I couldn’t get out of bed. I’d try to play with my kids. I’d try to read. To learn! Anything. Any f***ing thing. Nothing. Ugh.

“Kids always make you happier!” Everyone would lie to me. What a piece of BS that is.

When I saw my kids I would think, “They just lost their shot at happiness because I’m such a horrible dad, provider, person.”

I couldn’t go to a gym and exercise. (“But it’s a natural antidepressant!”) I couldn’t meditate. My mind was firing off too many thoughts.

I would cancel going to parties or visiting family. I just couldn’t handle seeing anyone happy.

I had no energy to actually WORK at something. Just, please god, help me get out of this gutter because I’m sinking, sinking, sinking.

1% a day. Compounded, 3,800% a year. Which makes you so much different. So much better.

I wanted it. Give it!

If what I needed to do required skill, I’m sure I’d be dead now. If they required me to “HUSTLE AND GRIND!” I’d be dead by now.

People say, “Make your bed before you change the world.”

I couldn’t make my bed. I was simply useless. I stopped paying my mortgage. I stopped showing up to everything.

But I did these 10 things that require zero talent every day. Or, at least, I tried to.

Again, 1% a day is 3,800 TIMES BETTER IN A YEAR.

When I had money and I was on my way up, everyone was my friend. I’d go to a Christmas Party and I’d hear people say, “That’s Mark’s internet friend.”

I felt popular. I felt liked.

So when I went down and all my friends, and even my family, started to disappear, I didn’t know what to do.

Are all people fake? I don’t think so. But maybe most people are.

Around June 2002 I started to do these things. And it was like the air would kiss me when I walked around. I felt that first stirring. Something waking up.

Like I was pregnant with thoughts and ideas that were just starting to come to life.

I was scared. But less so. I still felt like I was going to be dead. That nothing could save me.

But now I am still alive.


  1. Reading
  2. Writing 10 bad ideas a day
  3. Laughing
  4. Being kind
  5. Playing
  6. Going outside for 20 mins
  7. Deep breaths
  8. Being vulnerable
  9. Connecting to people
  10. Eight hours of sleep



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 Karolina Grabowska.