Derek Sivers

The Power of No - by James and Claudia Altucher

The Power of No - by James and Claudia Altucher

ISBN: 1401945872
Date read: 2014-11-01
How strongly I recommend it: 3/10
(See my list of 320+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Quite scattered book, but inside the mess was a nice reminder of the importance of saying no to anything that doesn't serve you well.

my notes

Decide who in your life drains you of energy, and then purge them so you can soar.

The best way to negotiate is to take the time and space to determine what is best for you. You succeed by saying yes only when you are ready and the conditions are right.

In removing yourself temporarily from the situation, you reduce the supply of yourself. In basic economics, value is a function of supply and demand. When supply goes down, value goes up.

To stop negative chatter: Imagine someone you love. Imagine what you would say to him or her. Now say it to yourself.

I wrote down ideas every day for articles I could write and businesses I could start.

If you don’t exercise the idea muscle, it atrophies just like any other muscle. And it atrophies quickly. You must work the idea muscle every day to turn into an idea machine.

Being clear about which relationships and which people we let into our lives is the key to access our creative forces.

Filtering the people we allow into our lives is probably the most important factor in determining whether we will live a happy life or not.

The primary people in your life: Rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how you feel after your interactions with that person, 10 being the best. Anyone lower than an 8, begin to pull back from. Lower than a 5, stay a little farther away from. It doesn’t mean you cut people off completely if they rate low on your list. This is a dimmer switch, not an on-and-off switch.

Nobody had been on that date that night. As far as I could see, two bodies were out and about in Orlando, but no souls. Gary and Lisa were not there; rather, it was two sets of rules playing against each other, two books filled with instructions, pick-up lines, controlling strategies, and a ten-step guide. I had never been present on a date either. I had never met a man without having an agenda.

Women will also tell you who they are in this way. Actions, words, being on time or not, playing games or not, all of these details reveal us. People who are disrespectful or manipulative early on are likely to continue the pattern. Take them at face value.

Whenever I feel abused or disrespected, I go into a cycle of thinking that is difficult to stop. You think again about the person, whisper in your head somewhat louder, “No.” And then louder. And then actually whisper it aloud. You will eventually stop thinking about that person.

Jealousy is the road map to the place where I feel unloved.

“Think of your life as a train station,” I said. “You are on the platform and you see a train approaching. You really want this train to be your train. You like the way it shines and how it seems so cool and strong - you are convinced it is the one that will take you home. And so you start making signals to it, and then you even start jumping up and down close to the tracks. “But this train is not meant to stop here. The conductor of the train is confused. She starts to slow down and wonders what you are doing. She is nervous. “Sensing that the train is not stopping, you jump onto the tracks, to the horror of all the people around you, and make even bigger arm signals while you jump up and down. By now the horrified conductor is calling the police and pressing all sorts of red buttons. Emergency vehicles are arriving on the scene. Everything is coming to a halt. “Meanwhile, the train that is meant for you, the one that is your train by divine design, is right behind this one. Only you cannot see this because you are too busy causing unnecessary drama. “Your train is waiting somewhere, feeling lonely, unable to pull into your station. The conductor of the train that is meant for you wonders what may be causing the delays. She longs to arrive home, and all the while it is you who is causing the traffic jam, because you just can’t stop jumping up and down.” To say no to self-sabotage, get out of the train tracks and accept the flow of life. Let the train continue, wish it well as it leaves, and trust that yours is coming.

The next time someone has an opinion you strongly disagree with, try this: Don’t argue; it’s pointless. You will never change their mind. Let them state their opinion. Try to learn one thing from it. Try to respect one angle of their point of view. Everyone just wants to be heard. Listen.

Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. When you agree to do something you don’t want to do, you will resent the person who asked you to do it.

There is a psychological law that says we all tend to follow our own ways of thinking without changing because we want to appear “consistent.”

You have to domesticate your brain the way you domesticate a dog.

The useful/not useful technique: With each thought that comes up, label it either useful or not useful.

Saying no to others means first saying no to your brain - to the anxieties and the regrets and the not-useful thoughts.

Attempt one week of living without any complaints whatsoever.

There are “rules” to follow if you want the girl or the guy to like you and love you. What happens when she finds the real you is another story. By that time there might not be a real you anyway.

Between black and white there is a beautiful spectrum. Not of grays but of all the colors of the universe.

Everywhere you go there are rules and there are gatekeepers of those rules: total strangers whose job it is to prevent you from doing something you want to do. Showing compassion toward those gatekeepers will allow those gates to magically swing open more often than you can possibly hope to expect otherwise. Why? Because the gatekeepers are not used to receiving a sudden onslaught of compassion or genuine love.

Ask yourself, What do I really need to understand? And be quiet. Listen for the answers.

How do you recognize an abusive person? These are some of the most common ways:
a) They try to make you feel guilty.
b) They try to make you angry.
c) They try to make you afraid.
d) They try to make you feel wrong.
e) They try to make themselves the victim.

How do I feel about myself when I am around this person? Do I feel good about myself? If the answer is no, you know you need to move away from the person.

Many people say, “Live life like it’s your last day.” It’s everyone else you need to think about. Treat everyone else as if it’s their last day. Try to help them be less stressed. Try to fulfill their dreams for the day. You don’t talk badly about someone about to die. Really listen to them. Learn from them.

Honesty to a point. I will never harm anyone.

Whoever needs to manipulate is actually in the weaker position.

Everything you say might seem to them like a suicide note, when I first started revealing the most intimate issues of my life.

Notice those things that you tend to passionately dislike in others. These traits live in you, too. They are the part that you’d rather not look at. Ask the question, “Where am I like this?” To keep living in scarcity is to reject the next phase in our evolution.

Clichés exist for a reason: they contain the seeds of truth.

Write a things-I-did list at the end of the day.

The people who use luck as an accusation who will never have it.

Luck is something that is earned, and once you have earned it, you will always know how to get it back. You will say no to the people who try to bring you down, who try to use their own bad luck to control you

Luck equals (1) diversification plus (2) persistence. Diversification means coming up with a thousand ideas and implementing the 1 or 2 percent that seem reasonable. Persistence is a sentence filled with failures punctuated by the occasional success.

When you are speaking with other people, silences are good. Pauses mean love. Rushing our words means fear. It shows our inability to pay attention, that we don’t want to let anything in, we must fill in the silences, and we think we know better.

Lead lives that teach by example, that show instead of tell.

Sit. For one hour. All at once. Every day. Be silent, and let your thoughts go.

Silence works. Nobody can teach anyone how to do this.

Be careful that your definition of minimalism doesn’t border on a sort of material anorexia, where you deny yourself the small celebrations that life wants you to have.

Silence is the sign of a professional. You know not to ask a professional what he’s working on. What he’s seen.

The less supply you give of your words and wisdom, the greater value that wisdom will have.

The less you talk, the more the brain conserves its energy for when words are important.

Before, during, and after you think, say, or do anything, determine if it will harm someone.

To practice positive thinking on legitimately bad situations will only make you more stuck.

When you go on a long trip, you see the road in front of you. You trust that if you stay on that road, you will get to where you need to be. You don’t try to see the end of the road. You surrender to the fact that the road knows better than you what is at the end of it.

Outsource 90 percent of mentorship to books.

Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years. Here’s a description of the five years:
Year One: You’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to do.
Year Two: You know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re doing every day. You finally know what the Monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
Year Three: You’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
Year Four: You’re making a good living, and you can quit your day job.
Year Five: You’re making wealth.

When people say, “It’s not about the money,” they should make sure they have a different measuring stick.

Take your favorite story by your favorite author and type it word for word. Ask yourself why he wrote each word. He’s your mentor today.

If you want to start a business, write all the specs and details of the idea for your business.

How do I know what I should do? Whatever area you feel like reading 500 books about.

Use your spare time to reinvent. Reinvention is collecting little bits and pieces of time and carving them the way you want them to be.

Say no to the superfluous distractions because you must find some time for you.

After books, you can read websites, forums, magazines. But most of that is garbage. Start with 500 books.

Sleep is the number-one key to successful health.

Remember the last day of school, there was this massive feeling of “Who cares?” because there was nothing left to care about. No exams, no assignments, no boring classes. Death. It’s like the last day of school all over again.