Book Review – Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher

This was a really enjoyable read. I was a little put off with the format at first, which is basically the author recounting various interviews he’s done for his podcast and a smattering of profiles on people he admires or has studied. After reading a few though, his analysis and commentary on the interviews became pretty compelling. James has started several businesses over his life and he makes it a point of studying the failures to see how he could improve from them. His interviews mostly summarize to do what you love, do it all the time, and do it to the best of your ability. Let everything else sort itself out. That, and always be kind. There’s no reason not to be.

Some of the quotes that resonated
On life in general:
I realized that I was an amateur. I had spent my life pretending to be something I wasn’t. I wanted to move beyond to that. TO:

  • Have humility. Learn from everyone you can. Even if it’s just one takeaway.
  • Be grateful for the many lessons you get, and realize that everything is a lesson.
  • Only be around people you love and who inspire you.
  • Life is a billion times smaller than the point of a needle. Don’t waste it doing things you were told to do. Do the things you love to do.
    Health is the most important thing, else your body today won’t let you enjoy tomorrow.
  • Every day, be creative. Creativity is a muscle. *You’re going to make mistakes, but 80% is always good enough. Keep learning the next thing.
  • Life will constantly hit you until you are senseless. Don’t forget these are lessons.

On always be improving:
You need to find well-being from within. And here is what it is: FREEDOM RELATIONSHIPS COMPETENCE Increase those every day and you will find well-being.

On Reinvention:
So reinvention is:

  • Defining freedom in different ways (reducing expectations, increasing sources of income so no one source controls you).
  • Improving relationships. Plus, minus, equal: Finding mentors to teach you. Finding the next generation to teach. Finding friends who build you up and challenge you. This is your “scene.” Everyone going through reinvention needs a scene.
  • Habits. It’s the 5×5 rule. You are not just the average of the five people around you. You’re the average of the five habits you do, the things you eat, the ideas you have, the content you consume, etc.

On the search for meaning:
“Find the thing you did where you lost all sense of time while you are doing it,” Chip told me. “Remember the equation from Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. “Despair = Suffering – Meaning. Find the things that bring you meaning. Suffering is always there in this world. But if you have meaning, you will have less despair. You will find your calling.”

On not stagnating:
The third day at the job, I got up and walked out. I didn’t clean out my office. I left my jacket there. I took the elevator down 40 stories. I walked out into the sun. And I never went back.

They called repeatedly. Even a year later the main guy was still calling. My life is better than ever. I never looked back. I left the building and walked to Grand Central. I took the train 80 miles. I watched the leaves turning from green to red along the way across the Hudson River.

On learning aggressively:
There are two ways to learn: passively and aggressively.
Passively is when you study your mistakes, read the history of what you are learning, network, find your “tribe,” find a mentor, etc. Aggressively is right when you are in the middle of it. You’re neck deep and the ball is coming at you: what do you do? Passively is in your head. Aggressively is noticing RIGHT NOW and taking action. In your head is important. But ACTION is what creates heroes.

On cooperation:
It turns out that evolution is not about individual selection. We only survive as well as we function in terms of a group. When we are a strong part of a group, when we help the group, and when we use the group’s resources to become better as individuals, then we survive and even thrive.

Book Review – The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

I just finished “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and it was a great reminder that success is the sum of a lot of small actions. The author insist that the reader needs to put their nose to the grindstone for an extended period of time before they should expect to see results, although as the title suggests, the results of effort can become more than just cumulative giving an exponential boost to what we’re trying to accomplish. Darren is the mentee of Jim Rohn, a major self-improvement guru I wasn’t familiar with, but may check out.

Here are some of the notable quotes I took away. On tracking key performance indicators:
To help you become aware of your choices, I want you to track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.

On paying attention to who we spend our time with:
I’ve got a neighbor who’s a three-minute friend. For three minutes, we have a great chit-chat, but we wouldn’t mesh for three hours. I can hang out with an old high-school friend for three hours, but he’s not a three-day guy. And, then there are some people I can hang around for a few days, but wouldn’t go on an extended vacation with. Take a look at your relationships and make sure you’re not spending three hours with a three-minute person.

On asking others to help improve ourselves:
I have a serious challenge for you if you’re up for it. Want real feedback? Find people who care enough about you to be brutally honest with you. Ask them these questions: “How do I show up to you? What do you think my strengths are? In what areas do you think I can improve? Where do you think I sabotage myself? What’s one thing I can stop doing that would benefit me the most? What’s the one thing I should start doing?”

On paying attention to whether our environment is supportive:
The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment to see that dream fulfilled. It’s like planting an oak sapling in a pot. Once it becomes rootbound, its growth is limited. It needs a great space to become a mighty oak. So do you.

I started a travel vlog!

So I’m currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand and loving it so far! I decided to start a travel vlog to share a little bit of the experience. I’m currently in Chiang Mai at least through March, but I considering going down to Ko Samui or Ko Phangen in April after I renew my visa for an extra 30 days. Apparently once burning season gets into full swing the air quality is sub par here in northern Thailand. That and I think I could use a little beach R&R.
After April, I’ll be at the end of my Thai single entry visa and am currently deciding between Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for my next stop.

So here’s my vlog channel, Ral Around the World!
Ral Around the World