I lost a friend.
I didn’t tell her I got married. I didn’t tell anyone. I eloped. Later, I told people.
She wrote me, “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” And she stopped talking to me.
It’s a cliche to say, “Then she wasn’t really your friend.” That’s not true. I thought she was one of my best friends. I was sad.
It’s a cliche to say, “People tell you who they really are. You have to listen.”
Not everyone tells me who they are. And it’s really hard to listen.
“People are really good about making your happiness all about them. She was a thief of your joy.”
But I let her. I think about it. I wish we were friends.
It’s hard to open the door and let the world in every day.
I’m afraid to go against the American religion.
But Warren Buffett said, “You have to say no a lot!”
And some admiral said to make your bed every day.
But what about gratitude and waking up the same time every day? And if you don’t vote, do the terrorists win?
And meditation and working out and Marie Kondo?
Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo!
What the f*ck is up with Marie Kondo?
DON’T MAKE YOUR BED
When you sleep, up to a million microscopic dust mites crawl all over you.
They crawl into your mouth, your nose, and they dig into your skin. You breathe them in all night and they can trigger asthma attacks.
Over $1 billion a year are spent on mite-related illnesses.
Mites survive in moisture and humidity.
Like when a 98-degree human is sleeping in the sheets. But if the sheets dry out when they are left unmade, this will kill off the mites.
Don’t make a bed, save a life.
DON’T KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
I’ve been guilty of daily gratitude. Writing it down. I’m grateful for my kids, etc.
Here’s what happens: It becomes a chore. And then instead of writing down things I’m truly grateful for, I get superficial just to get it over with.
Plus, “happiness” is an addiction. If you get the happiness drug every day, you need more and more to get happy.
Like with any other drug.
Pace it out. “Studies show” writing gratitude once a week and going a bit deeper will result in higher levels of happiness.
I’m vote-shamed every election. I never vote.
Well, I voted once. For town councilman in a tiny town of 100 voters. Three days later, I got a letter from the IRS. They found me.
Now I don’t vote.
People then tell me. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to an opinion.”
People also say, “You don’t care about anything.”
And some people say, “When you don’t vote that’s like voting for [the opponent they hate that week].”
And others say, “How can you work for change if you don’t vote?”
First off, I don’t understand most of the issues enough to feel qualified to vote.
Everyone says, “This tariff WAR is out of control!”
It’s a war? Are guns being fired? Lives lost?
I ask one simple question: What were Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods? Nobody can answer.
I can’t even Google it. I still don’t know the answer. Hard issues are filled with nuances. But everyone has an opinion. I’m anti-opinion.
Secondly, I don’t care if I have a voice.
But I like to tell my stories. Everyone gets to choose what sort of voice they want to have.
Which is why I write. Which is why I respond to many of the emails I get based on my writing. Which is why I give talks and participate in innovations that I think will help humanity.
Part of the reason I care is because I want to make money.
When you create something that will help people, then you can make a lot of money.
I care about people but I also care about money because I want to feed my family and I’m getting older so I don’t want to work so much.
I want to stop giving time to the things I hate so I can give more time to the things and people I love.
Third, when I don’t vote, it doesn’t mean that’s the same as a vote for the candidate you hate. I didn’t vote for him or her either.
Fourth, there are many ways to work for change in life.
It’s really hard to be a good, decent person. Someone who doesn’t try to control the things they can’t control.
Someone who listens. Someone who tries to understand. Someone who is generous.
We are like a stone thrown in the water. If thrown at just the right angle, the stone will hit the ocean and ripples of the water will hit every shore.
The other day I gave a homeless person a Zimbabwe $1 trillion bill.
Every day he stands on the corner of my block and shouts all day long while asking for money.
I gave him the $1 trillion bill. He stopped shouting for a second. He was silent. He turned the bill over and read both sides.
He looked at me. He smiled. That’s change.
DON’T WAKE UP THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY
I tried this once: I slept from 4–8 p.m. and from 4–8 a.m. for a month straight.
I was unemployed and running out of money and doing random things to make enough money to live. I needed to make about $20 a day at the time. I had just been thrown out of graduate school.
I wanted to be a writer. I was trying to write 3,000 words a day.
My friends all worked. So from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. nobody bothered me and I was able to write.
Then I slept. Then from 8 p.m. to about 11 or 12, I would eat dinner and hang out with my friends.
Then I’d write again until 4 in the morning. Then I’d sleep from 4–8 a.m.
Eight hours of sleep a night. I felt great and I was amazingly productive.
For a month I went to sleep an hour later every day and then slept eight hours.
So the first day I woke up at 6 a.m. The second day at 7 a.m. The third day at 8 a.m. Etc.
Mid-month I was sleeping all day and up all night.
I still slept eight hours a day and felt great. The only time I don’t feel great is when I don’t sleep eight hours a day.
Sometimes my sleep schedule was so messed up I couldn’t see my friends. But I was very productive. And other parts of the month I was able to be more social.
I had an hour extra each day and used that extra hour to write. I guess the math works out that I lost a day each month but I only look like I’m good at math.
Plus I enjoyed telling people about my experiment. That was fun.
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 Naku Mayo.