What if you could fit everything you needed in a knapsack?
Seriously. Check out the headline. What if that was the case, and you were happier because of it.
I saw this piece about self-help guru James Altucher in The New York Times and am trying to figure out how to implement his philosophy into my own life. I don’t really know how to pronounce his name but I had a lot of time over the weekend while flying all over the country, so I listened to a bunch of his podcasts.
This guy has made and lost millions of dollars. Failures, successes and everything in between. Now, he has basically got his entire life down to about 15 things, all of which can fit into a knapsack.
I find the whole idea absolutely fascinating. Maybe it’s the better way to go.
Althucher is all about finding happiness and making choices for himself. He advocates being your own boss as much as possible, being entrepreneurial, and being able to take care of yourself. He says not to go to college — that you’re better off putting that money away and traveling the world, learning other cultures, using that information to become an entrepreneur.
A lot of people are really uncomfortable with the stuff he says, but he tries to break the entire paradigm that you don’t have to go to work for someone else or do things for other people. Do stuff for yourself and you’ll find yourself to be that much happier. And if you reduce your expenses you don’t have to make that much so that you can be happier.
There was another eye-opening point from his Ted Talk: That while kids laugh an average of 300 times a day, the average adult laughs … can you guess? Nope, less. It’s only five times per day.
Isn’t that interesting? That if a kid can laugh 300 times a day, why is it that we don’t have the time?
He has a ton of ideas – a bunch of which aren’t good – but I do like a fun Craigslist ad he put out that claimed he’d had a major head injury, recovered and found myself to be psychic. He asked people to send in any questions they wanted answered. He said he received tons of response; that it was a way of starting relationships with people. Yes, it’s a little deceptive but he says it’s important to have people around you who love you, to cultivate those things because those are the people who care about you. And if you care about them then you’ll take of them and, thereby yourself, which will put you in a more positive place.
There’s another interesting exercise of his that you should try.
Close your eyes for a moment and think about the last time you were happy — really, really happy. I go back to when my daughter, Charlie, was born. When you stop and think about that moment, you are actually back there. And when you’re back in that moment, you begin to feel those feelings from 13 or 14 years ago. And when you’re feeling that, you’re actually reliving that happiness and chemical changes occur in your body. The idea is that your thoughts are your feelings and your feelings are your actions — think good things, feel good things, do good things.
It’s a simple philosophy, but we’re all better off if you’re able to do that, as opposed to thinking negative thoughts, which turn into negative feelings and actions.