Editor’s Note: Multimillionaire, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author James Altucher has interviewed dozens of highly successful people for his podcast… including Peter Thiel, Mark Cuban and Tony Robbins.
In today’s Weekend Edition, you’ll find the nine most important lessons from those interviews… each of which has the power to radically transform your life for the better.
What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People
By James Altucher, author, The Choose Yourself Wealth Guide
Over the past year I interviewed about 80 guests for my podcast. My only criteria: Some aspect of each person fascinated me.
I had no favorites. They were all great. I interviewed Peter Thiel, Coolio, Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, Amanda Palmer, Tony Robbins… and many more.
I’m really grateful they all wanted to talk to me.
Here are the most important things I learned:
1. A life is measured in decades.
Too many people want happiness, love, money, connections, everything yesterday.
Me too. I call it “the disease.” I feel often I can paint over a certain emptiness inside if only… if only… I have X.
But a good life is like the flame of a bonfire. It builds slowly. And because it’s slow and warm it caresses the heart instead of destroys it.
2. A life is measured by what you did TODAY, even this moment.
This is the opposite of No. 1 but the same. You get success in decades by having success now.
That doesn’t mean money now. It means: “Are you doing your best today?”
Everyone I talked to worked at physical health, improving their friendships and connections with others, being creative and being grateful. Every day.
For those who didn’t, they quickly got sick, depressed, anxious and fearful. They had to change their lives.
When they made that change, universally they all said to me, “That’s when it all started.”
3. Focus is not important, but “push” is.
Few people have just one career. And for every career, it’s never straight up.
When you have focus, it’s like saying, “I’m just going to learn about only one thing forever.”
But “push” is the ability to get up every day, open up the shades and push through all the things that make you want to go back to sleep.
4. Give without thinking of what you will receive.
I don’t think I spoke to a single person who believed in setting personal goals. But 100% of the people I spoke to wanted to solve a problem for the many.
It doesn’t matter how you give each day. It doesn’t even matter how much. But everyone wanted to give. And eventually they were given back to.
5. Solving hard problems is more important than overcoming failure.
The outside world is a mirror of what you have on the inside.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely was burned all over his body. He used that experience to research the psychology of pain and ultimately the psychology of behavior and how we can make better decisions.
Life coach Tony Robbins lost everything when his marriage ended. But he came back by coaching thousands of people.
It’s how you view the life inside you that creates the life outside of you. Every day.
6. You can’t predict the outcome… you can only do your best.
Clayton Anderson applied to be an astronaut for 15 years in a row and was rejected each time until the 16th.
Coolio wrote lyrics down every day for 17 years before having a hit…
Sometimes when I have conversations with these people they want to jump right to the successful parts, but I stop them. I want to know the low points. The points where they had to start doing their best. What got them to that point.
7) The only correct path is the path correct for you.
Scott Adams tried about 20 different careers before he settled on drawing Dilbert.
Now, he’s in 2,000 papers, has written Dilbert books, Dilbert shows, Dilberteverything.
Don’t let other people choose your careers. Don’t get locked in other people’s prisons they’ve set up just for you.
8. Taking care of yourself comes first.
I’ve written before: The average kid laughs 300 times a day. The average adult… five.
Something knifed our ability to smile. Do everything you can to laugh… to create laughter for others… and then what can possibly be bad about today?
I think that’s why I try to interview so many comedians and comedy writers. They make me laugh. It’s totally selfish.
9. Figure out how to make uncertainty work for you.
The Black Swan author Nassim Taleb makes sure he walks on uneven surfaces for at least 20 hours a week. The idea is not just exercise but to get rid of the artificial comforts of certainty we think we have built for ourselves over the past 200 years.
When I interviewed him I was particularly worried that I was “fragile” as opposed to his concept of “antifragile.” That once things break down in my life I have a tendency to break down with them.
Getting out of your comfort zone frequently and randomly is a way to boost your anti-fragility. Do something that might not work. Be around people who challenge you.
See what happens.
Further Reading: As you can tell, James is fiercely committed to helping people lead happier, wealthier and more fulfilling lives.
That’s why he’s working on a new project – one that introduces you to life-changing ideas, secrets and techniques you’ll have never heard before. It’s the perfect guidebook for succeeding in a rapidly changing America.