Recently by James Altucher: 10 Things I Don't Want To Talk About
I regret losing all of my money and then losing my house. I regret not spending more time with my kids when they were little and I regret not saving the life of my dad when I could’ve.
In 2000 I was buying every IPO I could. It was already after the dot-com bust. I bought 50,000 shares of GoAmerica at $20. It went down to $1. I don’t know where it is now. I think now they give wireless devices to deaf people. I made lots of decisions like that. I went completely broke doing that. ZERO. So I took all the equity out of my apartment, about $1 million. Then I did the same thing. I lost all of that money also. Someone asked me how much money. The summer of 2000 I lost $15 million in cash. All of my money. I regret it.
I regret going broke. I could’ve helped people. I could’ve started other businesses. I could’ve helped my dad when he had a stroke. There was a new device I had read about that would have rotated him around in the air to stimulate his brain cells. It would’ve cost maybe $100,000 or more to fly him across the country and have him try the device. But I couldn’t afford it. I had no money and I had the IRS up my ass. After everything he had done for me. I couldn’t afford to save his life.
I regret all the stress I felt for years as I tried climbing back. It wore on me. Now my stomach is constantly in pain no matter how much I meditate, pray, relieve stress, do yoga. It will take years to untie the knots in my stomach, if they ever get untied.
There were women. I regret what I did to them. I regret the tears one of them had when she told me I had to go. She hated me. I regret the baby that was killed.
I regret the six days a week I spent working in the city. My daughter, Josie, would have a nightmare at night. She’d wake up crying. I couldn’t climb into her bed and hear about the nightmare of a 4-year-old and comfort her until she fell back to sleep. I was never there. I regret all those moments I couldn’t comfort her tiny voice as she explained things and explained things and explained things over and over again as she tried to understand the world around her.
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I regret the two businesses I started when going through a separation in 2008. I wasn’t ready yet to begin a life. I regret getting people involved in those businesses when they were destined to amount to nothing.
I regret hitting a man and breaking both his legs when I ran through a stop sign while driving a car when I was 18.
Everyone has regrets. Historical is hysterical. It’s easy to look back at the past now and see the road signs we missed. The forks in the road we could’ve taken. Those forks are regrets. Is it bad to look back? Of course not. I can’t help it. I have regrets every day.
But you can’t move forward until you move past the regrets. It’s impossible.
20 Ways to Deal With Regret
A) Ask yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?” Today is the day we care about. Where we can improve ourselves, help people. Move forwards. What are you doing today? This is a good mental discipline. WHEN Regret comes up about yesterday, ASK yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?” Practice this. Then practice it again.
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Ultimately, it has consistently been the only way I’ve been able to bounce back from events that caused me deep regret. Otherwise I sink into them. They bury me. In a book I have coming out in a few weeks I write about modifications to the Practice that has made it easier for me when I’ve been totally on the floor and unable to pick myself up.
C) Some parts of the Daily Practice need kickstarting to work. I start with The Power of Negative Thinking. Or Nine Ways to Light Your Creativity ON Fire. The first post deals with how to build a discipline of labeling thoughts “useful” or “not useful”. You have a finite number of thoughts in life before you die. Might as well make as many of them as possible “useful”. This is hard. For me, it’s like telling myself to exercise every day when I spent the first 40 years of my life not exercising. Something I regret. “Not useful”.
D) Make friends. Make sure you don’t talk about your regrets with your friends. Are your friends trying to improve their lives? You can be inspired by them and they can be inspired by you.
E) Don’t judge people. The other day I wrote about a dinner I went to. I was surprised how many people wrote me disparaging the IQ of one of the people at the dinner even though they didn’t know that person. In order to judge someone you don’t know you have to have a lot insecurity and ego. It’s hard to get rid of that insecurity. One way to do it is to never judge people. Particularly people you don’t know. That’s a good way to practice not judging yourself.
F) Honesty. Honesty can lead to wealth. Being honest also helps you avoid denial about your regrets. Stop blaming others. It’s important to realize that both Most things don’t work out AND most of the time, It’s Your Fault. I was often in denial about both of those things. They are both truths.