What are your top 7 rules of life? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by James Altucher, author, entrepreneur, podcaster, wall street investor, on Quora:

One time when he was whispering in my ear at the break of the sunrise and we were just starting to shake the sleep off our bodies, the great philosopher and world champion heavyweight fighter Mike Tyson said to me, "Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face."

I always tell him he is wise beyond his years and this is why. Any rules I have for guiding my life, for making my life better, are always hardest to follow at the exact moment that I need them most.

These aren't platitudes. They aren't things I can read and feel good about myself on a commute to work.

When I don't follow these rules (all of them), I go down. I am beaten. It's knock-out. My brains get splattered, my heart gets broken and my bank account goes to zero and my kids spit on me.

1. Bad people = bad results.

When I am in a bad relationship, I lose money, friends, self-esteem, time, and health. Period.

Someone gave me this advice: "You're not going to end up dead. You'll end up in jail."

Dead, jail, broke, friendless. It doesn't matter. I don't want any of it. End it.

And this holds just as much for a bad business partner and a bad friend. People who bring you down need to leave.

What if you are the bad person?

So either way, get rid of the bad people in life.

2. You're an alien for just one day.

Every day when I wake up, before I even open my eyes, I say, "Where am I?" I breathe deeply. I wiggle my fingers and toes. I peek out and see the sunlight coming in my eyelids.

Ok, I'm on earth. Today. I'm a human. Today.

Who am I?

I start to filter through my memories, figuring out who I am. For the day.

Because I'm an alien on a mission. I'm sent to this one body for just this one day and my only purpose is to determine how to improve his life for just this one day.

And then I will be off to a new body. So the coast is clear. I can do whatever I want that I judge will improve this person, this body I am inhabiting for the day, and then I move on without regrets of anxieties.

If it sounds stupid, you don't have to do it. This is what works for me.

I'm on a mission to make "James" a better person today by the time he goes asleep. And if I fail, then the Universe will explode

3. Choose yourself.

4. Ideas are the currency of the 21st century.

It's OK when nobody believes me on this one.

But gone are the days when a degree and a title will guarantee you a safe job, promotions, salaries, and a stable life.

Ideas and skills will propel you to vision and purpose, to success and freedom.

How do you do this?

a) Write 10 ideas a day to exercise idea muscle. (It doesn't matter that I've said it before. It's how I remind myself to do it every day.) When I haven't done this, I've lost my life; when I do this, I help everyone around me. It's that simple

b) Always learn from everything. Everyone I speak to. Everything I read. Everything I do. I try to remember and write down 10 things I've learned.

They don't add up. They multiply. Because ideas have sex with each other and make thousands of new ideas.

Because things you learn connect the dots with other things you learn and spit out unique ideas nobody has ever thought of. This is how the universe has grown ever since the Big Bang.

Your brain gets overpopulated and eventually actions spill out. Which leads me to:

5. Actions > words > thoughts.

Everything done in history is the result of an action being done.

Not a thought. Not a word. Only actions are recorded by the scribes of humanity.

Do something today. Take a course. Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. Start a book. Connect two people who can help each other. Raise a child. Build a school.

6. Help people.

If you help just yourself, you live a small life. If you have a reason to get out of bed that is bigger than you, you will have a big life.

Some people worry about their Instagram likes. Other people every day try to help others.

7. The 1 percent rule.

Every day, try to get a tiny bit better in physical health, emotional health, creativity, and spirituality.

I've gone from suicidal and depressed to starting companies and writing books just because of rule 7. If you forget rules 1 through 6, they are all derived from rule 7.


The photograph of Mike Tyson hanging on my office wall is looking over my shoulder.

"Remind them, James."

You have to remember when you've been punched in the face, when you are bleeding flat on your face on the floor, to get yourself up and do these rules.

You have until the count of 10. Or you lose.

The only way to survive is to realize, when everything is against you, when you are about to go into a life coma of depression and anxiety, that these rules are what will change you and save the world.

This is your mission.

Thanks, Mike. I love you.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

May 10, 2017