Choose Yourself

by James Altucher

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
 3 min read
Choose Yourself
Choose Yourself

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What are the big ideas?

  1. Counting the good things in your life is important because if you don't, you might start to forget them.
  2. Being wise often means keeping things simple, and it's important to remember that being scared of rejection can stop you from doing what you really want.
  3. You can choose to have a regular job or be your own boss as an artist-entrepreneur. Either way, you need to be brave and keep trying, even if you get rejected.
  4. To handle life's ups and downs, it's good to take care of your body, mind, feelings, and spirit. Remember, getting rejected sometimes is part of life and helps you grow.
  5. Happiness comes from doing things you love and spending time with people who make you feel good, not from outside things or what other people think.


Recognizing the Value of Gratitude and Personal Growth

  • “I have to count the things that are abundant in my life. Literally count them. If I don’t they will begin to disappear.”
  • “This is about a new phase in history where art, science, business, and spirit will join together, both externally and internally, in the pursuit of true wealth.”

The Importance of Simplifying and Focusing

  • “There’s a saying, ‘The learned man aims for more. But the wise man decreases. And then decreases again’.”
  • “Rejection—and the fear of rejection—is the biggest impediment we face to choosing ourselves.”

Building Self-Reliance and Overcoming Fear

  • “In this new era, you have two choices: become a temp staffer (not a horrible choice) or become an artist-entrepreneur.”
  • “The only truly safe thing you can do is to try over and over again. To go for it, to get rejected, to repeat, to strive, to wish.”

Cultivating Resilience and Embracing Challenges

  • “What you need to do is build the house you will live in. You build that house by laying a solid foundation: by building physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.”
  • “Without rejection there is no frontier, there is no passion, and there is no magic.”

Developing a Mindset for Success and Happiness

  • “Only think about the people you enjoy. Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human.”
  • “The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it.”


  1. How does actively recognizing and counting the good things in my life affect my overall sense of gratitude and personal growth?
  2. Why might focusing on less rather than more be a wise approach in today's world, and how does fear of rejection impact my ability to make personal choices?
  3. In the context of career and creativity, what are the benefits and risks of choosing to be an artist-entrepreneur versus a temporary staffer?
  4. How can building a strong foundation in all aspects of my health help me face life's challenges and embrace rejection as a pathway to growth?
  5. How does focusing on what truly makes me happy, like spending time with people I enjoy and doing things I love, contribute to my success and inner happiness?

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