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The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

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“The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.

My podcast producer, Steve Cohen, only speaks in quotes.

He remembers every quote from everyone. And he rhymes. He doesn’t speak in “normal”.

I told him to send me quotes every day and I will make a book out of it: “The Tao of Steve”. He’s sent me 475 quotes so far.

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”, said to me yesterday, “mentally strong people don’t feel sorry for themselves.”

I’m an advice combiner.

Steve + Amy =

I won’t feel sorry for myself right now. So I’ll do something to move forward today, tomorrow, the next day, the next year, all my life.

The journey from desperation to destination.

***

Last week I stopped using my phone outside the house. It’s been seven days.

The pain has been unbearable. It’s like stopping carbs. It’s like stopping crack.

The average person touches their phone 2,600 times A DAY. The average person spends 4 HOURS, 40 MINUTES on their phone every day.

The average person checks their phone every 12 minutes.

I stopped when Yuval Harari (author of my favorite book, “Sapiens”) told me he doesn’t use a phone outside his house. “I read,” he said.

“What if you have to meet someone. How do you keep in touch with a romantic partner?”

He laughed.

“We just meet.”

Simple.

By day three I was having the shakes. I was on line to buy a cake for a dinner. It was a big line. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO? Did they expect me to WAIT?

I was missing Instagram dopamine hits. I had tweets to make. I could take a PHOTO OF A CAKE! I could build a time machine and go back in time and tell Harriet Tubman she was trending on Twitter.

I could read mail, LIKE things on Facebook, send a text to a friend, send a Snap to my daughter (don’t break the chain!), watch a YouTube video of a comedian so I could be funny for the dinner.

I could LOOK AT A MAP and see where I fit into the universe. I didn’t know it would take me 47 days to walk to California given current traffic conditions.

I could read five sentences of A BOOK on my Kindle app. I could play Chinese Checkers.

I could use the PHONE APP ON MY PHONE.

Instead I just looked at the people in front of me. I thought about things.

Not very interesting thoughts. I thought about cake. And I thought about missing my phone. And I was bored. Probably I’ve become a boring person.

If you’re bored, you’re boring.

I stood, I waited, I watched, I listened, I stood more, I thought more.

I didn’t get the dopamine hits. Dopamine is the same neurochemical released when you smoke crack.

I didn’t look at furry dogs. Or funny memes. Or fancy cars.

I stood, I waited, I thought, I looked at cake. I stood. I daydreamed.

But I didn’t get stressed. Someone wants me, someone didn’t like my photo, someone criticized me on Twitter, someone argued with me on Facebook, someone asked a question I have to answer NOW.

I didn’t get stressed. I wasn’t late. I bought a cake.

I ate it. I talked with people at dinner. I could hear their phones tingle and tinkle and buzz and vibrate and everyone looking and people feeling their phones. I ate a cake, I talked to people. I made a joke and someone said “That’s not funny”.

When I was home later I looked at my phone for the first time in 10 hours. But there wasn’t anything interesting on it.

I read a book. I spoke with Jasmine, I listened to Jasmine. I laughed with Jasmine.

I looked out the window. I read some more and some more until I fell asleep earlier than usual, woke earlier than usual, wrote the next day earlier than usual, laughed earlier than usual.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything.


James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Julia Larson.



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