Ten Unusual Ways to Get in the Top 1% of Happiness

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James Altucher

At midnight my door opened and I saw the shadow of someone about 4 feet tall walk into my room and stand by my side of the bed. “I can’t sleep,” she said and she was smart enough to also say, “my mind is racing”. Over the nine years of her life so far she has probably heard me say that many times. Like when I was losing a home and I threw a chair and the police were called. The third time police had to be called on me in life (out of five).

So I took her hand and we walked downstairs and she gave me a lecture on what was going on in each one of her classes and she concluded with a discussion of the various Greek gods (“Athena is my favorite,” she said. “Who is yours. Hermes?”) And then I saw her yawn and I said maybe now she can try to go back to sleep, which she did.

I’m scared for her. My mind races also. How many times has my mind woken me up at midnight to remind me of how little money was in my bank account, or how many bills I had to pay, or how much I hated my job, or even hated being an entrepreneur with customers, clients, people screwing me, people hating me. I don’t want her mind to wake her like that when she’s older. It’s the worst pain. And I might not be there then for her to talk to.


Will she kill herself? Will she wake up her husband or girlfriend or whatever and say, “my mind is racing. Talk to me.”

One time some bad business things were happening to me. Something was shutting down, other things were going down. Some people were cheating me. Whatever. My mind was racing. I woke up Claudia. “Breathe like this,” she said. It was two in the morning but she wanted to help. She had me do a breathing exercise that involved quickly exhaling but I forget the rest of it. Then I fell asleep.

One investor of mine told me I had a “scarcity complex” – that I always had a strong feeling that I had nothing even when I had many things to be happy about. This was about eight years ago. I agreed with him. He wanted to be my mentor. I wanted him to sell his business and then let me invest the money. So I agreed to everything he said. I did that back then. But in this case maybe he was right. Unless I’m at optimal health in every way I constantly feel like I have less than nothing. It’s post-traumatic stress from losing everything several times and watching my father lose everything twenty years earlier.

No toys will ever patch that bleeding.

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