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James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, chess master, investor and writer. He has started and run more than 20 companies, including StockPickr, and sold several of those businesses for large exits. He has published 11 books, and is a frequent contributor to publications including The ... more

I Miss Nothing…

Date: Friday, August 5, 2016 1:05 PM EDT

Death_to_stock_photography_Wake_Up_7

They fired me as CEO because I was so bad. A few months later they kicked me off the board of directors. I lost a ton of money and all my friends.

I wish I had just done nothing. I wish I had read books. I wish I had written that novel. I wish I had played more games.

People get up and say, “OK, today is the day of MAGIC!” I have to do DO something.

Why?

I turn on Facebook and there’s all of this “DO” porn. If you aren’t hustling you’re a failure. This is BS.

There’s nothing really to do. The world doesn’t need more DO-ers. A lot of people DO things that are meaningless and then they die.

 


Reading.

Almost every passion I have has been kickstarted by reading a book. Or watching a good movie.

When you read, you absorb the entire life of another person.

Every time I read a good book, it inspires me with ideas. Most of the ideas are really bad. If I did them, it would be stupid. I’d miss out on the next book to read.

But still…one idea out of 10,000 might be worth pursuing. But you have to read a lot by yourself, doing nothing.

 

Enjoying.

I like to walk around and look at people. People are ugly and gross and disgusting. That’s fascinating to me.

I like to play ping pong. Or hang out with my kids. Or make jokes with my friends. Or play chess with homeless people in the park.

Or watch videos of comedy. And laugh.

The opposite of doing. The opposite of loneliness.

 

Peaceful.

Sometimes I feel this pressure, “If I don’t do something then people will forget about me”. It’s anxiety. I hate it.

I asked Ice T once, “if you do nothing, how long will it take for people to forget about you”.

He responded almost instantly, “six months”.

So that’s it: if you don’t DO for six months, you’re forgotten.

But that’s OK with me. I can do nothing forever, and if I decide to do something, I’ll try to make it have enough value that it will have impact.

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