Lately, I have been devouring the blog of author and entrepreneur James Altucher. As with every other writer I read, I do not agree with everything Altucher believes.
But Altucher is unafraid to open himself on his blog. He talks freely about his thoughts of suicide, how he lost everything he owned, and various other sundry items that most folks consider too much information. It is fascinating to read in an I-cannot-believe-he-said-that way.
I have read so much of Altucher’s blog, and watched the many videos of him floating around the Web, that I do not remember the source of the following quote: “Don’t be a time traveler.”
What Altucher means by that is to live your life in the present. That has become one of my core beliefs. Another is to take responsibility for everything in your life.
I have had time to think about those two, and more, over the last several days.
My hope is that at least some of you were wondering where I have been since my last post here on Friday. After all, I was committed to writing every single day. I was not necessarily committed to posting here every day, but I had to write.
If I did not post here since Friday, then one of two things must have happened: I gave up, or something bad happened to me. Either of those would be bad news, but it was the latter.
Late Friday night, while walking up three stairs to a hallway of the hotel where I was staying, I took a wrong step and broke my ankle. It was not a break where you put a boot on and wait a few weeks for it to heal and you will be OK. It was a break where your foot is suddenly facing the wrong direction and the bone is protruding and there is lots of blood. And shock. I do not know much of what happened specifically since I was in shock.
So after a helicopter ride back to Las Vegas, I was prepped and went into surgery Saturday morning. I was released from the hospital on Monday night and spent the next 24 hours prepping for my limited mobility for the next little while.
I am out of work for six weeks, maybe longer. I may need further surgery on the ankle. Since I cannot drive a car, I am now stuck at my apartment for some time. I now have plenty of time to think.
First I have thought about living in the present. Although I truly believe that, there are times when it is right to think about both the past and the future. Let me explain.
I have thought about the past and wondered: Where would I be if I had done things differently? Where would I be if I had made better choices? What if I had gotten in shape and lost the weight I need to lose? Would I be sitting here with hardware holding my ankle together? Would I be wealthier and healthier?
That line of thinking can be destructive if you sit there and say, “Woe is me.” But I am not falling into that trap. I use the same line of thinking to plan my future.
What kind of choices do I need to make to better my life? For example, where would I be in five years if I gave up alcohol? Let me be clear, I am secure with the knowledge I am not an alcoholic. I sometimes go weeks without a drink and without missing it. When I do drink, it usually is not to excess. I am no drunk.
But I do drink maybe three times every two weeks on average. What if I eliminated that? Would it make my healthier? No doubt. Would it make me more productive? Possibly, if I use the time I would have normally spent drinking doing something worthwhile. Would I make better food choices? Likely. I do not eat bar food when I am not in the bar. So maybe I will do that, along with some other changes. I am still formulating these thoughts but I truly believe the following is healthy:
Remember the past, dream of the future, but live in the present.
Now for the second Big Idea: taking responsibility.
There was a time in my life where I would have gotten angry at the world over my injury. And I would have stayed angry, and that would have led to apathy. After all, if I am not responsible for the things that happen to me, what can I do to change my fate?
The answer is, of course, that I can do plenty.
I admit to spending some time immediately following my injury thinking “Why me?” Back to Altucher, who says you should treat negative thoughts as you would guests at a dinner party. Invite them in, make them comfortable, hope they have a good time, and then at some point it is time for them to leave. I like that.
My “Why me?” guests were ushered to the door sometime Saturday. My thoughts since then have focused on getting something positive out of this. I can use this to spur me on to lose weight and get healthier. I can use the extra time I now have to write more and finish that book I have been working on.
I have already been learning how to be more mobile without being able to put weight on one foot. If I can gain the mobility I need quicker than what the doctors believe, I can do even more.
After all, I am responsible for myself and everything that happens to me.