I Prefer To Leave Early

Flickr / Daria Nepriakhina
Flickr / Daria Nepriakhina

The woman had tattoos etched beautifully over her arms and told me the story of each one.

Her husband owned the rights to 14,000 songs and told me the 20 year roller coaster ride of how he had acquired them. He owned the rights to almost all my favorite songs.

I learned an immense amount listening to the two of them. Then I left even though the party kept going.

I left early.

When I sold my first business, it was because my sister in high school was learning how to do exactly what I did for my clients.

I was charging $75,000 to do a three-page website and now 13-year-olds were doing it better and for free. Time to leave the party.

It takes a half hour for the stomach to communicate to the brain whether or not it’s full. Here’s the solution: buy smaller plates. “You’ll eat 20-30% less calories,” says a future guest on my podcast.

Someone on a post the other day said I should be ashamed for encouraging people to be “not informed.” He’s probably never been inside a real newsroom to see who is doing the informing.

I leave the news early. I leave parties earlier. If I meet you in the street and say hello and fall in love with you, I’ll probably leave early. I try to go to sleep early. I try to wake up early.

If I do yoga, I don’t kill myself doing it. I’ll do what I can and then leave early.

If I’m in a meeting, 15 minutes is my deadline. Then I leave early. I’ll just hang up and 90% of the time nobody on the conference call knows I’m gone.

“I prefer to leave early,” is my mantra. “Prefer” is there because why pressure myself into a “Must”?

Then there’s the usual math: 15 minutes of “leaving early” every day adds up to about 3-4 years of extra love or work or art you can express per decade (assuming people work or fun or or create or love for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week).

That’s 3-4 years worth of quality time you can spend with people you love.

That’s 3-4 years worth of art you can create. I don’t care what the “art” is. Make six second videos. Draw a picture of a house every day. Write a dumb poem. The dumbest poem possible.

Here is an example of the worst poem ever:

I prefer to leave early
That’s why I’m never surly
And my hair stays curly
And even when I’m late
Please excuse me
Because I’ll still leave early

I’ve spent much time in the past 10 years coming up with many multiple streams of income for myself.

I usually write about my failures. Because they are more fun stories. But maybe one sentence of success.

I have about 15 different sources of income. Each one was difficult. I had to master each area. And then move on, else I’d be stuck with just one source instead of 15. I had to leave the party early on each one.

I’m afraid to work for a boss. I’m always afraid I’ll be trapped in a prison and have to do things I don’t want to do. A boss is when you have one source.

One person who can change your life with two words, “You’re fired.”

I need to feed many mouths. I feed the IRS. I feed my family. I feed my stress so I don’t go crazy again in the back of a police car.

Every stream of income requires a little bit of love and tenderness per week. Then…per month. Then…per year.

Now I have time to write stupid poetry.

Next time you go to a party. Maybe even it’s a political party. Or a charity event. Or a dinner. Or a conference call. Or a sales meeting.

Do this:

Find the most valuable, fun, creative thing you can learn as quickly as you can. The one thing that will add value to your life. Hone in on it FAST. Learn something.

Then leave.

Even in a sales meeting: if you learn from the customer, the customer will buy from you.

Even on a first date. Get the kiss. Leave early. It gets better later if you leave early today.

Someone said to the great pianist, Artur Rubinsteain, “I love the way you play the notes!”

Artur Rubinstein said, “Ahh, the secret is how I play the silences between the notes.”

The real you is the silences between the notes.

Not the you in the meetings. The talking you. The worrying you. The you trying to please the date or the boss or the trolls. The you that HAS to respond!

I try (sometimes not so successfully, sometimes horribly) to play the silences in between the notes.

How many things can you leave early today? Be honest about it. This is the only gift we were given when we were born. The ability to leave things early.

Without the silence, we would never know how to distinguish a beautiful sound.

P.S.   My new book is finally out! It’s taken me a year to put together all   the skills I think are needed to create abundance in this new economy.  I  hope you write me with feedback and questions.Here’s what the initial reviews on this book have said:
“James Altucher did it again. I just finished and have to say it was a great read. Great insight into the future of wealth.”
“I couldn’t wait for this book to come out. It was well worth the wait!  Jam-packed with good ideas and advice for the budding entrepreneur. A   must read!”
I’m really grateful for the response I’ve received so quickly. I feel we   are quickly building a strong community of people who are deciding to  “choose themselves”.
If you want to get it exclusively in hardcover, plus several other books  by me, plus a newsletter which will be the equivalent of two additional  chapters every month, claim your copy here.

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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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