Take Charge of Your Life With This Daily Practice
James Altucher writing on free thinking…
If you want to survive in the idea economy you have to come up with a new way of thinking. A new way of having ideas. A new ways of interacting with the outside universe.
You’re in crisis…and you’re not alone.
Time to change.
Time to become an idea machine.
People know what “runner’s high” is.
It’s when you are running for a long time, at the point of exhaustion, and then something kicks in and gives you a “second wind”.
The same thing happens in the brain.
When you are about to die, a second wind kicks in…
Ideas, experiences, opportunity, and probably hidden forces and neurochemicals we don’t understand.
But you can’t get runner’s high unless you’re already in good shape.
Unless you are already able to run long distances.
This is why it’s important to exercise the idea muscle right now.
If your idea muscle atrophies, then even at your lowest point you won’t have any ideas.
How long does it take this muscle to atrophy?
The same as any other muscle in your body: After just two weeks without having any ideas…atrophied.
Ideas are the currency of life.
Money gets depleted until you go broke.
But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, save your life.
Financial wealth is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.
I’ve often written about the idea muscle as part of what I call my “daily practice”.
Every day I have to check the box on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
Sometimes people ask, “Did you only start coming up with ideas because you already had it made?”
Answer: I was on the floor crying because I was dead broke and dead lonely and had no prospects so that’s why I had to do it.
Early 2009 was one of those times…
I was full time either trying to find a girlfriend or I was trying to start a business or both. I was also going broke in the stock market and losing my home.
Every night, I’d have waffles for dinner and a bottle of wine and start writing ideas down.
This is before I went paleo (no waffles) and stopped drinking alcohol (five years sober) and I was writing 10 to 20 of the most ludicrous ideas a day down.
And you know what? It worked…
So, take a waiter’s pad:
• Go to a local cafe.
• Maybe read an inspirational book for 10 to 20 minutes.
• Then start writing down ideas.
Hold on a second.
The key here is just…write 10 ideas.
Why a waiter’s pad?
• A waiter’s pad fits in your pocket so you can easily pull it out to jot things down.
• A waiter’s pad is too small to write a whole novel or even a paragraph. In fact, it’s specifically made to make a list. And that’s all you want, a list of ideas.
• A waiter’s pad is a great conversation starter if you are in a meeting. Someone at the meeting will eventually say, “I’ll take fries with my burger” and everyone will laugh. You broke the ice and you stand out.
• A waiter’s pad is cheap. You can get about 100 for $10. This shows you are frugal and don’t need those fancy moleskin pads to have a good idea.
Why 10 ideas?
If I say, “write down 10 ideas for books you can write” I bet you can easily write down four or five. I can write down four or five right now.
But at six it starts to get hard. “Hmmm,” you think, “what else can I come up with?”
This is when the brain is sweating.
Note: When you exercise in the gym, your muscles don’t start to build until you break a sweat. Your metabolism doesn’t improve when you run until you sweat. Your body doesn’t break down the old and build the new until it is sweating.
The poisons and toxins in your body don’t leave until you SWEAT.
The same thing happens with the idea muscle. Somewhere around idea number six, your brain starts to sweat. This means its building up.
Break through this. Come up with 10 ideas.
When you’re an idea machine, everything you look at breaks down into a collection of ideas, just like physical objects ultimately breakdown into collections of particles if your eyes were subatomic microscopes.
Your eyes and brain become sub-idea microscopes that see the ideas that become the building blocks for everything in society.
See them, build them, change them, seed them, birth them, love them, live them.
Ideas are the dark matter of the universe.
We know it’s there…but only those “in the know” can see them.