I’m on a reading frenzy lately due, in part, to a torn ligament in my foot that has temporarily suspended me from my favorite hobby: dancing. But I am naturally a voracious reader, so this is like me reading while drinking Red Bull. Books are scattered everywhere. On and all around my desk, on the nightstand, in the bed, on the dining table, and let’s not forget my Kindle reader. You get the picture.
One of my recent reads is James Altucher’s book, The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth. I picked it up from the local library resell shelf for a buck. It didn’t take long for me to become a fan. I like Altucher’s straightforward way of writing and his unfiltered truths. It takes courage to write in a way that shares one’s successes, while also unabashedly laying out your garbage. Altucher, an entrepreneur, bestselling author, venture capitalist, and podcaster, proudly shares that of the 20 companies he’s started, most of them failed. He’s made and lost millions. He’s learned from his experiences, and he shares that wisdom in everything he does.
What’s saved him, he says, is his ability to come up with new ideas. Lots of them. Every day. In fact, he advocates that everyone should take the time to write down at least ten ideas every day. He claims that doing so can change your life.
In September of last year, Fortune magazine published the article, James Altucher: The Most Interesting Man in the World by Brian Rashid. Why does Rashid, CEO and creator of “A Life in Shorts,” a modern day branding, digital media, and communications company, think Altucher is all that? He lists 21 reasons, all convincing except for maybe the fact that Altucher once played poker every night for a year. But hey! Who am I to judge another man’s amusement? The point I’m making is that James Altucher is leaving lasting impressions on others. Many of them life changing.
In 2011, Andrew Lynch was nearing graduation from the University of Leeds and questioning his next steps. He’d found Altucher’s website, read one of his books, and was desperate for advice. So he emailed Altucher asking for advice never really expecting him to respond.
Altucher responded, even though he had received 1,500 emails that day. He wrote a lengthy reply providing the counsel that Lynch was seeking. You can read the email exchange on Lynch’s blog in a post he titled, Everyone should be more like James Altucher. Did Altucher make a difference? I’ll let you decide. Lynch is now a finance professional, private investor, and writer. In 2015 he published The Daily Practice Journal, designed around the principles of Altucher’s daily recommended practice.
What does all this have to do with figuring out how to do more of what you love? It boils down to opening yourself up to the closeness of the match. Saying yes when you have opportunities to do something that is similar to what you are looking for, but… not quite. In the article “James Altucher: This is the secret to doing what you love” Altucher gives several examples of people who risk opportunities because they say no instead of yes.
For example, the Uber driver who had a chance to write for a television show, but was holding out for cinema. Or the musician working in a clothing store because she refused to DJ weddings, even though the latter would make it easy for more people to find her music. Altucher goes on to describe the success of people who’ve said yes in similar circumstances. These “yeses” often turned into opportunities for them to do what they loved in big ways.
Think of saying yes to the “almost, but not quite” like following bread crumbs to find your way home to what you most love.
The key, according to Altucher, is the transition!
Don’t feel bad; I’m guilty of doing the same thing. And this is why I’m embracing Altucher’s good advice and willing to say yes more often. In fact, I’m committing to action even if the “yeses” look a little sideways to the path.
What do you need to say “yes” to? How might that change your life?
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to find out. Let the adventures begin!
Sheila Callaham is an author, motivational coach, and longtime communications and change management professional.