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How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE


PLANET in 4 Easy Steps
Posted by James Altucher
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[Note: I set up a site to help people practice the principles in this article and be apart of the
community that is doing so. TDP.ME. Since it's in beta, all suggestions welcome.]
I told my dad, Im a lucky guy. He said, But are you lucky in love? I was six years old. Love was
the most disgusting thing in the world to me. What the hell was he talking about? Love was living in
another neighborhood at that time. Or another planet. It would be years before Love stuck its ugly
little nose into my house and said, hello, anyone here?
Luck was all about rolling the dice. Or finding a quarter on the ground. Or seeing a double rainbow
after a quick storm.
But now Im different. Im constantly checking in and out of the Hospital of No Luck. Im older. I need
luck to be constantly transfused into me or I run out of it. Without luck, Im dead. For me, good luck
equals happiness. On a scale of happiness from 0 to 10, I think Im about a seven or eight. But
thats a big improvement. When I was lying on the floor here, I was probably about a zero. Or at
different points in this story, I was maybe at negative. So Im trending upwards. I get lucky when I

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A)

I want to be happy.

B)

I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life.

C)

I want every day to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.

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Thats it. Im not asking for much. I need simple goals else I cant achieve them.

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Theres been at least ten times in my life that everything seemed so low I felt like I would never
achieve the above three things and the world would be better off without me. Other times I felt like I
was stuck at a crossroads and would never figure out which road to take. Each time I bounced
back.

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When I look back at these times now I realize there was a common thread. Each time there were
four things, and only four things, that were always in place in order for me to bounce
back. Now I try to incorporate these four things into a daily practice so I never dip low again.

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THE DAILY PRACTICE

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A) Physical being in shape. Doing some form of exercise. In 2003 I woke up at 5am every day
and from 5-6am I played Round the World on a basketball court overlooking the Hudson River.
Every day (except when it rained). Trains would pass and people at 5:30am would wave to me out
the window. Now, I try to do yoga every day. But its hard. All you need to do, minimally, is exercise

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enough to break a sweat for 10 minutes. So about 20-30 minutes worth of exercise a day. This is
not to get ripped or shredded. But just to be healthy. You cant be happy if you arent healthy.
Also, spending this time helps your mind better deal with its daily anxieties. If you can breathe easy
when your body is in pain then its easier to breathe during difficult situations. Heres other things
that are a part of this but a little bit harder:
1. Wake up by 4-5am every day.
2. Go to sleep by 8:30-9. (Good to sleep 8 hours a night!)
3. No eating after 5:30pm. Cant be happy if indigested at night.

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B)
Emotional If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them
closer. Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face
first. Family, friends, people I love I always try to be there for them and help. But I dont get close
to anyone bringing me down. This rule cant be broken. Energy leaks out of you if someone is
draining you. And I never owe anyone an explanation. Explaining is draining.
Another important rule: always be honest. Its fun. Nobody is honest anymore and people are afraid
of it. Try being honest for a day (without being hurtful). Its amazing where the boundaries are of
how honest one can be. Its much bigger than I thought. A corollary of this is: I never do anything I
dont want to do. Like I NEVER go to weddings.

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Mistakes Were Made


LESS
Today I Lost Two Million Dollars
C)
Mental Every day I write down ideas. I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to
come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more. The other day I tried to write 100
alternatives kids can do other than go to college. I wrote down eight, which I wrote about here. I
couldnt come up with anymore. Then the next day I came up with another 40. It definitely stretched
my head. No ideas today? Memorize all the legal 2 letter words for Scrabble. Translate the Tao Te
Ching into Spanish. Need ideas for lists of ideas? Come up with 30 separate chapters for an
autobiography. Try to think of 10 businesses you can start from home (and be realistic how you
can execute them)? Give me 10 ideas of directions this blog can go in. Think of 20 ways Obama
can improve the country. List every productive thing you did yesterday (this improves memory also
and gives you ideas for today).

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The idea muscle atrophies within days if you dont use it. Just like walking. If you dont use your
legs for a week, they atrophy. You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to
build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.

(use w aiter pads to w rite dow n


ideas)

D) Spiritual. I feel that most people dont like the word spiritual. They think it means god. Or
religion. But it doesnt. I dont know what it means actually. But I feel like I have a spiritual practice
when I do one of the following:
1. Pray (doesnt matter if Im praying to a god or to dead people or to the sun or to a chair in
front of me it just means being thankful. And not taking all the credit, for just a few

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hours ago

Annus Horribilist Great examples. I'm trying to


do the same with my soon-to-be-launched site -

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2.

3.
4.
5.

seconds of the day).


Meditate Meditation for more than a few minutes is hard. Its boring. Here I give tips for
60 second meditations. You can also meditate for 15 seconds by really visualizing what it
would be like meditate for 60 minutes. Heres a simple meditation: sit in a chair, keep the
back straight, watch yourself breathe. If you get distracted, no problem. Just pull yourself
back to your breath. Try it for 5 minutes. Then six.
Being grateful I try to think of everyone in my life Im grateful for. Then I try to think of
more people. Then more. Its hard.
Forgiving I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them
(but not pity).
Studying. If I read a spiritual text (doesnt matter what it is: Bible, Tao Te Ching, anything
Zen related, even inspirational self-help stuff, doesnt matter) I tend to feel good. This is not
as powerful as praying or meditating (it doesnt train your mind to cut out the BS) but it still
makes me feel good.

My own experience: I can never achieve the three simple goals on a steady basis without doing
the above practice on a daily basis. And EVERY TIME Ive hit bottom (or close to a bottom, or Ive
been at some sort of crossroads.) and started dong the above 4 items (1991, 1995, 1997, 2002,
2006, 2008) magic would happen:

do the same with my soon-to-be-launched site http://annushorribilist.com - a site to view


stories about people's...
The Only Good Idea is an Unoriginal Idea 10 hours ago

Malini Thank you for posting this comment. I


feel the same way too about trying something
new, and the 4 thoughts you listed above are
exactly the same...
Plug All of Your Leaks Or You Will Die 10 hours ago

amypink James...you are wonderful..I've been


meaning to tell you that for a while...
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SoftwareGuy I actually did that for a while. I


am a programmer with a Master in Software
Engineering and a concentration in artificial
intelligence. I created...
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The Results
A) Within about one month, Id notice coincidences start to happen. Id start to feel lucky. People
would smile at me more.
B)
Within three months the ideas would really start flowing, to the point where I felt overwhelming
urges to execute the ideas.
C)
Within six months, good ideas would start flowing, Id begin executing them, and everyone
around me would help me put everything together.

James Altucher

jaltucher
jaltucher @TXAttygal @justinwolfers we have to
take that stat and then control for income levels of
parents to see if it still holds up.
58 minutes ago reply retweet f av orite

jaltucher @jasongk1997 Dr. Strange.


13 hours ago reply retweet f av orite

D) Within a year my life was always completely different. 100% upside down from the year
before. More money, more luck, more health, etc. And then Id get lazy and stop doing the
practice. And everything falls apart again. But now Im trying to do it every day.

IHCFO I so muuuch wanna write like @jaltucher:


And in the meantime: drive over babies for fun and
prizes. Fearless Blogging flip.it/bc24a

Its hard to do all of this every day. Nobody is perfect. I dont know if Ill do all of these things today.
But I know when I do it, it works.

jaltucher @AlgQt yeah, and you will be less


stressed. When u r ready, and if u want, u can
approach old boss. But not yet. too many emotions
17 hours ago reply retweet f av orite

____________________
You will rule the planet if you follow me on Twitter.

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jaltucher @JosephRooks I will do it while riding


over a moat. I will do it in a castle. I will do it with no

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You will rule the planet if you follow me on Twitter.

hassle.
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December 2012
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October 2012
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August 2012
Kevin Elliott

a year ago

July 2012

I created a printable PDF chart based on James' daily practice that he defines here. I find it to be a useful
June
2012
way to remember to do each of these things by printing it out and putting it on the wall near my
desk
in my home
office. If you're interested in downloading one for yourself, you can get it at http://kevinelliott.net/blogs/...
May 2012
49

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Theresa Roth

Kevin Elliott a year ago

Thanks Kevin! Great idea! Are you following the outline in your life?
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April 2012
March 2012
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Liz

Kevin Elliott a year ago

Thank you.
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December 2011
November 2011

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October 2011

Andrew

Kevin Elliott a year ago

September
2011
Hey man using your chart - been waylaid by an old injury so the physical is falling down
but still love
the chart.
August 2011
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Amit Srivastava

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Kevin Elliott a year ago

July 2011
June 2011

cool. Thanks. Infact James's many articles could be pdf'ed for daily practice. He is one of my fav
authors / blogger
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Kevin Lamont Keys Sr.

Kevin Elliott 2 months ago

Thanks Kevin!!
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John

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Kevin Elliott 3 months ago

awesome!!!
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Paula

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Kevin Elliott 7 months ago

just printed out the PDF, useful stuff Kevin! Many thanks!
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Gitanjali Shamannan

Kevin Elliott a year ago

Thanks man.. I just took a printout of the PDF :)


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Bernie

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Kevin Elliott a year ago

I just printed the pdf....thanks


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Erin Koss

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Kevin Elliott a year ago

Thanks Kevin.
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Itgirrrl

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Kevin Elliott a year ago

Thank you so much!


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Johnrick

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a year ago

To preface this, I am a slow learner. I probably read this post in June/July and eventually started applying
these principles.
The actual tipping point to my semi-success story was the post about how if everything went wrong, you would get a
job at a gas station and eventually get back on your feet. That story made me realize that my ego was holding me
back. I just graduated in finance from Baruch College, did 1.5 years of unpaid internships and I was going nowhere.
I finally let all that go and decided to apply to Macy's. As a self proclaimed alpha male, I cried the night before my
interview and at least 3 nights before my 1st day.
On September 9th, I worked at 6 in the morning getting Macy's ready for the open and 2 weeks later got an interview
for a firm. Today, I passed my series 7.
Just wanted to say thank you. You were a big part of my semi-success.
28

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Sarah

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Johnrick a year ago

That's fantastic. Thanks for your story.


5
Kaleb

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Johnrick a year ago

I hear you. And I couldn't have said it better myself. Like you, I did the unpaid internships, graduated
in Political Science at the top of my class, and the store wasn't Macy's, but Barnes & Noble. Tears,
sleepless nights, frustrations, and feeling like an abject failure, brought about by hubris and a whole lot of
egoism. One can learn a lot by working in retail. Once you do something--anything--and get the ball rolling, it
all comes together.
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Guest

Kaleb a year ago

Thx for the stry. Hoping things turn out all right for everyone, but from here, it looks like a
long trek.
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miltiadis

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Johnrick 10 months ago

thanks for sharing, much appreciated.


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Cory

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2 years ago

I find your blog both depressing as hell and inspiring.


28

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andyglasser

Cory 3 months ago

Funny. I'm a newbie here, and after a few visits I wrote the same thing in my jounal.
Reply
dmchattie

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2 years ago

Have you written a blog entry about why you never go to weddings? I've never heard of anyone doing this
before but instantly want to make it my own rule. Here are some of my own reasons why I don't like weddings but I'd
like to know if yours are similar:
1) I don't enjoy them - they are boring, stiff, embarrassing and tiring
2) they are expensive - not just to me who must pay for a hotel and a wedding gift, but to the bride and groom - this
waste of money should not be encouraged
3) they encourage people to get married when they shouldn't
4) they create a distorted image of married life and distorted expectations
5) they are the most vulgar display of self-absorption - "everyone come and look at us and how important we are
because we love each other!"
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Ed77

dmchattie 2 years ago

Man, what a bucketfull of negativity! I wouldn't want YOU on my wedding! Let's counter-argue that:
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1) Weds are fun. You get free booze, free quality food, and you can always try to make out with a bridesmad.
Everyone is drunk and dancing.
2) Yep they are expensive, but only if you travel to them. otherwise they are free. If you're broke, don't send a
gift. Let others spend their money as they see fit; don't be a nagger.
3) I'm married, my parents are married, my inlaws are married, and we're all very happy. And I don't try to
convince anyone THEY should marry. Just because you've been hurt, doesn't mean marriage is bad.
4) No they don't. YOU do.
5) "everyone come and look at us because we're so happy and want to share this with everyone else. Booze
and food are on us!"
Damn. Talk about a drainer...
60

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Jim T

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Ed77 2 years ago

My rule of wedding inverse:


The larger the wedding, the sooner the divorce.
16

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jim h

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Jim T 2 years ago

I think your on to something here. I was married at the local politboro in Bydgoszcz,
Poland. The service was austere, boring, and incomprehensible (it was in Polish and I'm still
not sure what vows I agreed to). Of course the reception went on for 3 days (a lot of Chopin
and Belvedere vodka was consumed), but that's a different metric. We have been married for
17 years and are going strong.
9
KH

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Jim T a year ago

I plan on having a small intimate ceremony, and spend my money on the honeymoon
instead... really, the big weddings aren't for the bride or groom, its for the people they invited...
and the people they pay to have a big event... small weddings are for the bride and groom... My
brother REmarried his Ex... in his living room... and we were able to watch him over the web
cam on Ustream... didn't have to pay a dime to go across the country... yet got to see and hear
the whole thing... didn't have to dress up either...
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JoeR

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Jim T 2 months ago

I stopped going to weddings. I look at it as ROI. Great weddings are a good


investment, booze, food, music, and lots of chicks even if some of them are 90 years old.
There's always at least one drunken spectacle and the occasional fight to top it all off. But the
wheel has turned. The last few had cheap booze, crappy music and somewhat surly table
mates so I am cutting my losses at this point and just sending a gift card in the mail unless I
can guarantee some debauchery.
1

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Duderkins

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Jim T a year ago

my wedding was free in my grandmas backyard...it was awesome...we may not be


divorced yet but it only took two years for her to move...fck my life sucks dck right now
1

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Charles Trella

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Jim T 7 months ago

Nope - had 250+ at my wedding - and just passed our 26th anniversary and going
strong. Looking forward to 50th. But - I guess all "rules" have exceptions. I've been to small
intimate weddings where the couple was divorced a few years latter too. Don't think you can
reduce wedding success to rules like this.
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Bubba

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Jim T a year ago

Good point. Most long happy marriages I've known of started with a small, humble
wedding.
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Jagerr

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Ed77 2 years ago

Thanks for that Ed, the above negativity got so many likes it made me feel bad.
Yeah, some marriages fail. Most businesses fail too, but it's still an awesome moment when
someone really strike it out on your own, and also great one when one get that first order. Two people
getting married is a great thing. Some people get married when they shouldn't, but there are plenty
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that do get married and do well. There's nothing wrong with that.And then there was that whole point
about two people getting married really just being self-absorbed and narcissistic.Damn, try to enjoy life
a little more. Weddings are a great time that bring family and friends together, get out of the fetal
position for all of us!
6

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Amit Srivastava

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Ed77 a year ago

ha ha ha..great reply. marriages are real fun, get to see and meet so many distant relatives
and friends who cant meet so frequently otherwise.
BTW am planning to get married by the end of this year! :)
2

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jim h

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Ed77 2 years ago

Weddings are a drag--it's the receptions that are fun.


2

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Kepeneter

jim h 2 years ago

Jim H. I cry at weddings because I know what the bride is in for even if she doesn't
yet. . .maybe the tears are for when she knows. . .tears for the groom too. I'm being honest.
Optimistically, by the time the ceremony ends and the reception begins, I'm hoping that my old
tapes won't be theirs. Receptions are best.
1

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Ryan Leissner

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Ed77 a year ago

You're the drainer


1

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Uja_15

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Ed77 a year ago

This looks like arguing whether peaches are more delicious than watermelons. If i think
apples are delicious and you tell me they are not i am definitely going to give up apples for whatever
fruit you are going to promote.
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Guest

dmchattie 2 years ago

Explaining is draining.
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Rahul

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Guest 2 years ago

@dmchattie and @e8f4e45684447c9e78bdf321e74de94c As long as you both are happy


with your perspectives for your lives and don't try to impose your ideas on each other forcefully, you
both are right. I personally don't like to attend weddings either. I don't find them embarrasing, only tiring
and boring at times. But would definetly enjoy a big wedding with selected friends and family.
1
Mlstuder

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dmchattie 11 months ago

Funerals are the very worst!!!..I do not do funerals and would prefer not to go to my own...but at age
79 and holding I'm not sure I can avoid it for too long..oh well,,,I come from a long line of happy people....and
funerals were the first to go!!....maybe weddings are a close second.....my father's motto: "Smile-B-Happy"
2

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Strangeallure

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dmchattie a year ago

Accurately and eloquently stated, amigo. Weddings--as a sort of "societal branding"--have few
equals when it comes to distorting peoples' perception of what is truly relevant to being happy. Comedian
Dean Cook tries to make the same point to his roommate in the movie, My Best Friend's Girl. Roommate
wants to take hope-to-be girlfriend Alexis on a date to a five star restaurant, dressed to the nines, and
ultimately compromising his vegetarianism to curry favor with her. Cook's character attempts to explain that
such "branding" (my word, not Cook's) on a date ain't reality. It's not the seat being left up, socks on the
floor, or "not tonight, honey." It's a highlight clip of the real you. Such would be similar to judging the whole
1978 Dallas Cowboys / Minnesota Vikings game just in terms of Staubach's Hail Mary Pass. Branding is
mostly static, by it's (well intended?) nature. People, however, are largely dynamic, works-in-progress,
hopefully focusing on improvement over time.
1
JillK

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2 years ago

From my first "real" boyfriend in college (more than 30 years ago!), I realized that a relationship could only be
successful if 4 basic criteria were fulfilled. A couple must meet each others' needs Physically, Emotionally, Mentally
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and Spiritually. Knowing this, and *strictly* abiding by it, saved me from ever "settling" and blessed me with an
unbelievably amazing marriage.
And until I read this article just now, it never occurred to me that I needed to fulfill those SAME 4 criteria in MYSELF,
not just my relationship.
Huge *Duh* moment, wherein I kick myself for years of wasted therapy that didn't work for shnit.
And not only did you identify the 4 criteria, you defined them and made suggestions on how to implement them in my
life. You're like the modern-day Dale Carnegie! You should write a book! Oh wait. You are. :) I'll be one of the first
in line to read it!
16
Tobias

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2 years ago

Great way that I practice being grateful. If I wake up feeling negative or like an ass for any reason, I make it a
point to take a few extra minutes in the shower and mentally go through and thank all the people that made it possible
for me to take that shower (I f'ing love 20 minute long hot showers). I imagine the people who built the house,
installed the tub, maintain our water system, etc. That gets me in a pretty good mood.
10
Ringlis44

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2 years ago

I recently read a post from the Harvard Business Review regarding who some people seem to have all the
luck (http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2011....
The 4 reasons they site through their interview with 'lucky' people are:
1) Lucky people have a 'lucky' attitude
2) The attitude is based in lucky people exhibiting true humility
3) Humility breeds an active intellectual curiosity
4) The lucky attitude brings an optimistic attitude
So in context, Lucky people:
a) Are generally Happy People
b) Actively demonstrate 3 of the 4 elements of the daily Practice (Mental, Emotional & Spiritual)
HBR could have just read this blog to come to the same answer.
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NotKatsu

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Ringlis44 2 years ago

Thank God it's so simple. I was worried for a minute there I'd have to start writing down ideas again.
Whew!
3

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Joshua

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Ringlis44 2 years ago

http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2011...
is the link. Yours had a ")" at the end. Only the good players are lucky. The harder I work, the more luck I
have.
1
Better_yeti

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2 years ago

Great post. Completely overlaps with my own experience. I had a total bottoming experience a decade ago
(won't bore you with the details, suffice to say it involved being in a long-term relationship with somebody diagnosed
with Borderline Personality Disorder. Gruesome. Grizzly.)
Physical: running, surfing, paddling, biking. Mental: Made map of my life goals, with 100 ways to move each one
forward; played bridge. Emotional: made cognitive maps of everybody I'd ever known who was a good influence, tried
to reconnect with some of them; stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine (helps with emotional regulation); took a
couple of adventure trips by myself; Spiritual: Yeah, good old Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now. He might not work for
you, but he worked for me. Cultivating present moment awareness is, seriously, the closest thing to magic I've ever
experienced (and I say this as a life-long, die-hard skeptic...)
Thanks for the post, James.
6

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Itgirrrl

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Better_yeti a year ago

Just wondering how you made those cognitive maps... and your map of your life goals. Any details
would be appreciated!
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Andrew R Long

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Yeah, that BPD is a tough one.


I would also throw in doing some serious self-work with a coach or therapist if you can afford it. That helps a
LOT of people. . . but it has to be the right person.
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Jamie

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2 years ago

Altucher - Are you uniquely honest, crazy, or a paid shill? Frankly, I don't think you are getting paid unless
you have a contract with some type of drug company (but then, where are the ads), you don't seem crazy, because
your thoughts are so damn lucid... So, apparently, you are honest...
I have been searching and attempting to build my own framework for success... This is pretty damn awesome... I
am sorry that it took the roller-coaster of your life to build it, but I am also very appreciative..
6
DAYOS

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2 years ago

Being a perennial pessimist, I try to fight my natural urge by reading stuff like yours . . . stuff written by
incurable optimists. In the hopes that one day I can turn my attitude around.
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Kevin Elliott

DAYOS a month ago

Pessimism has never gotten me anywhere. It's eternally entertaining to be a pessimist (ask anyone
that knows me), but it's done me no good either. Being a pessimist has often massaged my ego, making me
feel above others (artificially I might add), but it never took me down a path of success and happiness.
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Dayos

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Kevin Elliott a month ago

This was truly a revelation for me. I could never express the feeling I get from being a
pessimist and you summed it perfectly! My ego does get massaged a lot by being a pessimist!
I get this overwhelming feeling of that everyone else is, pardon the word, stupid.
down on them and I end up being alone because people wouldn't want to come near me in my state.
is also true, and I don't know if this is what you meant, that I am an entertaining guy.
attention when I speak.
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