James Altucher has a great mind. His book, Choose Yourself!, was one of my favourite reads of last year. That’s why it’s no surprise that an interview with him is full of thought-provoking pieces of advice. His conversation with David Kadavy, for the Love Your Work podcast, was no exception. Here are seven pieces of advice he gave that everyone should hear.
1. Practice doing things and not just thinking about things.
“Doing things is how you get things done. Productive people do things in little bits and pieces. Start small and get bigger and bigger.”
2. Come up with ten ideas a day
“Because one or two of those ideas in every 1000 or so is always worth pursuing. Get excited about one or two ideas a year.”
3. Figure out how you could be better spending your time
“Make sure you leave open space in your life. I had this friend who was working a 9–5 job so he’d get up at 6 in the morning. leave at 7am and not return until 7pm and then he’d have to play with the kids… and he kept wondering “where is the time in my life to do what my real dream is?” On his commute, he noticed that everyone would either be sleeping or reading the paper, so he would write a page a day of his novel. It took him about a year and he wrote a best-selling mystery novel. So always try and figure out how you could be better spending your time.”
4. On being minimalist
“If you only look at something every five years, you don’t need it.”
5. Remember there’s plenty of time to try anything
“You have to be willing to try anything. There’s plenty of time to try anything. I started a company once, it involved spending a morning writing a business plan and emailing it out. Then those people started emailing it out and it went from there. It only took a few hours to really start a company that got some interest. When you want to light a match, sometimes you have to hit it several times before it lights up.”
6. Real writing is about honesty
“Writing skill is all about digging deeper until you hit that vein of honesty inside yourself. If it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. Most writing that’s out there is not really that good. They might have interesting ideas, but it’s not good writing. Good writing is about being honest. Anyone shocked by transparency just isn’t used to seeing good writing. Real writing is about having a conversation with the world that’s real and not fake.”
7. We’re all making it up as we go along
“The reality is we’re all struggling and trying to figure it out. Choosing yourself is a daily process.”