James Altucher Wants to Help You Reinvent Yourself

“Have a vision that can motivate all of the other actions you take in the name of that vision. This will give you energy, inspire you to have the positive habits that will help you on your mission, and take part in the reinventions your vision will constantly require.”

Every week in The Sunday Paper, we recognize individuals who are using their voices, their hearts and their minds to Move Humanity Forward.

This week, we honor James Altucher as our Architect of Change of the Week.

James is the master of reinvention. He has started and run more than 20 companies in his lifetime—some of which failed, several of which he sold for large exits. He has also run venture capital funds, hedge funds, and angel funds, and he currently sits on the boards of several companies. But more important, James has been inspiring people both in person through hundreds of events and through weekly Q&A Twitter sessions by speaking on topics including stress, fear, anxiety, money, and relationships.

He has become an expert and thought leader on the topic of creating a productive, successful and meaningful life. His blog, The Altucher Confidential, has attracted more than 10 million readers since its launch in 2010. He is the author of eleven books, including the motivational bestsellers Reinvent Yourself, Choose Yourself and I Was Blind But Now I See.

Today, James exclusively offers his wisdom on how to take charge of your life and why minimalism can be a path to success.


1.) You tell people that “it’s on you” to take charge of your life. Why is that so important, and how do you think times have changed?

Everyone has their own agenda in life. This is not a good thing or a bad thing. It’s hard enough to take care of ourselves and our own needs and desires and dreams, let alone someone else’s.

But it does mean that you can’t fully rely on someone else choosing you for the success and happiness you feel you deserve.

You earn success by DOING success. If you want to write a book, don’t wait for someone to tell you to write it…write it, and now you can even publish it via self-publishing.

If you have an idea for a business…don’t wait for funding. Find a customer. The cheapest money is customer money. If you want to go on TV, start with a YouTube show.

I’ve started many companies. The ones that were most successful is when I focused on finding a customer first. And then once I had customers, I didn’t need to raise money.

There are many ways you can take charge of your life:


2.) What’s the first step you recommend someone take to reinvent him or herself?

First is to make sure you are ready: be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy as mentioned above. This doesn’t mean being perfect. It’s more about direction than achieving a specific goal. I try to improve in the above areas “1% a day”. I put it in quotes because there is no way to quantify it. It’s the direction that counts.

Second, find your PLUS, MINUS, EQUAL

PLUS – someone to mentor you. This can be a real person/people, or virtual mentors through reading, listening to podcasts, learning from the people who inspire you and trying to emulate their success.

EQUAL – find people to challenge you.

MINUS – find people to teach what you are learning. This is often the fastest way to solidify learning.

Checking the boxes on the “1% a day” and the plus/minus/equal will automatically set the stage for constant reinvention in your life, even if you can’t predict this second what that reinvention will look like.

I’ve been dead broke and crying and suicidal and not knowing how I would buy my kids’ diapers and starting these habits propelled me into reinventions I could not have predicted.  


3.) You’ve always taken an unconventional approach to your work. Why do you think that’s been so successful?

Every new idea has been viewed as crazy the day before it was implemented.

The key is to have meaning in life. To say, “I want to help people”. Or, “I want to empower the people around me”. Or, “I want to educate people about X”, whatever X is.

Have a vision that can motivate all of the other actions you take in the name of that vision. This will give you energy, inspire you to have the positive habits that will help you on your mission, and take part in the reinventions your vision will constantly require.

Reinvention is a habit. We are always moving from career to career, learning new skills, and dealing with the unexpected. The skills of reinvention will set you apart form the people who often find themselves “stuck” but ultimately that will allow you to end up exactly here you are meant to be, as unconventional as that often is.  


4.) You only own 15 things. How has only owning 15 things simplified your life?

Everything is about having energy to be creative. If I don’t worry about material items, and the “philosophy of more” then I have time to focus on being creative, on helping people, on figuring out what my passions and purpose is, and on implementing those passions.


5.) What are you hopeful for in 2017?

2017 is just a number. Every day I want to go to sleep, ask myself, “Who did I help today?” and have an answer.


To learn more about James Altucher, go here.

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