How To Deal With Burnout, Get Rich Quick Schemes, Stage Fright,
and Brain Explosion
by James Altucher: How
To Diversify Your Life
TO DEAL WITH BURNOUT?
Goltiao ?@suburbandude: Any advice for someone who’s
I have to confess
something. I am feeling a little bit of burnout. I’ve been
doing this blog for a little more than two years. I probably write,
on average, 3000 words a day seven days a week. If I am not done
with my 3000 words by 9am I start to feel a little bit tense (it
doesn’t happen often but it happens). I’ve published
464 posts. Five I’ve had to delete for various reasons after
I published them. So 459 posts are published averaging about 2000
words each. 136 posts are in my Drafts folder because I didn’t
think they were good enough to publish.
My entire Daily
Practice revolves around this blog. I stay healthy so I have the
energy and drive to wake up early and work on the blog. I started
the blog shortly after I got married and began eliminating various
negative relationships in my life. That elimination worked magic
in my productivity. The blog itself is usually the way I come up
with the ideas to exercise my idea muscle. I also read every day
to either help with the ideas or to get inspiration from different
writers I enjoy. And for me, this blog is about how to combine the
spiritual with the secular, the soul with success. Every aspect
of the daily practice I have outlined comes full force in how I
do this blog.
And most of
the time, I love doing it. I feel creative. I’ve made lots
of friends through this blog. It’s been such a pleasure.
But I know
myself. Two years is sort of my time limit on anything. I’m
not the sort of person who spends 50 years doing something (more
on Mick Jagger in a future post). I was at HBO for 2 years before
I started my first company, Reset. Two years after that, I sold
the company. Stockpickr from beginning to end was about two years.
I traded for hedge funds about two years. I only stayed in graduate
school about two years before I was so burnt out they threw me out.
Does this mean
I should stop doing the blog? No, of course not.
But the feelings of burnout are natural. They are natural for me.
They are natural for you. It’s the body’s way of saying,
“Whoops! Time is up. You need to make a change.” Something
has to happen. If you stay doing what you are doing, you will regress.
If I stick with this exact routine, quality will go down. I know
it. So something has to change.
know what it is. You don’t know what you have to change either.
That’s why we are experiencing burnout.
When you say
“burnout” it really means you have two problems. One
is that you have high expectations of yourself to achieve something.
Two is that you did not meet those expectations so now you are unhappy.
So the answer is, stop being so hard on yourself. Why the high expectations?
Did someone teach you that life would be bad unless you always set
yourself up for such high expectations that you were bound to be
be upset at yourself for experiencing burnout. Be thankful.
If a child
didn’t have nerves in his fingers then he wouldn’t know
that the barbecue was hot. A child is thankful for those nerve cells.
Burnout is your mind touching a hot stove and the mind’s nerve
cells are reacting. Hence: “Burn” out. Pull your hand
a way. Stay healthy. Continue the Daily Practice. Don’t be
afraid of change. Change doesn’t mean loss. It doesn’t
have to mean stepping back. It just means “change”.
And then wait.
Take walks. Stay away from the computer as much as possible. Eat
well. Change your routine. Your routine is designed (correctly)
to make sure the unconscious stays out of your process. You didn’t
need it. Now you do. So by mixing up your routine, you let your
unconscious come in and tell you what it thinks you need to be doing
If you respect
the burnout, trust that you are not in total control of your universe,
be grateful that you live in a world that allows for change and
continue all aspects of your daily practice (physical, emotional,
mental, spiritual health), then only good things will happen. They
might be small changes. They might be rejuvenated energy and creativity.
They might be 180 degree changes. You and I just don’t know
what they are yet. Surrender to it.
AND YOUR DAUGHTERS
Henterly ?@matthenterly: Because of your view on college,
are you preparing your daughters for “post high-school”
life? Steering them in any direction?
So I rant a
little bit in this
video about why kids should not go to college and why my kids
shouldn’t go. Then my daughter Mollie points out something
I hadn’t thought of. And she does it more articulately than
me. As she explained to me afterwards, she’s been practicing
tongue twisters so she can be more articulate. I, unfortunately,
always speak as if I’m totally drunk.
Then, for the
sake of my kids, I wrote a book, 40
Alternatives to College, that they refuse to read but maybe
they will later. The other day, my kids and I were in a restaurant
where we knew the owner. He said, “I bet you kids are excited
about college, right?” And then he remembered, “Oh wait,
your dad doesn’t want you to go to college.” And fortunately
he said, “you two girls are very lucky to have a guy who will
support other decisions you might make.” But I don’t
think they were listening to him.
My gut is this:
they will put up a fight. All of their friends will want to go to
college. But at some point they will read my posts and my book on
the topic and develop a little common sense of their own. The alternatives
I offer are ALL cheaper than college and all more valuable as life
experience. They are ages 13 and 10 so we’re already having
these discussions. I will help them in any other choice they can
possibly have EXCEPT college.
What if they
really want to go? one might ask. At some point we all grow up and
become adults. If they really want to go, then I don’t prevent
adults from doing what they want to do. But my hope is that at some
point they see the prison-like bars that society has imposed –
the myth that college is a prelude to a good job, a good life, good
luck for future generations, etc. The things you remember
and learn are not from textbooks but are taught by the things you
are passionate about, that then become metaphors for everything
in life so that life itself becomes your university. And from that
university alone, you get to conquer the universe.
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© 2012 The
Best of James Altucher