Three Stories About Billionaires

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by James Altucher

Recently by James Altucher: 10 Reasons Why You Have To Quit Your Job This Year

I’m a little nervous about hitting “publish” on this post because it’s definitely going to go viral in the massive very close-knit billionaire community. You know, the many people who post anonymously on Internet message boards.

Claudia and I led a retreat a few weekends ago about yoga and some of the other things I’ve written about this blog: specifically “the daily practice” that I talk so much about. There was a lot of Q&A and I got an opportunity to tell some stories. Here’s a few of them. First, a preview (if you are reading this via RSS, turn on “display images”):

A) Jealousy. I was out for breakfast with a friend of mine who manages some money. About three billion dollars. He’s done very well and written a book about his success. Nice guy.

At the breakfast he told me that the day before he had had breakfast with XY [Insert top billionaire's name who runs a multi-billion dollar private equity fund]. My friend was describing that breakfast to me, “the entire time he was going on and on about what bastards ‘those Google guys’ are. As in ‘why should those google kids be worth $18 billion each and I’m only worth $2 billion?’

People think a billion dollars will solve their money-envy issues. But having a billion dollars could actually make it WORSE. You never develop the muscle for “I-will-never-have-a-billion dollars”.

When you have a well developed “i-will-never-have-a-billion-dollars” muscle you maybe find other things in life aside from money that will fulfill you – having positive people in your life that you love, being healthy, being kind, not taking things so seriously, giving up control over things you can’t control, and so on.

B) Enough. Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22, once was at a party in the Hamptons. A guy came over to him and pointed at a young, 25-year-old standing in the party who worked for a big hedge fund. Heller’s “friend” said to him, “see that guy over there? He made more money last year then you will ever make with all of your books combined.”

Joseph Heller said, “Maybe so. But I have one thing that man will never have.”

His friend was skeptical. “Oh yeah, what?”

Heller said, “Enough.”

I think this is beautiful. What is enough? It’s not a number. Look around you this second. Do you really need anything else then the feeling you have this second? If you say “money” or even “sex” or “love” those answers might be true for future seconds. But right this very moment do you really need more money in your pocket? You might be on a train reading my blog. How would you be having sex anyway? Often we get absorbed in the things we want in the future. As if we are unhappy now but there’s some complicated journey that can take us to happiness. The currency of unhappiness will never buy us happiness.

Often to get to happiness, we can skip the journey part and just choose to enjoy this moment. This moment we can have “enough”. Why not? Who can stop us?

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