what shocks me the most. Based on what I have read so far in his book he is very good at taking rejection and moving on like nothing happen, he tells how you can overcome that too but I have yet to reach that chapter. Anyway let’s see what else he has in store in this latest analysis.

Here is the link to the podcast –

  • Quote before the interview – 4:31 
  • Excerpt from book Choose Yourself – 9:11
  • How James first got into business – 10:08
    (13:40) How to blow 15million in 15 weeks
  • Motive to the money – 15:19
    (17:15) His children’s survival became his motivation
    (19:08) Some habits that changed his life
  • The means to being happy – 23:47
    (25:51) Become a money magnet
  • Achieve abundance by adding value – 27:31
    (29:24) Apple
    (31:07) “Money will come to you when you’re ready for it and when you add enough value to people’s lives.”
    (32:20) Being a mini version of any company
    (33:24) Start with these two small steps
  • Strengthening the idea muscle to add value – 36:17
  • How did he learn all these things – 39:33
    (40:58) Discipline as a form of freedom and flexibility
    (42:41) Idea muscle important for daily life
  • His influential books – 43:36
  • Living the dream – 45:15
  • What’s James definition of greatness – 47:46

Key Points Taken
(4:31) Quote before the interview“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tony Robbins

Excerpt from book Choose Yourself – 9:11

How James first got into business – 10:08
He didn’t want to be a business man, all he wanted to do is either make a tv show or write a novel and at the time his brother-in-law was running a business making CD-roms. He was working at HBO at the time making their websites and outsourced the work to his brother-in-law. He then left HBO to join his company to become CEO and his job was to do the programming and internet website for it. James only did it because he thought it was temporary gig till he moved back to doing his novel but the company grew and he began making website for clients like the WuTang clan, puff daddy, death row records, Miramax, Warner Bros., HBO, Time Warner, New line Cinema, Disney Channel just to name a few. Being one with the philosophy of selling a business over as quickly as possible because he finds the process of running a business becomes unpleasant. So he sold the business because he lived the dream for like two seconds and it turned into a nightmare. It seems he had Shiny object syndrome in terms of business start up, he quickly made successful businesses then sold them off as soon as he made enough money. He had this mindset that once the money was made there was nothing more to achieve, which he then learned was the quickest way to fail as a human being. Note the money he earned he didn’t save it he splurged it out very quickly and went to rock bottom more than 3 times. Till he realized what were his problems and found a way to resolve the mentality he had as a curse on him for years.
(13:40) How to blow 15million in 15 weeks – This man was spending millions in cash a week, he spent all his earnings from the first business sold. It got so bad that there came a time he had to call his parents to give him some money to pay for diapers for his kids. They were 200miles away to make things worse, his house was being foreclosed around the same time. They declined to give him the money and he stopped speaking to them for a about 6 months at that time his father got a stroke and died. This just proved how money can be the root of many situations good or bad, in this case money was so tied up in our emotions, how we feel about our life and others. Which brings us to James’ main point, it’s really important to learn the internal lessons of health first so that when things are going well you can appreciate it and grateful for it and survive and succeed.

Motive to the money – 15:19
He didn’t have any ambitions to be making money in that way, he still thought he would be doing something artistic with his life which was writing a novel. But suddenly he became a business man, closing on clients and managing people (1000 people before he sold the first company). Then he got crazy, he thought 15 million was not enough to make him happy and wanted to earn 100million and have a super bowl ad with him walking around doing nothing (Yes that was his goal). So he took exorbitant amounts of money and invested it in start ups and stocks etc with no sense of direction or the value of money lost it all. Now that he blew his chance at being a success and having money to support his kids, he thought the only way they could have a good life was to kill himself and have them live off the insurance money.
(17:15) His children’s survival became his motivation – He had no one to support him all his friends and family had left him. Knowing that his children would not be able to eat because of him kept him alive and also that he didn’t want to die anyway :). So he took a step back and analyzed the situation and realized the problem was that he let his physical, emotional (his relationships with his friends and family were nonexistent), mental (since he had success he didn’t think he needed to work his brain anymore for ideas) and spiritual (lost his attitude of gratitude) health go down the drain. He then began putting these 4 things in the forefront everyday, and constantly focus on what can he do today to improve his health (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual) in all these areas.

(19:08) Some habits that changed his life:
1) Change his sleeping habit – from 2 – 4 hours a day to 8 – 10 hours. To further help this he had to eliminate screen time (no TV, no cell phone, no computer etc) from after 6pm so that he can get to bed at 8pm, instead he would read books or spend time with family.
2) Start working with a waiter’s pad – He would go out to a cafe and start writing ideas one after the other. It could range from ideas for himself or ideas for people, this helped him either get jobs or find people to connect with which build his network. You build your network when you help other people and they never forget it, you never know what connection you might be able to use in the long run.

The means to being happy – 23:47
Lets say you have no expectations each day, that means everyday you exceed your expectations. When you have that outlook on life it would greatly increase your levels of happiness since you would never be as disappointed based on how things turn out in every situation. This is near impossible to do but it brings up a great exercise, check if the expectations you are setting for yourself are not goals but actually prison bars. This means for example if you say to yourself I’m not gonna be happy unless I have 10 million dollars in the bank, you are actually training your mind into thinking that be sad until this is achieved, also you are constraining your ceiling for success.
(25:51) Become a money magnet – This happens when give up limiting goals and focus on the four aspects of health (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual) and the feeling that you are already abundant. You have access to a lot already, you live in a time of the internet, you are privileged to learn and start a business that could reach people outside of your country if you wanted. And accepting the abundance and embracing it all the time when scarcity is trying to make you afraid and anxious that’s when money gets attracted to you. Its unbelievable and its difficult to predict how it happens but have faith in it and just be patient.

Achieve abundance by adding value – 27:31
Google for their first 6 years made no revenue and had no clue how to do so, but every day Larry page and Sergey Brin sat down to discuss how can they make the most incredible search engine that would change the world. By accident almost they came across a company named Applied Semantics which they acquired and turned into Adsense and that was the start of cash flow. Quick joke James had a chance to buy a share in Applied Semantics way before Google acquired it but he declined and because he thought search engines were gonna die out. Now if he did he would have been 200million dollars richer, added side joke to that is he and the guy who started Applied Semantics are third cousins.
(29:24) Apple – Steve Jobs was very dedicated to making the most beautiful and most useful products of all. His mind wasnt on the money, he just wanted to bring products that were of great artistic value and of worth to the user. The money flow was automatic.
James says from 2002 to 2007 the only time he didn’t looked at my bank account 5 times a day and didn’t get scared to death was when he was making a company that was actually helping people and delivering value.
(31:07) “Money will come to you when you’re ready for it and when you add enough value to people’s lives.” – Chris Hawker.
(32:20) Being a mini version of any company – Lewis was emulating LinkedIn (which is a social site business men and women) in a real life capacity linking people in person through events. in that sense he was adding value to people who made the money come in for him. So choose a company to emulate on a personal level and provide value in a way that they can, you will be successful. James always tries to emulate Google.
(33:24) Start with these two small steps – Apply these two things into your life, sleep well and view everything in your life as abundant.

Strengthening the idea muscle to add value – 36:17
Come up with 10 ideas every single day, when you are able to exercise you brain thoroughly you will be able to deliver the value to others in helping them make more money.

How did he learn all these things – 39:33
It was self-taught based on how many times he failed and regain success, then he began consistently doing the things that brought him the success. But he realized the one thing he was doing wrong was he never finished, when he reached a certain point of success that he thought was comfortable to stop, he did. For example he would say I arrived at a good idea well I guess I don’t need to try to come up with anymore, I don’t need to sleep anymore, I don’t need to be around the people who love me anymore. Its back to the thought pattern of having a ceiling for your accomplishments, when the sky is the limit.
(40:58) Discipline as a form of freedom and flexibility – James example of this since he goes to bed much earlier he can get up early and get a fresh start on things like reading, yoga, talking a walk, forming ideas, tennis etc.
(42:41) Idea muscle important for daily life – An example James gives is if you get a flat on the road, with your brain muscle in tact you will have many good ideas on what to do or how to get home. You are now an idea machine where situations no long have you in a worrying state and throw you off.

His influential books – 43:36
He skims through various books each day, so he doesn’t have a book to suggest but books. Some of which are Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis, the rational optimist by Matt Ridley, the tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels.

Living the dream – 45:15
Being healthy in the 4 levels (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual) will allow you opportunities adventures and money pour in.

What’s James definition of greatness – 47:46
Being able to consistently stay healthy on the 4 levels, all we have in our lives is today, the future is unpredictable and the past is dead. The only thing you know about tomorrow is that the sun is gonna rise. So being great today is greatness, love today cause its the only thing you can work with.

This one had me typing plenty, so much to record. James supplies so much information that some of it seems at times unreal well the stories he tells of earning and losing money so quickly. That crazy nature made him lose his friends and family, money, health and sense of direction. Once he got himself in order with the 4 levels of health which im gonna try to implement in life, abundance came in and the mindset of adding value to others. Become an idea machine is another good point, sleeping for 8 hours, having lower expectations in life is great too. Emulate a company that you admire on a mini stage and see how your life changes. Some books I will check out to read too and finally his definition of greatness which eds with love today cause its the only thing you can work with. Thanks for reading. See ya Monday with another one.