Forming A Millionaire Mindset: 11 Lessons I Learned As James Altucher's Mentee
My mentorship with James began a few years ago when I started listening to his podcast, reading his books, and enjoying his content on Twitch, Twitter, and LinkedIN. Then, in the spring of 2021, he sent me this one line email, "Do you want to win one of these "skip the line" mentorships I've been discussing?" I fired back an email within one minute saying, "100%— yes, please!" Here's what happened next and how it helped me form a millionaire mindset...
1. The mentorship started with James making me uncomfortable
The first time we spoke I mentioned I had wanted to start a podcast for years, but never got around to it. I asked James to teach me the micro skills of interviewing, which he did... But then he had a surprise in store for me. With zero warning he invited Bill Glaser and Dave Kerpen onto our zoom line, made an introduction, and then said, "Go ahead and ask them some questions!" True growth begins right past our comfort zone. We can't grow if we don't get a little uncomfortable. I don't know how James knew that I had been operating inside my comfort zone and not stepping out very much beyond it, but he was right! I was comfortable and it was stifling my growth.
2. Just get started!
After James had me interview Dave Kerpen and Bill Glaser and then released the conversation to his massive podcast audience, I realized... "What do I have to worry about with starting my show?" So after wanting a show for almost two years I finally launched The James Quandahl Show, and I haven't looked back since. I've interviewed dozens of influential guests and produced hundreds of hours of conversations that have changed my life and the life of the listener. All because I just got started.
3. Don't be afraid to admit you don't like something
One of the first emails James sent me was, "Do you like doing the Amazon Ninja stuff?" I should have realized success comes from following the paths of what I liked, but I didn't. Life is too short... Stop right way if it isn't a fit for your passions, ambitions, or goals... Or if you're doing something because you're too afraid to let someone down or say no. I was afraid for the longest time to tell James I had no interest in producing an Amazon course. I thought it would be letting him down to admit that my heart wasn't in it. But then I heard a podcast episode between Jen Glantz and James and she said, "I don't really like that idea." James said okay and moved on. The next call James and I had I admitted I didn't like the course idea and he said, no problem and we moved onto something else. Don't spend your life working on projects you don't enjoy.
4. Spoke and wheel
This is covered at length on James's blog and in Skip The Line, but it's still easy to forget. What you're doing is oftentimes more connected than you realize and sometimes putting the pieces together can make all the difference. I had 100 blog posts on my blog... What should I do with them? Staple them together into a book. Now that I have almost 50 episodes of my podcast, what should I do with them? Take the best of the best from the interviews and release a book like Think Like a Billionaire or Tools of Titans. Have a blog, podcast, and social media following that is doing well? Create a course on your expertise. Have one of the most successful Amazon marketing agencies for natural products brands? (my business) produce content, publish videos, or create an additional product to offer to the brands I work with. They all seem to need help with videos. Can I start a video production service to offer them? When you think in the spoke and wheel method you often learn to get a lot more mileage out of the work you're doing. You can repurpose your expertise and the work you are creating many different ways to serve different audiences. Who knows.. Maybe in a few years my most rewarding project will be mentoring other up and coming entrepreneurs on how to diversify and grow their brands.
5. Take care of yourself
It's difficult to be a creator, business owner, and someone on the leading edge. James asked me every time we met how my relationship was with my wife, how my health was, how my family was doing, if I was eating well, exercising, or getting enough sleep. Make sure you're checking in on yourself at frequent intervals. It is easy to just push forward and neglect taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. But when you do that you're heading towards the edge of a cliff and will eventually fall off and spiral down. It's great to have other people around you that are checking in on you too. That's why you should form a mastermind with peers that have similar values to you. They may be on a different mission than you, but together you can hold each other accountable and keep a pulse on each others well-being.
6. Success does not happen in isolation
You can't be successful alone. Because I live right on the south eastern coast this quote has always meant a lot to me..."A rising tide raises all boats." Success is a lot sweeter when you have others to share it with. Don't neglect your friends, peers, and family on the way up. First of all you'll need them on the way back down, but also, you need them to be well rounded and balanced. What good is it to climb to the top of the mountain only to look to your left and look to your right and find yourself utterly alone? It is uncommon for someone to be successful by themselves anyway. We all need accountability partners (see #5,) we need folks to share our ideas with, we need to take life less seriously, and have fun. Which is a lot easier to do with others around us. It's lonely at the top... So bring others with you!
7. Have an abundance mindset
Speaking of bringing others with you... James stresses the importance of an abundance mindset. This new website NotePd is a perfect example of that. Don't keep your ideas to yourself, share them. There's room for everyone to succeed. Nobody is trying to steal your ideas anyway... Everyone is busy working on what they are working on. Share freely, share often, and don't worry about credit. Who cares about credit anyway? That will only slow you down. Having an abundance mindset attracts the right people to your circle, helps your creativity flow, and helps you to realize that there are many directions you can take to become successful. There's almost 8 billion people on this planet. If you can help a few of those people live a more comfortable or happy life you'll be successful.
8. Growth mindset
James and I have played a lot of chess since we met (and I've won two games!) James is displaying for the world to enjoy a growth mindset in action. Returning to chess after decades of inactivity and trying to compete against players at their peak mental fitness that have never taken a break from the game. With a growth mindset you learn from your upsets and mistakes... because falling down and getting back up is part of the process. You don't worry about what others are thinking of you... You're too busy getting better. And you definitely don't beat yourself up... Except you probably do. At least I do... But just don't let that phase last very long. Mourn your mistake or loss and then learn something. Whenever James asked me to work on a project it was always from a position of learning something new. We called them experiments. And you can't fail an experiment can you? It took Edison 10,000 attempts to get a working lightbulb. And he famously said, "I didn't fail 10,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 10,000 steps." That's a growth mindset!
9. The idea muscle
The idea muscle is developed by generating ideas every single day and by doing so learning to quiet what Steven Pressfield calls, "The Resistance." Whenever you're working on something new and being creative the resistance will show up to try and make you quit. You have to push on past that (oftentimes on your 7th or 8th idea on a 10 ideas list) and that is when the real growth begins. When you're sweating, you feel like you need to check your email, take a lap around the house, or get a bite to eat... But you instead know that is just the resistance trying to distract you. Ignore the resistance, stick with the list, and get the last few ideas down. James would tell me that oftentimes those are the only ides that helped me to grow. The rest of them were too easy. Once you create idea lists every day you'll become an idea machine. And it is a real thing. You'll be having a call with someone and be spouting off ideas so quickly without any filter that you have to cover your mouth. The person on the other line will say, "Hold on a second! I need to write that down... These are gold!" And you'll just keep going. You'll never be hungry again because with a trained idea muscle you'll always have an abundance of opportunities and relationships. I met an entrepreneur once that created an awesome product, sold millions of them, and enjoyed a decent life. However, it was the only idea that he ever created. Not a problem necessarily if he kept hustling and the product kept selling, but the product is a dongle that connects to land line phones... When was the last time you saw one of those? He's had to go back and get a j-o-b. All because he didn't practice his idea muscles. If you don't use it, you'll lose it!
10. Plus, minus, and equals
James has interviewed hundreds of experts on the show and they've helped him improve whatever he is passionate about at the time-- from comedy and chess to business and entertainment. He's hired tutors, purchased books, coached others, played against his peers, and much much more. A true example of the +/-/= principle in action. You can get a plus by hiring a coach, watching youtube videos, reading books, etc An equal is someone closer to your skill/position/expertise... These are folks in your mastermind group that you can share ideas with, hold each other accountable, and rise alongside. They are the people you try new things with and aren't afraid of failure. The minus, aka your mentee, is someone you are coaching! This can take the form of a blog where you share what you have learned (like this idea list!) a podcast, a book, a one on one mentorship, a presentation, etc. I was once at a NASA event and the head of NASA at the time Charlie Bolden said to me, "You need to be able to explain yourself as if you're speaking with a child." Once you're able to do that... You'll have truly learned the skill you're trying to acquire and you'll be ready to move up to the next rung on the ladder.
11. A good reason and the real reason
Everybody I've explained this concept to has loved it. James likes to say, "When my daughter tells me she's going to goto the library to study" A good reason for that may be she really needs to study for her classes... But a REAL reason behind it may be that there's boys at the library! Always look for the real reason behind something. That is where the truth lies. Just because something is true, doesn't mean it is the real reason. A CEO gives all of his employees a $10,000 bonus and says how much he cares about his employees... The real reason may be it allowed him to lower the companies tax burden and his company gets massive publicity. Elon Musk says he's buying Twitter to promote free speech on the platform... A good reason! But maybe the real reason is he wants to have control over the best marketing platform possible for his companies such as SpaceX, Tesla, Boring Company, etc. If you're playing the long game and thinking 200 years into the future, what would you do? Always ask what the real reason is.