James Altucher writing on financial independence

Most people are what I call “civilians.” They live the civilian life.

I have no complaints against them. Often I am jealous of them. They go to work. They have their families. They argue politics or sports or whatever. Sometimes heatedly.

They live the lives that would make their families and colleagues and schools and governments proud. They often dress in a uniform. Like a suit. They take the train at the same time each day. They go to sleep at the same time.

Our genes right now are the same as they were 40,000 years ago. But there’s no evidence that humans had schedules where they did the same things at the same times 40,000 years ago.

We didn’t evolve into standardization.

We were forced there by the demands of both the industrial revolution (which required factory workers to be assimilated into the same replaceable humans) and the machines of war, which require everyone to march in place to the melodies of John Phillip Sousa.

Once you remove yourself from this standardization, you are not a civilian anymore.

You are an explorer. A wanderer.

The explorer can fail. The wanderer can get lost. The exile can get lonely.

But the world suddenly becomes much larger. The comfort zone expands into the much bigger curiosity zone. And the other people who are no longer civilians turn out to be a much bigger group than you thought. And you will embrace them and say, “I feel good to be here.”

This will happen when you begin your change.

But it’s not really about change. And it’s not about finding who you really are.

It’s about getting more lost than ever.

I haven’t had a traditional job or a fixed salary in nearly a decade, and I’ve found dozens of ways to make extraordinary amounts of money, doing things I love.

When you start out on the path of change, you are – presumably – attempting to improve yourself in various ways.

Michelangelo says about his great sculpture David, every block of stone has a sculpture in it and it is the job of the sculptor to find it. When we are adults, we are like that block. We have to chip away at the programming of our parents, peers, education, government, cultural inhibitions – everything that told us we were “not good enough.”

The sculpture inside is the real you. The authentic you.

If you take any successful habit, and simply practice that habit for a few minutes a day, you will change. You will become more successful.

You can try and see. Do an act of kindness each day. Or be grateful each day. Try that habit every day for a month. Chances are you will feel more content in your life, and chances are the results will be greater success for you.

Here’s another trivial one: Write down 10 ideas a day. It will improve your idea muscle. Eventually, some idea will latch onto your head and you won’t be able to shake it. You will wake up in the night thinking of it. You will wake up in the morning with ideas expanding it.

You will spend your day figuring out how to execute it. And you will think of more ideas and reach out to more people and your life will be scattered with moments of immense well-being as you pursue this dream.

Anyway, try it.

Editor’s note: James Altucher is a forward-thinking, rule-breaking, uber-economy philosopher. Read more from him here.

Image: ©iStock.com/AleksandarNakic

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