A new year is upon us and it’s time to make important life decisions.
Like working — that’s definitely got to go. Work takes a lot of time, and if it’s no longer fun to drag yourself out of bed in the morning and trudge into a job you hate, this is the year to let it go.
No question, you’ll be a happier you. And you won’t ever miss another episode of “Ellen.” But what do you do about money? Because you need money, right, to buy stuff?
Well, that’s going to change, too. Following in the footsteps of self-help guru James Altucher, you’re going to stop focusing on how much stuff you can own, and start focusing on how much stuff you can get rid of.
That 84-inch Sony XBR television with 120Hz 4K and Ultra HD 3-D? Toss it out the door. Your drop-dead designer wardrobe carefully curated from the sale racks at Target? Toss it out the window. In short, everything that you had to have now has to go.
This is what guru Altucher did as I recently learned in “Why Self-Help Guru James Altucher Only Owns 15 Things,” an Alex Williams’ article in The New York Times.
As a “gimlet-eyed self-help guru,” Altucher has a lot of self-help to offer. Over the past half-decade he has succeeded and crashed any number of enterprises in his roles as “tech entrepreneur, venture capitalist and financial pundit.”
In between all the crashing and burning, Altucher has written 16 books. Don’t have time to read them all? Let me provide a brief description of just one brilliant Altucher idea — the “alien trick” to beat anxiety, in which he pretends to wake up every day on another planet with a new body.
“I have no worries because tomorrow I will have a new body,” Altucher says. “No envies. No worries. Only new things to explore.”
You will embrace this idea, I know. After all, you feel like an alien every day you walk into work.
The free yourself from possessions strategy is Altucher’s most recent idea du jour. To reach his magic number of 15 must-have possessions — a number that includes “three sets of chinos, three T-shirts and a Ziploc bag filled with $4,000 worth of $2 bills” — Altucher dumped and donated more than 40 garbage bags of stuff.
This is the year you do the same.
You may not choose to throw out everything in your home, but you can certainly declutter your job.
Start with your computer. Outside of allowing you to postpone a gristly death on “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard,” what has that computer ever done for you? And think how much desk space you would have if you tossed it? Why, you could spread out your entire collection of Hummel figurines — those you’re never giving away!
Your phone goes next. Yes, it’s good to have a phone for emergencies, like when you need to order a pizza, but you can borrow one, easy, and save yourself the cost of a service contract. (I know! You promised to give AT&T your firstborn to get a reduced price on last year’s iPhone, but you’re in total deaquisition mode now, and getting rid of your child could really free you up.)
Your colleagues will definitely have to go. I’m not suggesting foul play. Your normal bad behavior at work will drive them away, eventually, leaving you with zero competition when it comes to competing for the plumpest jelly doughnuts at the Monday morning staff meeting. (Sorry, James, but those doughnuts aren’t going anywhere, either.)
While you’re cleaning up all your office clutter, rid yourself of your manager. She can easily be replaced with a shiny new Lincoln penny, which you can toss to make decisions.
Your final step will be to rid yourself of employment. If you have followed my previous suggestions and jettisoned your computer, your phone, your co-workers and your manager, the HR department may send a representative to help you get rid of your job.
Welcome the assistance, I say, and I’m sure James Altucher would agree. With no job, you will have plenty of time to reduce the rest of rubble that clutters up your life. No money to buy food? Stop eating. No money to buy clothes? Go naked. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t collect another bunch of useless friends.
Yes, let it all go — everything but the 84-inch Sony. That really is sweet.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.