How To Break Free From Prison
by James Altucher: Why
I Won’t Vote
I was scared
when I left the corporate job for the first time. I was even more
scared when I was thrown out of graduate school and had to explain
why to my parents. When I was first separated and then divorced
I was ashamed to tell people about it. When I lost all my money
in just one summer and went totally broke and forced to sell my
home I was so embarrassed that I even lied to people who asked why
my home was being listed. I would say, that must be a mistake,
even though I had to have signed a contract and everyone knew that.
People would smirk.
I needed to
break free from all the prisons I put myself in. Shame, embarrassment,
fear, anxiety were the guards and the bars that kept me locked up.
When you are
a prison, its natural to want to escape. But most people dont.
If they do their daily routine, eat on time, play on time, watch
TV between 6 and 9, follow their orders, do their chores, pay their
dues, then eventually they think they will be released. Many years
in the future.
you want to escape from prison RIGHT NOW, your powers of observation
become heightened. You become like a superhero. Like a mutant
from the X-men.
the schedules of the guards. You look for any holes in the wall.
You look for ways to smuggle tools from the kitchen. You look for
those fleeting moments when the doors are open for supplies, when
the trucks release their goods and for a split second, a hiding
place might reveal itself. You observe in yourself if you have the
courage to do what it takes. You look at maps of the prison, of
the outside, of the grounds that you can hide in. You exercise every
day to get yourself ready for the moment the
point of no return where you begin your run to freedom and cant
of observation become so heightened, so superior to your fellow
inmates and the guards that watch over them, that eventually, after
diligence, you figure how to wiggle out of the chains, how to take
advantage of the tiny oversights that add up, how to turn invisible
and slip through the cracks. And when the dogs bark at the morning
light, spread out in the forest sniffing at the tiny scraps of your
scent left behind, you are long gone, even though your presence
is felt everywhere.
same thing every day. We are trapped in this world of sickness and
money lust and failure and striving and craving. I am not being
pessimistic. I am optimistic we live in a world of increasing literacy,
decreasing sickness, decreasing violence, increasing innovation.
And yet, the more I want, the more I crave, the more bound I am,
the less chance I have. To find my own meaning in this infinite
dictionary. To find my own life.
I need to break
free from the prison. Sometimes the craziness adds up to too much.
I simply want one moment completely free from bondage, and then
carry that moment to the next, treasuring the only thing I can ever
have my own peace of mind this second. Here are the things
I feel I need to observe to break out of prison. When I can observe
and then conquer these, freedom will come. Not before then.
am I angry. Not to suppress it. Just to notice it. Not to
act on it. Not to kill someone. Just to notice it. When is it
happening? Why? Its a hot plate that cools under observation
rather than if I try to ravish it too quickly.
am I worried about the future, in particular money. Do I really
need to worry about how I will pay bills a year from now? Will
that help me to pay the bills a year from now? Or can I use the
time spent worrying (even the nano-seconds, when added up) to
read, to further myself, to achieve, so that those worries recede
beyond the horizon. Can I become the Ocean instead of just the
ripples (the fears) that eventually lap onto a muddy shore.
do I sit and regret the past? What I said at the party the
other day. How I treated those people ten years ago. Not that
I want to excuse any failings or not learn from them. I can learn
from them right now. But if I regret, if I play over events, then
I am no longer being observant of right now, I am lost in the
moment, I am in a time machine, I am in a dream factory, floating
in nebula, light years from reality.
am I feeling lonely, wondering what the other people are doing?
Are they wondering about me? How many times have I been lonely
in a crowd, dead eyes all wandering aimlessly in their futures
or pasts while we shuffle through the dying light of the current
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© 2012 The
Best of James Altucher