Choose Yourself – Chapters 2 & 3

It’s been one of THOSE weeks. You know, where everything just goes to hell. Where you have 3 jobs going all at once, and suddenly, everything is due. Where, your son, who has been cruising along on “easy,” suddenly realizes he’s on the wrong path and takes an abrupt left turn. It’s nothing I can’t handle. And I’m not whining about it. It’s life. It’s what we do. Sometimes, though, it just comes and bitch slaps you across the face, which is why I have a red spot on my left cheek that is still stinging. But that’s okay. Good things are ahead and you can’t appreciate the high spots if you don’t take a cruise or two down in the valley.

A good thing for this week is that I got out twice running. This is a very good thing. I really wish I could write when I ran…or have some transcriber of sorts encode my thoughts and put them down on paper. I can’t tell you how beautiful it feels when I run…from the wind kissing my face to the burn on my winded lungs. I feel invincible when I run. It is just amazing how easy it is to talk myself out of doing it…no matter how beautiful I feel when I’m doing it. So any nudges, inspiration, motivation you would like to share to get me out the door, feel free to give it to me.

The bad thing was the intensity of the week. There were lots of things going on, so I didn’t have time. No time to run. No time to read. Or that’s what I kept telling myself. But I don’t think I could have squeezed any more things in. Today, I had some time to squeeze in a few chapters from “Choose Yourself.” Earlier in the week, I had a chance to read some reviews of the book. There’s a good faction out there who claim the book is “crap” and it’s just yet another self-help ploy to make Altucher a lot of money. Maybe it is. I don’t care. I like anything that makes me think about my life in new ways (which this does) and I also just like his voice. He’s smart and fresh, and that will forever keep drawing me back to him.

Chapter 2: Permanently Temporary

Altucher talks about an investor he knows whose family has “squirreled away” trillions of dollars. Yes–trillions. He says it isn’t uncommon. Really rich people are more rich than we could even fathom. Anyway, this investor guy is bemoaning empty buildings everywhere and it’s because companies have laid off people by the thousands–people they will never hire back–because they lost their usefulness. This isn’t surprising working at a large University. I see a lot of people who have lost their usefulness, but they are still hanging on. Dead wood that needs to be cut, but somehow manages to avoid the watchful eye of management.

Companies aren’t going to rehire people nor do they need to when we have technology. Technology is all that we made it to be and more. Additionally, it cuts through a bunch of the red tape, monolithic, slow organizational girth, by allowing people to sidestep the middleman. Why do you need to get accepted to a major publishing company, when you can publish your OWN book, sell it on Amazon, and get 80% of the profits rather than 10%? Why do you need a major music distributor when there is YouTube? Technology allows us to do more than ever, but to do it, we need the appropriate inner perspective and have a solid foundation (which Altucher alludes to in the next chapter.) He states that you have two choices in life right now…you can be a temp-worker (which isn’t bad) or you could be an artist-entrepreneur (which allows you to choose yourself.) Which one do you think you’d like to be?

Chapter 3: And Then They All Laughed

Altucher starts the chapter with a tale of a girl he liked when he was 12. Of course, she didn’t like him in return and rejected him in the worst way possible. Haven’t we all been there? He says he could count at least 1000 times he’s been rejected, and that’s not a bad thing. But it’s not something he is fond of.

Rejection–and the fear of rejection is the biggest impediment to choosing ourselves. (p. 30)

In order to “choose yourself,” you need to build the house you will ‘live in’ – one that has a solid foundation based on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. If you have this solid foundation, any rejection you face will hold the promise of new frontiers, passion, and magic. You will have the will to try…to try…and to try again. Build your foundation; choose yourself.

If you are continually obsessing over things you can’t control or (even worse) in the past, you will never move forward. You will turn into one of those useless people in a big organization. Rather, build a positive base. Think positive thoughts. Surround yourself with positive people. And think and plan for what’s beyond, because that is where you are going.

He shares a study where students asked people to give up seats on a subway for no reason at all. (See: Excuse me. May I have your seat?) First, he noted that people readily gave up their seats when simply asked to do so. Second, he noted how hard it was for the students to do. It is hard for us to do things for ourselves, unless we are given explicit permission to do so. Do you know how hard it is for me to go out and buy something for myself? Or go do something on my own, simply because I want to do it? It is soooooo hard! We must learn to give ourselves permission…to choose ourselves over others. I deserve a new shirt once in a while or to watch a movie I want to watch.

He wraps up the chapter by sharing that once you choose yourself, and start having confidence in what you are doing, it is easy to reach out and help others. By reaching out and empowering others, you will only find you empower yourself. At work this week, we had a day where my teammates shone…they were in their elements–doing things that they were talented at doing. I sat back and nudged them forward, asked them to lead and take the reins. They did so with grace. They were empowered and I felt quite empowered myself. It was a good day.

Key take-aways: build the strong foundations, seek freedom by looking to the future, and have confidence in speaking what you want and need in order for you to achieve your dreams.

I hope to be back sooner than later…but if not, have a great week!

Good things to keep in mind. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself. It’s only 99 cents in digital form on Amazon.com.


Altucher, James. Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream. N.p.: Lioncrest, n.d. Print.

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