I came across this article two weeks ago and I thought it was meaningful and something I want to apply in my life like today. Ok maybe tomorrow, since it’s going to be night soon. There were many things that the author said that accurately reflected my personal values and how I feel about certain things in life. He had articulated it so well that I only need to summarise the main points in a succinct way that allows me to memorise and then practise them diligently.
My ONLY Three Goals in Life
A) I want to be happy.
B) I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life.
C) I want every day to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.
That’s it. I’m not asking for much.
There were times in my life when I would feel lost, aimless and without a hope in the world. I haven’t figured out how I bounced back or if there were some common things that I did to set me on the right path. Until now.
According to Altucher, there are four daily steps one can take to be incredibly lucky all the time. And I have read enough self-help books in my lifetime to know exactly where he is coming from. Many successful entrepreneurs, top chief executives and wealthy people have said similar things. So I agree.
Altucher’s daily practice
A) Physical – being in shape and get at least eight hours of sleep every night. All you need to do is exercise enough to break a sweat for 10 minutes every day so that’s about 20-30 minutes worth of exercise a day. You can run, you can do hot yoga, pilates, kickboxing or any other form of exercise.
“This is not to get ‘ripped’ or ‘shredded’. Just enough to be healthy,” Altucher says. “You can’t be happy if you aren’t healthy.”
Spending 15 minutes exercising also helps your mind deal with its daily anxieties better.
“If you can breathe easy when your body is in pain, then it’s easier to breathe during difficult situations,” Altucher says.
Other tips include sleeping by 9pm and waking up at 5am every day and no eating after 5:30pm to stave off indigestion. I will try the “no eating” rule first before I attempt to wake up at 5am.
B) Emotional – Remove people who saps your emotional strength away. Very important. You can’t be happy if people around you makes you miserable.
“If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer. Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first. Family, friends, people I love – I always try to be there for them and help. But I don’t get close to anyone bringing me down. This rule can’t be broken. Energy leaks out of you if someone is draining you. And I never owe anyone an explanation. Explaining is draining.”
Another rule that Altucher advocates is to always be honest without being hurtful and never do anything you do not want or like.
C) Mental – Write a list of as many ideas as you can every day. It can be 100 alternatives you can do without being trapped in a full-time job, 30 ways to write your autobiography, 10 realistic home business ideas, 10 great ideas for a New York Times bestseller book or 10 ways to be a popular blogger.
Other suggestions from Altucher are “memorise all the legal two-letter words for Scrabble. Translate the Tao Te Ching into Spanish. List every productive thing you did yesterday (this improves memory also and gives you ideas for today)”.
The “idea muscle” atrophies within days if you don’t use it. You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.
D) Spiritual – It doesn’t mean praying to a certain god or being involved in a religion. It’s cultivating strong belief in something. Like how I asked my friend that night during dinner if she is a devotee of any religion and she said: “I pray to the Universe. That’s the biggest and most powerful force out there.”
I agree. So does Altucher and many others out there, I believe.
Pray – doesn’t matter if I’m praying to a god or to dead people or to the sun or to a chair in front of me – it just means being thankful for just a few seconds of the day.
Meditate – This is something new that I am trying out. It’s hard. And the thought of sitting motionlessly for even five minutes bores me out. But the same friend told me that I can search for Reiki music on YouTube and start from there.
All I have to do is sit in a quiet corner of my room and learn to watch my breathing for a few minutes a day. She said as I inhale, try to mentally dissect that one breath into 100 little breathes in my mind and let it flow. There should not be any thoughts of “Ok that’s one breath, two, three breaths” in my head during the process. There is also no need to visualise a white canvas and putting my thoughts on it. Once I can calm my body down long enough to remove any internal dialogue, I will realise how easy and natural meditating is.
I asked her: “But how would I know if I have achieved meditation?”
She immediately shot back (rather agitatedly): “You will know!”
I remember reading somewhere that meditation is essentially blanking your mind out for a few seconds to a few minutes without any distractions. For example, if a beautiful scenery took your breath away for two minutes and all you could do is stare at it without thinking anything else, that’s meditation in a way because you had nothing on your mind for those two minutes.
I asked my friend if meditating will make me a calmer person and stop me from thinking thoughts that I shouldn’t waste my time on or be affected by. She said I can’t stop thoughts from entering my head, all I can do is watch the thought, acknowledge it, desensitise myself from it and send it away.
Be grateful and forgiving – Think of everyone in your life you’re grateful for and visualise forgiveness (not pity) for everyone who has done you wrong.
Study – If I read a spiritual text (doesn’t matter what it is: Bible, Tao Te Ching, anything Zen-related, even inspirational self-help stuff), I tend to feel good.
While it does not train your mind to cut out the bullshit, Altucher says reading them will still make you feel good. I personally enjoy reading self-help books and articles on creativity, productivity and career success. I agree about the feel-good factor. Reading always fills me up with positivity and optimism that I can change my life.
A) Within about one month, I’d notice coincidences start to happen. I’d start to feel lucky. People would smile at me more.
B) Within three months, the ideas would really start flowing, to the point where I felt overwhelming urges to execute the ideas.
C) Within six months, good ideas would start flowing. I’d begin executing them, and everyone around me would help me put everything together.
D) Within a year, my life was always completely different – 100% upside down from the year before. More money, more luck, more health, etc.
It’s definitely going to be hard following all the steps in the daily practice every day. I know I would get lazy after the third day. But I know if I do it faithfully, I would be even luckier than I am now.