What If The World Is Ending?


Six in the morning at the hotel by the elevator and the guy stumbled over to us and said, “My wife just left me for good.”

First the guy said, “how you two doing?” I said, Ok.

And that’s when he said, My wife just left me.

He stood next to me, looking at me. He had on a pink button down shirt, collar half up on one side. He looked to be in his twenties. He looked (my guess) like he had been up all night.

I said, no matter what anyone says now, and no matter what you are thinking now, you’re going to be thinking completely different things tomorrow.

He said, I hope so. Thanks. He walked off, down the hall.

Then we took the train home. The slot machine of images through the train window, spinning and spinning. First city, and then the images of home. Jackpot.

I knew that guy wasn’t going to listen to me. He wanted to listen to his story about his wife. We like stories.

I finished up a book I started reading when it was on my parent’s bookshelf thirty years ago called The One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding about a college frat guy who decides to go for a weekend adventure with a prostitute. There’s a lot of sex in the book.

The book was written in 1959 and was at first banned and then censored in the United States but was published in France first and slowly made its way over here.

At one point in the book the prostitute, a 14 year old girl named Kitten, tries to throw her TV out the window because the TV just has white people shooting guns and firing rockets and she’s sick of it while the college kid thinks its all very important.

Our spouses say things. Our TVs say things. Our family says things. The newspaper says things. Our professors say things. Our bosses say things.

Scary, angry things.

All of these people have their own troubles. Our spouses had hard childhoods. Our TVs are trying to make money. The journalists are depressed. The professors are insecure. Family might be jealous. The bosses are afraid.

44 years later we never got nuked.

But we always believe the stories. We’re always afraid of the next big bang. We’re always afraid of what people just told us.

So how are you supposed to take anything to be truth. How are you supposed to learn so we can deal with the world and be smarter and succeed?

Answer (if you want): nobody is telling you the truth. You waste time even listening to garbage. Stop it.

Wait! Are you still anxious? Will you go broke and be unloved?

Ok. Me too. Let’s be quiet a little bit more. And sleep. And call someone who loves us.

And say “help” to nobody in particular. Say help to the background noise you hear. To the light streaming in. To the air you are breathing. Help. To the next person who kisses you.

“But you don’t understand! What if it’s true!?”

Ok. So you’re very smart. And your smartest thinking brought you exactly here to this miserable, awful, unbearable moment. You’re a genius!

So do the reverse: Not complain for a few days. Let’s go on a no-complaint diet. Nobody ever made a dime of love by complaining. The human body can’t hold a complaint and a happy thought at the same time.

If you complain, you have no time for abundance.

I once believed every worst-case scenario. And none of them came true. And I also think I’m pretty smart.

Only when I turned it all off for awhile, everything else turned on. I could’ve been so much better if I didn’t spend so much time in agony.

But who am I to complain? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated.

Keep up with James on Twitter and jamesaltucher.com

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