EP 199: How to Eat What You Kill

In this episode I am going to read an edited transcript from the blog of James Altucher.  James is a writer, businessman, and podcaster. I really admire his blog and read it often. I found one post  that he did a few years ago in particular very inspiring, so I am sharing it with you today.

The following text has been taken from James Altucher’s blog.  This blog is outstanding and I wanted to share a portion of one of the blog posts with you. The original blog post was a bit longer; I edited it down for content and length, keeping the original spirit of the message. Hopefully James will not sue me for paraphrasing this post!

We’ve become animals in a zoo and wait for our masters to feed us. Our masters are our bosses, the government, the shareholders of massive corporations, the media that spoon feeds us random doses of fear and greed.

Life only tastes good when you eat what you kill. When you hustle for what you earn and someone pays you money in proportion to the service you’ve offered, the idea you’ve created, your ability to execute on it, and their ability to consume it in a way that benefits them.

It means the greatest pleasure is going into the jungle and mastering the ability to hunt and survive without the help of masters who only pretend to guarantee our safety. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, a homemaker, a writer, it’s time to forget about all the ways the world has promised you safety and comfort.

How to Eat What You Kill:

–          Don’t depend on one boss, buyer for your next company, product, service you offer, etc. Diversify everything you can.

–          Become an expert. Read every book, blog, website, whatever, about whatever you want to be an expert in.

–          Connect people. If you introduce person A to person B and then person B is able to solve a pain point in his life, then you just made a good connection. Each connection is another string in the tightly woven net you build that will catch you when you fall and throw you to higher heights than you’ve ever experienced before.

–          Give ideas for free. If you have no network yet, then you have to build it.

–          Always work on your exit. No matter where you are: a job, a startup, your startup, writing a column, working at Mcdonalds, whatever, always diversify your possible exits and begin immediately working on them.

–          Never say a bad word about anyone. Don’t betray anyone. Don’t backstab anyone or step on anyone’s toes. Don’t gossip. Backstabbing in order to do it implies you have a “scarcity” mentality. That there isn’t enough out there unless you kill someone else in order to get what you want. Let me tell you something: there’s enough out there for you and me. Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path. Avoid those and you avoid competition.

–          Don’t care what other people think.  People will hate you for being a hunter: your bosses, colleagues, partners, investors, extended family. But they don’t have to feed your family. You do. This is how you do it. Once you care what others think, you’ve lost. Then you’ve just set up the same boundaries for yourself that those other people have set up for themselves. They are all smaller than you and live in straitjackets. It’s easy to kill someone in a straitjacket. Don’t be one of those people.

–          Create your own luck. Luck doesn’t come magically out of the air. When a runner wins a race by  one-tenth of a second, chances are he prepared more, he studied his competition, his diet was that much better, he was better rested, he was mentally fit, etc. Once you’ve checked all the boxes on your preparation, guess what? You’ll be lucky.

–          Reward is unrelated to risk. People say, “no risk, no reward.” This is not true. I don’t like to take risks. I have a family to feed. Don’t take risks with your kids. Diversification is not about diversifying your cash investments, it’s about diversifying all the sources of plenty in your life: opportunities, knowledge, friends, networks, investments, risks, health. To eat what you kill, minimize risk so you don’t die on the hunt. You do that by diversifying every part of your life. The outcome of this is that if you forgot to bring your knife on the hunt, you still have your gun. If you forgot to bring your ideas full force into the game, you still have your network, if you lose on one risk, you still have nine others. That’s where you get the reward.

–          Take responsibility for all failures. It’s your fault when you go hungry.

–          Honesty. If you don’t ask for what you want, chances are you won’t get it. If you don’t say what you believe, you’ll never stand out from the 99% of people out there who hide the truth about themselves and their desires. If you don’t stand up and say or show how special you are, nobody will ever think you are special. Nobody is out there advocating for you. Honesty about what you feel, believe, know, think, want, will make you a multi-dimensional being in a flatland world.

–          Patience. Most important. A three year old could be honest but it doesn’t mean anything. They still shit their pants on occasion. You need to grow up. To check all of the boxes on the above items. To stay in mental, physical, emotional, spiritual shape. To avoid crappy people, to be honest, to take responsibility, and so on. Being a hunter is very discouraging. Sometimes you have to go for stretches of disappointment where there’s nothing to kill and then nothing to eat.  It’s these times it’s most important to only be around the people who love you, and avoid the damaging people who will bring you to their peculiar and particular circles of hell. You don’t want to go to hell. At the end of the day, patience is the virtue that takes you to heaven.

Don’t worry about adding or subtracting to the sum of human knowledge. Human knowledge is never that great. Be better than human.

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1 Comment

  1. […] James Altucher Show: A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog post he had done and edited it to fit the purpose of my show. James Altucher is a writer and […]

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