I Woke Up Scared and Angry Today

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5am. I haven’t
opened my eyes yet. Please God, if you are a good and decent god,
make sure that when I open my eyes that Claudia is not in the bed
next to me. I want her DOWNSTAIRS and making my coffee. This second.
I don’t care that she has Lyme Disease. Thank you God. In exchange,
I will…I don’t know. We’ll work it out after my coffee.
I’ll make it good for you.

But…aside
from that.

When I wake
up I’m usually either in one of two states: scared or angry.
Who am I angry at? It’s the first thing in the morning, for
god’s sake. Why would I be angry? Because I think of the people
who have done crappy things to me in the past. I can make a long
list. I can make a thick scroll and read it at the town square.

Which is why
I have to constantly practice the “crappy
people
” post. I’ve gotten good at it, but It’s
a constant effort. So it usually takes me a few seconds to realize
that its “not
useful
” for me to be angry at anyone first thing in the
morning. That technique works.

The next thing
I deal with, and I’m not just saying this, I deal with it every
day, is being scared. The media is shouting: The world is over!
The debt ceiling is going to fall on us and shatter! The Europe
contagion is going to spread. Swine flu will turn into dog flu will
turn to cat flu and infect everyone. What if the stock market goes
to ZERO? What if something happens to my kids? Or, heaven forbid,
to me! What if I die of a long, lingering painful disease when I’m
older. What if I make a fool of myself…again… on TV. What
if someone I want to like me, doesn’t like me. What if I don’t
get done anything I want to get done? What if I have nothing to
say to my therapist? What if I forget
to answer
the right emails? What if traffic on my blog is down?
What if I make lots of mistakes in a row and go broke?

Here’s
a big trick to help with all of the above: What if the opposite
happens. What if I don’t go broke? What then? What if I make
all my appointments? What will I do then? As soon as I feel a fear
coming on, I fight it with the opposite thought. What if I get hit
by a car today? Heck, what if I don’t? TRAIN yourself every
day, every minute, to always ask what happens if the opposite of
your fears comes true. Chances are that’s the outcome you need
to prepare for. Although it’s an easier outcome.

Fear is a drag
and it hits many of us a lot of the time:

  • It stresses
    you out.
  • Stress causes
    illness and early death.
  • Fear negatively
    affects your relationships. It’s harder for people to love
    someone who is constantly afraid.
  • Fear will
    affect your job. When I was a venture capitalist I could literally
    smell fear on the entrepreneurs who walked through the door and
    were just a bit too desperate for money.
  • You can’t
    have new ideas if you’re afraid. Or, at least, it’s
    harder.
  • You can’t
    be yourself. When you were a little boy or girl, you weren’t
    afraid all the time. It’s not the real you to be afraid.
    It’s the not the real you to try to control everything and
    everyone else all the time.

We get afraid
when we make choices. What if choose the wrong job? What if I choose
the wrong girl? What if I choose the wrong business to start? Or
the wrong stock to buy?

Wait a second…

That’s
kind of funny. I just realized. I’ve done ALL of the above.
Many many times. Who knows, I might even do most of them again.

Read
the rest of the article

September
17, 2011

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Best of James Altucher

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