James Altucher on the Power of a Daily Practice  

330px-JamesAltucherMy favorite blogger is James Altucher — investor, entrepreneur, and author of 11 books. He crosses the business, spirituality, and self-help genres with writing that’s raw, funny, and insightful.

The hub of James’s work is the notion of a daily practice. This is a cluster of habits designed to keep your “four bodies” — physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual — in prime health.

I’ve culled the essence of James’s daily practice from several of his blog posts and books. Following are my notes, including selected quotes from James.

Physical Health

  • Eat well — “Do not eat after 6PM. Totally hard, but you’ll sleep better. And you’ll lose weight naturally.”
  • Sleep well — “Go to sleep by 9PM. Wake up by 5AM. The early bird gets the worm. Besides, it’s peaceful when it’s early.”
  • Exercise — “This doesn’t mean go to the power gym with a trainer. It might just mean take a walk three times a week. Whatever works for you…. Also, spending this time helps your mind better deal with its daily anxieties.”

Emotional Health

  • Move toward people who love and support you — “If someone lifts me up, I bring them closer.”
  • Move away from people who drain you — “When you get in the mud with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty. Cut out people that drag on you…. And I never owe anyone an explanation. Explaining is draining.”
  • Be honest — “Try being honest for a day (without being hurtful). It’s amazing where the boundaries are of how honest one can be. It’s much bigger than I thought.”
  • Be quiet — “Instead of speaking the average 2500 words a day that most people speak, it would be nice for me to speak 1000 words a day when possible.”

Intellectual Health

  • Read — “Every day, read/skim chapters from books on at least four different topics.”
  • Write down ten ideas every day — “It doesn’t matter if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want.”

Spiritual Health

  • Pray — “… doesn’t matter if I’m praying to a god or to dead people or to the sun or to a chair in front of me – it just means being thankful. And not taking all the credit, for just a few seconds of the day.”
  • Meditate — “Sit in a chair, with your back straight. Watch your breathing…. You can also meditate for 15 seconds by really visualizing what it would be like meditate for 60 minutes.”
  • Express gratitude — “I try to think of everyone in my life I’m grateful for. Then I try to think of more people. Then more.”
  • Forgive — “I picture everyone who has done me wrong. I visualize gratefulness for them (but not pity).”
  • Read sacred texts — “Read a bible, book on Buddha or a positive philosopher. Think positive thoughts, and appreciate your existence.”
  • Detach from negative emotions — “Whenever you notice you are complaining or anxious or nervous or scared, try to stop yourself and do two things: Repeat to yourself, I notice I’m feeling anxious. This distances you from the feeling of I’m anxious!
  • Surrender — “You’ve done all you can do. All that is within your power, your control. Now, give up the results.”
  • Stay in the present moment — “All fears from the past, all worries of the future. All of that doesn’t exist. It’s my mind pretending they exist. I give up. I can’t control the past or the future. They are empty, just like I am.”

Image from CrunchRaisin, Flickr Creative Commons

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