I’m involved in a serious investigation. I probably shouldn’t even be writing this. Maybe I’ll get in trouble.
I should take a step back. I’m not being investigated. I’m helping. I’m like the “expert.”
I tried to explain to them. I’m the dumbest “expert” you’ve ever spoken to. It’s almost negligence on your part to include me as an expert.
Yesterday I spent most of the day learning about the case. I learned something interesting from the lawyers.
Everybody in a case falls into three categories: “a nothing,” “a witness,” and “a target.”
“A nothing” is like me. Someone who knows about the case but has not been called to do anything other than talk about it unofficially.
“A witness” gets to talk about it with people who are very serious.
“A target” is screwed. If you’re a target, you’re not getting out alive.
“The fastest way for a witness to become a target,” the lawyer said, “is to lie.”
It reminds me of the first agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic book, The Four Agreements.
Make Sure Your Word is Impeccable.
I sat on my hands. I didn’t want to clap but I felt the urge. What would they do if I clapped?
It made me think of art or business. The same three categories exist.
“A nothing,” “a witness,” and “a star.”
1) “A nothing” is someone who is feeing stuck, and knows there is more to life. I often like to be a nothing.
Get back to basics.
With a “nothing” you can either:
- A) Stay a nothing. Live out your days at your job, see what happens, make the best of it, and try to love our spouses.
- B) Stay healthy, read everything, come up with ten ideas a day to help your colleagues, your boss, your customers, your friends, your family, whatever.
Then you’ll graduate from a “nothing” to a “witness” or a “star.”
2) A Witness
When I’m doing my podcast, or when I’m reading, I feel like a witness.
It’s such a scam. I get to call up whoever I want, some of them agree to talk to me, and then I get to ask them all the questions I want.
I call astronauts, writers, entrepreneurs, musicians, everyone I want. I call all of my heroes.
Heck, you should see the list of people I reached out to today. If even one says, “yes” then I’m in heaven. I probably shouldn’t even be writing this.
But then I get an hour of their time where I can ask every question about how to achieve the excellence they’ve achieved.
I get to witness it. I get to observe it.
But it’s only worthwhile if you then teach it and share it.
Otherwise you go back to being a “nothing.”
3) A “star”
I much prefer that to the word “target” since nobody is on trial here.
At a company, a star causes more profits to be made. A star speaks up and has a vision.
As an artist, a star creates something that interprets the world in a unique way that makes people think and wonder and feel beauty.
An artist turns a wisp of nothing she grabs from the sky and sculpts it into joy.
As an entrepreneur or at a charity, a star creates something that moves the world forward a tiny bit.
Charles Darwin created a philosophy that changed the world. Picasso made two art works a day for his whole life (50,000 in total) that splattered his imagination across the planet.
How do you be a star?
- A) Use the FriendRank Algorithm
What’s that? It’s how Google works. A page ranks higher if high-ranking pages point to it. If wsj.com points to my page, then my page will rank higher.
Live by the FriendRank algorithm. Be around people who are trying to be artists, trying to change the world, trying to help people, trying to love you.
How do you find them? Look for them. Ask them questions. Be a witness to them. Help them. If you help them, you make their FriendRank higher. It’s all good.
Every day I send out emails to people I don’t know. I tell them what I like about what they are doing. I ask them questions. I tell them how I can help them. I do this EVERY DAY.
Not that I’m so great. I get scared writing to people I don’t know. And most don’t respond. And most think, “Who is this guy?”
But I do it.
You won’t see this from Bill Gates OR Richard Branson…
Wall Street Journal best-selling author James Altucher just got named one of the top Influencers of the Year by LinkedIn.
To celebrate, he’s doing something a little bit crazy. It has something to do with showing even more people how to live the life they want to live and still get rich in the process.
If you went to Amazon to get what he’s offering, you’d be OVERPAYING by a hefty margin. How often does that happen?
- B) Write 10 Ideas a Day
I know I write about this a lot. So what? I have a lot to say.
Someone yesterday wrote me and said they had been doing it for two weeks. They said, “it’s like magic.”
I always say this and it’s true: my life changes almost completely every six months because of this.
I don’t like to write how I’ve changed. Everyone is different. But today I’m going to OWN IT.
In the past six months: I wrote a new book, I started a new podcast, I’ve met about 100 new people because of my podcast, I’ve spoken at three major conferences where I made a ton of new contacts, and I celebrated my 5-year anniversary to Claudia.
I also lost an enormous amount of money in a single day. It was one of the worst days of my life. Nothing to do with investing. But volatility in life happens.
Without volatility, you can slip into nothing.
But the good thing is: I dealt with it. It didn’t bother me like it used to (well, it did for a day. I couldn’t move. But then I followed my own advice).
It’s like the “Limitless” pill from that movie. It makes your brain 100 times stronger.
I’m like Bradley Cooper, but without the looks. Without the charm. Although I have my very own Jennifer Lawrence (Claudia).
- C) Ask Questions
Whenever I am thinking, “I’m afraid,” or “I’m lazy,” or “I hate everything,” it means I am stuck in my head.
It means I have an answer. The answer is in my head.
You get out of the head by asking questions.
There’s no answers. We already know that. Ninety-seven percent of the universe is “dark energy” and we don’t have a clue what it is.
Answers are in your head; questions are outside of your head.
Questions slice the fixed world into infinite possibilities. Then you get to choose which possible world you want to live in.
Trust me. It’s magic.
The gatekeepers are the people who hold you back: bosses, schools, governments, publishing companies, media, etc.
Whoever I let hold me back, is more than happy to do it. Fact.
That’s how they live. That’s their oxygen. Don’t feed them.
Just ask one question today. Or two. When you get out of your head, you merge with everything else.
“By the way,” the lawyer said, “don’t write about any of this at all. Not even this conversation.”
I left his office. It was hot outside. I was hungry. I felt like writing.