Here’s what I thought the most important thing in life was…

most important thing

Here’s what I thought the most important thing in life was: sex. Every day please. Twice a day.

I would look for it everywhere. And because I was ugly and arrogant I felt nobody would let me touch them unless I had a lot of money.

So then money was the most important thing for me. Because I wanted a lot of it. More than what I needed. Enough to buy myself a lifetime or more.

Enough to buy a bookstore but pretend I just worked there and then fall in love with one of my co-workers but she wouldn’t know I owned the bookstore and she would fall in love with me on the force of my charm.

Then I thought I wanted people to not just like me but love me. Hit up vote on this post please. Hit “like” on my Facebook posts. Hit “follow” on my Instagram. Hit RT on my tweets.

Hit me.

Then I thought I wanted nothing. “Nothing” would be the most important thing for me.

So I threw everything out. Now I miss a photo of my daughters. And I miss my 2012 tax returns. I loved those tax returns.

Now I’m not so sure about any of the above but when I woke up this morning I made a list of the things I think are most important to me:

CERTAINTY

I want some stability in my life. I live from Airbnb to Airbnb so I have no steady home. And I have no stable paycheck. I haven’t for 20 years.

But I like knowing I can provide for my children. And that I’m healthy. And that I know from day to day who I can trust and love. So I need some certainty in my life.

MYSTERY

I like to take chances. I like to experiment. A few weeks ago I tried standup-comedy. I do a podcast where every interview scares me because I am always interviewing my heroes.

I write posts that I am never sure people will like. I try to figure out what chance I can take that I never took before.

I like making new friends and seeing what I can learn from them. I like to experiment on myself.

I feel the universe has given me five senses to go out and collect data and then when I die I send all the data up to the mothership.

To do that I need as much mystery as possible to get as much new data as possible.

LOVE

Not the superficial love of our “social” media although I have to admit I crave that more than I should. (Why not admit weaknesses? I will always have them.)

But I love having a bond with my children. With my friends. With a significant other.

The love doesn’t have to always be the same and always with the same people. But emotional connection is important.

CONTRIBUTION

I’m in this vast human species tribe like the rest of us. I like to know that I am helping out a little bit.

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I didn’t always feel this way. Particularly when all I wanted was sex or money.

It’s nice when I write a post and a single person is helped. Or at least entertained. Or perhaps laughs.

It’s great when my daughter calls and asks for advice.

Sometimes I feel sad when a day goes by and I feel I haven’t contributed.

GROWTH

If I do something, I want to get better at it.

Getting 1% better a day at something means I’m 3800% better at the end of a year.

I didn’t always understand this rule of compounding. When I sold my first company I thought I was “done” growing as a human. I did it! No more work needed.

But then I found out the hard way that no growth is the same as death.

I have to think to myself, “how can I get better at X today” and X might be different every day.

When I have growth, my contribution gets better, my ability to connect with more people get better, I get to explore more possibilities in life, and the side effect is that I get more certainty in what life holds for me.

Growth → Contribution → Love → Mystery → Certainty → Growth → Etc


Sex, money, fame, “likes”, and intrigue are exciting.

But they are fake replacements to fill the gaping hole that a life of failure and despair often have left me with.

Around 2010 I was so disgusted with my life I gave up. I quit every job. I moved far away. I stopped talking to most people in my life.

Then I realized what was important to me.

The five things I mentioned starting with “certainty”.

“Certainty” was the hardest thing for me to accept that I needed. Accepting that I was scared and lonely without it. That’s it’s ok to be a bit needy for stability.

And everything after that was hard to accept. Why do I need love more than sex? Why do I need mystery more than money?

But hardest was maybe accepting and believing that I deserved these five things. That the gaping hole I thought I had, was actually one I created.

Seven years ago I started working at it. And seventy years from now I hope someone will be able to say about me, “job well done”.

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  • Mia Jasper

    James, I know, from reading your stuff, that you know certainty is an illusion. The rest would be on my list too, love, inhibition, contribution and authenticity to replace certainty.

  • “But hardest was maybe accepting and believing that I deserved these five things. That the gaping hole I thought I had, was actually one I created.”

    That’s it, brother. Believing you’re worth it, that you deserve to have these things you want and need, I think that’s the hardest part for everyone. We’re so tuned into our failures and doubts. We’re hardwired to pay more attention to negativity. And the cultural-religious ideologies that have shaped us (whether we claim to believe them or not) train us to expect judgment/punishment instead of reward. Why else would we work so hard to prove ourselves, to prove our worth? So much work and it all comes back around to figuring out that the worth’s always been there & we don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone & we deserve goodness & we can have it.

    Great post. Thanks.

  • You say you want certainty, then you say you want mystery, which is just another way to say you want uncertainty. Make up your mind. ;)

    Maybe what you’re looking for is structured chaos?

    • I quit earning a living at shopritte and at this point I’m getting Seventy five $ – Ninety Seven $ per/hr. How? Now I am working online! My employment did not actually make me delighted consequently I made the decision to take the opportunity on something new…after just 4 years it wasn’t easy to discontinue my day work however right now I couldn’t be pleased.>>> http://aww.su/cedQY

      k,fkfpff

  • Alisha Peck

    Balance is structured caos. Yin and yang. You need a home so you can have your mystery .

  • Rebecca Boddie

    Thank you for your honest articles. Your insights help me define myself.

  • I have gone from selfish to self-less, from mindless consumption to thoughtful creator and most importantly from seeking wealth to achieving mastery!! Great post Loved it as usual!!

  • James,

    I had the same experience with sex, wanting it all the time like it was oxygen keeping me alive.

    I thought this was normal, for all men to want this. To constantly think about sex. Then I found nofap, and abstained from masturbation.

    Check out some research on it, you may find it fascinating. Particularly, the affects of dopamine, numbing our receptors like the worst case of depression.

    • Marius Smith

      Same for me man, nofap is one of the best things I discovered last year.

      It is truly amazing, how you don’t need sex anymore on nofap. It’s still great and love it, but this urge is gone and I can focus so much more energy on things that are my highest values.

      It’s basically the easiest way to get out of your lower brain into your higher.

      One thing I recently, around 2 weeks ago, discovered changed my life for the 2nd time after nofap. Did you know, that man can have multiple orgasm without the side effects that normally sex/masturbation gives you?

      The basic principle, which is already long known by the Taoists, that Orgasm and Ejaculation are 2 different functions of your body, that are completely separated.

      The Taoists call ejaculating “the small death”, which most men know feels like it. After discovering it and trying it out for myself I can only say WOW!

      I’m still at the early stages, but after a bit of training you can basically have sex as long as you want, have better and longer lasting orgasms and feel after it more energized then before, because you contain the sexual energy that is produced through orgasms in your body and don’t ejaculate it out.

      The best book I found so far on the subject is “The Multi-Orgasm Man”. You can get it for free on slideshare by the author. Hope it helps you also :)

    • Michael Kohloff

      Thanks a lot mentioning NoFap.
      Where were you guys when I needed you
      40 years ago ?

  • JS

    James, honestly, deep (or not so) in your mind you still want more sex and money (or what money can bring). Don’t you?

  • James – job well done. Already.

  • James,

    I recently came across you because of Tim Ferris. I’ve been reading your blog and it helped me change my perception about many things. I barely leave comments when I read something online but this post was so good that I just had to say thank you for paying it forward. You’re awesome.

    • I discontinue working at shopritte and after that nowadays I’m earning $75-$97 each and every hour. How? I am working via internet! My work didn’t make me happy and thus I decided to take the opportunity on something new…after just 4 years it wasn’t simple to leave my day employment but now I couldn’t be pleased.>>> learn more by clicking here right now

    • I’am freelancing on-the-web, working on normal tasks that solely needs from you PC or simply laptop computer and internet access and I couldn’t be thrilled… Six months have crossed when i began this and also i acquired until now altogether 36,000 bucks… Basically i gain about $80 every hour and work for three to four h everyday.And appreciable point regarding this job is that you can make a decision when to work by yourself and for how long and you get compensated after the end of each and every week.>>>> http://s.coop/25urz

    • I’am freelancing using the internet, completing basic gigs that solely requires from you personal pc or simply laptop computer as well as internet service access and I couldn’t be more happy… Half a year have crossed when i started out this and i profited until now as a whole 36,000 dollars… Basically i profit around 80 dollars/hour and work for three to four h on daily basis.And awesome point regarding this job opportunity is that you can choose when to work on your own and also for how long and you get money at the end of every week.>>>> learn by clicking here how to do it right now

  • The best things in life are: Cheese, Food, Chocolate, Dating interesting people that’s why we have created https://leadingdate.com

  • Another amazing post – I love how you revel in your most vulnerable places.

  • Shad Edwards

    If you add “Significance” you just listed Tony Robins’ 6 human needs.

    • I was just thinking the same thing…

  • Tolulope

    Great article. Love the P. Diddy meme.

  • Roland Hagendorff

    Everyone has a special and unique life story. The struggle to overcome our thoughts, beliefs, and what the world has taught us. Always looking for the answers on the outside and trying to learn what that ‘something’ is from other people’s stories. Of course, they help, a lot! But all the answers are within. You were born with them. We can do ‘nothing’ until we truly look deep inside ourselves and love who we are first. Sometimes it takes years, even a lifetime, to understand this, but fortunately it happens when we hit bottom and are broken. (We are broken ‘Open’ and all ‘Heaven, not hell, breaks loose). When that finally happens, everything on the outside will change. “Behold I Make ALL Things NEW!”

  • Michael Kohloff

    “So I threw everything out.
    Now I miss a photo of my daughters.
    And I miss my 2012 tax returns.
    I loved those tax returns.”

    Now that’s funny.

  • Michael Kohloff

    IMO as a former sex addict of
    over 50 years,
    wanting/having sex all the time is a way
    of self medicating one’s anxiety &
    low self esteem issues.
    It’s very calming… I mean afterward,
    not during.
    And if someone wants to have
    sexual relations with you, it proves
    you are worthy on several levels.
    They must at least like you right ?
    Of course I’m talking about women.
    Men….not so much.
    Men can actually greatly enjoy sex
    with women they hate. It’s a power
    & conquest thing, which partly explains
    rape & why F*** You is not a compliment
    or endearment. Men can often be very
    troubled humans & obsessive regarding sex,
    thinking about it almost constantly.

    Besides it’s the human Prime Directive:
    “Be fruitful & multiply & fill the Earth.”
    Since God made the sex drive so strong & fun,
    He must have intended:
    “And I mean hurry up & get busy Right Now.”
    Besides, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

    If any women out there really appreciate
    my comment….
    call me.

  • Ken Thomas

    that’s the interesting question – how can certainty suffice for “Sex, money, fame, “likes”, and intrigue are exciting.”

    how do we remind ourselves of this truism and stay the path?