If you haven’t read James Altucher’s blog, you should.

Who is James Altucher? Instead of copy and pasting his CV here, I’ll point you to his self-introduction. After you are done, you have a better idea what kind of man he is, and why I am recommending his book, Choose Yourself

The central premise of the book is this: normal jobs as we know them, are disappearing. You can no longer expect that you can work on a single job until your retirement, because the world is changing very fast, your job is disappearing and the companies aren’t in the mood of doing charity to keep you around.

The only way to get out of this is to Choose Yourself, to strike out on your own, to become the master of your own destiny. This means that you need to have multiple income streams, or multiple clients, so that you are not beholden to anyone of them. Naturally, being in employment will not be able to achieve this goal because you are, by definition, beholden to your boss.

You might say, I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed, so how can you expect me to quit my job and start a business when I don’t even know what business is profitable? Fair enough, the author says, you got bills to pay, you can just quit your job the next day, I got that. But at least, you can try start with the Daily Practices

  1. Physical Health: Be in shape. Do exercise everyday
  2. Emotional Health: Cut out negative people, people who can bring your down, and surround yourself with people who can lift you up
  3. Mental Health: Exercise your brain, by writing 10 ideas everyday, on anything. Doesn’t really matter what sort of ideas, doesn’t really matter the ideas are good or bad ( in fact the bad vs. good idea ratio is 1000:1). Just do something that is challenging to your brain to make it sweat, in order to practice your idea muscles.
  4. Spiritual Health: Be grateful everyday. Practice forgiveness.

Like they said, knowing is one thing, and doing is quite another. What James preaches may not be unheard of ( except for writing down 10 ideas everyday), but his writing is what really works for me. Of course I know that forgiving is good, of course I know that I need to be grateful, of course I know that I need to get in shape.. but can I do it? Unlike other self-help gurus who preach from the high cloud, and therefore put an invisible gap between us and them and making them hard to listen to, James feels like just one of us. He succeeded, he failed, he made mistakes, and he learnt from his mistakes, and he was brutally honest about all of them. Reading him gives me hope: if a mediocre person can achieve so much by just doing the Daily Practices, then I also want to be a effective mediocre person.

I have been doing writing down 10 ideas a day since the start of this month. It was an impossible task initially, or so I thought, because I have to do this on top of all the commitments that I have. How could I find time? But find time I did. James said that you need at least 6 months or 12 months before you can see results, and I am not even one month into the exercise, and I already find that I am sharper in thoughts and somewhat luckier ( but no, I haven’t hit on my USD 10 million idea yet). Placebo effect? Feel good factor? Who knows. But the important point is that I am doing my very best to be thoroughly prepared so that I don’t miss the GOOD LUCK when it hits me. No one can control external factors, no one can control LUCK, but one can surely improve oneself so that when favorable situation comes, one can maximize the GOOD LUCK.

So I guess that’s what Choose Yourself means. You know that despite all the efforts you put in, you can still fail because of things you can’t control. But if there is ever a chance, you will definitely grab it, because you are ready, because you are prepared, because you are healthy in all ways. You don’t wait for the environment to choose you the success, you choose yourself to success when the time comes.

That’s the message I need to remind myself everyday, to choose myself to success.