The James Altucher Show

The James Altucher Show

United States

Altucher Show Description

Episodes

Ep. 224 - Dave Asprey: Live Like a Biohacker (Activate Untapped Brain Energy, Work Smarter & Think Faster)  

  Dave Asprey is the creator and bestselling author of “The Bulletproof Diet.” He biohacks health. And discovers innovative ways to live longer, lose weight, increase brain function and evolve better. My brain isn’t hacked (yet). So I needed to talk to Dave. We did a podcast and I asked him “how do you evolve better?” Shortcuts: - [14:00] - Energy is scarce. We get tired. So I asked Dave what he does specifically to enhance his energy levels? - [21:40] - Aging is scary… Dave told me what he takes every day to slow down the aging process. This is importance because the environment is affecting how we age. We live in WIFI dense areas. We’re constantly stressed. Our diets fluctuate and so on. “We call it aging. Over time, your ability to power your body goes down, and that doesn't have to happen. It is within your control to fix it,” he said. “You can tell the battery in your body to recondition itself and you can give it a better power source. Or you can let it slowly grind down…” - [39:50] - I never know what to eat. Once time I went on an all fruit diet. Another time I fasted for three days and passed out while playing ping pong with friends. Dave told me what to eat and what to avoid. He even told me which foods are worse than cigarettes. - [44:40] - “I like to go all in,” Dave said. He told me exactly what he does from the moment he wakes up. - [53:00] - I asked Dave, “What do we do to evolve better?”  He told me how to take charge of your body and manage stress.   -- Hey James here. Thanks so much for listening. If you like the show, subscribe! I have new episodes every week. 

Ep. 223 - Scott Steindorff: The Search For Your Own Authenticity  

The cocaine made his throat close. “I was about to die”. He wanted to be an actor. He wanted to be creative. He had dreams. And working real-estate for his father wasn’t one of them. “I didn’t want to come down,” he said. “Why’d you do it?” “I really wasn’t happy with myself,” he said. “I believe it was because I wasn’t my authentic self doing what I really wanted to do in my life.” “Nepotism got me the job.” And it was killing him. He was suffocating. Now Scott Steindorff is the producer of “Empire Falls,” “Chef,” (one of my all time favorite movies), “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” and more. He’s worked with Paul Newman, Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, the list goes on. The other day he called me, a few days after we shot the project, to tell me about brand new projects he was working on  that were different than anything he had done before. He is constantly testing the limits of his creativity. I wanted to know how he became his “authentic self.” How did he go from being depressed and self-medicated to a successful and happy movie producer? I wanted to know because I don’t think we ever really know. I think part of self-awareness is never quite getting there but always moving (hopefully) in the right direction. And creativity is something that needs to be  constantly reinvented. Once creativity stays the same, it is no longer creative. Scott found a way to constantly be creativity. I want to learn how. “It’s not easy at all,” he said. “You have to do the leg work.” “What’s the leg work?” I asked Here’s what he said:   Step 1: FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE CRAVING These are the two types of cravings: a) Depletion: Your body needs something. It can be water, a vitamin or mineral or a change. That’s where reinvention comes in. b) Addiction: I felt powerless. I was addicted to money. More was never enough. Then I left Wall Street. Because they were the supplier. Scott wanted euphoria. He craved it. “I grew up wanting to be a skier and an actor and here I was in an office making money,” Scott said. “I started craving that feeling of euphoria and excitement and passion for life.” So he started doing cocaine. “Nobody knew I had a problem,” he said. ” I would do it by myself. So when I checked into rehab, it was a shock to my family.” The patients had to drink some type of alcohol until they threw up. “By the second day, I said to the doctor, ‘This isn’t working for me. I’m a cocaine addict not an alcoholic.” He thought they’d try something new. He thought they’d help. No. “Well… leave,” the doctor said. “There was a shift in my consciousness. I went to my room. I cried uncontrollably for 24 hours. All the stress and pressure left me and from that moment on I haven’t used for almost 33 and a half years.” “What do you mean the stress left you?” I said. I couldn’t imagine. He told me it just left. No explanation. He just saw his own choice. And he took it. I think most people don’t know what they really want in life. We talked about adapting. And I said it seems like you have to surrender and be okay with the changes…  even while you’re depressed. “Isn’t depression a lack of your expression?” he said. I never thought of it that way. Maybe I’m filling one need with sand when I really crave water.   Step 2: ASK QUESTIONS I’m not in a 12-step program, but I want to understand who I am as my authentic self. So I asked what can I do right now? “Ask yourself questions,” he said. “How Am I feeling? How do I feel about myself, do I love myself, am I feeling less than? Do I feel guilt?” “But what if you’re lying to yourself?” “You can’t lie to yourself,” he said. “You’re just denying the truth. If you’re listening to this, it’s coming to the surface. Don’t push it down.”   Step 3: ACT IT OUT It’s easy to come up with ideas. It’s harder to act on them. I always say, actions are more important than words, which are more important than thoughts. It’s not about one skill set. It’s about how you meld them together and act on them. Scott laughed and said, “I have very few skills in life…” I didn’t quite believe him. He had skills to do real estate. To make movies. To be creative. I have skills. But we always compare ourselves to what the “next level” is. And I can’t help it. I do it also. So, again, it’s the direction that counts. And fully engaging in the process.   Scott would surrender. If an opportunity presented itself, and it excited his need for creativity, he would say “yes”. It never hurts to try the next steps in whatever endeavor presents itself. Try it on like you try an outfit to see if you want to wear it for the summer. See if it fits. See if you love it. And if you do, go all in. Scott’s story is not about movies, or addiction, or creativity, it’s about knowing the right direction to take the next step.   Step 4: MAKE SMALL CHANGES EVERYDAY Scott quit his dad’s real-estate firm. “Was he supportive?” I asked. They didn’t talk for two years… Scott became a millionaire. He was still in real-estate, though. And unhappy. Then the market crashed. “It crushed me,” he said. Scott changed careers every five years or so. Now he’s 56. And he’s working on a Joan of Arc movie, a new TV series based in the Bahamas, and a script for “Station 11.” Any time he liked a book, he’d try to buy the movie rights. Then he’d try to get the movie made. Sometimes it would work. Sometimes it would be a massive success. But always he tried, starting with the simplest step. The story he told me was a combination of luck, learning skills, building a network, and acting on the intersection of all of the above. But more than anything, it’s being open to surrender. Surrendering to constant reinvention. Reinvention is a habit not an event.

Ep. 221 - Tucker Max: The Difference Between People Who Succeed and People Who Don't  

“You and I both know what happened to you 18 months ago," he said. "If you don’t write about it, you will die as an artist.” Tucker's sold over 3 million copies of his books. I know I'm going to have to listen to him. Maybe later. ----- I’ve known Tucker many years. I can safely, say, I’ve been in the trenches with Tucker. We’ve both started businesses since then, published books, invested together, and cried (well, I did) together since we’ve met. In one of the worst personal disasters of my life, Tucker was there. He was there for the beginning, middle, and end. I always ask myself ‘who is in my scene’? What’s a Scene? I consider it: - the people I learn from - the people who I can count on - the people who challenge me to work harder and rise to my potential (and I can do the same for) - the people I can call when I am confused or troubled, and the people who are there for me no matter what. Ask yourself: Who is in your scene? --- Without a scene, it is much harder to succeed. Ask Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jack Kerouac, Andy Warhol, Sara Blakely and many many others who have risen to the top of their fields throughout history. Tucker and a few others have been in my scene for years. So I visited him. Talked reinvention, writing, and his current business success. Here’s the top five things I learned: A) THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO SUCCEED AND PEOPLE WHO DON’T “No one has ever replicated anything I did because they looked at the surface. They didn’t actually understand the underlying input.” “What do you mean by input?” I asked. “People look at my writing and they say, ‘I get drunk, I fall down, I yell curses… I’m going to write really arrogant things. Then I’ll get the same attention Tucker Max gets.’ But that never works.” “I was opening my soul,” he said. “I was being honest. Anybody trying to mimic me forgot the honesty part.” That’s the work. That’s the input. “If you want to boil it down, people who succeed are worried about input. People who don’t succeed are worried about output.” ---- B ) DIFFERENT > BETTER Spaces are getting crowded. Anyone can blog. Anyone can make a youtube video. Self-publishing is growing. And they’re handing out podcasts at all the major international airports. More and more people are getting creative. More creativity = more competition. So how do you stand out? Micro-tribes. “I’m talking about being different, which is not the same thing as being better,” Tucker said. “When I started writing, I wrote emails for my friends and my only measurement for whether the emails were good or not was whether those nine guys thought it was funny. There was no arguing. If they did, it was good. If it didn’t, it was bad.” This reminded me of how Craig from Craigslist built his company. Started out with an email, with the sole intention of providing pleasure for his friends. Provide benefit for the few, and then you can scale to provide benefit for the many. Tucker found his micro-tribe. And it grew. Because his did this... --- C) TELL THE TRUTH People send me articles all the time, "Can you read this?". I read one the other day. “How to survive a breakup” But the author left out his story. Advice is autobiography. Don’t give me advice from the mountaintop. Tell me the story of the struggle. Of how you were the very reluctant hero, who was called into action for better or worse, who climbed the mountaintop, who now has the knowledge. Your story is the only test: Are you original? “I’ll give you a super simple trick to being original,” Tucker said. “Tell the truth. The hard truth that everybody thinks and nobody says.” --- D) ASK YOUR QUESTION Last week I did seven podcasts. I probably asked 1000 questions. So I asked Tucker, “What’s the skill? How does one become a good writer?” He had one answer: Self-evaluate. Tucker asks himself three questions: Am I what I think I am? Am I who I want to be? Am I good at this or not? It gave me food for thought. Sometimes the more I work hard at something, I realize the worse I am. I want to improve. --- E) WAS HE WRONG TO REJECT JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE? Tucker destroyed his own movie. "You will die as an artist," I said, laughing, "if you don't fully write this story." “I’ll never forget,” he said. “It was the night of my birthday… the night I knew the movie was a failure.” “Why’d you turn down Justin Timberlake for your movie?” “It’s embarrassing,” he said. I said, “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. I'll never write about it. I promise." “I was convinced the Tucker Max character was going to be huge and I wanted it to be about me, not the actor.” He was sorry. But, listen, if only 30% of our decisions are correct, we will have very successful lives. At least, that’s how it seems to me. And it's how you take a bad decision and later convert it into wisdom that is the true test of future success. “The same thing that screwed up my movie, happened in my company. This time I recognized it early enough to see what I was doing.” He decided to step down from CEO of his company, Book in a Box. He still works there. Just not as CEO. “It was a really hard decision,” he said, “but I knew it was right because as soon as I made it, I felt a thousand pounds lighter.” ---- Since hiring his replacement as CEO, his business has grown 400% in the past year. “Book in a Box” takes non-writers and helps them get their first book out the door. It’s a great idea for a business. I wish I had invested. After the podcast I had the chance to meet the newest baby in his family. And after that I started to think about how I could avoid dying as an artist. I need to step up my game.

Ep. 220 - Matt Mullenweg: Do You Have Your Own Internal "Code"  

I have a rule. After every podcast, I write down 10 things I learned. I don't know if anyone else does this. Do you do this? Some people make illustrations. They send me what they've learned. It's a creation of a creation of a creation. A drawing of a podcast of someone's life.   But I broke my rule. It's been over a month. And my brain is digging for the lessons from my interview with the creator of Wordpress. I think I have Alzheimer’s. Matt was 19 years old when he started Wordpress. It was 2003. Now Wordpress.com gets more traffic than Amazon.com.   The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both use Wordpress. I use Wordpress.   I wanted to know if it’s still worth the time and effort to make your own site. He said it is. That’s how you break out...   "We're trying to revitalize the independent web,” Matt Mullenweg said. He’s 33 now. "It's not like these big sites are going anywhere. They're fantastic. I use all of them, but you want balance. You need your own site that belongs to you... like your own home on the Internet."   This is part of Matt’s code. Not Wordpress’s “code.” Matt’s like a robot. I mean that as a compliment. There are many signs of this: language, ability, he’s very exact.   I had to interrupt. He was talking in code. And it was my job to translate.   He said, "If I send you a unit of work...”   "I don't mean to interrupt,” I said. “I'm a little bit of an interrupter. So I apologize in advance, but you talk in a very code-like language… 'a unit of work.’ How about ‘a task?’ That works as well."   He laughed. And thanked me for translating. The podcast continued.   He told me about his personal code (again, robot).   People have values. Geniuses and other advanced forms of life  have “code.” So here’s Matt’s...  A) Measure what’s important to you.   Matt wrote a birthday blog. He does this every year to measure what’s changed. It lists how many books he’s read over the past year, countries he traveled to and so on.   He’s very specific.   It’s a measurement of his personal freedom. He can see where time went. And if he chose himself. “You cannot change what you don’t measure,” Matt said.   So this year, I wrote a birthday blog.  B) Own the work you do "Other sites provide space,” he said. “They provide distribution in exchange for owning all of your stuff. You can't leave Facebook or Twitter and take all of your followers with you."   That’s why he recommends having your own website. It’s yours. Not Facebook’s. Not Business Insider’s or Huffington Post’s. It’s yours.   When I first started jamesaltucher.com, I picked a template, posted a blog, shared a link on Twitter and within 3-4 minutes I had traffic.  C) Ignore concern Matt dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco when he was 20.   “Were your parents upset?”   “They’ve always been supportive,” he said. “But they were concerned.”   That didn’t stop him. He had direction. And when you know where you’re going, you don’t ask for directions.   Sometimes I feel like I’m driving with the wrong address in my GPS. And Siri won’t stop re-routing.   So what I learned from Matt: Reroute yourself as many times as it takes. Reinvent.   Put someone else’s concern for your wellbeing on your gratitude list. But don’t let it stop you. Don’t let it get in the way of your code.  D) The myth of loyalty When Matt moved and started his first job, he made more than his dad did.   “I got an amazing salary,” he said.   I kept wondering if his parents were upset. I don’t know why.   “Were they upset?”   He said no. Again. But then he explained. “Learning spreads organically.” And when he moved, it helped spark possibility for his dad.   “He worked at the same company for 26 or 27 years. He more than doubled his salary when he left. It made me so sad. I never want anyone to be in the situation my dad was in,” he said. “He gave the loyalty of decades and they didn’t return that loyalty…”   Why? Because they were following a different code. The “employee code” is not the same as the “employer code.”   I don’t measure much. I try to let my life float by. And I hope to help people feel free enough to live by their own codes too. Like Matt and his dad.   That’s how I measure what’s important to me. Am I supportive? Of myself and o

Ep. 319 - Jessica Banks: Dare of The Day  

She said, I am an introvert but had to develop tricks to fake being an extravert because of where I worked. I said, Do you think everyone in LA is an extravert? She said, I don’t know. Maybe they are all faking. We were at a party. I had been sleeping but a friend called me up and said “you have to go this party three blocks away from you.” So I did. Why? Because why not? Sometimes you know to say no. But to surrender to the moment, if nobody is getting hurt, sometimes you say yes. I went. It was crowded and I knew some of the people and some of the people I didn’t. I didn’t know her but we were introduced. “You have to ask her for [X} favor,” the introducer whispered to me. But I never got around to the favor. I said, can you tell me some of the tricks? I asked because sometimes I feel I don’t really know how to live and look like a normal person. Sometimes I like being home and writing and reading all day because that passes for human without me having to see, or touch, or talk to anyone. When I go outside, I often feel unhinged. Like I could float away. So I wanted to know. She didn’t tell me at first. Please. Ok, she said, sometimes I would do what I call a “dare of the day”. I would do something that I might be scared to do or was out of my comfort zone. I said, like what? She didn’t want to tell me. Please. She squinted her eyes at my face then touched my cheek and rubbed her fingers together as if pulling something off my face. I would go up to people, strangers, and pretend to pull a wisp of hair off of their face. That would freak me out, I said. Both doing it and having some stranger touch my face. I would do all sorts of things like that. Ok, I said, I want to try this. Start me off. Tell me more or tell me what I should do tomorrow. She said, I can’t. She made a motion with her fingers around her head the way people do when describing someone who is crazy. She said, Now that i’ve told you this your mind will start working on it. Tomorrow you will wake up and your body will know what to do. She told me the rest of her story, which was fascinating. Stay tuned for the podcast I hope she agrees to do. Then I went home. I woke up and I was upset about something that had happened earlier the day before. My friend Amy then had advice: go and eat pancakes and bacon and photograph it so I know you are eating. You have to prove it to me. I went. I ate. I photographed. Then my body knew what to do. I walked outside and there was a man and his daughter. I held up my hands with palms out, non-confrontational and said, “Good morning!” and they smiled and said good morning back. I started walking home. I saw a couple holding hands. Palms out, Good morning! And you [the girl] I love your blue hair. And you [the boy] I love your jacket. A pretty girl crossing the street. Good morning! She turned away and angled away from me as she walked past. I guess it might be taken the wrong way sometimes. Maybe it might not be attractive. I said to a guy opening up his store. Good morning! He smiled. Hey, good morning, guy. I said it all the way home. I got home. I didn’t feel down anymore. The sun was coming in. I started to write. First I wrote the girl from the party and told her what happened. She wrote back (i’m going to paraphrase), don’t record your dares. That’s why I was hesitant to tell you the dares I did. Ok, other than this one, I won’t. She said it will take a few weeks to figure out your boundaries on dares. Both personal and physical. She said, don’t dare anyone else to do this. I didn’t understand her reason. But maybe it would affect the way I did my own dares. SO DON’T DO THIS. I wanted to leave the party but I had one more question. What did you do after you were working in LA for so long as an assistant. She said, I went to get a PhD in Robotics at [best school in world for Robotics]. She laughed and I think she said, maybe that was a dare for myself also. I went home. I went to sleep. And she was right. My mind was going crazy that night. But in a good way.

Ep. 218 - Debbie Millman: Identity and Impact  

Ben (of Ben & Jerry's) was in the room. He needed a logo. Debbie Millman just started her agency. She was competing against the best ad agencies in New York City. She lost. So she moved on to Burger King. "Why do you think you lost?" "We didn't have insurance," Debbie said. "We didn't have the big, global brand experience to show them." "I'll never forget this," she said. "When we got to Burger King headquarters, we got into a fairly small elevator with the Senior Vice President of Market Research. The door closes. He looks at us and says, 'Don't get your hopes up.'" This is important. Because Debbie Millman never describes herself as an entrepreneur. But she's the perfect example. Entrepreneurship is about putting your all into something, getting rejected and going back into the next room.   Data is taking over. Data is replacing thinking and driving the direction of the future. Data sells confidence. And that's what the brands wanted. Burger King tried changing their logo 7 times in the decade leading up to Debbie's success. So she did focus groups. And studied eye-tracking on the original logo. "We wanted to know what people thought," she said. "We wanted to get a sense of why this was so beloved?" "People do not read first. First and foremost, they see color. Then they see numbers, then shape, and then, if you still have their attention and they understand what you put in front of them, then they will read." A logo is a message. Even if you don't read it. You can recognize logos visually without reading. Our brains know. Then we choose who we belong to. And that's our tribe. Debbie was changing the face of an iconic brand. And change causes fear, which strikes up all the stress hormones in our body. "In order for us to create an identity that was evolving from the original, we had to keep some of those iconic elements." You're original. As a baby, you were a blank canvas. No logo. No brand. No name. And no identity. Then you went to school and made friends and things happened to you. Someone asked me, "who will you always be? Who's James? When you're 4, 14, 24, 34, 44, 84, what parts of you will always be there?" That's what Debbie had to figure out with her brands. She did it with Tropicana, Star Wars, and eventually, she won Ben & Jerry's over too. But after all of this data, all of this color, all of this branding, at the heart of it is the essence of who you are. What is the logo of your heart.  Debbie figured out hers. And created her life around it. Figuring out who we are is the key to having an impact all over the world.  That's what Debbie taught me on this podcast. That's what I try every day to create in my own life.    

Ep. 217 - Tony Robbins: How to Be Fulfilled: Just Start Asking Yourself These 2 Questions  

Tony Robbins stopped by on his birthday. And then he started causing problems. Like he does. "I realize you're high energy," the audio engineer says, looking at Tony, "but when you bang the table it sounds like the whole room is shaking." In 220 podcasts, it's the first time the audio engineer had to interrupt in the middle. "Oh, ok, no problem," Tony says. "I don't want to stop the passion," the audio engineer says. "Don't worry, I'll be good," Tony says. Then the audio engineer went back outside. Tony kept slamming that table. Outside the room, people thought he was going to climb over the table and beat the S**t out of me. But it was all good. BUT... I felt like I had to keep the energy level high. So pretty soon we were both yelling back and forth. He was there because of his new book, "Unshakeable". But we spoke about maybe 1000 topics. Not just the financial world. So let's get right down to it. What did I learn? - EVERY YEAR (on average) THE STOCK MARKET WILL FALL 10% This is great for newspapers. They say, "The world is ending!" and they say it EVERY SINGLE YEAR. And yet it never does. It never did. Even in 2008. The world did not end. The market is at all time highs right now. The key with Tony's book is he shows these statistics not so you can make money off of them but so you DON'T PANIC. Markets move. Ignore the news. - BRING IT Before the podcast I said to Tony, "let's do a fun outtake". I wasn't sure he'd say "yes". We videotaped it (it's on my instagram). He BRINGS IT. It's so much energy I almost had to stutter out my planned line ("I can't see your face on Skype, only your chest"). And when we did the podcast, I felt like I had to yell and really UP my own energy level at least three levels higher just to keep pace with him. I don't know how he does it. SO....! I asked. How do you do it? I want that energy also. Please? - DON'T ASK HOW, INSTEAD ASK 'WHY!?' He finally said, "Enough with the 'how-to'. Don't ask 'how-to' questions". He said, "Ask What and Why?" What is the Result. Why is your purpose. "Why are you getting out of bed in the morning? And what are you going to do about it? "Motive matters and brings energy". He said, "I love lighting people up." That, he said, gives me the energy. When I later found out his schedule, not only was he booked every hour that day with different news sources (he started the day by ringing the bell at the Nasdaq) but IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY. He brings it. - TRADE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR APPRECIATIONS This is critical for well-being. Don't expect the world to provide you with happiness. Every time you find yourself slipping into an expectation, change it in your head into an "appreciation". Find the things you appreciate. Then take ACTION. "It's like a practice," I said. He banged the table. "Exactly!" - MODELING I said, "how do you learn new things?" He said, "Modeling." I said, "Well, I imagine you look great walking down a runway at a fashion show but seriously." He laughed and said, "Look, when I went to write the Money book and then my new book, Unshakeable, I didn't just sit around reading the paper. "I went out with a video crew and interviewed 50 billionaires about how they invest. "I watch what they do. I study how they think. And I see if I can break it down into chunks so that anyone can follow their process." In my last podcast with Tony, two years ago, he described how he learned how expert Marines improve their firing skills even though he had never fired gun before. He described almost the same process then. For me, I know this works. When I want to write, I always read first. When I want to do public speaking, I watch standup comedians (and singers) first. I want to figure out how the best people in the world do something so I can do it 1/100 as good at the very least. When I need energy now, I picture Tony Robbins smashing the table and the audio engineer begging me to slow it down. Well too bad! - SURRENDER TO WHAT YOU CAN'T CONTROL "If your happiness requires other people to behave the way you want them to behave, then what are the chances you're going to stay happy in your life? "You'd have to limit yourself to a small number of humans... who you can control, which is not love." - DON'T WAIT FOR FREEDOM Learn how to deal with stress. That's the path to freedom. Not the other way around He gives many techniques. One of them is to learn to appreciate the things around you. But more than that, he says. Take, "Massive Action". Show people you appreciate them. Take steps forward in a career. Feed your mind. Help someone. Cultivate great thoughts. Strengthen your body. Participate. "You activate your body's chemistry." "Doing nothing, you learn nothing". How do you do this? Again, "How brings in fear". You have to have an emotional purpose. Something more than yourself. Purpose is "why?" Find a role model so that you realize that what you want is attainable for you. - DON'T NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR MIND He said to me, "what are the two things you are most worried about in life?" No problem. I didn't hesitate. "I constantly worry about going broke and that someone will cheat on me." He leaned forward. "EVERYBODY IS WORRIED ABOUT THOSE TWO THINGS!" he said. "That's not your worries. That's the mind's worries. It's in everyone's mind." Don't bother negotiating with your mind. It's there to protect you but it's used to the jungle from 50,000 years ago. Find things that are bigger than just you. Make those things your purpose. Your reason for living. They can change. But they will be the things that take you to freedom. Not your mind. And, he said, when I am afraid to do something, that's when I do it! - LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO SUFFER "I had mercury poisoning this past year. I also had a problem with my back that could have been critical. "But I did a ton of research. I spoke to many doctors and other people with similar problems. I worked on my own issues and did not let them bring me down." "I am responsible to choose my own happiness," he said. I think I'm paraphrasing. We spoke about so many things I can't remember everything. Sometimes when I prepare a podcast, i read so many books, watch so many interviews, jot down so many notes, and get so much nervous energy ready that I feel like it burns like a bright hot light for the entire podcast and then dims once it's over. - IT IS REALLY REALLY HARD TO INTERRUPT TONY ROBBINS! Man, it is hard. It's like trying to stop a tank. I think I my "interruption skills" greatly improved during this one hour. I simply couldn't do it at first. But finally I had to do it. He said, "And then President Clinton called me and..." I had to yell, "STOP!" "Will you finally tell me why the hell Presidents call you?" And he answered. After Tony left I had to go catch an airplane. About six hours later I finally felt like I was starting to calm down. At the airport I ran into someone on Tony's team. She said, Tony really enjoyed the podcast. I don't know if she says that to everyone. But I was happy. I know I enjoyed it. I know I learned a lot. I know it got me to start thinking again about why I get up in the morning, about what emotional purposeI want to have greater than myself. It changes every day. But it's there. It has to be. Today it was: Write this post. Oh, and run for Governor. But more on that later.

Ep. 216 - Yuval Noah Harari: A Brief History of The Future  

My ancestor from 70,000 years ago was smarter than me. He knew every plant, mushroom, animal, predator, prey in a several mile radius. He knew how to make weapons. He knew how to capture something, make it edible. I can barely order delivery. And as far as weapons, they say “the pen is mightier than the sword” but I don’t think a tweet is. My ancestor also knew how to adapt to new terrains, how to handle strangers who could be threats, how to learn who to trust and who not to trust. I wish I had his skills. Not only that. Archaeological evidence says his brain was bigger than mine. And bigger is better. To make things worse, another animal made the entire human race its slave. Wheat domesticated us. It forced us to stick around for the harvest, horde up for years when the harvest might be bad, go from a life of a diverse diet to basically all carbs all the time. And it turned us from hunters to farmers. But it’s not all bad. And the news is actually very good. Probably the books I’ve recommended most in the past five years was “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari. And not only me: it’s Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg’s top recommendation. And now Yuval has a new book, “Homo Deus” – i.e. where are humans heading? If Sapiens explored the last 70,000 years of human history, “Homo Deus” takes the trends into the future. What will happen next? The answers are fascinating. And I had even more questions. I couldn’t believe I was finally talking to Yuval after reading “Sapiens” so many times and recommending it on every list and giving the book to all of my friends. And then finally reading “Homo Deus“. What made humans the only animal to spread across the entire globe? What was special about us? How did we go hundreds of miles into empty water to find Australia for instance? I would never take that risk! And then survive and flourish in a completely new ecosystem, just like we did in North America. “Fiction,” Yuval told me, and describes in his book. “We created elaborate fictions for ourselves: ‘nations’, ‘corporations’, ‘religion’, ‘crusades’, and perhaps the most successful fiction: ‘money’. So I could use a dollar and some stranger in China can use a dollar and we can trust each other enough to do a transaction.” So what’s next? “Homo sapiens are going to evolve again.” Yuval said, “Technology is taking us there and technology is evolving much faster than we are.” I still can’t believe I spoke to him. Five years ago I took his course on Coursera. I was thinking, “how did this guy get so smart?” And now I was talking to him. And, like I said, the news was not bad. Here’s what I learned: 1. The economy needs you to invest in yourself “There’s a change in the nature of the economy from a material based economy to a knowledge-based economy. The main assets in the past were material like gold minds or wheat fields,” Yuval said. “These are the types of things you can conquer through violence.” That’s how we got California. The US invaded and absorbed their wealth. But you can’t invade and absorb knowledge. China isn’t going to take over Silicon Valley and absorb all the wealth. “Today, the main asset is knowledge,” he said. The only good investment you can make for your future is the investment you make in yourself today. Hone your idea muscle, build a network and a library of mentors, make a commitment to do one healthy thing a day. Because the health of your body impacts the health of your brain. I try to improve 1% a day. That’s it. That’s how I invest in myself. 2. Explore Internal realities vs. External realities Resources today are different. They’re abstract. Yuval said, “The source of wealth in California today is knowledge, in the mind’s of engineers and technicians and CEOs. And you just cannot conquer it by force.” That’s one of the reason’s why Yuval says, “You see a decline in international violence.” The other reason: weapons are too powerful. “Nuclear weapons have transformed war between superpowers,” he said. War today is “collective suicide, which is why we don’t have such wars since 1945.” Terrorism is different. Their weapon is fear. Yuval calls it “psychological menace.” But he’s really concerned about them in our future. “Terrorists function by capturing our imagination, turning our imagination against us, and causing us to overreact,” he said. “In a way, a terrorist is like a fly that tries to destroy a china shop. The fly is so small and weak. It cannot move even a single teacup. So how does a fly destroy a china shop? The fly finds a bull, gets into the ear of the bull and starts buzzing. The bull becomes so enraged that it loses its temper and destroys the china shop. This is what happened in the middle east over the last 15 years,” Yuval said. “Al-Qaeda could never destroy Iraq by itself. It got into the ear of the United States and the United States went wild and destroyed the middle eastern china shop for Al-Qaeda. This is how terrorism functions. And if you want to fight terrorism you should start with your own imagination.” For me, this means understanding that ideas are currency. Becoming an idea machine, writing ten ideas a day, so you get the new ‘weapons’ of Sapiens, is the key. 3. We’re going from “humanists” to “data-ists” In 500 years we might not be dealing with humans at all. Look at Amazon for example. They tell us what to buy. We don’t ask our friends. We ask data. “Given the advances of bioengineering, brain-computer interfaces and so forth, I think it’s very likely that within a century or two homo sapiens will disappear and be replaced by a completely different kind of being,” Yuval said. He says bioengineering is just one possibility. Another is we start connecting brains and computers to create cyborgs. This isn’t science fiction. It’s already happening. I’m sort of scared and sort of excited. We went from tribes to villages to cities to kingdoms to empires to “isms” to…data that will unite us. The next step in our evolution. The final frontier.

Ep. 215 - Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal: How Flow Helps You Step Outside Yourself and "Do The Impossible"  

Imagine going on a swing as high as you can. Then going higher. Then going so high you loop around. I get scared thinking about it. Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, did it the first time he tried. Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal were training people at Google how to get into the state of FLOW. Sergey volunteered. What is Flow? The state where your brain and body loses all sense of time and you retreat into this perfect area of creativity and productivity. A state where Steven and Jamie have spent years trying to hack and re-create at will. And this is what they’ve done. I was talking to Steven Kotler, who’s been on my podcast a few times and Jamie Wheal. They co-authored “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.” It’s sort of a sequel to “The Rise of Superman” all about “flow” in action sports. Steven said. “It’s the moments of total absorption where you get so focussed on the task at hand that everything else just disappears, action and awareness merge, your sense of self disappears, time passes very strangely and all aspects of performance, mental and physical, go through the roof.” But when I read it I thought, “Where are the chess players?” Where are the creatives? Programmers get into flow. Musicians, athletes, artists, all sorts of people get into flow. The question was “how?” I am selfish. I wanted to know for myself: HOW? So I read “Stealing Fire.” It’s about all the ways you can get into flow and other “optimal states of consciousness.” It teaches you how to step outside yourself, have a 500% increase in your performance, functionality, creativity and have satisfaction. I had to find out, what are the triggers to get into flow? They said “risk.” “Life or death?” I asked. “You need risk, but it’s definitely not physical risk,” Steven said. “The brain can’t tell the difference between social fear and physical fear.” Steven and Jamie figured this out when they went to Google to experiment on Sergey Brin’s brain (Google’s founder). They built a swing that loops 360 degrees around and covered him in EEG sensors. You’d have to pump your legs and use all your strength to gain the physical and mental momentum to go in a full circle. “My ten year old daughter crushed it,” Jamie said. “She did 35 loops in 60 seconds, which is nudging the world record.” Only a few people actually made it all the way around. Sergey’s one of them. It takes intense focus. You have to overcome your fear and stay in the moment. You have to use risk to your advantage. “Anything that drives attention to the current moment drives flow,” Steven said. It’s not just swings. It’s not just “smart drugs” or “extreme sports”. On the podcast, Steven and Jamie give a range of techniques and ideas for how to get into flow. I want in. I want in ALL of the time. They have a quiz on their website (flowgenomeproject.com) that tells you your “flow profile.” Over 50,000 people have taken it. On the first company I started I once disappeared into my office and programmed for about 24 hours straight. Completing a month’s project in one day’s time. We kept that client for life, even when we sold the company. Flow not only feels good, creates increased productivity and brain function, it’s also a key skill to compete. I hope I can get back to that state again. Today.

Ep. 214 - Cass Sunstein: The World According to Star Wars  

I want to be a Jedi Knight. The idea of surrendering to some “force” greater than oneself. The idea of being in touch with some essence that can bring out my full potential in way that I could never possibly understand. When Cass Sunstein, genius economist (author of “Nudge“, 40 other books, does Nobel-prize level research) wrote “The World According to Star Wars“, I knew I had to talk to him. I reached out to everyone I knew, found a way to get ahold of Cass, who wasn’t doing any interviews on the book, and managed to book some  time with him. I’ve written many times before about the effect Star Wars has had on my life. But I was also interested in the phenomenon of Star Wars, a topic Cass writes about. In particular, why was it a hit? George Lucas is the living breathing manifestation of “idea sex”. He takes concepts that worked in the past, meshes them together, and knows the combination will work. For example: think of a blonde-haired young man who has to reluctantly save the world from an evil galactic empire, uses laser powered swords and blasters, and meets a beautiful princess along the way. If you think “Flash Gordon” you’d be right. What you might not know is that George Lucas tried to buy the rights to the old TV serial “Flash Gordon”. He wanted to make the movie. He was rejected so he made Star Wars. Or you might think Joseph’s Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, which George Lucas studied religiously before writing the script to Star Wars. Or you might think…any of a dozen influences George Lucas had and meshed together. His idea: to take the familiar, provide his own twists, and release. If the old influences were hits and he just changed one aspect (make a Western a Space Opera) there’s a good chance he would have a hit. Cass Sunstein explores: what makes a hit? What makes a failure? What makes something a hit after it’s been dead for years (example: Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” didn’t sell at all while he was alive and is now considered one of the best-written books of all time). This is a topic I am obsessed with. Combine that with the topic of “Star Wars” and now Cass Sunstein has written a book I am obsessed with. We found a room to hide in and we spent the next hour laughing and swapping notes on the relevancy of The Force in today’s world. We didn’t talk economics, world history, behavioral psychology or any of the topics he is one of the best experts in the world in: We talked about what makes stories go viral. We talked about how much we enjoyed this cultural hit that changed generations. We were two kids talking about our favorite movie.

Ep. 213 - A.J. Jacobs: How to Connect With The Greatest Network in The World  

My first podcast is 24 minutes long. It’s just me. No guest. The topic: “Why College Is a Waste of Time.” Then I did one about my book “Choose Yourself.” One week later, I got 30 minutes with Robert Greene. Then an hour with Tucker Max, an hour with Gary Vaynerchuk, and an hour with AJ Jacobs. A month later I interviewed Dr. Wayne Dyer. Two months, Arianna Huffington. Six months, Mark Cuban. I didn’t have an editor or a microphone. Three years later everyone has (or should do!) a podcast. It connects me with people I never thought possible. Or in AJ Jacobs’ case, it connects people with family they didn’t know existed. That’s the theme of his new podcast, “Twice Removed.” “The good news is once you realize that everyone is family, you can just choose,” AJ said. “So you’re not stuck. You’ve got the whole world to choose from.” His first guest was Dan Savage, the sex columnist for “The Village Voice.” In the other room, AJ had a secret guest, a relative 41 degrees removed from Dan. Along the way, AJ unravels the 41 connections. He had Dan in tears. “We’re all connected,” AJ said. “People have called genealogy the museum of me. We all see the world through our own lens.” Here’s what I learned from AJ’s lens… 1. Start with X When I first started doing an interview podcast my audience size was X. Then I improved the quality and my downloads went to 3X.  In the case of “Twice Removed,” “Start Up” and “Freakonomics” adding production makes it 10X. “For every minute that makes the air there are hours that don’t,” AJ said. “You can make 18 different shows using the same material.” The key is to do the best with what you have today. It cost $0 to make “The James Altucher Show.” And I got to do what I never dreamed possible for the first 40 years of my life. 2. Show the truth The arc of a good story starts with a problem. Luke Skywalker wanted to explore but he couldn’t until his aunt and uncle were killed by stormtroopers. Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed in the first few panels of Batman. You need a problem to kickstart an otherwise reluctant hero. “I love to tell my kids about my family's failures,” AJ said. “Honestly, I think they think I’m total loser.”   AJ told me about an Emory University study. It showed kids adjust better when they’re told about their family’s failures. “There’s the narrative of ‘We were always successful’ or ‘We’re always losers.’ Families are oscillating,” AJ said. “You go through times where things are going well and times when it’s total failure. Tell your kids about the struggles your family has undergone and that you emerged ok… that you survived.” Give yourself permission to have an imperfect life. 3. Surprise Yourself AJ learned this from a writer at “The Daily Show.” “He talked about how important it is to surprise yourself and make yourself laugh,” AJ said, “which at the time I didn’t really understand.” So he tested it. “As you’re writing, take a left turn that your brain didn’t expect.” He does this in “Twice Removed.” And in our interview. He told me about an experiment he did with his wife. They filmed 24 hours of their day for weeks. Every argument was caught on tape. And they checked it frequently to see who was right. “It was bad either way,” he said. “Because if I was wrong I looked like an idiot, but if I was right she would just get angrier.” So they quit that experiment. And he started a new one: “Twice Removed.”

Ep. 212 - Anna Koppelman: How to Find Your World... Where You Belong  

Anna Koppelman is an angel. She’s the angel I wish I had looking over me  back when I was being bullied. When I was a kid, it was “Lord of The Flies” on the playground. Nobody cared at all. Kids would kill each other at recess and whoever survived went back to class. But it’s different now. Bullying is a thing. It has a voice. And there’s a way out of the world of “you’re not good enough” and into the world where you belong… I read an article on Facebook that was going viral:"What I know Now As a Teen With Dsylexia." Anna Koppelman wrote it. Then she kept writing. When I read the article, I thought Anna was one of those alien millennials taking over the world. But even worse, she’s not a millenial. Ever since birth she’s been on the Internet. She’s an eleventh grader. Which makes her 17 or so. Generation Z… it’s a totally different animal. Anna started a charity when she was 12 years old. At 14, she asked the Huffington Post to publish her work. They said yes. Then she wrote about dyslexia, bullying, intelligence, her crushes, her rejections, and each article felt like it was going a level deeper. Her writings were read everywhere by teens who had been through similar experiences. I wish I had this as a kid. A world where I could talk to people going through what I was going through. A way to connect to my “tribe”. Or a way to reach out to people and we could all figure out we weren’t alone. “I couldn’t not say it,” she said. “I had this feeling at school and in my life of just not being able to connect with people… I had a feeling of isolation since first grade, like there was Saran wrap between me and the rest of the world.” Here’s what I learned from Anna Koppelman about finding out where you belong… 1. Figure out another way When Anna’s “friends” discovered she couldn’t read, they laughed. “You’re not smart enough to be our friend,” they said. She was pushed out of the tribe. But then she learned from a moose. “I was watching the children’s show, ‘Arthur.’ And there was this kid on there. He was a moose. He had dyslexia. So I turned to my parents and said, ‘I have dyslexia.’” “How did this moose exhibit the dyslexia?” “It was all just about the same feelings that I was feeling… where he was behind in his class, but he had all these great ideas he wanted to get out but couldn’t. And the feeling of being trapped because there’s something in your brain that’s processing differently.” But she found another way. And learned how to read. But kids kept making fun of her. For the next 10 years. “I just wanted to connect with people,” she said. “When I would write, I would be able to connect with people. When I would perform poetry, I would be able to connect with people.” “What do you mean perform poetry?” I was confused. Because it sounded like her life was miserable at school. And instead of going to school with the eye patch and going straight home, she’d head back out to go read slam poetry in front of a dozen+ strangers. “What made you do that?” “I knew that no matter how awful school was there was a world outside of school and I just needed to find that world.” 2. Use your skills Anna started out writing about her interests. People spend years writing about things outside themselves. I did too. But for years I was afraid to write about the things that really scared me, or drove me, or kept me up at night. I was afraid to write about the things that shamed me. Or I was afraid because I wondered what people would think. So I wanted to learn, what did Anna, at age 14, do differently? Start with craft. Write everyday. Use your brain. Develop your analytical muscle. Build your skills. Talent is the ignition in the car. Many people have talent. Many people never turn on the car. Many people never drive the car to get to their destination. Skills are just talent in its infancy. 3. Create from one layer deeper I asked Anna about courage. A lot of people want to change their lives. But few take next steps .And I feel that even fewer young kids, dying to fit into their close-knit world of school and popularity, take those next steps. I wanted to know what triggered that point. “How did you hit publish? Weren’t you afraid?” “I didn’t have any friends,” she said. “I was eating lunch alone pretty much everyday. I was just in a really sad place. And the kids in my grade were really mean to me. I just felt that there was no real happiness. But when I would sit down and eat lunch alone, I would start to write in my notebook or I would write on my computer.” She didn’t know the risk. And in a strange way, these horrible experiences helped her become the writer she is today. “The things that have happened in my life,” she said, “got me to a place where I have more of an ability and belief in myself…” The transition came when she revealed her scars. She showed the deepest sides of her struggle. And bled on paper. Only by taking risks can a person unleash the hidden talents inside. Vulnerability bleeds. And connects you to the world… your world. It connects you to where you belong. 4. Always be kind A boy at school tricked her. He was always mean. But she thought things could change. “I was throwing parties for children in need,” she said. “I had been doing it since middle school.” He said he wanted to throw a bake sale for Birthday Fairies. “And I believed him.” He got all the popular kids to “help.” “Then the day of the bake sale came. None of them baked anything and they all just kind of laughed.” “This is like Steven King’s ‘Carrie. Did you psychically spill blood all over them?” She didn’t… I guess angels don’t spill blood on people. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be a kid now. For my entire life since birth to be connected up to a much bigger world. I’m jealous of the kids born now. How they can turn to this global tribe to develop their talents. But it’s not connectivity that makes you a better person. Or connects you to better relationships. Or builds up your latent skills. Or helps you find your passions. No matter who you are, it’s taking those next positive steps, those first risks that turn talent into skill, those first vulnerabilities that connect you to others – this is the key to unleashing that bigger world, that brings you to a tribe bigger than who you are. This is what I learned today from Anna.  

Ep. 211 - Sara Blakely: How To Get a Billion Dollar Idea  

Sara Blakely is weird. I wish I could think like she does. I want to be weird like her. "I look at any object and try to think of any use it has other than what people had planned for it." And then she acts on it. She sees a pair of pantyhose, cuts off the feet (why not?) and creates a multi-billion dollar company, Spanx. She sees her 9 month pregnant belly and paints a basketball on it. And then inspires hundreds of other women to do the same. Creates a book out of it: The Belly Art Project, and donates the proceeds to charity. "All my life I was taught how to deal with failure," she told me. "My dad would ask us at the dinner table every night: how did you fail today?" HOW DID YOU FAIL TODAY? She got comfortable with failure at an age when every other kid wants to get an A+ at everything. She got comfortable embarrassing herself. For two years she tried to be a standup comedian. "I wasn't very good at it." Practice embarrassing yourself... Ready. Fire. Aim. She got a huge order from Nieman Marcus even though she didn't have the inventory or the production ready. She said, "YES!". Then she figured out how to get the order filled. Oprah listed Spanx as one of her "favorite things" of 2000. Oprah wanted to film her office. Sara had no office. She said, "YES!". Then she got an office and filled it up with people. Say YES! Then make things happen. Don't argue yourself into failure. Excuses are easy. Saying "yes" and then executing is hard. Get your thinking time. "It takes me five minutes to drive to work," she told me. "But I take 45 minutes. I use that time to think." It's important to think. To be creative every day. This is how she comes up with non-stop ideas to expand her brand, expand her products, and work on other projects. I suspect this is the secret for how she always sees things differently. Being creative is a practice. It's not lightening from above. It's taking the long route when you could've taken the short route. Purpose = Infectious salesmanship. While I was talking to Sara she used the word "empower" several times. Spanx clothes gives women more confidence. Empowers women. The Belly Art Project empowers pregnant women. It seems like there are three parts to a project that leads to master salesmanship. - the higher purpose for it. This gets people excited. - the actual product and its benefits. - execution Combine all three and people will get infected with your passion for your ideas. Sara was unstoppable. Don't volley. Don't engage with the people who want to argue with you. That's time wasted when you can be creative. Don't invite ego in the door. Once you've worked on your project, have passion for it, started it, be willing to take suggestions and listen to people. Ego can kill a project and close the door on good opportunities. Be aware of you mortality. Sara was selling fax machines for five years before fully launching Spanx. She could still be selling them if she never started. If she listened to all the people who tried to dissuade her. If she became afraid of the multi-billion dollar companies that could have easily squashed her. Except they didn't. She was one person and they were billions. But they lost. We are here only this precious small amount of time. Make every moment a work of art. Make every moment move you one step forward towards your dream and purpose. Invent a new undergarment even if you had never made clothes in your life. Get 100s of women to paint their pregnant bellies and then raise money for charity with the idea. "EVERYTHING IS A CANVAS," she told me. Which makes everyone a potential artist. What a great way to look at life. But I can't! Why not? For anything you want to do, for anything that excites you, take the time to figure out the next step. Ready. Fire. Aim. Just why not? Why not?

Ep. 210 - Daymond John: How to Create Your Own Point Of View & Build A Following  

He is exactly one year younger than me, almost to the day. So we could've even grown up together. We had similar interests in music. He could've taught me sewing. I could've taught him how to play chess.   But, to be honest, he worked harder than me. He stood on a corner and sold hats. Then he sold t-shirts. Then he would go to work at Red Lobster all night. Then back to school the next day.   I was lazy as a kid. I couldn't work so hard. Six billion dollars later, Daymond John sits atop the FUBU fashion empire and I think to myself, "He's one year younger than me."   Do you ever feel that: jealousy? Or if not jealousy, then maybe regret? Like there's so many things you could've done...if only...   The good news is, "if only" has two answers: "You didn't do it then." And..."Start today."   There's never any rush. If today is the day you can start enjoying something, start making money from it, start combining all of your interests into career that lasts one, five, ten years....then today is the day you should do it.   I've interview Daymond before. We covered a lot of his background and how he started when I interviewed him about his book, "The Power of Broke."   But on this interview I learned some new things.   1) DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.    Many people are unhappy in their jobs. I hear it every day from people. I get emails every day about it.   But you can't start a business in a second, or a month, or even a year.   Daymond worked at Red Lobster for SIX YEARS while he was getting FUBU off the ground. He didn't want to take a chance.   Why not? One might ask.   It's scary. If you leave a job for a new business and it doesn't work out, how will you pay your bills? I stayed at my job at HBO for 18 months after I started my first business before I would make the leap. I was really scared.   You don't leap until you can take away as many of the risks as possible.   2) DON'T DO THE COOL THING   While Daymond was working at Red Lobster and selling hats on the street, his friends were losing their lives selling drugs.   I was reading recently about Charlie Munger, Buffett's #2 man at Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest men in the world.   He started a hedge fund in 1973. The worst time ever to start a fund. And, if I remember correctly (I refuse to Google), he was down 20-30% the first year. And then 20-30% the second year. And then he fought back and ended up making money for his investors.   Another man, probably in a very similar situation, was Bernie Madoff. We don't know exactly what happened but the theory is that when he was down he was too ashamed to tell anyone and turned it into a massive fraud.   Character is destiny. The choices you make today are your biography tomorrow.   Daymond refused to let the opinions of others veer him off his path. He worked hard, stuck to his uncool job while he pursued his passion. And made it work.   3) COMMUNITY   Critical to Daymond's success. Make the company more than just about you. Make it about the community. Then it has a life larger than "Daymond John." You create something people are willing to share.   How did he do this? Name - "FUBU" means "for u, by us". BAM! Friends - Daymond got his friends to wear it. Then their friends wanted to wear it. And so on. That's real marketing. Don't even think of advertising your product unless PEOPLE ARE FIRST DYING TO SHARE IT. Authority - LL Cool J grew up down the street from Daymond. Daymond didn't know him but he started pursuing him, asking him to wear a FUBU product in one of his videos. LL probably didn't even know who this kid was. But then he saw other kids wearing the clothes. And he responded to the name. So he started wearing FUBU in his videos. BAM! Shows - Daymond started going to all the Hip hop fashion conventions. The Magic convention in Las Vegas. He met his peers in the clothing business. They didn't know him as a kid from Queens. They just knew his products. They knew that LL Cool J was wearing them. He built his network with his peers. Note that in all of the above he didn't spend ONE DIME on ads but he had millions of dollars worth of free advertising. This doesn't come out of luck. That comes from every day... 4) DOING WHAT YOU LOVE People mess this part up a lot. There's not one "destiny" that we are meant to figure out and do. Maybe Daymond John loved hip-hop music but wasn't a good musician. Maybe he loved clothes. Maybe he loved selling. Maybe he loved seeing LL Cool J wear a hat he made. We don't really know. There are too many factors. We do know, though, that once he got through the hard parts of the business and it was really starting to roll, that, as Warren Buffett would say, he "skipped to work every morning". 5) READY. FIRE. AIM. This is the most important factor. I've interviewed 200 successful people so far for my podcast, give or take, and this is the one factor they all have in common. Daymond got ready (he made the clothes, he saved money, he didn't quit his job, he built community). And then something happened that was game-changing. If you stick to something long enough and it's growing and you feel that people are loving  what you do, then something game-changing will happen. Macy's placed a $400,000 order (at the MAGIC fashion show). Daymond didn't have the money. Now was the moment when you can take risk. He and his mom mortgaged his mom's house for $100,000. He had to make 15,000 items. He got the fabrics. He filled up his house with seamstresses, and he fulfilled the $400,000 order. Then he returned the $100,000 out of the profits. He quit his job at Red Lobster. He was in business now. He was in business for life.

Ep. 209 - Bobby Casey: Never Feel Broke Again and Travel the World (Forever)  

  I heard an eight-year-old kid tell another eight-year-old that he's not welcome in his home. He said "Trump or Clinton?"   "Clinton."   And that was that. They kept walking. Kept debating and I bet nothing happened. I bet they're still friends.   Some people are either all talk or afraid.   Or both.   I try not to be either. I try to listen, come up with ideas, and be grateful. Because if I listen, I learn. And then I can say two sweet words, “thank you.”   How many people said, "If Trump becomes president, I'm leaving the country." Or the other way around?   There's only one reason why I’d ever even consider packing. And Bobby Casey spelled it out for me.   "Americans don't understand how insanely expensive it is to live in the U.S.," Bobby said on my podcast.  He sold everything he owned and left the country in 2009. Right after the market crashed. Now he works all over the world. And helps people get off the grid.   I wanted to know how he did it.   And why...   "I hated my customers," he said. "I hated my employees, I hated my job, I hated my business."   "But what made you think you could sell all your belonging and travel the world forever?"   "Weren't you scared you would run out of money?"   "I just knew I'd work it out," he said. "I'd make some money."   I couldn’t do it. It’s easy to be uncertain when you’re level of unknown isn’t going to erupt your central nervous system.   But Bobby had motivation.   “My happiness and my quality of life is much more important than cashing out on a business,” he said. “I didn’t care. I wanted to be happy again.”   So he got rid of everything. He gave away motorcycles. (He had 27). Then he bought two one-way tickets to Prague. One for him. And one for his 9 year old son.   “We’d never been there.”   The rest of his family moved a few weeks later. He has three kids.   "What about friends? And school?" I asked.   "My daughter, she's 20, she's a rapper in London. She did two years of virtual school. And she can make friends anywhere. It’s her personality type.” His other two kids enrolled with locals.   I had 100 questions. "How'd you get the confidence? What type of freelance work did you do?" “How did you make ends meet?”   He broke it down for me. And told me all the ways he saves money living abroad.   “I did the math on this,” he said. "You won't believe this, but I pay $42 a year for a 10,000 euro deductible health insurance plan."   Anything after 10,000 euros, he's covered. "I could get airlifted to John Hopkins if I wanted and that would be covered."   "You can make about $150,000, tax-free, as an American living abroad." Here’s how Bobby explains it on the podcast...   If you make $100K (gross) in the U.S, then you’re probably netting less than $60K. Abroad, you can make the same $60K (net), live tax-free (if you qualify for the “foreign earned income exclusion”), get a housing allowance, pay $42 a year for health insurance, and basically never feel broke again.   I was getting depressed. Because I know I’m not going to move. It’s part of being human. Everyone I look up to, Scott Adams, Dan Ariely, Nassim Taleb, they all say the same thing: people are irrational creatures. Even the idea that we’re being rational, is irrational.   Every time Bobby spoke, I had 10 new questions.   I thought I'd never understand. But then he gave me his secret. And it answered all my questions.   It was so simple. I couldn't believe it.   Bobby and his son were walking around Estonia. They left Prague, bought a house and had no plans.   Someone overheard them speaking English.   “You’re American?”   They started talking. “What are you planning to do for your kids for school?”   Bobby had no idea.   “I have a son who’s your son’s age. We found a really good school up the hill. There’s a meeting tonight for foreigners who want to enroll their kids.”   That was it. Then Bobby told me his secret…“I figure it out as I go.”

Ep. 208 - Ken Kurson: What Will Trump Do As President? We Hear From The Expert  

Social media is a bloodbath.   Trump. Hilary. Walls. Genitals. Crooked this or Deplorable that.   There's two things I know:   1)  I choose whether I am happy with a situation or not. Whether I am "free" or not. Nobody else can choose that for me unless I give them permission.   If a situation (call it X) happens that I don't like, I ask myself: is the world better with X and me in it. Or with X and "no me".   All I can do is have impact on the people around me. And if it's worthwhile impact, if it's the sort of impact that helps people and creates positive change, then those people around me will share it with the people around them.   That's how things get done. That's how one "votes" with their life every single day. No excuse.   2) I'm not the smartest person in the room.   If a situation happens that I don't understand, I don't pretend to understand it. I don't go ahead and act like I understand it.   I have no clue.   So I ask the smartest person in the room. I ask the people who know more than me. I ask people I respect who might have opposing views.   The world has many opposing views. And I admit that I don't understand all the facts. I ask people who have more facts than me. Who have studied more than me.   Do I automatically agree with them? It doesn't matter. They feed my brain. I know they will because I already trust them to think carefully about an issue and I trust their years of experience.   Then I think. Then I decide.   Does it change what I do?   No.   I do what I do. I try to keep having impact in the way that I know best. I want to be a free person. This doesn't mean rich. Which often entangles me too much in the addiction of having more and more.   Nor does it mean have everyone love me. Because that is also is something outside of me that is out of my control.   Freedom means I can make choices. Freedom means I can make as many choices as possible to live the life I want to live.   I wanted to learn more about what a Donald Trump presidency might mean. There is so much blood shed trying to force me to have one opinion or the other, I decided to call one of the smartest people I know.   Ken Kurson shed some light for me on things that were confusing me. Do I have to agree with everything? No. I am free not to.   But I learned. Which is always the best thing I can do.    

Ep. 207 - Chris Smith: Did you ever wish you were them? Your Heroes?  

“We all lived through it. But one fun or interesting realizations I came to in reporting the book was... Can we curse on your podcast?”   “Yeah. Anything goes.”   “... Is just how much shit happened in the world between 1999 and 2015.”   Chris Smith is the author of The New York Times bestseller, “The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests.”   He interviewed 144 people, including the host Jon Stewart, Craig Kilborn, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and so many other people.   “You know, Jon Stewart’s a guy who had an upper-middle-ish class upbringing in New Jersey, went to William and Mary, came into comedy sideways. He wasn't sure exactly what he was going to do after college.”   I needed to know how Jon Stewart did it. How he redefined Late Night. How he broke out and rose to the top of comedy. And how he used humor to disrupt it all — mainstream media, mainstream politics, the news.   “He would wear the same thing in the office everyday: a pair of work boots, a pair of chinos, the same t-shirt, the same Mets hat. And well, they’d rag on him about being a slob. There was—and not to get cheaply psychological—something Jon was communicating… He was simplifying a lot of the extraneous stuff and getting to work.”   Here’s what I learned from Chris Smith about comedy, change and the combination that changed the world:   1) Ask the right questions Jon showed up every day and asked, “What was in the news? What's funny about it? What's our point of view?”   Everyday, I ask, “Who can I help today?” It keeps me open to the day. It gives me a fresh perspective. That’s part of reinvention.   Always looking. Always starting over. Always asking, “What’s missing here?” And then filling that gap.   2)  Change the format Jon did a “Bush vs. Bush” segment.   First you see a clip of Governor Bush talking about Iraq and saying, “We're not here to nation-build.” Then you see Bush as president saying the complete opposite. "We're going to nation-build in Iraq."   Jon didn’t point out the hypocrisy. He could’ve. But that wouldn't have been funny.   Instead, he played dumb. He pretended he didn’t know it was the same person contradicting himself.   That’s what made it funny.   He removed knowledge from the situation. And got the attention of millions. Eventually, making real change. They even had an effect on some big issues.   “They made an eight or nine-minute mock detective movie. They took one veteran and tried to trace his paperwork through the Veterans Administration. They kept running into ridiculous roadblocks, but it was also moving. It gave you a sense of how much this guy was going through to get medical care,” Chris said. “That ended up shaming the Veterans Administration and changing a lot of those rules and regulations.”   He also transformed media.   “Loosely,” Chris says.   But, in old media you couldn’t find the truth like you can today. It would take weeks of research. Now with the Internet you can search and find anything. And turn it around in 24 hours.   Chris talked to Anderson Cooper. He said the mainstream media world was always aware of “The Daily Show.” They didn’t want to get made fun…   “And, inevitably, you did.”   3) Ignore the traps “You've got, in many cases, a lot of ambitious, competitive, eccentric people,” he said. “You put them in a room and give them a deadline and that can lead to a lot of clashes.” But Jon didn’t get stuck in the trappings of show business.   Which is easy to do in any career.     But if you use your idea of how things could be to fuel creation, you get a leg up.   You get “The Daily Show.”   4) Live in two worlds “What about when you were writing the book? Did you ever wish you were them? Did you ever feel like, ‘I'm covering them, but I want to be them’?”   I knew my answer. And Chris’s answer was more or less the same.   “No…”   “In some fantasy world... sure.” -  

Ep. 206 - Steven Johnson: Why You Have to Replace Ambition with Play  

I wish I was as smart as Steven Johnson. I asked him, “What is your one favorite thing that everybody thinks is bad for you that is actually good for you?” He didn’t want to tell me. “My kids might listen to this later,” he said. But he told me... He's the author of "Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation," "Everything Bad is Good for you," and the recent "Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World"— how the idea of "play" more than anything else, is what created the modern world. “I regret saying this a little, but, the assumption that video games are just a terrible waste of time and that this generation is growing up playing these stupid games is really… it’s so wrong," he said. He was talking about using play for education reform. "If you think about it, we walk around with a bunch of assumptions of what a learning experience is supposed to look like: listening to a lecture, watching an educational video, taking an exam to test your learning." I was gonna puke.  “I’ve been watching my kids play Battlefield 1, which is set in WWI. And it’s amazing.” “I sit and watch my kids play and ask what they’re thinking about. Because as a grown up who doesn’t play the game you can’t process it. There’s just so much going on in the world. They’re playing this multiplayer game, in this incredibly vivid landscape with a million data points streaming across the screen.” His doesn't understand it. And his kids don’t understand how he doesn’t understand it...  “Didn’t you see the signal I got? And how this one piece of the interface was telling me to do xy and z?” “All I can see is there’s a gun and a Zeplin. I’m 48,” he said. We’re the same age. “Does that make me middle aged?” “We’re old." Kids are basically gonna destroy us. We’re the one’s who are going to end up in diapers. They started off there, we end up there. Unless… We play, too. So here’s what Steven found out. One would ask, that sounds ridiculous: how did "play" create the Industrial Revolution. Or all the wars of the past 500 years. Or all the innovations we've seen with the Internet, which was initially funded by the military. What does "play" have to do with it? Everything. And that's what makes Steven Johnson so infuriating. He'll take two concepts that seem like they have nothing to do with each other and he'll say, THIS caused THAT! And I'd shake my head and cry and ask, "How is that even possible?" And then he'll show me. Because he traces his curiosity. It’s like when you start clicking all the hyperlinks in a Wikipedia page. And seeing how everything is connected. Steven connects the dots and puts them in a book for you. If I were to recreate a robotic Steven Johnson (hmmm, actually, maybe he is a robot. Or at least has a Cylon brain or maybe Bradley Cooper's brain from Limitless) I'd have to feed in 10,000 books or so, and this ability to find every possible cross connection between every two ideas mentioned in the books. And then he spits it out in his masterpieces. As I told him in the beginning of the podcast: I enjoy a lot of books. A lot of books are great even. But your books and only a few others are among the only books where I read it and I feel like my IQ is going up. I made up a game in fact, based on his books. Maybe someone should make the card game for this. Here's two random concepts. Tell me how they are connected. Example: The lengthening of shop windows in London in the 1600s and the rise of American slavery in the 1800s. I’m not making this up. One really caused the other. Steven calls it “the hummingbird effect.” It’s different from the butterfly effect where the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane. That’s chance. The hummingbird effect is traceable. “It has to be 2-3 steps removed,” he said. “And you have to be really rigorous about when it just doesn’t work.” You play to find the links. I told him this idea. He laughed and said, "I should do that." Example: The laugh of Sputnik, led direction to Tinder. In the podcast, we spoke about how humans have this evolutionary need not only for food and reproduction (Darwin's well-trodden theories), but also novelty. Example: Gutenberg in the 1400s led to the study of genomics. And that novelty and play gave us energy and initiative to produce discoveries ranging from the cotton gin, the steam engine, world exploration, and the Internet. Example: a tree used by the Mayans to make games led directly to car tires. What I really wanted to explore in the podcast was not only these insane connections. It was almost ludicrous how many fun ones I was coming up with, but what was it about Steven that allowed him to come up with all these connections. What does he do differently with his brain? Can I do it also? I wanted to learn. Example: The invention of the phonograph in the mid 1800s directly led to their being more boys than girls born in China this year.

Ep. 205 - Jairek Robbins: What To Do When You're Overworked, Tired and Can't Turn Off Your Mind  

You know that game where you flip a card, see the face and turn it back over, then try to find the match?   That's the game we're going to play...   Write down your values. I told Jairek mine. I had three.   Jairek is a life coach. And Tony Robbins is his dad. But that doesn’t matter. Because Tony didn’t invest in his son’s strengths. He invested in weakness.   “I didn’t really have an understanding of what real hard work was,” Jairek said.   So in college, Jairek went to Canada and stacked lumber.   “You’ve known me a long time,” I said. “What’s a weakness I have that you think I can work through?”   “I’ll tell you how we find those,” he said.   Step 1: Review your values   Jairek said, “Let’s do this right now. If I were to ask you what’s most important to you in life, what would you say?”   “Humans…” That was number one. Connecting with people I care about.   “Being an honest person who acts with integrity.”   “And creativity.”   So here’s the card game… Imagine you have all the cards face down on the carpet. Every card has a match.   One shows your values. The other shows your time. You have to match them up to win.   Because values = time.   People say, “Time is money.”   No.   Time is values.   But pretty much everyone struggles with this. I struggle with this. Jairek gave an example but it made me wonder maybe your brain's idea of values is wrong.   Maybe your “values” are really your expectations… In my life, misery sinks in when expectations are higher than reality.   I don't know.   The example Jairek gave was a guy who spent all his time doing business. His values were family and God. So I asked Jairek, “Could your brain be wrong?”   Maybe this guy’s calendar was right. Maybe he really valued business…   I’m not in his head. I don't’ have a life coach. I have a therapist.   So if you're reading this and thinking, "No he doesn’t," then you know what's true for you.   Step 2: Find a match   Log your time. Look at your day and your week. Jairek’s clients log their lives for seven days. But he also needs to know your thoughts. Which is harder to measure. “I don’t have a sensor for that yet,” he said. “It’s subjective.”   Jairek has helped thousands of people.   One client said, “Honestly, I wake up and the first thing through my head is, ‘Am I going to close that deal today?’ It’s always combing through my mind. Even at dinner. I’m thinking about the paperwork. My mind’s constantly turning. I’m not able to let go of what’s going on.’”   His home life was suffering.   So Jairek asked, “What’s your ritual to turn it off at the end of the day and walk away without having all those thoughts processing in your head?”   Most people don’t have a ritual. That’s the problem. “You need to disassociate from work,” he said. “Get it out of your nervous system.”   So here’s the formula: disconnect, then connect.   Part A) Disconnect:   “Some people go for a walk, other people breathe for 20 minutes. It’s different for everybody. You have to figure out the routine.”   Sometimes I’m emailing about work at midnight. That’s how habits start. They creep in when my guard is down, when I’m not connected to anything I love.     Part B) Connect   Jairek switched his coaching methods a few years ago. He used to coach on performance. Now it’s relationships. Because it’s the relationships in our lives that increase our performance.   “Right now, if you’re at work, and you think about your kids, your heart’s probably not gushing over them,” he said.”   “No, usually they suck and I’m annoyed at them.” I had plans to see them in a few hours.   Then Jairek hypnotized me.   “What’s the most precious and beautiful moment you have with one of your kids?” he said. “Go back way in the distance. Remember one of your earliest moments with them that just lit your heart up. And as a dad made you prouder than you could have ever imagined.”   He had me repeat the process. Catch a memory. Then another. You can do this about your spouse, family, someone who’s hurt your or you’ve hurt.   Then combine memories with music. Or look at a picture. “If you combine the visual, auditory and the feeling of it, and reconnect with those memories, then by the time you get home, you’re less likely to pick up a business call. Because your head’s not thinking about all the deals.”   I saw my kids that day. We laughed more than ever…   And when I flipped the cards, I found a match.

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