Skip the Line – by James Altucher

Cortisol triggers the fight- or- flight response.

Dopamine is triggered when a reward is in sight.

Serotonin is triggered when we have the food: oxytocin is triggered when we feel the bonds of friendship and love in the tribe.

I didn’t want to wait 10,000 hours. But I didn’t want to take shortcuts either. There’s no way to cheat the system. But there are methods for skipping the line, for achieving what you need to achieve using the techniques that I’ve painfully had to go through again and again.

Part of any knowledge learned is when you can tap into the “hive mind.”

But being “the only” is often more important than being better.

“Scratch everything I just said. Just make an ad on Facebook selling the product. Use a small budget. Like two hundred dollars.”

In these examples, the experiments didn’t result in successful businesses. Ninety- nine percent of ideas don’t work out. That’s why experiments have to be easy to set up and have very little downside.

Make sure your motivations and your interests are more than just a simple reflection of the people around you.

There’s no mirror for the heart. You have to listen amid the distraction of the tribe, of society, of the people you admire. I simply didn’t want to do this business. I don’t know why. But, as they say, my heart was not in it.

Easy to set up and do Little downside Huge potential upside— maybe multiple opportunities for upside Unique— never been done before as far as I know.

An experiment is always outside the comfort zone. You become an explorer of the places nobody else wants to go.

Whether you are a scientist or a curious individual allowing your passions to lead you in new directions, you don’t know the outcome your efforts will produce. You might have a guess about the outcome, but no matter what, you have to let the result wash over you and change you.

Being detached from the results doesn’t mean being heartless, it doesn’t mean you don’t care, and it doesn’t mean you refuse to give of yourself.

mental real estate

Having the ability to switch interests, even switch careers, and quickly rise to be among the top in the world is going to be invaluable.

The idea/ possibility muscle is the same way. It must be exercised. If you can’t see all the possibilities that are right in front of your face, you will not be able to take advantage of them when the time comes.

You can only be good at the things you are obsessed with.

Others’ reactions to your experiments are just data. Don’t let them be a reflection of who you are. A scientist is detached from the results and uses the data learned from an experiment to guide the next set of experiments.

It does hurt to ask. When you say to someone “What do you need?” you’re giving them a homework assignment.

Nobody wants their brains picked. Instead, I had to take a step back and come up with solutions for all the people I wanted to meet.

Reading is the most important superpower. It turns you from a normal mortal civilian into a supernatural vampire.

Your “minus” is someone with fewer skills than you that you can teach. Because if you can’t teach the basics so a beginner can understand, then it turns out you don’t yet fully understand them yourself.

Always reminding yourself of the fundamentals is the key to continued success.

You will have more than one purpose in your life.

Corporatism by itself is often the opposite of entrepreneurialism. Unless you continue to grow, learn, be curious, and ultimately surpass the initial vision you subscribed to when you joined a corporation, you won’t be guaranteed much beyond a paycheck, and even that is a tough bet to make these days.

Your purposes are spread out throughout your life like a bunch of clues in a scavenger hunt.

Only failure of omission is real failure. Because if you don’t do something, you can’t learn from your experience.

But . . . When I invest in myself, I make sure I diversify.

When one thing is not going so well for me, I switch to other interests I am passionate about.

It doesn’t matter if the ideas are good or bad or if I keep track of them or if I ever look at them again. Writing down ten ideas a day was rewiring my brain. It was giving me a dopamine boost and the feeling of achievement every morning. And then it started building up my idea muscle.

The point is not to have good ideas all the time. The point is just exercise. Exercise that idea muscle. Then you will be more creative. Then you will know how to execute better than anyone else.

You will feel abundant. Life around you will seem like just a collection of ideas to be transformed, improved upon, created.

If every day you force yourself to be creative, the brain rewires itself to make creativity a priority.

I didn’t want to attach myself to any outcome, but I put my energy into learning.

Combine ideas every day. Exercise the idea muscle every day. Practice makes progress. Progress makes permanent. Pick the best idea. Make billions. Help millions. Make people happy.

Many people don’t understand that execution is a spectrum. You can be bad or good. The way you get good at execution is having good execution ideas. The way to get good at execution ideas is to exercise your idea muscle.
..ask questions that are aimed at them providing information on how they know what they know and why you should trust them.

When they give an answer, no matter how impressive the answer may sound, underreact.

“No” is a lot harder to say when you don’t respect yourself. This is because it’s easier to go along with what other people are asking you to do. You need enough self- authority to say no and even more to follow through when you do say it.

The key to retaining or regaining control of the frame is being nonreactive.

When deciding on something, always ask, “How many things have to conspire to make this a good idea?” The number of things that have to conspire is the “conspiracy number.”

Go for breadth instead of depth.

When you interact with others, never try to boost your own self- worth. Always help people increase their own significance and their own self- worth.

“I just saw XYZ and it reminded me of that project ABC you were working on. It gave me an idea you should do JKL. In any case, hope all is well. Talk to you soon.”

But the best thing to do is not just listen to them but invert: seek out the opposite of what you believe to be true.

Be the credit card: give everyone the credit they deserve. Then they keep coming back to the source.

Need no credit ever and everyone will give you credit forever.

If you read the highest quality history, philosophy, science, etc. books, then you understand the forces that shape the world, you can communicate it, and you can see the real facts that are shaping up over time.

Most people who have an opinion are probably wrong. If people don’t know who you are, they are more likely to reject you.

If your business previously made $ 1 million but took up 100 percent of your time, then now you have to be fine making $ 800,000 (80 percent of the original revenue) but using only 20 percent of your time.

Imagine you’re an employer and you have one hundred employees. According to the 50/ 1 Rule, one of your employees is generating approximately 50 percent of the value of your company.

What else is life for than to make enough that you do well and also have plenty of time to do the things you love?

Even a single thought where you are concerned about your own self- worth will block any chances of success in your passion.

They did it by focusing on progress rather than perfection.

Every time I’m scared, I ask myself: Is this the opportunity I’ve been waiting for? Is this the chance to do something nobody has done before?

I don’t give a talk or go on a stage unless I’m afraid I’m going to say something that’s going to challenge people a bit too much. Because that’s the only way they’ll remember the talk. Because if I don’t challenge the way they think, then they will never think about my talk.

Lean in to the fear to create growth. Fear is the catalyst. And growth is the reason you hit Publish. The reason you speak up. The reason you try something new. The reason you step out of line.

You can be an “entreployee,” using the skills of entrepreneurship, the skills described in this book, to be successful at your job.

“Antifragile” is when you are hit hard and you recover even stronger than you were before. Have a plan B that makes you antifragile. Again, you don’t want to get fired, but if it happens, you’ll bounce back stronger than you were before.

“The three biggest addictions are heroin, carbs, and a stable paycheck.”

A job won’t protect you. What protects people is an ability to find new pursuits and new meaning in their lives, and to quickly get good enough at these new endeavors to provide for themselves and their families.

One important thing to remember: your best new clients are your old clients.

The way to not be a monkey and have more opportunities to increase your happy chemicals is to be in more than one tribe.

Products are always more valuable than services. I didn’t know that then. I didn’t know that software was scalable and so Wall Street valued it more.

If you are passionate about something, you can find the business opportunities right now, and then you’ll be first and you’ll make a name for yourself.

Don’t waste one of your precious years devoting yourself to just one idea.

Only talk when you have something unique to say. Otherwise, listen. This was the most important advice I ever got about business.

Your core idea is the wheel. From that wheel, there are many spokes. You can make money (or build brand, audience, whatever your goal is) with each spoke. For instance, let’s say your core interest is investing but you don’t want to be a professional investor; rather, you want to create content about investing. What’s the “wheel” and what are the “spokes”? If you don’t use every spoke, you are leaving money on the table or you are missing an opportunity to build your brand and build a bigger platform.

When I try to think of an idea that could make millions, or billions, I get excited with anticipation: maybe I can do this! And often I’ll start something all excited, but eventually the excitement trails off and I lose interest. The dopamine neurochemical has to transfer that excitement to the serotonin neurochemical. Serotonin is not fueled by anticipation. Serotonin is fueled by gratitude with what we have. Serotonin wants to further cement our bonds with the community and tribe. You feel happy when you provide service to others.

But ultimately any good business is going to be about service to others. It’s about providing great value to a community that you want to help.

Money is a physical reward for providing service, just as serotonin is the brain’s reward for providing value to a community.

What industries or practices have not yet taken that final leap from humanism to dataism? And, given the eventual evolution of all things to dataism, what gaps in business models still exist and can be filled by our services or products?

Is there a business model to help the bottom third of content creators?

You can’t think your way to success. Nor can you think your way through every problem. You have to live with uncertainty, but you also have to experience and do the things you want to get good at.

If you tell a good story and two people from opposite sides of the world trust that story, then they can work together. Hence religion. Hence politics. Hence labels.

“Don’t be the best, be the only.”

“eat 80 percent of your capacity.” Because people only realize they are full about twenty minutes after they are full (the signals for “full” travel slowly from the stomach to the brain), you need to get a sense of

Everything worthwhile requires skill. If you want to achieve something, you need more skill than all of the other people trying to achieve it. Break apart a skill into twenty microskills. Figure out how, each day, you can get better at each microskill. Don’t worry about the outcomes. Outcomes happen naturally as you build the skills. Just focus every day on improving a tiny, tiny

We never see the full picture in any situation. Every situation between people is complex. There are multiple stories, and facts to one person are opinions to another. What people care about are certainty and uncertainty.

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