The James Altucher Show
The James Altucher Show

Ep. 144 – Mary Karr – How to Start Anything

November 24, 201543 min
It won't be the idea that causes you to quit... its fear. It's the big idea that stops us—the idea of being a Google or a Facebook, a New York Times best-selling author, a guru, a YouTube sensation, a Mark Cuban or Kevin O'Leary. Sometimes, it seems easier to forget you even had the idea to begin with. The idea of success. But if you give in, you'll end up quitting before you start. It's a trap. Think about how many people are on Earth. There are millions of attractive people I have never met because I didn't give myself the chance. I always thought, "She'd never have sex with me." I didn't even look. So I quit before I could start. But staring at a girl is easy. And who knows what that leads to? If you want to achieve something, you need to make moves. In today's podcast, you'll learn the steps you need to take to achieve anything. My guest, Mary Karr, is an award-winning poet and best-selling memoirist with praise from Stephen King, among many other highly-esteemed writers. In the interview, Mary shares some easy techniques you can use to get started. Number one, start with things that are easy or convenient, and build from there. Identifying your interests is important, too. Mary started with reading. "Something about reading other people's life stories made me less lonely," she says. Mary explains that it's often "the thing that happened to you that were very dramatic that maybe nobody else would find dramatic," that make the best stories. These little moments give you insight. That's what makes you capable of doing whatever you put your mind to. No one has your experiences, the order of those experiences, your relationships, your perspective, your talents, and your drive. These pieces make you capable of doing something nobody else can. You have to work with what you have. "I start with very convenient ideas and convenient memories in which I always appear to be doing beautiful and nimble things," she says, "and then it turns out I was the one making a lot of the trouble." When it's your story, who knows what will turn out? Your experiences shape what you're capable of. And they shape what you're on your way to becoming. "No one can tell me what the shape of my mind is like better than me," Mary says. In addition to her literary success, Mary taught creative writing in jail. Why? "All of us who write are ultimately trying to make the world less lonely," she says. If there's an impact you'd like to make, make it. Even if you're scared. "I'm never not scared," Mary says. When I asked what she's scared of, I realized I've heard her list before. From myself. Scared of sounding like an idiot, being boring, "losing what little stature I've gained for myself." If what you have is so little, then what is there to lose? That's how I picked myself up. I improved 1% a day. You can too. Listen today for techniques to get overcome fear of failure. You'll learn to look around you and discover opportunities. You'll let yourself stare.

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