Why Wall Street's 'Eat What You Kill' Motto Is The Only Way To Live
Weíve become animals in a zoo and wait for our masters to feed us. Our masters are our bosses, the government, the shareholders of massive corporations, the media that spoon feeds us random doses of fear and greed. The banks that squeeze our genitals when we try to break free.
Life only tastes good when you eat what you kill. When you hustle for what you earn and someone pays you money in proportion to the service youíve offered, the idea youíve created, your ability to execute on it, and their ability to consume it in a way that benefits them.
Someone asked me the other day ďwhat does it mean when you say you Ďeat what you killí ď.
It means the greatest pleasure is going into the jungle and mastering the ability to hunt and survive without the help of masters who only pretend to guarantee our safety. Whether youíre an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, a homemaker, a writer, itís time to start forgetting about all the ways the world has promised you safety and comfort.
Human knowledge has torn apart our families, our bank accounts, and lulled us into a creepy sense of Disney stability. A good friend of mine was just laid off from his job of ten years. He found out through an email and was asked to not come into work for the rest of the week and clean out his desk when security came in on Saturday. All of that human knowledge in an email. Ten years of work. Time to cut costs. ďWhat do I do now?Ē he asked me.
How to Eat What You Kill:
- Donít depend on one boss, buyer for your company, product, service you offer, etc. Diversify everything you can. When I was starting Stockpickr I was trying to start 9 other companies simultaneously plus was running a fund of hedge funds. When I was trying to sell Stockpickr, I was in serious talks with 5 other companies. When I write articles, thereís 5 different sites I write for. When I was broke and about to lose my home, I wrote to over 100 different people to try to build up my network. When I worked at HBO I tried to build value in every department, all the time I was preparing my exit by planning out my first successful startup.
- Become an expert. Read every book, blog, website, whatever, about what you want to be an expert in. When I began daytrading for hedge funds I must have read over 100 books on trading and investing and then wrote over 1000 programs testing out different trading models. And I still sucked at trading. I then spent years doing it before I felt I was halfway decent enough to pull consistent money out. And only then hedge funds started hiring me.
- Connect people. If you introduce person A to person B and then person B is able to solve a pain point in his life, then you just made a good connection. Each connection is another string in the tightly woven net you build that will catch you when you fall and throw you to higher heights than youíve ever experienced before. And you will fall. Donít think it canít happen.
- Give ideas for free. If you have no network yet then you have to build it. Nobody wants to help you for free. They are all just trying to survive. Even billionaires are trying to protect their luxury-soaked lifestyles plagued by jealousies and oversexed libidos. You have to build your idea muscle and work hard to come up with ideas that can really help these people. Then send them the ideas for free. Not everyone will respond, but the benefits are:
You exercise that idea muscle
Someone will respond. And that someone will make you money. When I did this technique,one person out of the 40 gave me money to manage. Another person hired me to write. My life changed.
See, Give and you Will Receive.
- Always work on your exit. No matter where you are: a job, a startup, your startup, writing a column, working at Mcdonalds, always diversify your possible exits and begin immediately working on them. You donít have to exit tomorrow, but never forget that you can get that email tomorrow that says you have to clean out your desk by Saturday. Build your personal brand, make your bossís contacts your contacts, make calls, send emails, leave responses on blogs, come up with ideas out of the scope of your job description
- Never say a bad word about anyone. Donít betray anyone. Donít backstab anyone or step on anyoneís toes. Donít gossip.This might come into conflict with the idea of ďeating what you killĒ but backstabbing in order to do it implies you have a ďscarcityĒ mentality. That there isnít enough out there unless you kill someone else in order to get what you want. Let me tell you something: thereís enough out there for you and me. Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who donít support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck. Avoid those and you avoid competition. Donít hurt anyone.
- Donít care what people think. People will hate you for being a hunter: your bosses, colleagues, partners, investors, extended family. But they donít have to feed your family. You do. This is how you do it. Once you care what others think, youíve lost. Then youíve just set up the same boundaries for yourself that those other people have set up for themselves. They are all smaller than you and live in straitjackets. Itís easy to kill someone in a straitjacket. Donít be one of those people.
- Create your luck. Luck doesnít come from god or come magically out of the air. When a runner wins a race by a one-tenth of a second chances are he prepared more, he studied his competition, his diet was that much better, he was better rested, he was mentally fit, etc. Once youíve checked all the boxes on your preparation, guess what, youíll be lucky. A lot of people say, for instance, that Mark Cuban became a billionaire by luck. I address that in this post.
- Reward is unrelated to risk. People say, ďno risk, no reward.Ē This is not true. I donít like to take risks. I have a family to feed. Donít take risks with your kids. Diversification is not about diversifying your cash investments, itís about diversifying all the sources of plenty in your life: opportunities, knowledge, friends, networks, investments, risks, health (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, i.e. the Daily Practice I recommend). To eat what you kill, minimize risk so you donít die on the hunt. You do that by diversifying every part of your life. The outcome of this is that if you forgot to bring your knife on the hunt, you still have your gun. If you forgot to bring your ideas full force into the game, you still have your network, if you lose on one risk, you still have the nine others. Thatís where you get the reward.
- Take responsibility for all failures. Itís your fault when you go hungry. Former world chess champion Mikhail Botvinnik said in his book, ď100 selected gamesĒ that the only way to reach the highest level of success is to develop the ability to critique your own failures. Note the word, ďONLYĒ in this. Anecdote: Botvinnik used to train by playing against someone who would blow smoke in his face so as to get accustomed to difficult playing situations. He was the world chess champion for 15 years.
(Botvinnik versus future world champion Bobby Fischer in 1962)
- Honesty. If you donít ask for what you want, chances are you wonít get it. If you donít say what you believe, youíll never stand out from the 99% of people out there who hide the truth about themselves and their desires. If you donít stand up and say or show how special you are, nobody will ever think you are special. Nobody is out there advocating for you. Honesty about what you feel, believe, know, think, want, will make you a multi-dimensional being in a flatland world.
- Patience. Most important. A three year old could be honest but it doesnít mean anything. They still shit in their pants on occasion. You need to grow up. To check all of the boxes on the above items. To do the Daily Practice to stay in mental, physical, emotional, spiritual shape. Toavoid crappy people, to be honest, to take responsibility, and so on. Being a hunter is very discouraging. Sometimes you have to go for stretches of disappointment where thereís nothing to kill and then nothing to eat. To be honest, Iím on a four year stretch. Iím hunting for my next kill and I will get it. During those times its most difficult to keep balanced and stay sane. Iíve talked many people off ledges during these periods, including myself. Itís these times itís most important to only be around the people who love you, and avoid the damaging people who will bring you to their peculiar and particular circles of hell. You donít want to go to hell. At the end of the day, patience is the virtue that takes you to heaven.
Donít worry about adding or subtracting to the sum of human knowledge. Human knowledge is never that great. Be better than human.
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Opening paragraph from James Altucher post on " Eat what you Kill" was missing.
Here it is,
An anonymous commenter named ďFrankĒ wrote on an article I wrote, ďEvery time Altucher opens his mouth or posts commentary, he subtracts from the sum total of all human knowledge.Ē
Frank is absolutely right and I congratulate him for recognizing that. I do subtract from the sum total of all human knowledge when I speak. Iím not human. I hunt humans down. I then eat what I kill.
Frank is afraid maybe that Iím trying to take too much of the knowledge he spent 40 or 70 years learning. Itís ok, Frank. You can keep your knowledge. I wonít take it from you. You can go home now.
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