One of the most famous people on television was on my podcast. I asked him, “Are you addicted to being relevant?”
He had to think about it. He had sacrificed relationships, time with family, rest time for himself, all in the name of what he did, which helps maybe millions. Or maybe not. Who knows?
“I think so,” he said, “But I don’t know what to do about it.”
For a while, I felt sorry for him. But also scared for myself. I’m an addict. I want to be relevant. I want to have an impact.
Does it require sacrifice? Does it require money?
Am I screwed?
I tell people who want to learn to write better to check out a site called Quora.
It’s a Q&A site. Anyone can ask a question, anyone can answer. Everyone from Barak Obama to famous authors to astronauts, to super-athletes, to everyday people (well…me!) have answered questions on the site.
I’ve had over 200,000,000 views on my answers (not just on the site but when I’ve syndicated those answers to other sites and even books).
Tens of thousands of shares. Hundreds of thousands of “up votes” showing me how many people valued those questions. How much those answers helped them.
And I got paid…$0.
I’ve maybe spent a year of my life, 2%+ of my life, answering questions on Quora.
But also, for everything.
Phillip Morris, or any cigarette company, makes a product that the packaging says causes cancer.
I’m not accusing any company of anything. Clearly, some people love smoking. A billion people love smoking.
Phillip Morris made $10 BILLION in profits last year.
SURGEON GENERALS’S WARNING:
Cigarettes cause Lung Cancer..
On and on.
I’m glad my name is not “Phillip Morris”.
I don’t need $10,000,000,000. This moment I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.
Money is a tool to create impact. It allows me (sometimes) to transfer value I see in my head, to value I can create.
But I can create value and impact and relevance in other ways. Money is the lowest tool. And it’s never more than a tool. It’s never the way, the method, and never necessary.
I know people who live to accumulate. And it’s a cliche to say, but they end up dead with a full bank account, not realizing they died many years earlier.
I was the walking dead for at least 15 years on my quest for money. I was dying for money. I lost friends, family, and lost my sense of self.
I got addicted to anti-anxiety medication. I destroyed my relationships with some of those closest to me. I cried. A lot.
I had to rebuild.
My misery was on simmer the entire time. I was in simmering chronic misery without realizing. Because I always felt: money is not the tool of freedom, it’s the tool that creates freedom.
I was wrong. I’m still paying for being wrong. I have trauma all over my brain and gut. I still have anxiety.
I still have to fight making fear decisions so I can make growth decisions (and every decision is one or the other).
But, as they say, one day at a time.
Another way they say it, be present right now.
And another way, with anxiety you can either
- solve it.
- be scared.
- have faith that the right actions and faith, will give us the love to care for ourselves, to have the impact we desire, to attract the people we love, to create, to surrender, to succeed.
I choose the third way.
Energy is the currency of Mastery.
- Physical self-care. Eat/Move/Sleep. Food, exercise, and sleep is the currency of energy.
- Emotional self-care. My friends have saved my life. Every day I have problems. I have 99 problems. I have 999 problems. I call my friends. I call people I love. They call me. We figure it out. We move forward.
Your family might be your friends. But we all share 99.999% of our DNA. We’re all family. Pick the right people to be in your SCENE. This is your family. Boundaries around the rest.
The rest will suck the oxygen out of the room. Will destroy your energy.
- Creative self-care.
I want to be 1% better every day at being an Idea Machine.
Most ideas are bad. Most execution is worse. Most goals are useless. Most dreams should not be pursued.
Being 1% better every day at creativity, when compounded every day, is 3700% better every year.
In ONE YEAR your will be voice authentic, sincere, inspirational, and will stand out amongst the noise.
Creativity turns your vibration, that exists for such a short period of time on this planet, in this universe…turns your message from static to signal.
I want to be signal.
- Spiritual self-care.
Our brains are the tools of apes and lizards.
Whatever you believe in doesn’t matter. But every day I try to wake up confused.
Where am I?
I pretend I’m an alien who just landed on this planet. A new planet every day. And now I have to figure out where I am. What to do. Who to help?
I have a mission. I have to figure it out. I have to execute on it.
Clear my head. Deep breath. Wiggle my toes. What is the mission?
I have to surrender to the fact that I don’t know, but that faith and surrender and ACTION will guide me to that mission.
I want to say Mission Accomplished before I close my eyes at night, ready to be transported to another galaxy, another dimension of exploration.
Abundance is doing the above. For me. I don’t know about anyone else.
Learning how to wield money as a tool that works for us instead of a source of fear and anxiety.
Learning how to use love as a tool for abundance rather than as a tool for scarcity:
(“the party is where I’m at” versus “I hope they like me”).
Not being afraid, to be honest. To ask for help. To say what I mean. I AM afraid. But I get better.
Every day giving back. Giving back is how abundance is planted.
Every day I asked my daughters, “who did you help today?”
Find your “scene”. I had to find my Justice League.
Superman never needs money. He needs his friends.
Together you and I are explorers.
But this is the exploration where – all things added up and subtracted and divided and multiplied – we are equal.
[This post by James Altucher first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]