How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps


I told my dad, “I’m a lucky guy.” He said, “But are you lucky in love?” I was six years old.

Love was the most disgusting thing in the world to me. What the hell was he talking about?

Love was living in another neighborhood at that time. Or another planet.

It would be years before Love stuck its ugly little nose into my house and said, “Hello, anyone here?”

Luck was all about rolling the dice. Or finding a quarter on the ground. Or seeing a double rainbow after a quick storm.

But now I’m different. I’m constantly checking in and out of the Hospital of No Luck. I’m older. I need luck to be constantly transfused into me or I run out of it.

Without luck, I’m dead. For me, good luck equals happiness. On a scale of happiness from 0 to 10, I think I’m about a seven or eight. But that’s a big improvement.

When I was lying on the floor here, I was probably about a zero. Or at different points in this story, I was maybe at negative. So I’m trending upwards.

I get lucky when I stick to three simple goals:

My Only Three Goals in Life

A)     I want to be happy.

B)     I want to eradicate unhappiness in my life.

C)     I want every day to be as smooth as possible. No hassles.

That’s it. I’m not asking for much. I need simple goals, or else I can’t achieve them.

There’s been at least ten times in my life that everything seemed so low I felt like I would never achieve the above three things and the world would be better off without me.

Other times I felt like I was stuck at a crossroads and would never figure out which road to take. Each time I bounced back.

When I look back at these times now I realize there was a common thread. Each time there were four things, and only four things, that were always in place in order for me to bounce back.

Now I try to incorporate these four things into a daily practice so I never dip low again.

The Daily Practice 

A)     Physical – being in shape. Doing some form of exercise.

In 2003 I woke up at 5 a.m. every day and from 5-6 a.m. I played “Round the World” on a basketball court overlooking the Hudson River. Every day (except when it rained).

Trains would pass and people at 5:30 a.m. would wave to me out the window. Now, I try to do yoga every day. But its hard.

All you need to do, minimally, is exercise enough to break a sweat for 10 minutes. So about 20-30 minutes worth of exercise a day. This is not to get “ripped” or “shredded”. But just to be healthy.

You can’t be happy if you aren’t healthy. Also, spending this time helps your mind better deal with its daily anxieties.

If you can breathe easy when your body is in pain then its easier to breathe during difficult situations.

Here’s other things that are a part of this but a little bit harder:

  1. Wake up by 4-5 a.m. every day.
  2. Go to sleep by 8:30-9. (Good to sleep 8 hours a night!)
  3. No eating after 5:30 p.m. Can’t be happy if indigested at night.

B)      Emotional– If someone is a drag on me, I cut them out. If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer.

Nobody is sacred here. When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first. Family, friends, people I love – I always try to be there for them and help.

But I don’t get close to anyone bringing me down. This rule can’t be broken.

Energy leaks out of you if someone is draining you. And I never owe anyone an explanation. Explaining is draining.

Another important rule: always be honest. Its fun. Nobody is honest anymore and people are afraid of it.

Try being honest for a day (without being hurtful). Its amazing where the boundaries are of how honest one can be. Its much bigger than I thought.

A corollary of this is: I never do anything I don’t want to do. Like I NEVER go to weddings.


C)      Mental – Every day I write down ideas.

I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more.

The other day I tried to write 100 alternatives kids can do other than go to college. I wrote down eight, which I wrote about here. I couldn’t come up with anymore.

Then the next day I came up with another 40. It definitely stretched my head.

No ideas today? Memorize all the legal 2 letter words for Scrabble. Translate the Tao Te Ching into Spanish.

Need ideas for lists of ideas? Come up with 30 separate chapters for an “autobiography.” Try to think of 10 businesses you can start from home (and be realistic how you can execute them).

Give me 10 ideas of directions this blog can go in.  Think of 20 ways Obama can improve the country. List every productive thing you did yesterday (this improves memory also and gives you ideas for today).

The “idea muscle” atrophies within days if you don’t use it. Just like walking. If you don’t use your legs for a week, they atrophy.

You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3-6 months to build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.

D)     Spiritual- I feel that most people don’t like the word “spiritual.” They think it means “god.” Or “religion.” But it doesn’t.

I don’t know what it means actually. But I feel like I have a spiritual practice when I do one of the following:

  • Pray (doesn’t matter if I’m praying to a god or to dead people or to the sun or to a chair in front of me – it just means being thankful. And not taking all the credit, for just a few seconds of the day).
  • Meditate – Meditation for more than a few minutes is hard. It’s boring. Here I give tips for 60 second meditations. You can also meditate for 15 seconds by really visualizing what it would be like meditate for 60 minutes.Here’s a simple meditation: sit in a chair, keep the back straight, watch yourself breathe. If you get distracted, no problem. Just pull yourself back to your breath. Try it for 5 minutes. Then six.
  • Being grateful – I try to  think of everyone in my life I’m grateful for. Then I try to think of more people. Then more. Its hard.
  • Forgiving – I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them (but not pity).
  • Studying- If I read a spiritual text (doesn’t matter what it is: Bible, Tao Te Ching, anything Zen related, even inspirational self-help stuff, doesn’t matter) I tend to feel good. This is not as powerful as praying or meditating (it doesn’t train your mind to cut out the BS) but it still makes me feel good.

My own experience: I can never achieve the three “simple” goals on a steady basis without doing the above practice on a daily basis. And every time I’ve hit bottom (or close to a bottom, or I’ve been at some sort of crossroads) and started dong the above 4 items (1991, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2008) magic would happen:

The Results

A)     Within about one month, I’d notice coincidences start to happen. I’d start to feel lucky. People would smile at me more.

B)      Within three months the ideas would really start flowing, to the point where I felt overwhelming urges to execute the ideas.

C)      Within six months, good ideas would start flowing, I’d begin executing them, and everyone around me would help me put everything together.

D)     Within a year my life was always completely different. 100% upside down from the year before. More money, more luck, more health, etc.

And then I’d get lazy and stop doing the practice. And everything falls apart again. But now I’m trying to do it every day.

Its hard to do all of this every day. Nobody is perfect. I don’t know if I’ll do all of these things today. But I know when I do it, it works.

  • Kinnata

    your entire blog is really-really awesome! i have read some of your articles and it feel like seeing myself in a mirror, but yours are much more-everything!! you articles are bullshit-free

    it’s everything dude ! you r so cool

  • You are fu*king awesome…
    i kept telling my friends never to do anything they didn’t want to do…
    i told them it was unhealthy…. i think i can relate to that the most…. everything else is just superb.

  • Jeffrey

    James, I started to read your blog recently. Because of your articles on the Freakonomics blog, I browsed through this blog accidently. Finding your writings are so inspiring and interesting.

    Thank you for what you did. This is just awesome.

  • Adithyavaranasi

    Your ideas noteworthy and independent ! Truly learn something when you do so ! :)
    I also had written few days back
    your advice will be valuable :)

  • Jerry

    Dane Rudhyar – The astrology of personality p143 The true individual is the flowering and fruition of the collective……is the collectivity become conscious and significant. The drop that has assimilated the occean’s characteristic being, and is thus a perfect example of ‘sea-water-hood’.

  • Davidjohnhall

    Really? I think all of the items on this list can be done by anyone. Everyday. The illusion you are creating is that a job/career inhibits action. Or creates a world where inaction is okay. That sounds unrealistic to me.

    We’re talking about working out, going to bed early, meditating, praying, cutting out negativity and negative people. Which of those items are impossible because you have a job?

    Your job might be so lame that you don’t have the energy or the drive to do these things. In which case you probably need to do them more than anything. And a few months in you might find yourself with a new, better, life affirming job/career. Heck, you might even create an AWESOME blog like this one that features AWESOME posts like this one.

    I think a lot of us complain that they’re locked into our lives and have no time, etc, when what we’re really all terrified about is that we really can do anything we want. Any day of the week.

    Good luck to you. It’s time for me to go work out. Before I go to work. :-)

    • Dave Miller

      How many children do you have? And James, children? How it must be fantastic to only have oneself to consider in life..!
      Also obviously never had to deal with life changing blows – things that the author wouldn’t have a clue about.
      How wonderful to have such a straight forward life to be able to do all this and in those perfect hours every single day

  • Prosperousguy

    I really liked this James, thx!

  • Davidjohnhall

    Simply writing down what I am grateful for each day has started the luck ball rolling. This isn’t just theoretical advice. It’s real. In 3 weeks, as I begin to implement (and that’s the key – doing it) these exercises I have begun to see luck showing up all over the place. But when luck does show up it doesn’t feel like luck — it feels like grace. Like flow. Like the natural state is luck.

    I started by writing down everything I am grateful for. Every day. I thought I would have 3 things on the list. 1.) My girlfriend. 2) The stock market. 3) Jame’s blog. 1/2 hour after I started writing I had a couple composition notebook pages full of the things I was grateful for.

    My Health. Eyesight. My friend Lewis (I thought I hated him). My car. My job. My notebook. My dad. My new shirt. Living by the beach. Surfing. Indoor soccer. Screenplays. Movies. Poetry.

    The list went on and on. Then someone came over to my house and said they had a great contact for me. For whatever reason they just thought about me that day. Then I found money. Then I found something I had thought I had lost.

    On top of this I feel happy. Just…happy. It’s true, people are smiling more.

    I told my girlfriend about Jame’s post (when don’t I tell her) and she said her 10 year old son came up to her the other day and said that he was cutting such and such friend out of his life because he was too negative. Wow. It’s little lessons like that that have started to pop up all over. Not to mention renewed enthusiasm.

    It’s amazing. I really just wanted to say thank you again for this and all of the other inspiring posts. I am grateful for the lessons.

  • Brian Balk

    Several unrelated thoughts as I read your article and some of the repsonses (mostly your own):

    1. Smart phones ought to allow an option (or an app these days) to display the to-do list as the wallpaper or default visual. Maybe some do. I don’t have a smart phone.

    2. Thank you for your honest and caring and challenging and generous and intelligent writing. I’ve read one or two of your articles before but really fell into them today (and neet go get to work, both at my pay job and on some of the things you suggest). I’ll be back to read more.

    3. I often have flashes of ideas of things I could do, some of which could bring me far more personal fulfillment and even worldly success, but I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, how to take baby steps, and so I generally never start. Have you any suggestions? Or, if it’s appropriate, feel free to use that as the topic for an article.

    • Ibibi430

      Yes, regarding the Smart Phone wallpaper, take a picture of your to-do list and place it as your wallpaper every day!

  • Brian Balk

    Several unrelated thoughts as I read your article and some of the repsonses (mostly your own):

    1. Smart phones ought to allow an option (or an app these days) to display the to-do list as the wallpaper or default visual. Maybe some do. I don’t have a smart phone.

    2. Thank you for your honest and caring and challenging and generous and intelligent writing. I’ve read one or two of your articles before but really fell into them today (and neet go get to work, both at my pay job and on some of the things you suggest). I’ll be back to read more.

    3. I often have flashes of ideas of things I could do, some of which could bring me far more personal fulfillment and even worldly success, but I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, how to take baby steps, and so I generally never start. Have you any suggestions? Or, if it’s appropriate, feel free to use that as the topic for an article.

  • sorry I beat you to it. I’m already the luckiest guy on the planet. But there is room to share up at the top.

  • Great post, with useful stuff to take with me. Appreciated.

  • Amitptel

    Have you done / heard about the “Art of Living” course?, you should do it.

  • Idlebumski


    I’m sitting down here in NZ, and SO GLAD I just discovered this. They say first and most responsible thing you should do if discovering a car accident, is to first make sure that by helping, you do not cause another.

    Your suggestion to avoid negative people and put the oxygen mask on first, is in line with this, lest we all become negative ‘car accidents’. Even better is your suggestion that no explanation is owed to these people.

    To me, and I suspect to other ‘eagles’, these things are instinctive, but the negative people over time have a way of wearing you down with guilt and all sorts of other BS, forcing you to ignore instincts leaving you drowning.

    THANK YOU for reaffirming my instincts to me, and that in the big picture, I am doing the most responsible thing by following them, and setting that example (although, I would say, it is probably naive to think to negative people are easily inspired).

    The other truism you mention is just that: Live in a world of truth and reality, and you shall be as they say, set free. IMHO, there is nothing more heavy and dispiriting than having to live and eat BS.

    Rock on, James. If you are ever likely to be in my part of the world, I would love to buy you a drink.

    Jason Page.

  • Dosjeffe

    oh ye of little faith-durst but follow me to the mount

  • Dosjeffe

    oh ye of little faith-durst but follow me to the mount

  • eduard

    just happened upon your page for the first time. I’ll be coming back.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Bevcpa


    Thank you for your posts. I discovered you on yahoo finance and loved your unconventional way of looking at things – so I started reading your posts and determined that you are a kind iconoclast. Hows that for a label? I especially loved and have distributed to several of my unemployed friends your post on what to do when you are fired!

    I thoroughly enjoy being reminded to not assume reality has to be so conventional. At least thats what I get out of your posts. Keep it up!


  • Hayes

    “D) Within a year my life was always completely different. 100% upside down from the year before. More money, more luck, more health, etc. And then I’d get lazy and stop doing the practice. And everything falls apart again. But now I’m trying to do it every day.”

    Wow! Ain’t this the truth.

  • Hayes

    “D) Within a year my life was always completely different. 100% upside down from the year before. More money, more luck, more health, etc. And then I’d get lazy and stop doing the practice. And everything falls apart again. But now I’m trying to do it every day.”

    Wow! Ain’t this the truth.

  • Coy

    I like it. It’s simple, direct and easy to follow. I thnk women cry at weddings beause they know it’s the best part of the marriage. The rest isn’t a “joining of two people” it’s where the women has to redefine herself again. If shes lucky she can be herself. I too do not like to go to weddings. I cry with them. I have done these four steps in the past but have been afraid to break away from the great paying but boring job. Now, in the last half of my life I will do it. Lets see how it goes this time. I have already started two of them, the lists and the praying……

  • Hitesh

    Great blog, reminds me of Art of Living in many ways.

  • Beau

    Thanks for giving me a positive lift. I prayed for incentive in the steam room after my workout today. Guess what? I found it here with your article. This is a bookmark for sure. Thanks for the connection!

  • coloradoj

    I want to know more of your reason for not liking weddings. I’m really curious. I mean, you put it up there, and some people have responded to applaud you for being honest. I don’t blame you at alll, but as I get older I have only been to one in the last ten years, and it was pretty sweet. I mean, as much as I thought the couple was crazy (since I personally had a terrible divorce) there were so many really cool things that happened there that I would’ve hated missing it. Some wonderful friends were there, we drank wine together in a garden, I danced with a dear friend to good music, and I gained some insight from this older couples optimism, and saw that this was a choice that they were making together–maybe not what I would do, but what they wanted. Now as far as whether the marriage lasts, or relationships, or what have you, I saw this as more of a great time with friends. I guess anything is good with good company. So back to my question, why so bad? I mean unless it’s your own wedding. Sorry if this verges on personal, but you sparked my curiousity.

  • Monica_417

    Are you really upset with him over his egocentric thoughts and opinions? I mean, really. What is wrong with looking out for oneself? I, for one, have been told since I can remember that “God helps those who help themselves”, and I think that is what James is getting at. We are the masters of our own destiny and shouldn’t rely on others’ antiquated ideas of what brings happiness and contentment. And I must point out, nowhere did I read where he was saying in order to make yourself happy other people be damned. Why SHOULD we waste time doing things that drain us? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    James, this is the first article of yours that I have read and I am a fan. I have already sent it to a couple of friends and I appreciate not only what you have to say, but the conversational way you say it. Very easy yet thought provoking! Keep it up, if it pleases you. ;)

  • Monica_417

    Are you really upset with him over his egocentric thoughts and opinions? I mean, really. What is wrong with looking out for oneself? I, for one, have been told since I can remember that “God helps those who help themselves”, and I think that is what James is getting at. We are the masters of our own destiny and shouldn’t rely on others’ antiquated ideas of what brings happiness and contentment. And I must point out, nowhere did I read where he was saying in order to make yourself happy other people be damned. Why SHOULD we waste time doing things that drain us? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    James, this is the first article of yours that I have read and I am a fan. I have already sent it to a couple of friends and I appreciate not only what you have to say, but the conversational way you say it. Very easy yet thought provoking! Keep it up, if it pleases you. ;)

  • Redheaddreamer2

    I read this after & b/c I read 10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job & liked it. I like this even more-it’s complete, all levels of being approach. It’s inspiring & I’ll share it with others. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences.

  • Melissa

    I have somewhat of a different daily practice. I find that when I write to do lists, and make small goals for myself every day, all of the time, I feel a sense of accomplishment so large that the results in my life create this positive energy that counters any negativity that comes along. And your results are so true, I experience the exact same results.

    •  Thats great Melissa. I think the to-do lists go hand-in-hand with the type of lists I describe as building the idea muscle. I would also encourage some of the other ideas in The daily practice I describe: the physical, emotional, and spiritual sides. Thanks agin for the comment and advice on the to-do lists. 

  • Straykat

    Amen, bro! Cutting out negative people is essential. Even if they’re family. It’s so liberating to just give yourself permission to say No, I don’t want to. Isn’t that what we looked forward to as children? Being allowed to say No and do what we wanted?

    • very important. Adults, like children, will find that boundary and abuse it. Its important to be happy by being able to say “no” sometimes.

  • miguelangel ponce


  • TheAman

    Currently at that bottom James. Will let you know what happens at months 1,3,6 and 12.


    • I hope you do Aman, it works. If you would like a free PDF of the book listed at the right then just contact me thru the contact page and I will send it to you. Or anyone who asks . As long as you keep in touch and let me know how it goes.

  • LKB

    Ooo your articles are FUN and exactly what I need leading up to my 40th birthday, which is in a couple weeks. Good stuff! Glad I found you.

  • Brian

    Great stuff. Transcends what you do…who you are. I attempt similar daily routines…excercise being on top, as much for the mental as the physical benefits.
    Life can be pretty simple. We make it hard.  

  • A thought provoking article titledHow to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps

  • Ramesh Thangamani

     Nice post, try a English copy of the book I think you might like it I think you might like it

  • A thought provoking article

  • Anonymous

    Enjoyed your article. I find that getting older is an example of good luck. I’ve been through some challenging events and through recognizing opportunities, and some good luck I’ve survived. Now that I well into my sixties I will follow your good counsel, who knows maybe I’ll hit triple digits and still get lucky. 

    •  I hear you on the good luck and getting older part. 

  • Joe Miller

    FFS, where have you been all my life?

    I wandered in here from the Stevie Cohen (I’m a big ‘fan’)  piece on CNBC and have spent the last hour reading your archived posts even though I should be studying for my urology board exam or figuring whether to hold JOYG through earnings or not.

    Going back to my days as a Navy pilot I’ve been personally “unfulfilled” for lack of a better word and have recently been searching in earnest for a solution.  I already get up at 0400 and I’m an accomplished ultramarathoner.  As a doctor I live for others a la Viktor Frankl, “Live a Life of Gratitude” and “Live in the Moment” are practically tattooed on my chest and I’ve recently taken up meditating daily, but I can’t seem to get to that one thing to bring it all together.  I still have this feeling, everyday, that the next thing I read, or the next person I meet will be the 90-degree turn in my life that sets me directly on my path to greatness.  You or your writings may not be it, but I sure enjoy reading them!

    Please keep it up!

    • My goal in life is to “the next thing” you read. I do think that people for too long have subscribed to the American religion and its finally let most of us (me included) down. They need something new. Something that doesn’t necessarily fall in the real of “spiritual” or “religion” (nothing wrong with those but many people view those as ugly words) but some thing that will take people a tiny bit closer to happiness. 

      I know for me, these techniques work. 

  • Brett Houle

    I would say get outside. We’re not meant to be cooped up like we are without sun, air, clouds, mountains, streams, fields, trees – all of nature. Watch what it does for you. Clarity of mind and heart. Good for the body. It seems that the closer we move back to what is natural, the happier we become. And go alone one day. Some other, bring someone. It’s good for you and good for them. Here’s to everyone’s happiness…

  • Brett Houle

    I would say get outside. We’re not meant to be cooped up like we are without sun, air, clouds, mountains, streams, fields, trees – all of nature. Watch what it does for you. Clarity of mind and heart. Good for the body. It seems that the closer we move back to what is natural, the happier we become. And go alone one day. Some other, bring someone. It’s good for you and good for them. Here’s to everyone’s happiness…

  • Moore1947

      Been there,done that–and it WORKS. Great blog.
    PS Have big position cigx,I think good news soon

  • Moore1947

      Been there,done that–and it WORKS. Great blog.
    PS Have big position cigx,I think good news soon

  • I have reposted this on my blog at  it is great …

  • I have reposted this on my blog at  it is great …

  • Team Dave

    Just found you. This stuff is brilliant. 

    I think the lack of sleep and distractions from too many gadgets is causing me to make bad decisions too and become ‘unlucky’. I’m going to have a crack at following your daily practice although I don’t know about the exercising part…

    • The exercise doesn’t have to be brutal. Start off with 15 minutes. Do 20 pushups 5 times a day. That will take 8 minutes of your day and it will spread out so it won’t brutalize you too much. Build up from that. Stretching is good also. Get into a stretch and stay there while breathing deeply. Breathe ten times deeply. Look at yoga books to see different types of stretches. 

      In terms of sleep: figure out why you can’t sleep. Its really important. Don’t sleep next to your computer. Make sure digestion is ok at night. And medicate if you have to until your sleep schedule is better. 

  • Sarmahdi

    Oh… recently I started sleeping like 8- 9:30 – 10 and wake up like 3 or 4.. Its amazing… i love myself more its so fun ( no I am not playing PS3 its just a fun Feel). I have been doing it for a month or two may be. and due to that I eat like 6:00 max i think. yesterday was a bit bad but before that I have been doing this and I just read your article and u r actually right. It does have a very good awesome feel to it.

    • Tht’s great. Now, with those extra hours, I hope you are making good use of them: build out the idea muscles. Spend some time developing some sort of spiritual practice (any spiritual practice, it doesn’t matter what). Read. etc. 

  • Jeff

    Just read through your ebook; thanks for sending it. 
    I am also reading “The Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida and came across “… you must cultivate your sense of daily practice” in Chapter 48; it made me think to ask you if you got the phrase ‘daily practice’ from that book.  But either way, have you read it and what do you think about it?
    Have a great day!

  • Jeff

    I just finished reading your ebook, thank you for sending it.
    I also recently finished reading “The Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida.  I noticed in Chapter 48 he talks about “… you must cultivate your sense of daily practice.”  Did you happen to pick up the phrase ‘daily practice’ from him, or is just it a common one?  If you have read his book, what did you think?  It’s one of my new favorites.  Have a great day (and thanks for responding to my email)

    • I havent heard of that book but I’ll check it out. Thanks Jeff. 

  • Brvp31

    i read your blog.its good.
    i have a question i am 32 year old.i was always interested in having sex but i am not that handsome boy also i was born in one of the asian countries which are not as liberal as western countries are.i had girl friend for 2 years but we never had REAL sex(Again an asian conservative girl).i am still not married.i have not fucked any girl.all i want is to fuck the age of 24 i was done with my masters and was good at professional front once then i left everything as i was not feeling that “completeness” about my life and couldn’t settled down in one profession. within five years i changed three jobs just for better money and didn’t knew what am i really interested into?
    i meditate occasionally. in fact,i can meditate for hours.i don’t beleive in the god at all.i feel all religions have pros and cons of their own.none of them is perfect.i always believed i myself is god.none can be superior to may be wrong but that’s the way it is somehow.
    today i feel like i am lost all over in the life.but still do not want to pray.

    all i want to develop is “Faith” which doesn’t exist in my mind.

    i am not sure whether you would understand what i want to say or not…!!

  • Selvarajshivaram

    same pinch

  • The physical, mental, spiritual, emotional really hit home and couldn’t
    be further from the truth. I think this is the first time I’ve seen
    ANYONE speak about that to the level that James has. Pure gold!!! 

  • The best, actionable, and life-changing post on the web.

    • Kamal, thanks. I can’t even express enough how much this approach has worked for me throughout my life. And when I let it slip, then everything slips. 

  • :-) Love this! 

    It seems that being disciplined is the key to everything. I tend to cut some slack once I get to a certain level of success “and then everything falls apart again…”

    Thank you for your honesty, man!

    • Being disciplined, but within the context of these four things: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. You don’t have to do a lot. Just making sure you check the box on each item each day. Then you can build into however disciplined you want to be. 

      Btw, Constantin, I’m glad you like these various posts. 

  • Ilhan Kudeki

    They’re certainly helping me.  I was both touched and inspired by your recent interview on Mixergy.  The part where you talked about the concepts in this post — especially how easily the idea muscle atrophies and how it will take 1-6 months to build it up was an eye-opener to me.  I kept thinking I didn’t have any good ideas, but the truth is that I had let the muscle atrophy due to non-use.  I’m going to start some new daily rituals thanks to your post here and interview with Andrew.

    Have you ever read “The Power of Full Engagement”?  Some of your ideas seem to fit very well with that book – even the 4 categories it uses, I believe.

  • SelfAutomated

    James, I just started reading your blog. I am an internet entrepenuer myself. Your stories and style of writing hit true to my heart and have given me strength to follow your strategies. I have now made your website my home page. Thank you!

  • andreas

    I will try this. Back to you in six months time.


  • Greetings! Very
    supportive opinion on this article! This is the modest changes which make the
    greatest changes. A big Thanks for sharing this!
    Insurance Jacksonville

  • Chirag Rankja

    Amazing..!! Helped a lot for figuring out mental hurdles !

  • Jesus A. Ruiz

    Very usefull article. I love it. Thanks!!

  • I. Love. This. THANK YOU!

  • Mary Ann

    Thank you … this really helped me!

  • Lashky

    Hi James…here is one I pieced together on my own. According to some holding a positive thought for 17 seconds can shift you from a negative head space. Well, my variation on this goes like this: walking 4 blocks to my home, I pass shops and restaurants and coffee shops (eating and shopping are two addictions that screw up clear headed thinking). So I thought every time I notice a negative coming up or a temptation or found myself rationalizing why I need a new outfit or a coffee or ice cream…I say to myself (or silently in my head)” 17 let go…16 let go…15 let go…”and continue all the way to to 1. Then I say, ” Good orderly thinking directs my thoughts and actions.” I was really surprised how many times I had negative, impulsive, compulsive, ruminating, projecting, judgmental, critical thoughts in that short time. Becoming really consciously aware of the shit going through your head requires discipline but when you consider that your thoughts direct your actions which, in turn, create your reality…I think its pretty important work to do…as within, so without.

  • This is really great. Now Imma go and do some yoga!

  • James this is fantastic. It made me realise how well my own life has been going since I started looking after my physical, emotional and spiritual health. I am still finding it difficult to come up with ideas everyday but it is a work in progress :)

    I love the part about putting yourself first “When the plane is going down, put the oxygen mask on your face first.” How can we help others if we don’t help ourselves first?

  • Bob Phillips

    Hi there! Great article you have, I would also want to share my thoughts that Meditation indeed has positive effects not only in the body but also in the mind, a total holistic wellness that brings us to know our inner-self better. It gives us a peace of mind that helps us have a much better perception about our lives.
    Our advocacy is to promote the positive effects of meditation, yoga and inner wellness.
    Help us, visit our website at and also
    Thank you and have a great day!

  • This is great advice. Timeless. Thanks.

  • Mai Vi

    Thanks. Great one.

  • Vicky Morley

    This is a brilliant post! I completely totally & utterly agree with your 3 main points. As you rightly point out -it is so HARD to keep going on everything everyday! Even when you have proved to yourself time & time again this is what’s needed -why is that I wonder?

    Off to do some sun salutations -thank you. I will keep reading.

  • Interested

    You must have a positive attitude on display always. People look at you when you are not expecting this and view you. This view of you fascinates them and causes them to imitate you. So, smiling is a good posture to assume and it will spread. Takes more muscles to frown. So smiling is easier and better for your inner feelings. Also, remember only the good things in your life. Forget all the shortcomings entirely and do not let them enter your mind…..never. View everyone as a genuinely good person, they will respond accordingly. You will make more friends, especially at the places you frequent the most. People remember you for the positive response you give them. Just a start, but beginnings are the best part of life.

  • lashky

    Hi James, I really like your sense of humour, it helps to deliver the content which is serious, bypassing the subconscious mind’s constant attempts to keep us enslaved to our original programming. I just wanted you to know that I chose to rent a condo right across from the lake, here in Toronto,Canada…and these past two weeks I’ve started a routine of getting up early and walking along the waterfront. I walk barefoot on grass, on the sand beaches and on the smooth boards of the boardwalk…and you are right about exercise. I had a morning walk yesterday where it was so beautiful, I was overwhelmed with appreciation. This morning, I couldn’t believe how much of a low mood I was in…a result of the previous night’s hour long rants from my teen age daughter. The negativity of that episode has carried through the next morning and I could feel it in my body. I almost called off the walk, I wanted to stay in bed and just cry. But I got out of bed, walked and cried with the morning sun shining in my face, thinking if anyone passes me they’ll just think my eyes are tearing because of the sun shining directly into them. Happiness is a state we all want, all the time, especially those of us who have an addict’s mind, we can turn anything into an addiction. Instead, of trying to force myself to be happy this morning, to try and recapture yesterday’s pleasant feelings when I walked…I just said f…it, I’m going to just let this emotion exist, not try to push it away. I didn’t get to work feeling happy…I came to work feeling a little less overwhelmed by the anger and hurt. I thought I’d share this with you…keep up the writing and sharing, it helps.

  • James, thanks so much for your insights. I totally agree that even a modest level of fitness and high-quality sleep are IMMENSELY helpful my being productive and energized, which lets me ABT (Always Be Thinking). As far as writing down ideas, do you prefer or recommend a particular strategy to keep these organized, or is it the practice itself that’s key? Currently reading “The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth” and love the idea matrix.

  • Paul Fabrique

    Ever thought you are a “draining” person? This is as miserable as fuck. If someone is negative or draining, “bringing you down”, they might be depressed. They might need a bit of understanding. Not “cutting out”….everything changes in life, happiness never lasts and neither does depression. That person who is ” bringing you down” today might save your fucking life tomorrow. But not if you “cut them out”

  • Angelina Scott


    The church of the satan was created by our late lord master PRIEST ANTON SZANDOR LAVEY before he pass away to meet the lord Lucifer, the name
    illuminati is just a name given to the group because of their aim in life and the name illuminati means ALL FOR ONE OR WE ARE ALL ONE, our aim to the world is to bring those to realize the true nature of life; we are well know that the church of satan is an organization that consist of multi millionaire and billionaire, the church of satan is a place that passion are been made to those who need it, to our real nature Satanism is the best suite that fit man in this life, the blessing from the church of satan is unlimited and can never stop if you are a member of the fraternity, and to become a member of this organization its very simple to those who are interested in becoming a member, but people make life difficult for themselves, when we are in the world where every thing is in control in our hands. and if you wish to join the satanic church where all your heart desire are be made you need to follow this address below to become a member and realize the true nature of life.If you are truly interested and get back to me via email?. call +2348115531558…

  • Bob Phillips

    Hi there! Great article you have, I would also want to share my thoughts that Meditation indeed has positive effects not only in the body but also in the mind, a total holistic wellness that brings us to know our inner-self better. It gives us a peace of mind that helps us have a much better perception about our lives.
    Our advocacy is to promote the positive effects of meditation, yoga and inner wellness.
    Help us, visit our website at and also
    Thank you and have a great day.!

  • mbchandar

    dude, how come i feel that what ever you have written applies to me?

    after reading that 100 rules post, i am now reading this. what to do when i am getting ideas every day and i tend go deep into it. when i start implementing within one or two days i am tired and got bored.

    is that usual?

  • Most times i go to bed at 4 am :)

  • dubya dubya

    James, your stories are still helping people. They are helping me!

  • I totally agree with you on being positive and meditate, I try to do the same.. However the fact of stop doing it and things would fall apart makes it a bit annoying.. it sounds like taking meds for the rest of my life. Why can’t it be naturally within us? I don’t know if i’m making any sense, maybe I’m just stressed out over life right now..

  • Prashanth S

    Got to know about you yesterday while surfing random stuff on stocks. Read 3 of your posts in an hour, bought 3 of your books on kindle. Lot of good information. Which we feel we know, but looking at what we know and make us think why we don’t follow is key. Thanks for sharing whole lot of your experience through blogs and books. Keep writing. I will keep reading! You made my day today!

  • murrayataga

    Hey sir .l haven’t made near a million dollars probably coz l haven’t been executing my ideas but l totally agree with you on life takes off when l do same .thanks for the post, it was really motivating.

  • Katherine Mancuso

    Hi James. Thanks for this post. I notice that the emotional one is the only one that doesn’t have a daily practice. Is there a reason you didn’t establish a daily emotional wellness practice? Curious. -Katherine

  • I think when you talk about spiritual, praying etc.its a way of attracting good energy towards yourself.The more lucky we feel the more luck we attract.I really like your idea of practicing 3 simple things everyday.sounds soo do able.Thanks for the heartfelt words

  • Justin

    Dude , this might sounds silly , but this is genius. This article is exactly what I needed to get motivated . Thank you for inspiring a young entrepreneur who struggles with depression.

  • Lindsey Christine Kesel

    Agreed! My buddy got married on the 4th of July, which I thought was a really ballsy move … to corrupt all of your friends’ and family members’ holiday. I love your overarching rule of not doing things you don’t want to. Life is too short to schedule your time around other people’s agendas. I never go to funerals. ;-)

  • swatinigam

    I discovered your blog from the book “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depended on it”. Loved this post. Going to keep coming back for more :-). Thanks.

  • Nikolai

    So essential, so old.. yet so much needed to be repeated – again! Thanks for inspiration to re-integrate this habit stack back into my routine. Need it! Grateful :) Felt like you were speaking directly to me.. Weren’t you?
    P.S. The worst thing about mediation?.. Is dropping the practice: things fall apart way too hard every time I stop mediating, it’s almost too scary to start again, haha! Just my observation…

  • Ethan Kuo

    Dude, you should do a TED talk about this.

  • Elaine

    Liked it! I do some of the same but need to be committed to a practice with more consistency. Thx

  • Abdullah Atta

    Thank you so much .Your words helped me a lot . I’m very greatful

  • Cheryl Fewell-Brown

    Where have you been all my life?

  • Bob Phillips

    Hi there! I’m quite sure that I have something that I can connect and interject, my book is about relevant lessons from my journey towards self-realization. Tried and tested by my activism during my grassroots movement to uphold democracy, I realized that the vigor of my convictions and capacity to uphold freedom was driven by my belief in my inner being. My strong sense of my personal responsibility to protect individual freedom led me to explore and test my inner capacity to sustain the spirit of freedom. I daresay, I launched a democracy movement in order to test my inner capacity to realize my ability to protect what is owed and natural to me in my body, mind, spirit and soul. The desire to be free is a soul searching self-realization.
    Our advocacy is to promote change for the better through self-realization we express the natural genius and open our minds to feel the flow of life energy as it courses through us. By experiencing the life form in its true creative genius we connect to our body, mind and spirit as it was meant to be. The learning from our inner experience in meditation allows us to know who we are. In meditation, we reevaluate life and are inspire ourselves to experience more fully our best selves.
    Help us, visit our website at and also You can also download the app at
    Thank you and have a great day.!

  • Mariana Drumeva

    best blog!!!! james you are amazing

  • Maha Eldeeb

    :) you are great.

  • Suni Maka

    You are the great writer.

  • dario

    read your book Choose your self.. I could not put it down < truth is I had crazy glue stuck to my fingers and " LITERALLY COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN" so I read it…… Loved it.

  • I am consantly surrounded by negative thoughts and i feel low most of the days, I don’t know whether it would help but i am gonna give a try

    • I don’t know anything about you but I figured I’d share one of the items from Jame’s post above that I’ve done every day for the past 5-6 years. I start every morning with a prayer. I probably spend 10 minutes a day on that prayer. And I always make sure it includes the following.

      1. I start with prayers of thankfulness. I always start by thanking God for another day. That by itself is precious. And then I thank him for my family because they are by far the most important thing in my life.
      2. I have a small list of cancer patients I pray for every day. I’m realistic that some will not get better but I at least pray that they’ll have a good day.
      3. This may be the most important of all of my prayers but I pray for a peaceful day. And I include every member of my household in that prayer.

      I pray for other things. I am a Christian so I believe fairly specific things. But I think those three things above can apply to anyone. I really believe that just starting my day by thinking about having a peaceful day helps wire my mind for a better day. And better days add up to a better life. I will say that I do not know that any of this works if you don’t spend at least some time during every prayer focusing on what you are grateful for.

  • Chris Chard

    Great post. I think I have figured ouut exactly the same keys as you have posted here but never the awareness to put them all together. Hopefully this is exactly what I needed to get back on track. Thanks

  • I realise that this post is written a couple of years ago but I just stumpled upon it and got motivated as f**k. I am actually gonna try this. Thank you for the post!

  • Virg Lewis

    James – you have such a delightful way with words. I feel your frustration and feelings of pleasure so often. Keep sharing and re-sharing.

  • Sunitha Aravindan

    well said.

  • roamer8

    Another great article, getting a bit ocd on your blog. A comment I may add is that your goals seem a tad self referential… I..

    I read another article you wrote somewhere about not believing in the Buddhist idea of loving kindness and compassion for people especially if you did not like them.

    Which is not necessarily a bad thing imho

  • Nazneen Charania

    Really great advice. I need to change my life. Thanks for the tips.

  • Corinne Rogan

    U R a heckuva guy. Luv your stuff.

  • Eric Grimaldi

    Hey, I am new here and really enjoy it. The contents are very inspirational, nice to read. Just reading a couple of posts/articles, puts me on the active thinking again. Thank you very much.

  • Anatoly Halizev

    For now I am not going to sleep at 9pm and not waking up at 5-6am.
    But I am meditating – 40 minutes every day, more than one year.
    Although I don’t see a lot of positive things and more ideas/money. But I try not to give up and be more grateful.

    Thank you for your articles!

  • This is so so good. And so so true. Thanks! :-)

  • Truthful Artemis

    Has anyone here ever heard of Teal Swan? She is a “spiritual catalyst” and can be found on youtube. One piece of advice Teal gives to lift yourself up is this: For a full year, 365 days, make every decision based on the question, What would someone who loved themselves do? It often makes the choices we have to make every day very clear. For example, Would someone who loved themselves want to spend precious hours with people who bring them down? Would someone who loved themselves, force themselves to do something they didn’t want to do, simply out of a sense of obligation to someone? Yes, we do have obligations in life, but our first obligation is to the Self given to us by our Creator, in the sense that we, too, are sacred and deserving of love and care. When we are in a centered and loving place, we can radiate that outwards to others.

  • Aashya Ry

    Oh this is what I needed in my life at this very moment. Nothing else. Thank you for sharing this. It feels like my sub-conscious is all consolidated and written all over the article. It’s very succinct and very doable. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Tara Woodruff

    I Love Reading this Blog. Thank you James!!

  • HedgeYbet

    Your writings always inspire me to improve my life and not feel sorry for myself. THANKS JAMES!…

  • Dan Elias

    I read this post 2 months ago and this sparked a lot of change in my life and was the main inspiration for this article:

    Thanks James!

  • Ellie

    Oh my. James. I’m at that lazy part, where I have turned my life around and stopped doing the exercises. You made me realize it just now.
    And you made me feel good today. Like, really good! The anxiety off my chest-type of good. Let’s go.

    Thank you!

  • Zac J Wooddy

    Well, I feel pretty good after taking notes here in my journal.
    Some of these things I’ve been doing already, but now I know how important they are.

    Here’s examples of I get done on a regular basis (most days):
    1: Meditate for around five minutes when I wake up.
    2: Read a reinforcement list of shit I should remember each day and hold myself to.
    3: Run for 20 minutes outside.
    4: Take a cold shower and don’t dry off, instead meditate awhile before getting out.

    Anyway, I found this article through Filip Wiltgren’s writer’s blog and I’ll definitely be coming back here more often.
    Thanks James for teaching us how to become Jedi Masters!

  • Christophe Labedan

    Good to see that business people can also have depth ;-)
    Funnily enough I have a similar routine for 30mn a day (meditation including visualising and being grateful for all the good I have, forgiving whoever’s done me wrong (has to be sincere for it to have a beneficial effect), visualising my perfect future and feeling whatever emotions this brings) but I also have a similar problem… When things go well, I tend to forget about it…

    This requires discipline, shame we are not taught this at school… It’s been a long and winding road from the 80’s to today, reading spiritual books as well as scientific books… At last both seem to me moving into the same direction now.

  • v3rse

    Wow. So that’s reason for those “good” days. On those days I noticed I tend to practice 2 or more of these ideas unknowingly and everything just works out. Thanks for codifying them James. I’ll aim to practice them daily!

  • pg2013

    I will try some of these things because parts make sense.

    However nobody can feel happy every second of the day all of their lives. If a person has a balanced lifestyle of looking inward as well as outward for life’s meaning and avoid using control measures to shore them up when they are down then they are on their way to a balanced good life.

  • Sathyanand S

    Thanks to James’ down to earth explanation, I have started integrating 4 daily practices of James into my own life. To help me remember I have made a 1-page visual note for my reference.

  • grace

    hi James, I discovered your podcast while searching for something on Neil Strauss (fascinating!), then came here and discovered your blog. I’ve read your latest and this one now during my morning commute and wow, thanks! It’s going to make my day better. I love the write ideas down practice – I used to do this though not regularly, don’t know why I stopped but going to start again. Will be poking around here. Thank you!

  • HS

    Fantastic article James. I have never felt so much energy come through anything I read. Thank you for sharing.

  • Funmi Kehinde

    I just wrote down 10 book ideas and I feel great about it. Thanks James!

  • Pan Jittibophit

    Hey James, I didn’t know you ever exist in this world before today and I’m SO GLAD I’ve found your blog. Please keep up your good work. We LOVE it :)

  • jrfolan

    Thank you for this. Your article has answered a lot of my questions. Amazing.

  • Christian G. Childs

    This article should be titled: “How to live a ‘Healthy’ Life”.

    I met a gentleman in Dallas/Fort Worth area who embodied this. Had a flip phone, was a teacher, lived frugally, woke up and had a smoothie every day for breakfast.

    His exercise was jumping on a trampoline in his back yard.

    He watched the reruns of the Jeffersons every night, and had steamed veggies and wild rice for dinner each night.

    Lived a simple life.

    He was always smiling and didn’t want for anything.

    I think James has something here…

  • CarmenGilda Sainz


  • brad900

    James – I’ve been at the end of my rope for quite a few months. This post helped me. Thank you.

  • Steve in CHGO

    My first meditation teacher used the expression “apparent coincidence.” Synchronicity is all around you if you look for it.

  • Ankit Girwal

    The best thing I read today

  • MarySBooth

    I am not sure I agree with not doing things you don’t want to do. When my father died, my mother and I followed advice she’d gotten years before when *her* father died, which was, say yes to everything when people ask you out to do things. When you’re terribly sad, or even if you don’t realize that you’re a bit depressed, you don’t feel like doing ANYTHING. Also, sometimes, doing things you thought you didn’t want to do brings wonderful serendipity. I’d rather attend a wedding, even if I don’t feel like it, and be on the lookout there to make new friends and connect with the family, etc, who invited me there. I think the attitude you go in with is the deciding factor.

  • Luis Hernandez

    Wow James this is golden! I needed this article in my life right at this moment, going through a rough time right now. Not only reading this article clarified my mind but also game me new perspective about how it is within my power to change my current situation, thank you.

  • Felix Papadakis

    It’s amazing James… have managed to synthesize all of the books I’ve been reading into 4 easy steps. From Deepak, to Marianne Williamson, to diet books and exercise books… all makes perfect sense. I made up the mneumonic PEMS….and put it at the top of my calendar daily. Good stuff. Got to you from the Times article and bought your book….writing ideas as we speak! Thanks, and be well.

  • I’ve been reading your stuff for around a year (?) now and it’s extremely helpful. It love the way you write – not complicated, just to the point and entertaining, too. Keep this going, James (I’m sure you will!)

  • James Buechler

    Ride on, Homer! Dang, forget my ten new ideas again…always tomorrow

  • Aayush Arora

    I know it’s an old story James but I just loved it. :)

    I try to do something like this every day. I have been doing this for 2 years now. Have a story to share. Can we connect? :)

  • shahidalise

    Meant Thanks for sharing this kind of satisfying opinion, written pieces is fastidious, that’s why I’ve read it completely

  • shahidalise

    Thank you so much for the post you do. I like your post and all you
    share with us is up to date and quite informative, i would like to
    bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done
    a wonderful job.

  • ceegeekay

    Overall I love your contemporary take on how to live happily. I have only just stumbled across you and bought the above-mentioned book so I have a lot I will read and think about before I venture to say much here!
    But looking at the comments this piece was written quite a while ago so I’m late to this particular ‘post party’.
    I have some confusion about your recommendation to “visualise gratefulness” for everyone who has done me wrong….what does this mean?!! What does gratefulness look like? And is gratefulness the same as gratitude? (Actually, I am interested to know. Probably like flammable and inflammable, they are the same thing. Aren’t they?!)
    Am I ‘wishing’ them gratefulness? Or imagining/visualising myself being grateful for them? Do I know they don’t already have gratefulness? They may have enough!!
    I am not the nerdy critical pedant I sound btw!! I’m amused by my lack of understanding and pompously and secretly thinking something here could be better expressed!!
    Oh well, not really expecting a reply but I feel better for offloading!
    Thanks for everything else!
    (I think we need a variety of exclamation marks. The one we have has too many jobs and is overworked).

  • Shaggy Bombay

    One thing I know from my own experience…GRATITUDE…it definitely WORKS….it increase LUCK & GRACE in life…everything just falls into place!!! ITS AMAZING!!!

  • Jemima Goodluck

    I think you are very interesting as a person- very funny and in some way honest. It’s also interesting that you are a contributor to Quora which incidentally I’ve recently added to my reading list.

    Per your daily list, it is quite insightful; I agree on the meditation/ prayer / honesty bit. It definitely gets one through the day. They have been times when I felt completely wiped out but after a serious session of time with the Good Lord, I feel uplifted and encouraged. I see new perspectives and possibilities as well as feel loved and grateful for seeing another day – definitely recommend this to anyone reading your blog. As for the other stuff, I find you really funny and amusing. I like your wit .

    I hope to meet you in person someday. Kudos to your inspiring words. Keep Smiling!!

  • Leigh Schwietz

    I drive a lot for work and am listening to your book Choose Yourself for the second time. Noticing more pearls this time. Today I finally looked at your blog. I like that you tell your truth, and aren’t trying to make a buck on everyone who visits your blog. Your lack of overt commercialism gives you more credibility. And the other posts are intelligent, not a bunch of anonymous haters. Yeah!

  • James Buechler

    I come back to read this one again and again

  • It’s been six years and your work is still helping people & may it help for more years… Love it. Keep it up.

  • Claude Schmidt

    More fulfilling than the doppio espresso macchiato I was just thinking about…Molto gratzi!

  • This has changed my life, in 30 days. I documented my experiment by tracking happiness, health and success.

    Here are some cool stuff that happened:

    I increased my happiness from 4.1 – 4.8 on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire
    I increased my dead lift with 15kg
    I increased my bench press with 5kg
    I published my first 4 blog posts
    I shared my posts in a group on facebook (Was scared but did it anyway)
    I shared posts on linkedIn (Was scared but did it anyway)
    I took the first step to starting on my first book
    I wrote down 300 ideas
    Three people have contacted me and told me they like my blog
    My french room-mate said “Manne, you look so HAPPY!!” when I randomly met her walking down the street.
    I had dinner at an amazing secret restaurant
    I took the first step to launching a new IT-product
    Got my first email-subscribers that I don’t know personally (yet)
    I’ve come up with new ways to make money on an old business idea
    I’ve scored at least three complementary hotel nights in Buenos Aires

    If you want to read the whole blog post you find it here:

  • Matt Elonis

    James, you’re incredible man… Adding so much value to so many lives

  • Mr Altrucher your life sounds like mine.
    The #3SimpleThings I advocate, use and work towards every day are:
    To self first. If done properly all else falls into place.

    It’s usually those who reach the gutteral part of themselves that find this simplicity in living an essential part of thriving.

    One thing is for certain though, one cannot always predict how one person will react and how those reactions will implode upon your life – both good and bad.
    Whilst experiencing a terrible nightmare with an ex business partner set upon destroying me, I am balanced with having found an incredible mind mentor who has sophisticatedly assisted me with reorganising my mind after a burglary. Been a hell of a year. Much learned and tons gained I still find myself poverty stricken.
    Taking a leaf out of my own book for each time I climb out of a situation it’s due to being focused on ‘My’ direction. Being diverted from my purpose has always been the downfall in the end.
    Am braving it now with a rule breaking startup / income engine / thesis – multiplying my time whilst dividing my efforts.
    A brave (some have said) branding strategy on speed dial in an effort to reach my potential.
    This all started with a need to put my ideas down. To see my thoughts in writing, to speak to others who thought like me or have ideas I don’t have. Ideas are the most infinitely important part of my existence.
    Putting ideas into practice daily now opening the paths to huge doors only previously dreamed of…. Thank You so much for relaying your story. I am inspired and look forward to connecting more in the future.

  • Veena

    Very true and nicely written. I too do a lot of these things and I know it works. Yes but I too am irregular, and lazy and so it does’t work:)

  • Marcos P

    James, would you be interested in me translating your blog to spanish?

    I want to share it with my family and friends but most of them dont speak english.

  • Brandon Person

    I’m loving the idea muscle thing. Really insightful brother. I hadn’t known much about your blog till now. I love how practical and simple it is.

  • Swati Saini

    Great article ..something I just wanted to read at this point of time in my life.
    Though I am a very optimistic person & always felt myself to be very lucky but at times you get upset and then such articles makes more sense than ever before.
    This will really help to get back on track.

  • Kasia Groborz

    This was the loveliest thing I read for a while

  • alipali

    Nature abhors a vacuum, as does one’s brain — it must be constantly full. It can’t bare to be empty, it simply can’t turn off; turning off could result in a missed signal and then a predator strikes — assuming this is an evolutionary response — and we can’t have that. And so it churns. And churns. Relentlessly. A brain filled with things of a negative sort from negative influences and from negative sources is all grist for the brain-mill, the brain doesn’t care; but we somehow do. Remove the negative in all its shapes and forms, now what fills the brain? Something else does, as it can’t stay empty, it will even eat itself if it needs to. The thing is, you can choose what goes in. So let the brain feast and churn and swim in positivity and joy and learning. Feed it well and often. it will be happier and so will you.

  • Rugile

    It’s motivating to change my life completely. Now I’m a doctor, working with gynecology equipment everyday, hearing thousands of stories of people who deep inside hate me. I just can’t be away from them because they are my patients. I’m now considering turning to art, my greatest hobby. How to start it? How to make the first step?

  • Frank D

    In April of 2014 this was me. I watched a movie called “The Secret” and changed my life. For the next year I did all of these things. My life changed dramatically. It was amazing. More money than I ever had, my business just took off, my relationships were fantastic and my attitude actually inspired people. But then I don’t know why but I just stopped. A couple bad things happened in a row and instead of continuing with what I learned to get through them with ease, I went back to my old self somewhat. And for the next year everything started going the wrong way. About a month ago I hit bottom again and decided to get back up. So far so good, things are once again moving in the right direction. I have to say from your whole story I liked to hear that you also got off track and got back on. Helps me realize I can do the same. But why do we get off track? If something is working so wonderfully, why do we allow the negative to get in the way? I do most of what you have said already but lately I have been hearing people say write down things. Write down what you are grateful for don’t just say it. Write down your ideas, don’t just think them. Write down who you wronged and who wronged you and apologize. Thank you for that, I am going to incorporate that as well. I wish you continued success and will be following you with your free updates. Thank you.

  • Ken

    I always enjoy reading your writings. One thing I might add. My wedding was like a funeral. None of our friends and family approved of the match. That was in 1964, and we celebrate 52 years this month. My advice on this is to marry your best friend, someone whose life compliments yours; similar interests that you can combine into a meaningful, productive life together during which your best times are spent together.
    There are two activities I engage in which I find crucial to my own well being. One is classical music, which reaches the unconscious mind and uplifts your life. It engages the right hemisphere of the brain, which needs a lot more exercise in our society. Pop music is mainly about rhythm, which is mainly left brain and the conscious mind, so that it does not have the curative powers that classical music does. By classical music, I include also Indian ragas, as well as the classical music of China, Japan, Thailand, Bali and Java. Believe it or not, these musical traditions share the same acoustical basis, and are therefore essentially dialects of the same language.
    Another thing I do is to get away from the city. We have a thirty-eight acre “farm” in an very isolated area, which we like to go to. This recharges the batteries, and gives us a chance to do things which would otherwise not be possible. For example, I have been studying the non-verbal languages of all kind of animals. The truth is that when animals discover that you don’t want to eat them, they can become very friendly, even insects like bees and wasps. We have a whole series of photographs with us posing with the large Chinese praying mantids, and I have found that you can negotiate with yellow jackets for space. One year there was a nest of yellow jackets in my garden. They let me know that they wanted me to leave a few weeds alone. This was accomplished without aggression on either side, and during that entire summer there was no conflict at all. At the end of the season I took their nest which I still have as a memento. One summer I made the mistake of becoming friendly with rabbits. They came to trust me too much, and that fall, hunters cam in and killed all of them. What I am saying here is that there are so many interesting things you can do with your life that others may not even consider.
    My life has been somewhat turbulent, though not as turbulent as yours evidently, thanks to a loving wife. I have discovered, as you no doubt have, that in this life the quality of your work is irrelevant, especially where government is concerned. I found that courier work was my best job, because the quality of my work was judged by the end result, and I did not have to play office politics.

  • Bharathi Chandra Shekara

    James, Love from India.. was going through rough phase,..helped me a lot…

  • I would love to do that! However, I am a performing artist, and we work irregular times, most often in the evening, sometimes late into the night. Which puts the last meal to a much later hour than 5:30pm.

    Any suggestions how to go around this?

    • OldPatriot32

      I’m on the 2-10am sleep shift due to years of swing shift work. It’s OK with me, since I operate on the theory nothing important happens during those hours. Cheers!

      • Yes, most often that’s my sleep schedule, too… And that’s what I am trying to change. Because for health reasons, the hours before Midnight (or according to others, before 2am) are the most important for sleep.

        Plus, there are so many benefits to be had by getting up early…

  • Miljan Milovanovic

    One, more simple thing to do and it will probably include all of the above, automatically… Every time a rational thought comes to your mind, push it aside. ( rational thought and idea are not the same thing. Ideas come from, no one knows, and rational thought comes from manipulative mind. Big difference!) React instantly to your ideas and your world will change in matter of days and everything you desire will somehow find a way to happen. Sounds, I don’t even know how it sounds, but works. Not easy to exercise this routine though… Stop your inner dialogue, that is the trick!

  • michelle york

    Just found this site and delighted I am…I want to share this blog ..”Perfection includes imperfection.” ~ Guru Om

  • michelle york

    I am generations away from you James..your practical wisdom bridges the gap. I would love for you to meet GODS BILLBOARD..(not god in the christian sense but in the way of consciousness)..What is it they say..If someone saves your owe them..big time..saved from drowning..This is the price! Take a look at the photographs on my fb page and you’ll see what I’m talking about.. I trust you will get a chance to meet this lifetime..

  • Gabriela Toiu

    Hello James, I came across this article and to my surprise is 6 years old . I was just wondering where are you at right now? Was the hard work worth it ? I really hope so ,it seem to me that you had the prefect recipe. I wish you more Good luck !! Hugs :*

  • Lucy

    Hi James, I liked this article very much, thank you. I love new things (the idea muscle is really strong!) but forget to implement my daily practices, probably because they are not ‘new’ and shiny any more. And yet when I forget to control how much sugar I eat, make time to exercise and do creative artwork, I become a sad weepy ghost. And all around me the sad ghosts of my unmanifested ideas drag at my energy. But unless I take care of myself in those simple and obvious ways I have no desire or vitality to bring them into the world. Lesson learnt -again!

  • Abdullah Abdullah

    reading this gives me an idea, I’d love to see you write about, (taking this from the “Enter The Dragon”), “The Art of Bull Shitting w/o Bull Shitting”, similar to what Bruce Lee said, his style of fighting, “the art of Fighting w/o fighting”

  • OldPatriot32

    I find agreement in everything you say. I’m broke, but not unhappy; life isn’t about money, property & prestige-those don’t go in the ground when we do. Peace of mind, being healthy and aware of others is my daily goal. Plus, I love to gamble; it’s an age-old “sport”, written into our DNA. The caveman gambled his life every time he left to slay a dragon to feed his family. I did the same thing on Calif. freeways for years; life is a constant series of gambles-you win some and lose some. Breath deep and live.

  • OldPatriot32

    Who needs Borders, when the internet is a treasure trove of writings and good information on any subject on earth? Use it to expand your horizons.Cheers

  • R.P. de Jonge

    Thanks James. Strong daily routine. Quite similar to what I (try to) do. Used your 1% per day idea for meditation. Thanks again.

  • Aman Singh

    Thank you so much sir, It helps a lot.

  • Lindsay Kirsch

    I 100% agree with your practice. Mine is similar with similar results!

  • ivo


  • Rusty

    All boats rise in a rising tide… or something…. i don’t know, it doesn’t matter… Seriously? You don’t even know the expression of the point you’re trying to make? Man, bad marketing. Don’t look like an idiot in front of the sheeple you’re trying to dupe. Will automated cars turn upside down the car industry? No one knows? REALLY? You made a lot of money by predicting that facebook would do really well on the stock market and change the way we look at social media investing. But now you say no one knows?!? You’ve sold out for the quick buck. You’re a snake oil salesman, mr. altuchar. You used to write thought provoking blog posts about work, finance, family. Now you peddle in the lowest common denominator of logical schlock and prey on the weak who happen upon a facebook sponsored ad. Disgusting. You’ve already blocked me—- PLEASE stop sharing these obnoxious ads on my feed. Nice hair.

  • Hi James … just started trying to do 10 ideas / day (or however many).. I’m also challenging myself to use the memory loci technique for each idea, so I create a mind palace with each loci being one of the ideas. It’s hard! Thanks for the wisdom man.

  • Chris Main Island

    i really enjoy reading this guy he is not trying to be bright more honest and he achieves both.NICE.

  • I echo the other commentators that your writing is helping people. Your “Daily Practice” has changed my life.

  • niamul karim

    James,You are really inspiring a lot of young people to get up from depression and start a new way!Thanks :)

  • danijazzguitarman

    People do not really want or disire happines! Pursue of happiness is a mith nurtured by psicologists, therapists, bloggers… so they have something to say!
    Happiness is a momentary feeling. Live is simple and it has no goal, apart from living in peace. Follow your vocation, the path that everyone has or creates…

  • Brandon Soly

    Wow. I needed this, thank you James.

  • muneeb khatri

    Amazing and Interesting Blog. I am very happy to read the whole article is really very informative for me. This is a woman enjoying for in this the day. I am appreciate in this the work. All IT Reviews

  • Akinola Segun

    Is praying all all about being
    thankful and not taking all the credit?

  • Imran Lalani

    Thanks James!! Was listening to your podcast with Naval for the second time yesterday and had to go find this blog post!

    Keep doing the great work, its really helping a lot of people including myself

  • magoolina

    I grew up in a culture where we eat dinner at 9PM. I will never stop eating before 5:30PM. Everything else sounds great :)

  • Marek Marecki

    Cool stuff :)

  • karen george

    Hi James, Firstly I would like to Thank you for sharing your thoughts, views and idea with others.I came across your name and your article on “How to be The Luckiest Guy” on Quora shared by a guy who was also motivated and touched by your story. It’s wonderful to know that your doing a great job by helping,Guiding and inspiring others with your words, thoughts and ideas. Keep up the good work!! There is a Quote which goes like this ‘Our days are Happier when we give people a bit of our Heart rather than a piece of our mind.’

  • mxer20

    You have no idea of the impact your past is having on my future! Thank you for being transparent and honest! Your spot on, that honesty is a rarity these days! Very refreshing! Thank you!!!

  • Juliet Shelley

    ‘Thus space-time and energy are complementary descriptors of events, and in a similar manner synchronicity and causality are complementary to each other. They deal, just as energy and space-time do, with events. These events are marked by their psychic component as well as their physical component. Here is the crux of the matter: our Western consciousness has taken as meaningful only those events that are labeled causal. By losing track of or dismissing this other dimension of meaningfulness, we actually become unconscious of much of the universe.’ Fred Alan Wolf: The Dreaming Universe

    ‘The reason that the notion of synchronicity has been so difficult for us to grasp is that it is linked to the feminine principle. …causality corresponds to what we would call memory – the linking up of events that are not occurring now, with events that are. This process necessarily takes us out of the here and now and into our heads – our intellect so to speak. Unlike causality, synchronicity is affective rather than intellectual. It is a a realization of a deep connection that can immediately be broken by logical dictate… to the extent that we can say causality becomes death-like as a result of analysis, synchronicity becomes alive as as a result of experience – coming to our senses.’
    Fred Alan Wolf: The Dreaming Universe

    ‘The experimenter cannot detach herself from her experiment; the thinker cannot separate himself from his thoughts. The observer is as much a participant in an event as the observed… the particular way in which we choose to observe quantum reality partly determines what we shall see…. If consciousness operates in a quantum-mechanical way, then every shift in consciousness has the potential for creating a new reality. In any situation, the level of consciousness of the participants is of immense importance… who we are and what we are observing, consciously and unconsciously, influence what is happening in our body.’
    Marion Woodman ‘The Dark Goddess and the New Mythology’

  • Toya McKinney

    I’m always very honest, I don’t know any other way to be! Keep them coming, I love all the information!

  • Hi James, this information is so helpful to me. I have an important question I hope you can answer for me. I have a lot of student debt which has really strained me for 15 years. You mentioned in your book to walk away from it, but not sure if you meant it for student debt. Can you clarify this for me please?

  • DizzyLizzy 2017

    I am pretty lucky, I am also grateful and help others, when I can. Thank you for deep wisdom.

  • Victor

    James what you write is fucking amazing. I would like to meet you one day and maybe bring you joy. But first I’m going drive to Warren Buffet’s home in Omaha.

  • Jason Paul Johnston

    I’m reading this I think 7 years after it was written – is there anything you would change about this list now?

  • Thanks a ton James, Thanks for these 4 tools. I was distracted what to do every day, I have everything but less time if I try to do it everything on everyday. You made it easier how to do these all in 4 in a day. Thanks a ton, this really will help (I believe).

  • Thank you so much for this article James! I’m following your podcast and admire the level of research you put into every interview. Definitely an inspiration and an idol.

  • Starshot

    I’ve posted a number of comments on your blog tonight, but I just want to add: You’re doing something extraordinary here, sharing these aspects of your life. Too few share on this level – it is a true gift you’re giving of yourself. And you’re definitely an alphabet maestro, what a way with words…

  • KateonPage

    Hi James. I just recently discovered your blog and have been reading through some of your great entries. This one strikes me because it confirms many of my own beliefs of what it takes to get through this life with much less angst. I want to ask, though, about the idea of being Happy. So many people talk about happiness, and ideas vary on whether or not we are SUPPOSED to be happy as a regular state, and whether or not personal happiness should be our main goal in life. I don’t think being happy all or even most of the time is realistic, and might even, if it is what drives you above all else, be an extremely selfish way to approach the world. I don’t know. Can you define what you mean by “happy”, and if you still think this way 7 years after writing this? If people spend their energy pursuing happiness, couldn’t that result in a real dissatisfaction with their lives if they don’t achieve it to the level they expect? Do you think there is a danger there?

  • Clay Norton

    Good article! Steps to keep in mind

  • Lateef Olajide

    Thank you James.

  • Allan Jiracek

    i just need to know one Cryptocurrency that’s going to amount to something so I can get started.

  • timothyroepe

    I enjoy what you write and it is very uplifting and helpful. I wish I could keep it all in mind every day, but am working with this reference to make a better life

  • Courtland

    90 percent of what you are talking about I do James and some of the things I do will most definitely be long gone for the better!
    I am just now becoming happy again and finding money I forgot I had and the divorce and losing my airplane my passion of flying?I will return to the sky in my own airplane!I am writing again and on twitter have had an interesting cast of characters follow me!I will get James and you helped so much and will help me more I know! Sorry for being lame when I have been

  • Bubu Wambui

    James, I needed this today. Thank you.

  • Cheyenne Monique

    Love reading your posts. They inspire me, and also confirm that I’m moving in the right direction. Thanks!

  • Al Cadena

    Agree with this post. Always start my days waking up, then prayer/meditation, exercise, breakfast, check communication (email, text). Next on my new habits is inserting writing/idea generation between breakfast and checking communication. Keep rocking the advice and the hair, James. It’s all good!

  • kelly

    I agree that his stories are helping people, every story I read of yours ( and I read them all) I take something from them and they even brighten my day up a little as well. Continue putting your stories out there!

  • Kelsey

    I’m pretty sure this site has changed my life in the matter of minutes. Clicked through to this from the 10 lists article, of which I immediately wrote down 30 lists that I will write and I’m so excited to push the bounds there. I’m in a retreat phase of my life right now where I took a month to like, kind of do nothing and see what blooms. What really transpired was the important things, like moving every day in some way (running or yoga), writing for the sake of it, etc that make up the fabric of existence. Not the to do list of things to do because I feel like I have to . Thanks for sharing this! Looking forward to your e-mails and using this site as a regular reference to amplify my existence.

  • Yoko Villarin

    I never comment on a blog post even if it’s great or inspiring.

    But what I just read is different. It’s not great. It’s not inspiring.

    It’s raw and honest. And, I could feel it. I could relate to it as a person who’s also struggling. I hope one day my writing will be as beautiful as yours James.

    Thank you. You made me laugh today.

  • mona

    james! you are my hero…you ARE superman (by the way, my friends father WAS the FIRST film Superman….so six degrees. REINVENT YOURSELF is a spiritual book to me and I’m an ordained Metaphysical minister. BE AN ENTERTAINER! why?..BECAUSE YOU ARE ENTERTAINING. It’s what I do for a living, besides studying the stock market. I can’t wrap my head around getting up at 4-5…that’s usually when I go to bed…but I always get at least 8-9 hours of sleep…maybe it’s a time zone thing……..mona

  • Dustin U.L.C.

    Wow this really correlates with something I came up with. Obviously most things are based on the past. I call it the Four Pillars Philosophy: Mind/Body/Spirit/Emotions

    How they all interrelate, and how maintaining them impacts the others.

    Really jives with the post you wrote here!

  • Dani Andreea

    I am so sad that you’re coming to London on Monday and although I have free ticket to meet t & greet I won’t be able to be there until 5.30 :( …. really really disappointed as I have been following your work for years now….

  • James Buechler

    A Classic piece.