What Are Some Ugly Truths About Life?

What are some ugly truths of life? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by James Altucher, Blogger, author, social media, investor, wall street investor on Quora:

I got divorced because when you're young you don't realize that love changes.

Love changes because people grow older and change their interests and passions.

Love changes when financial catastrophes causes stress that two young people never knew how to deal with alone, and certainly not with another.

Love changes when a child is born. The most important career advice I can ever give someone: when you or your spouse is pregnant, start seeing a marriage counselor to understand the changes that will occur in your relationship.

You eat like crap.

I didn't realize this until I was 40. Maybe 45. I'm 48 now.

When I was in my 20s I could eat whatever I wanted. When I was in my 30s I felt like I should eat whatever I want but sometimes I felt really full and bloated.

And when I turned 40 I started to gain weight.

All along I had a bad diet. But my body didn't tell me that until I was 40.

Solution: you have to immediately eat only good food. No processed sugars. Vegetables and fruits are good. I don't have an opinion on meat. I eat only fish. But some people eat meat.

I'm also a believer in intermittent fasting, which is the "real" paleo diet. Our ancestors didn't sit down at tables with forks and knives and eat three scheduled meals a day. They ate when they found food.

Our DNA is exactly the same as our ancestors. The only thing is: we have a non-stop supply of sugar now and they didn't. So that's why the average person in the US is now obese.

Money is for freedom. Not for goods.

When I first made money I bought the biggest apartment in NYC.

I invested in a lot of bad startups. I took helicopters to Atlantic City and would gamble for 48 hours straight.

I had never had money before in my life. I paid for my own college. I struggled through jobs. And I worked 22 hours a day at my company before I sold it.

When I sold my first business it magnified everything inside of me that was still a shy, insecure, little boy trying to prove he was smart.

I was very stupid and very bad things happened. My head hurt. I paced those floors in a state of panic for two years while I tried to sell that NYC apartment at a huge loss.

I finally sold it when I had nothing left.

Money is not about material goods. It only magnifies who you already are inside as a person.

Be an artist. Be a creative. Be someone who values freedom and friendship. Let money magnify that.

Remembering how I learned that is painful for me right now. Rest in peace, dad.

Since I "woke up" to the world, here's what changed.

  • We're still in some sort of cold war with whatever has replaced the Soviet Union.
  • Extreme Muslims and Extreme Whatevers still hate each other (still Israel / Palestine, Iran / US, etc etc).
  • Taxes never solve deficits.
  • Healthcare costs have risen every year faster than inflation since 1977.
  • Tuition (and student loan debt) has risen every year faster than inflation since 1977.
  • Personal debt across the US has risen every year.
  • America now has military bases in 100 countries. Who are we going to hurt next? What 8-year-old civilian around the world will be dead next because of the US?
  • We've had a Republican, a Democrat, a Republican, a Democrat, a Republican, a Democrat - since I was a little kid. So government does nothing.
  • Innovation is through the roof. But innovation is all done by private companies.

When I look for hope, I don't look at a candidate. I look at advances in medicine, Internet, genomics, artificial intelligence, communication, transportation, etc. None of this came from the government.

I see people around me every four years thinking that their lives will finally change once their favorite superhero gets elected. And then two years later they admit how disappointed they are.

This never changes.

I often outsource my self-esteem to other people. A romantic partner, a boss, social media, etc.

It feels relaxing and freeing when I don't outsource my self-esteem to anybody else.

Why is this an ugly truth? Because every morning I wake up and the outsourcing starts again. It's a demon that pounces on me as I open my eyes and I wrestle with it all day.

At Starbucks this morning I was waiting for my coffee to be ready and I saw something that made me happy.

A woman next to me was sucked into her phone on social media. Some people say social media is horrible. That we should just enjoy looking around.

I don't believe this.

Society is so busy, so fasterfasterfaster. The headlines are so violent. Everyone is so anxiety-ridden, sometimes social media is a good little break. Cats! Beautiful people! My friend from 30 years ago had a baby!

I looked at the woman texting back and forth with someone. I wanted to know who she was texting with!

Then she started to smile. The edge of her mouth curled upwards. It was that smile. You know the one.

The one right before someone kisses you.

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