by James Altucher: 9
Things I Learned From Woody Allen
know if I’ll ever be able to really tell the truth. I think
it’s very hard. On this blog, for the past 400 days, I’ve
told the truth. And that’s probably the only time in my life.
I would say every other part of my life I’ve mostly lied, either
to myself or others. I’m really sorry if one of you are reading
this. If you even know.
mean I’ve said everything I thought (so-called “radical
honesty”where there is no filter between brain and mouth) and
it doesn’t mean I’ve revealed everything possible although
as one person once put it, “reading James Altucher’s blog
is like watching an ongoing train wreck”. Believe me, it could
be a lot more of a wreck.
taken down or changed posts when other people informed me they were
hurt by them. A recent example is my
Wikipedia post where I took out the specific emails and just
summarized some of them. I don’t want to hurt anyone. And an
older example is
this post where it was pointed out to me I crossed a boundary.
lied a lot. And, in doing so, I created a lot of temporary pleasures,
100% of which I lost. I
started and sold companies based on lies. I’ve met women
based on lies. I lied to my parents as a kid. I’ve lied to
my kids to keep them in line. I’ve lied to keep out of trouble
in various ways.
before about the seven
things that happen to honest people. The seven items were mostly
negative items. For instance, various people start to hate you when
you are honest. Some sort of dissonance forms in their mind about
who you are and they can’t handle it. So they hate you.
many positive things that happen with honesty.
yourself – I’m an XYZ addict. You can replace “XYZ”
with every single thing that has been used before the word “addict”.
The worst is when the addictions combine. Even two addictions combining
is enough to kill someone and I’ve probably combined 4 or 5
at the same time. Why am I not being more specific? As much of an
unfolding train wreck that I am, some things are still hard for
me to write.
the benefit of being honest with yourself? Recognizing my weaknesses,
working on them, recognizing the liberating benefits of not having
those weaknesses, using the experience of that liberation to help
others – these are all benefits of being honest with yourself.
How to be honest
with yourself? This is hard. But a good start, surprisingly, is
always being grateful for what you have. And add to that list every
A second start
is for everything you do, always ask – why do I am doing this?
Why do I need this? Did I go to India this week because I wanted
to learn Yoga? Or did I go because I didn’t want to miss Claudia
for a whole month? Or did I go because I was afraid I would be jealous
with Claudia gone and if so, why? Who knows? But I need to ask so
I’m not BS-ing myself on my reasons.
If people know
that you are above and beyond honest with others, they will listen
to you. They will know that your words are weighed out carefully.
What you say
about the past, to make a point about the present, will bring you
benefits in the future. Because people will believe and return your
trust with affection. Affection going in your direction will have
But it’s more than that. When you are honest with others to
a fault then your words have more than just the power of description.
Each word gets
loaded with its truth. You become so experienced and knowledgable
about what telling the truth means that your words take on a different
character than the people who even slip for a second, even in telling
a white lie.