Things you should refuse to worry about in 2018James Altucher
One can’t predict the next year. But one can hope to move in the right direction with every new year. Here are the worries to surrender in 2018.
“You sound like a moron,” one of my closest friends recently told me. It was because I was feeling sick but I haven’t been to a doctor since I was 18.
In one month I turn 50.
The last doctor I went to was my paediatrician before I went to college. I don’t even know what doctors do now.
“You could be a hypochondriac,” another friend of mine told me. “Maybe you’re so afraid you might be sick that you refuse to get a check-up.”
So, I don’t know if I should go to a doctor or get even more scared. Sometimes I’m always scared.
“You have to move into your own apartment,” my friend told me. “Moving around from Airbnb to Airbnb is creepy,” she said.
A few months ago, I finally did it. I was scared to do it. I don’t know why. I don’t like buying things for myself.
I don’t like roots. I don’t like to lock myself into a place. Bad things happened to me when I do that.
But I did it. I didn’t want to be “creepy”.
It was really hard. I have never had a credit card. So I have no credit score. So nobody wanted to rent to me.
And then I had no furniture. I only had one bag with two outfits and a toothbrush and a computer.
I’m 49. I’ve never moved into my own apartment by myself.
“You will feel stable,” my friend told me. “You don’t even realise how good you will feel.”
She’s right. It’s amazing.
I’m still a 14-year-old with acne and braces and afraid to talk to people and begging them to like me.
I beg my children to like me. Sometimes I try to show off just for them.
I want to please people all the time. And I don’t want to disappoint people so I make promises and say “Yes” to things I can’t live up to. And then I disappoint people.
“Aren’t you the guy who wrote The Power of No?”
I can't predict next year. Last year came out 100 percent different than I thought it would.
But I feel like (I hope) I'm moving in the right direction.
And here are the things I hope I don't worry about in 2018.
Please, Force, let me surrender these worries to you:
We need money to pay the bills. I get it. We need money to support our families. We need stability.
I get it. I get it. All my life, I’ve been worried about money. I’m so sick and tired of it.
My parents went broke. I paid for every dime of my college and graduate school.
I moved to NYC with a single garbage bag with an outfit or two in it and lived in a one room apartment with a roommate.
But worrying about money never made me money.
The ONLY times I’ve ever made any money was when I solved someone else’s problem, communicated my ability to solve it for them, and got paid for it.
Look around you. Your friends, your colleagues, your bosses, other companies. Everyone needs help.
And if you are at the right place and the right time, then some of those people will pay you to help them solve a problem. Not always (so you can’t be disappointed), but sometimes.
Right place, right time, right solution, right communication, right execution, right pay. Then repeat.
That’s a business. That’s an income stream. Then make more.
It’s so hard. And it’s there EVERY DAY — the stress of making money. But I won’t worry about it. When I worry, I’m going to look around, solve a problem, communicate, execute, get paid.
I’m completely ignoring politics.
I won't fall for it.
Change happens when YOU and I DO things. Not when we argue.
Everyone has critical issues. No one set of issues you care about will ever align with a perfect candidate who agrees with you on anything.
I’m the father of an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old. The only purpose of war, as far as I can naively tell, is to send teenagers to other countries to kill other teenagers.
I’ve never seen a Senator go off to war. Or a “supreme leader”. Or a king.
This is my main issue.
Kids killing kids. People killing people over hate.
If it all blows up, I don’t really care. I just don’t want my kids to be sent to any war. I wish we had never gotten into the wars we were in, and I don’t know why we are still in them (and why one-third of my taxes goes towards paying for them).
Earlier this year, someone wrote a blog post suggesting I run for governor of NY on the Libertarian Party. For the fun of it, I even met with the actual guy who is running for governor on that party (a party I am not a member of).
I would be the worst governor or congressman or whatever of anything because I have so little cares about what is happening in the world.
Naive or not, that is the way I feel.
Other people’s opinions
Please God, please please please let me not pander to other people’s opinions.
It’s ok to listen. It’s ok to entertain and make people happy. It’s ok to judge your progress with the applause (or lack of) of others.
But never get stuck in a hole where everyone else wants you to be something.
Everyone wants to have a status that’s above you. I need to remember this. To remember that only I have the power to give myself a status.
To never outsource my self-esteem to others. Oh god, please please please.
Anybody who is creative, will start off striving and yearning to be better at what they do.
They see the nuances and the beauty in the art created by masters before them.
I want to have those nuances in the things I do: in writing, in podcasting, in comedy, in career, in whatever I attempt to be creative at.
But people will always hate. And it’s the ones closest to you to be the most careful around. They will hate. Or disappoint. Or accidentally crush you. Or mistakenly make you feel so sad you don’t know how to ever create again.
It’s never the neighbour down the street. It’s the friend you let into your house.
Pandering to what they like, or what the crowd likes, is the one creative sin.
They dig the hole, they put you in a casket, they bury the casket.
But only if you pander to them. Breaking free from the grave might make them angry or disappointed or scared. They don’t want you to escape the nice grave they buried you in.
But it’s the only way to live.
It’s so easy to mortgage the present in exchange for a better future.
To think: if only she/he were like THIS, then I would be HAPPY.
To think: if only I had this amount, then I will be a SUCCESS.
If only, this effort works, then I will be WHERE I WANT.
The fibre of life is consumed by our souls only when we squeeze all of the juice out of the current moment. Ugh. That sounds like a cliché.
Also, it’s a cliché to say, “be mindful of the current moment”.
So how else can I say it?
What can I be grateful for right now?
Hmmm. Cliché also.
We are insignificant on this tiny dot. Cliché.
I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just not going to worry about it.
Every day I feel like I'm disappointing someone. I don't try to. But it happens.
I'm sorry I can't do everything I promised. I'm sorry I let you down. But it happens. We can work it out. Or not. But I can't worry about it anymore.
I'm doing my best. Please believe me.
I love to do what I love doing, regardless of personal benefit.
Podcasting makes me zero. Writing makes me zero. Almost everything I do makes me zero and costs me aggravation if I let it.
This past year I started doing stand-up comedy up to six nights a week. I’ve always loved it. And I’ve always analysed it. But now I’m trying to get good at it. TRYING. It’s so HARD. AGGHHGHAH!!!
And it’s so “in your face”.
I go on the stage, and I say things, and they might not respond how I want. Right then, they might not like me, or they might not understand me, or they might not care. Or they might be tired or drunk.
Or I might be just bad.
I videotape each set. I watch it. I write more. I study. I talk to comedians. I try to learn. Every time I go on stage I want it to be better than the last time.
But in a microcosm, it represents every attempt I have at pleasing others.
My one NEW mantra for comedy, and my one mantra for going on TV, or having a meeting, or being with friends, or being with family, or being with a life partner, or being with colleagues:
THE PARTY IS WHERE I AM AT
And everyone who wants to join in is invited.
Those are the things I will try (please please please) not to worry about in 2018.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)