5 Methods of Self-Improvement
By James Altucher,
1) WRITE DOWN 10 IDEAS A DAY
I started doing this in 2002. My first list: 10 chapters for a book called “How to Beat Your Friends at Every Game in the Universe”.
I never wrote the book. The next day I wrote down the next set of 10 ideas. And the next day the next 10.
Within six months my life was totally changed. I was an idea machine. I had built up that muscle. I still build it every day.
I write 10 ideas. And sometimes I throw them away. Sometimes I pick one and execute on it. And sometimes I send the list of 10 ideas to someone I think I can help.
I wrote down “10 ideas to improve the Weather Channel”. I sent it to them. Do I expect a response? Doesn’t matter.
Some respond and over years the responses build up and change your life.
2) CHALLENGE OF THE DAY
I do something I’m scared of every day. Maybe it means doing an hour of stand-up comedy.
Maybe it means going to a social event I’m really nervous about. Maybe it means cutting someone toxic from my life. Maybe it means asking someone to marry me.
Maybe it means calling someone up and asking them for coffee. Maybe it means apologizing.
The comfort zone is a real place. And it gets smaller every day. You have to push at its borders for it to get bigger.
This is how it gets bigger. This is how, in one year, in five years, in 10, you get more comfortable.
Do something you love but something you are afraid of every day.
3) HAPPINESS = REALITY / EXPECTATIONS
You can’t change reality. But you can lower expectations.
If I’m only going to be happy if I’m President of the Universe then I will probably be unhappy today (although sometimes I really do think I’m President of the Universe and that’s fun also).
Lowering expectations doesn’t mean being a pessimist.
It means enjoying that morning coffee without thinking of anything else.
It means looking at your kids and seeing them for the adults they are blossoming into.
It means don’t judge the people who are toxic to you. Everyone is different and nobody owes anybody an explanation.
It means it’s OK to not run 10 miles today. Life is pretty good if you take the stairs sometimes.
4) LAUGH A LOT
Things are pretty ridiculous out there.
Why are there Google Reviews when you look up “Auschwitz” on Google Maps? (“The customer service was terrible” says a one star review.)
Why are there Google Reviews for the Panama Canal? 30,000 people lost their lives building it and 10% of the world’s global trade goes through it. A one star review: I was upset the whole time I was there because two Panamanian Monkeys were having sex.
For everything you see, try to find something ridiculous about it.
5) THIS IS SO OBVIOUS I DON’T EVEN WANT TO SAY IT
And finally, don’t look at your phone so much. Nobody really wants to talk to you that bad.
And you don’t need to compare yourself to all the other people living on social media.
If you want to live a better life, you have to start by living life.
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