The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness - by James Altucher

When you say yes to something you don't want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.

You are entitled to say NO to the stories that do not serve your own evolution, and yes only to the ones that align with your spiritual work, your bliss, and your ability to manifest a fulfilling life.

You have the right to take your time. It is about allowing the necessary pause to notice what is actually happening and make decisions that come from a place of power in you, rather than rushing your decisions and making choices based on your preconditioning.

You are entitled to say NO to wearing a mask in order to get people to like you. You can trust that the way you are is fine, that your honesty is what attracts others to you, and that your truth is what lights your internal fire.

You are entitled to say NO to time traveling. Angers and regrets are in the past. Anxieties and worries are in the future. Traveling to the past or the future will not help you now. You have the right to say no to what is not happening right now. It will never solve your future problems but will always sap your present strengths.

Here's a new saying to try out. See how this improves the interactions you have today. "Treat everyone else as if it's their last day."

Being true to yourself can and often does result in visible changes in your life. Honesty might even change your friends, your family, and your job. But not everyone may be ready for you to change. When you start to dip your toes into personal honesty, your family might stop speaking to you. Some of your friends might also stop speaking to you. Some of your colleagues might avoid you. This is a good sign because it means you are transforming yourself into who you really are, and in turn your personal network/tribe/community will shift and transform. Our own personal motto is Honesty to a point. I will never harm anyone.

People won't understand what you are doing. They won't understand why you are speaking your mind. Why you are no longer living in the fear that the rest of them live in. Then people will send e-mails to your friends: "Is he as crazy as he sounds?" And that's how you will meet new friends, because a halo of intrigue and possible integrity will be cast around you. Over time, other people who are just as special and unique as you are will begin to see you and recognize you from across the room. Ahhh, they will think, someone like me. And this will be how you find your new tribe. The ones you will grow with.

It's the people who use luck as an accusation who will never have it. You and I will. Luck is the key to freedom. But luck is not magic. 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.


  • GRATITUDE. Every day this week, write an e-mail to people who have done you a favor at some point. Tell them why you are writing to them. Do not expect a response, but document the letters and any responses in a diary.

  • SAY NO TO STRESS. Say no to anything that gets in the way of your daily practices, no matter how IMPORTANT it pretends to be. Say no to anything that prevents you from sitting in silence for some time, every day. Never watch the news, on TV or on the Internet (you are what you mentally "eat"). Do not talk to people who you know do not respect you or who put you down. Don't argue with people. It's okay to say, "You're right" if it means saving time and energy.

  • THE THREE KEYS TO STOP NEGATIVE CHATTER. The first key is to catch yourself when you are starting to feel "the anger." Anger never accomplishes what you want it to. The second key is to treat yourself like someone you love. And "fake it till you make it" if you can't. Imagine someone you love. Imagine what you would say to him or her. Now say it to yourself. Cradle yourself like a mother cradles her baby. The third key is to treat others with love. Without the first and the second key to show you how, this is much more difficult.

  • DARING TO TRY NEW IDEAS. Try this today. Write down ten ideas for your job (or for someone else's job) that you think will add above-and-beyond value. Write down the ten next steps for those ideas. Write down the ten people you need to share these ideas with. Write to those people. Don't be afraid. The worst they can do is say no.

  • USEFUL/NOT USEFUL. This will turn you into a powerful "brain whisperer." With each thought that comes up, label it either useful or not useful.

  • THE NO COMPLAINTS DIET. Complaining is draining. Attempt one week of living without any complaints whatsoever. If you feel negative reactions arising, do your best to stop them. If they become full-blown complaints, then you have to start again, at hour zero. Be careful of what you say in situations where small talk is expected. These are times when everybody is particularly vulnerable to casual complaining. Talk about the weather if you have to say something. If the other person tries to steer you in a negative direction, change the conversation. If that does not work, tell the person that you are not comfortable talking negatively today because you are on a complaint diet. Say it. Be different. That will instantly shift the conversation. Replace a complaint thought with one of gratitude or compassion.

  • RECOGNIZING YOUR SHADOW. One of the best ways to get in touch with your real self is to notice those things that you tend to passionately dislike in others. When you have a moment for reflection, sit down and take a few cleansing breaths. Then think about someone you dislike, and write down the traits in him or her that repel you. For instance, self-righteousness, or carelessness, or passive-aggressiveness. Recognize that these traits live in you, too. They are the part that you'd rather not look at. Just by doing this, you can become aware of when you are projecting these qualities onto others. The next time you find yourself criticizing someone for something they do or say, something you feel is very out of line, you will be able to recognize that there is some projection in that. You will also be able to turn it around and ask the question, "Where am I like this?" This is incredibly powerful and centering. It grounds you to know that you are human and that you share these things you deny so strongly. Observing the sides of yourself you usually keep in the dark gives you access to power because it grounds you in a more open-minded view of yourself and others.


  1. Reinvention never stops.

  2. You start from scratch.

  3. You need a mentor.

  4. There are three types of mentors. Direct: Someone who is in front of you who will show you how he or she did it. Indirect: Books. Movies. Everything is a mentor.

  5. Don't worry if you don't have a passion for anything. Do what you do with love, whatever that might be for today, and success will naturally follow.

  6. Get your idea muscle in shape.

  7. Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years.

  8. Patience is the key.

  9. It's not about the money, but money is a decent measuring stick.

  10. When can I say to the world: "I do X!" where X is my new career? Today.

  11. When can I start doing X? Today.

  12. What is "it"? How do I know what I should do? Whatever area you feel like reading 500 books about. Go to the bookstore or the library and find it. If you get bored three months later, go back to the library.

  13. Many reinventions make your life a book of stories instead of a textbook. Some people want the story of their life to be a textbook. For better or worse, most of us are books of stories. The choices you make today will be in your biography tomorrow. Make interesting choices and you will have an interesting biography.

  14. What if I'm passionate about two things and I can't decide? Combine them and you'll be the best in the world at the combination.

  15. How do I meet mentors and thought leaders? Once you have enough knowledge (after 100 to 200 books), write down ten ideas for 20 different potential mentors. None of them will respond. Write down ten more ideas for 20 new mentors. Repeat every week. Put together a newsletter for everyone who doesn't respond. Keep repeating until someone responds. Blog about your learning efforts. Build community around you being an expert.