by James Altucher: Why
I Haven't Gotten a Cold InThreeYears
I almost killed
both my kids yesterday by accident. Then, later, I had no money
to pay for a meal we had already eaten.
On the way
to my oldest daughter’s singing performance, my tire blew out.
It didn’t go flat. It blew out. It was as if it had been shot
from a gunman in a grassy knoll. And maybe from another gunman in
a building 10 stories high. The tire was shredded and gone by the
time I looked at it.
And I had no
license so I was afraid a cop would see the tire and arrest me,
take my car, arrest my kids, etc and people were honking at me that
I shouldn’t be driving like that with kids in the car. At every
red light people were rolling down their windows and yelling, “get
those kids out of there!” But whatever.
that night, when nobody died, we went out to dinner. We had a huge
dinner. And when I got the bill and reached to pay I realized I
had no money or credit cards. I only had Indian rupees in my pocket.
youngest, turned to me and say, “Why do bad things always happen
do you mean?” I asked her and I felt bad because it was the
first time I had seen her in three weeks and it seemed to her like
everything was going wrong.
tire, the boring tire place, and now you can’t even pay this
to me like we’ve had a great day,” I said. “Despite
a flat tire, it was only a mile form the performance so we made
it [going ten miles an hour to play it safe] and the police didn’t
stop me and realize I had a suspended license and we didn’t
roll over into a ditch or anything.
during the parts of the performance Josie wasn’t in I managed
to finish a great novel on my kindle.
it turns out a tire store was less than a half mile from the performance.
And while we were waiting for the tire to be changed we watched
some great ice skating on TV and you’re a big fan of ice skating
so how lucky was that?
when we had no money at dinner, they told us they would just send
me a bill and I can pay whenever so how lucky was that for us? We
didn’t have to wash dishes all night and we still had a great
dinner without any money in our pockets. How often does that happen?”
She was skeptical.
“Maybe,” she said. But it was a start.
trying to say I always look at the positive side of things. Often
when a deal falls through (as
19 out of 20 do) I think to myself, “Why haven’t I
had a big deal come through in almost six years!?” And I get
down on myself. Or when I think about people who treat me bad or
backstab me or talk down about me I think, “Why can’t
people ever treat me well?”
I get irrational.
I get angry. I get scared. Then I can’t sleep. Then my stomach
starts to hurt. Then I consider sending emails saying things
like, “after all I’ve done for you BLAH BLAH BLAH…”
I stop myself.
When I was
thinking about writing this article I got to this point and I didn’t
know what I would say next. So this is how list posts start. I figured
I’d make a list and put down everything, even stuff that might
seem corny, and figure it out later.
A) in every
bad experience there’s some good. I haven’t watched
ice skating in years. The performances were beautiful when we were
waiting in the tire place. I stopped thinking of how annoying the
flat tire was and tried to think of all the opposites I could. The
ice skating, the reading of a good book, watching Josie sing (we
were late but made it just in time). Then the good meal that I didn’t
Any game player or competitor at all knows that the only way to
learn is to learn from your mistakes. When you study your wins it
doesn’t help you that much. You already won! You don’t
need to win it again. But when you fail and you study why you failed
then you know (hopefully) you won’t fail that way again. In
fact, the next time, you’ll have a much greater chance of winning.
thinking. I hate to go New Agey on this. But when I first had
a flat. Or when a deal failed to go through a few weeks ago. Or
when I’ve gone totally broke several times. Or when a girl
cheated on me 20 years ago and I caught her naked with the other
guy. Or when I was beaten silly repeatedly when I was a kid, I could’ve
said, “that’s it. I failed. Nothing will ever work!”