• Failing is Okay: Lessons I Learned From James Altucher

    One of the highlights of my recent business trip to New York City was being able to attend a talk by James Altucher.

    It was not on my calendar. I was just introduced to Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of AlleyNYC, an exciting co-working space in New York City. It so happened that James was set to talk that evening to a group of startup founders at AlleyNYC and Jason placed me on his guest list. Lucky me!

    James graduated from Cornell University and attended Carnegie Mellon University for his masters degree. He may have gone through countless career transformation but he is best known now for being a bestselling author and writer for various online outlets. I highly recommend that you grab a copy of Choose Yourself and The Power of No. You will not regret spending on these two books.

    James Altucher is one of my favorite bloggers. He writes from his heart on a variety of subjects. I may disagree on some of his line of reasoning but he is very convincing just the same. In one post he suggests that parents should not send their kids to college. He also said that he would rather shoot himself in the head than own a home. How about this: “Is it bad that I originally wanted my first kid to be aborted?”

    He writes on a wide array of topics. He writes about education, business, startups, sex, suicide, etc. He is an excellent and convincing storyteller and I do admire that he writes from the heart.

    What is the gospel of James? It is called the Daily Practice. It involves four things that one should focus in order to achieve your goals. It can be very effective for us lawyers to consider. Allow me to enumerate it to you:

    1. Physical. Keep yourself fit. Exercise. Eat healthy food. Get 8 hours of sleep.
    2. Emotional. Seek out positive influences and get rid of people who are dragging you.
    3. Mental. The brain is a muscle. Use it. Exercise it. Otherwise, you will lose it. Come up with ideas everyday.
    4. Spiritual. It doesn’t have to mean religious. For some it is about their faith. Be grateful. Meditate.

    According to his story, positive changes started happening in his life just after a month of following his Daily Practice. Who doesn’t want positive changes. We all need that.

    james altucher and jacob sapochnick

    Here are some of the lessons that I learned from him. It’s not that I do not know these yet but James reiterated these lessons with his life as example.

    1. Falling is okay. When James was 24, he moved to New York City where he began career changes after career changes. During those career changes, he made a lot of money. Tons of money. Millions. Then he lost a lot as well. Then he made a lot of money, only to lose everything again. Then, he made a lot more.

    Imagine losing one million a week in the summer of 2000. He lost his family. He lost his fake friends. He was sick all the time. But he managed to get up. Everytime.

    2. Seek out positive people. Try to be around positive people only. Stick to those who inspire you. This way you can learn to be positive. Try being quiet also. Instead of the average of 2,500 words a day that most people speak, lessen it if possible. Listen more.

    3. Exercise physically and mentally. You cannot achieve your goals if you have a tired body and mind. Exercise both. Walk. Run. Do yoga. Mentally, get a piece of paper and list at least 10 ideas everyday. Even silly ideas. Give away your ideas. People would be grateful and shower you with blessings.

    4. Do the things you enjoy. This may seem easy but take an inventory of what you do everyday. You will be surprised that most of the things that you do on a daily basis are things that you do not like. You will get burnt out. Do only the things you enjoy and you will feel an inner fire filled with creativity in you.

    5. Rejection is positive. When James was young, he wrote a lot of fiction and got rejected 500 times on stories, novels, and poems that he submitted all over the place. He is now in his 40s and still writing. He is a Wall Street Journal best seller. He still get emails saying, “you suck,” referring to his writing. His take on it: if you aren’t getting rejected enough, you aren’t doing what you love doing. Get rejected some more. And then succeed.

    There are still more to learn from James. Visit his blog at jamesaltucher.com and I assure you that you’ll get hooked to his writings. Did I say that it’s from his heart?

    Do you agree with these lessons? Please leave me a comment below or email me at jacob@enchantinglawyer.com. I would love to hear from you!

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