Choose Yourself – James Altucher
I try not to get too engulfed in the self-help/coaching realm, and while James Altucher doesn’t label himself as one, his work typically falls in the category. That said, this book is full of practical insights, not BS and fluff. It is primarily directed towards individuals wanting to pursue a career that’s “non-traditional”, but still has plenty of great insights on the dichotomy of corporatism vs. capitalism.
Choosing yourself is about having confidence in your own work, building a platform and not being defined by the jury-rigged system of tradition. Haters are going to hate whatever you do. “In life, you will always have 30 percent of people who love you, 30 percent who hate you and 30 percent who couldn’t care less.”
Choosing yourself is not about rejecting working at a large company, it’s about ensuring you do what you want to do, and a lot of times that means pursuing a non-traditional path.
Human beings are born pioneers. While capitalism has produced wonders, corporatism has forced us into cubes instead of outside in the world. To harness the freedom and succeed in the Choose Yourself era, James recommends: (1) Only doing things you want, and (2) The Daily Practice. The daily practice is a series of habits aimed at cultivating positive results. Some habits in my daily practice are: reading, running, meditating, learning about business models, and trying new food. A true daily practice has four pillars: (1) physical, (2) emotional, (3) mental, and (4) spiritual.
If you find yourself stuck doing a job only to make sure you are happy in other parts of your life – so the grind doesn’t get you down – a daily practice can help. The daily practice helps open up opportunities so one day you won’t have to rely on the work you don’t want to do. To Choose Yourself is to choose yourself, not letting anyone else decide your career path for you.
Most ultra-successful people were once labeled eccentric, weird or non-traditional. Steve Jobs got fired from the company he founded, then went on to start a new one, and now we have Apple and Pixar. Don’t be an idiot, but if the consequences are minimal, don’t ask for permission, set out and strive for what you want – ask for forgiveness later. The world doesn’t provide autonomy, you have to create it.