I was a weak person.

Every day I would walk by my boss’s office, hoping he would call me in and compliment me.

Once a woman liked me, I would always blow it by being clingy. I would call ten times in a night.

One time a woman I had only gone on one date with answered in the middle of the night and said, “Have you been calling all night?”

I said, “No” and never spoke to her again.

I was afraid to have children. I was afraid they would take away my freedom.

If I don’t call someone back, I start to think, “OK, I will call them tomorrow.” I think that every day and then never call them back because I’m afraid they will yell at me.

I “ghost” people I don’t like instead of dealing with confrontation.

So I wanted to be stronger.

This is my theory:

I have a public persona and an inner persona. The two should match. When they don’t match, it’s like you are a sociopath.

A sociopath figures out what to say and do in order to provoke a certain response in people.

Smile, shake hands, ask about their lives, smile again, touch their shoulders = good behavior that people will like.

When people say they have a “personal brand” what they are really saying is “I am a sociopath but people will think I’m a super genius guru”.

I want my inner persona to be the same as my outer persona.

I thought: what are my core values? That every day I have to live by, regardless of my outer circumstances?

I can’t just live these values when things are good. I have to live them when things are at their worst.

That’s what values are. That’s what a foundation is.

For 15 years, when I was on a non-stop quest for money, I didn’t have these values. I had bits and pieces but I was so desperate for financial security that I ended up not living by core values.

At the end of those 15 years, I was broke and near-homeless and without family. Blah. I wrote that line before.

But one day I said: screw it. And for my ’10 ideas a day’ I wrote down a list of core values and I’ve lived by them (or analyzed them when I failed to live by them) ever since.

Have things gotten better?

I guess so. Maybe a lot better. But it no longer matters. My core foundation is there.

Now I can build. I can build whatever I want on that foundation. I can build the highest tower and kiss the stars.

Here they are:

  3. LOVE
  10. RELAX

James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Hannah Petersen.