James Altucher is an author, podcaster entrepreneur and hedge fund manager. He’s also cofounded more than 20 companies and wrote 20 books. And in this article, I’ll be giving you my top takeaways from Reinvent Yourself.
Because James has experienced a lot of success in his life ( and some failures) I think you and I can all learn something from him.
Here are my top 5 takeaways from Reinvent Yourself.
1. ” When you compare, you despair. When you are humble, you learn. When you get curious, you get better. “
Theodore Roosevelt once said, ”Comparison is the thief of joy.” And it’s easy to see why. For example, if you’re overweight, unhealthy and have a long road ahead of you to get the body you desire.
Then comparing yourself to others who are already fit and healthy can be demoralising. You start to think of how long the road ahead is, and you start to doubt your ability to get there.
In the 12 rules for life by Jordan Peterson one of the rules is:
” Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not To Who Someone Else Is Today. “
If you develop this mindset, even making small steps towards your goals can provide you with motivation.
The trick is to make just a little bit of progress every day, and over time that progress adds up and eventually, you’ll achieve your goal.
Why It’s Important To Be Humble
If you’re humble you are without arrogance. And because you won’t embody arrogance you’ll be without ego and you’ll avoid many undesirable situations, that your ego might get you in.
For example, someone who isn’t humble might:
- Not take helpful criticism on board.
- Not see themselves and situations objectively because their ego clouds their judgement.
- Put their needs ahead of the team or organisations needs thereby becoming less effective.
When one person becomes larger than the group or team the mutually desired outcome becomes thwarted.
In successful teams, groups and systems, each individual knows their job. And they work for the goal of the whole system.
A humble person will be able to :
- Take helpful criticism and learn how things can be done better. Putting personal ego aside.
- See themselves objectively and ask for the help of others when needed.
- Sacrifice themselves for the system and the greater goal of the team.
This quote by Benjamin Franklin puts what I’m saying nicely
” Let this be a caution to not always hold your head so high. Stoop, young man ,stoop – as you go through this world – and you’ll miss many hard thumps”.
2. ” I keep telling my kids, if they want to learn to sing, or to tap dance, or draw manga comics, or to do anything, learn everything you can about all the masters in your field over the past 100 years. Learn all of their styles, learn how to mimic them, learn what influenced them. Be able to recognize them at a moment’s glance. And only then will you start to develop your own unique style, which you can only then begin to master. “
Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”.
If you and I wish to make progress in any given sphere we should learn from the best.
This way we’ll be able to make progress faster, and we’ll avoid many failures that others have already made before us.
This reminds me of Law 7 of the 48 laws of power:
Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit – Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed.
3. ” Empowering others empowers you.”
I honestly believe the only way to get on in this world is through service and helping others.
This means to be a giver rather than a taker. And to do the right thing because people appreciate it, I know I do.
When you help others you help yourself, when you degrade others you degrade yourself.
Martin Luther King once said:
” Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. “
Selfishness and not being willing to help others is in fact a disservice to ourselves. But if we can help others we’ll flourish spiritually and economically.
If you set out to help others you’ll reinforce your reputation, and expand your possibility for opportunities.
4. ” Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough.”
I believe that the more you and I can find different ways to help others. The more we can do better financially.
Generally, the people who are earning the most money, people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are providing the most value to others, and that’s why their net worth is so high.
Elon has multiple businesses such as Tesla, Tesla energy (formerly solar city) and Space X. Tesla was ranked as the best selling electrical vehicle manufacturer worldwide.
Elon is clearly providing value to others by manufacturing and selling good looking cars through Tesla that are more economically viable than diesel and petrol cars. And he’s being rewarded handsomely for it. His main focus with Tesla is to make electric cars become mainstream. Which ultimately will be better for the environment and the world.
And I won’t say any more about space x other than providing you with this pithy quote from Elon musks biography.
“Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to … well … save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation. “
5. ” Blaming and complaining are draining. They never solve future problems and they only drain away energy from this moment. “
Blaming and complaining are some of the least productive things you and I can do.
Blaming others for our misfortunes doesn’t make the situation any better.
Complaining about how bad a situation is doesn’t make the situation any better.
In fact, both blaming and complaining are more likely to stir up negative emotions such as anger, envy, and resentment. Whereas not blaming and complaining and just focusing on the task at hand won’t give rise to these unproductive emotions.
Of course, there are scenarios where you should make formal complaints like when you’ve been treated unfairly by an organisation for example.
But generally speaking, blaming and complaining are unproductive. And if you and I look at our actions, we’re mostly responsible for the situations we find ourselves in.
No matter how unsatisfactory a situation is, it’s best to take full responsibility for it and focus on what we can control.
In Will Bowen’s book a complaint free world, he suggests that we take on a 21 day challenge where for the full 21 days we win the challenge only if we don’t complain.
To keep tabs on how many times you complain you can use an elastic band. Wear it on your wrist, and if you complain, put the elastic band on your opposing arm to reset the challenge.
This challenge will bring awareness to how many times you complain. I know it did for me. It teaches you to complain less. And to just pause before you start slurring that draining complaining drivel.
Some More Takeaways From Reinvent Yourself By James Altucher
” Many studies show that the key to contentment and confidence is three things: * Growing competence in a pursuit you love * Strengthening every day the relationships around you * Increasing your freedom of choices. “
” The average book is 60,000 words. If you can write 1,000 words a day then you’ll have six books by the end of the year. “
” So many people ask, “How do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question. If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined. “
The Bottom Line On Reinvent Yourself By James Altucher
I really enjoyed this book. It was digestible and full of practical advice that makes sense. James Altucher is a credible source of information because he’s achieved a lot of things, so he’s definitely worth listening to.
Have you read Reinvent yourself by James Altucher? If you have let me know in the comments below what you thought of it. And if you haven’t I highly recommend that you read it.