Create Your Own 56-Day Hitting Streak by “Choosing Yourself”

James Altucher(James Altucher is an entrepreneur and writer who has failed, lost everything, and succeeded and failed and succeeded many times. He’s lived to tell the tale, he writes about it in his book, “Choose Yourself – be happy, make millions, live the dream” and on his blog at

Imagine for a second: A nation straddling the stress of war breaking out all over the world.

Decade-long economic strife with no clear end in sight. What will happen? Where will the paychecks come from?

Could the world end?

We wake up scared. We wake up a little empty. I want to know how I can get enough inspiration and juice going to feed my family, to face their fears for them, so they don’t have to be scared. As scared as I am.

I am talking about right now, but I could easily be talking about the summer of 1941.

56 games in a row.

Joe DiMaggio, the middle child of immigrants who wanted nothing more for him than that he be a fisherman. He turned to baseball because he hated the lingering and leftover smell of dead fish that stained his dad’s boat, stained his childhood while he looked for a way out.

A way to choose himself.

We all have that choice. The choice to ignite whatever inner beacon we have that can light up the sky on a foggy night, bringing lost ships safely back to shore.

In the summer of 1941, for 56 straight games, Joe DiMaggio was that beacon, and 200 million people in this country were the ships lost at sea in the fog of international and economic malaise.

Joe DiMaggio brought them to shore.

We’re going to get to shore now.

You can be that beacon. You can choose yourself.

You might not hit a baseball coming at you at 90 miles per hour for 56 straight games in a row.

You don’t need to do that to be a hero. To be a beacon and inspiration to the loved ones around you, and then the loved ones around them.

It’s an amazing miracle, a feat of athletic prowess, persistence, determination, guts, and a little magic I call “The Push.” Where every day you get up and say, “I am at the pinnacle, I have done the preparation, I can persist and push.”

But you don’t need to be Joe DiMaggio to do that. Joe DiMaggio was the inspiration. Not just for a country to survive. But for you today, right now. Beginning this moment.

I wrote a book that came out last month, Choose Yourself, which describes the practices I used to survive when I was dead broke, lying on the floor, and wondering what the next second would bring—if it would bring something horribly worse.

Since then, I have hit the baseball 56 games in a row. I don’t play baseball, but I hit that ball in my life. Every single day. And I still do. I’ve broken all records for myself. And every day starts off new, a day where I have to keep going, keeping showing that persistence and preparation keep making the PUSH.

For 56 days starting today, I want you to Choose Yourself.

To be the inspiration you were put on this earth to be. To learn to be the beacon to bring those ships to shore.

Do at least one or more of these things every day. Check the box. Break all the records.

The results will be amazing. Will change the world.

Some of them will be simple (singles). Some of them will be a little harder (doubles, or an RBI). And some will be home runs. (Trivia stat: DiMaggio stole home five times in his career.)

Do what you can. Be a Joe DiMaggio.

    • No time travel. DiMaggio didn’t focus on yesterday’s hit or tomorrow’s hit. When the press started covering his winning streak, he wouldn’t even acknowledge that he was trying to break a record. He just wanted to play the best baseball he could THAT DAY. That’s how he got baseball in his blood. He showed up for today’s game. Not yesterday’s or tomorrow’s.


    • No regrets. We all do things that later we regret. I doubt Joe regretted on game 57 when he didn’t make a hit. Regrets only distract you from the present moment. You can ask, “How do you know Joe didn’t regret it?” Because his performance didn’t suffer. In fact, he then went on a 17-game streak. He hit safely in 73 out of 74 straight games. That’s more impressive to me than the initial 56-game streak.


    • No anxieties. It’s hard not to be worried about the future. The future is always uncertain. We didn’t know in the summer of 1941 that the Depression was going to eventually end. That the world would be at war in just a few short months. Nor did we know in 1945 that despite the entrance of the nuclear age, the world would bloom into global economic prosperity for the next two decades.

      Today is the only day you need to make a hit. Today is the only day you need to do the things on this list so you can choose yourself for success. Tomorrow, we just don’t know what will happen.


    • Look at rooftops. I live in a city. I always see people walking around with their fears scratched all across their faces and eyes as they throw themselves from corner to corner. Everyone looking down, glassy eyes, just trying not to hit anyone else.

      One way I bring myself back to the present moment, the only moment that ever truly exists, is to look at the rooftops when I walk. Architects are told: “Make a 50-story building,” and they make those 50 stories, but nobody tells them what to do with the roofs. So that’s where they throw in their artistic flourishes: the gargoyles, the ripples of cement that form works of art, the gardens, the windows and arches that reach for the majestic sky. Beauty can enter your life every moment if you look for it.


    • Sleep. This sounds like an easy “single,” but it’s not. We live in a world where we are all muttering and scared at 3:00 in the morning. And yet poor sleep hygiene can lead to depression, heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases.

      Try to get eight hours a night. If you wake up at 3:00 in the morning worrying about the bills, worrying about what your boss will say to you tomorrow, worrying about the mortgage, then tell yourself, “I need to sleep right now, but I will make an appointment to talk to myself about these worries at 3:00 p.m. and not 3:00 a.m.” I can guarantee you at 3:00 p.m., you won’t really want to talk to yourself about these things.


    • Eat well. I’m a bit morbid. I study the statistics each year about what the leading causes of death were the year before. I’m not a big believer in the anti-aging industry. I don’t need a magic pill to live longer. I just need to avoid dying. The best way to avoid the major killers is to just eat simply and well.

      I don’t have to describe what that means. You already know what it means. Just do it.


    • Exercise. I’m not saying go to the gym and kill yourself every day. Just take a 20-minute walk. Promise yourself to relax on that walk. Make it brisk. There. You can now check the box for today.


    • Floss. Do you know what the leading cause of suicide was in the 1800s? Dental pain. Fortunately, we have much better dental resources now. But teeth can hurt. And tiny infections can erupt in our gums that silently pulse their misery to our brains and our hearts. The simple act of flossing and good dental hygiene can prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes a year.


    • Love someone. We tend to spend a lot of time obsessing over, being angry about, and being depressed about the people we don’t love. It reminds me of the funny cartoon of a guy sitting at his computer and saying to his wife, “I can’t go to sleep now, honey; someone on the Internet is wrong.”

      He is choosing to argue with a random troll on the Internet rather than lie in bed with his wife who loves him. Is that you? Don’t do it. Heck, it’s me quite a bit. James: Don’t do it!


    • Silence. Think of the five best moments in your life. Were they spent arguing on the phone? Thinking lots of thoughts about money, about stress? Or were they those moments when you were just sitting, looking at a river or a sunset?

      Silence is the magic elixir for our brain. It’s the nectar of God. When Joe DiMaggio was walking up to the bat, he had to silence the thoughts. The thoughts of Lou Gehrig about to die (Gehrig died in the middle of DiMaggio’s streak), the thoughts of his newborn child, the thoughts of Ted Williams on his way to a 0.406 season up in Boston.

      Silence, the slowing down of everything that would love to stop us, is the first step towards preparation, towards choosing yourself.


    • Gratitude. Every day when you wake up, quickly think of the five things you are most grateful for. They can change every day. It doesn’t matter what they are. What you care about is the effect this has on your body. Feel it right now. Think of something you are angry about. Now think of something you are grateful for. Your body feels different both times. The grateful body is the healthier body.


    • Abundance. Even more than gratitude, think of the things that are abundant in your life. No matter what your circumstances, life is filled with abundance. DiMaggio was the son of a fisherman. He was saddled with a knee injury that almost derailed his baseball career even before he signed up for the Major Leagues. But he always counted his abundance and let it carry him from success to success.


    • Ideas. In today’s world, we can’t count on the safety of everything promised us—the safe job, protected by the white picket fence and the college degree. We live and die based on the strength and creativity of our ideas.

      Every day, write down 10 ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are good ideas or bad ideas. It doesn’t matter what the ideas are about. The key is to exercise your idea muscle.

      A muscle atrophies within weeks, and once it does, you need to work extra hard to make it work again. Build up your idea muscle so you can become an idea machine. The true test is if you can come up with a single good idea for 56 straight days. If you work on writing down 10 ideas a day, then eventually your idea muscle will turn into an idea machine.


    • Read. Don’t read the junk in the news. Just like the body should avoid junk food, the mind should avoid its own version of junk food, the daily dish spiced with fear and greed.

      Read the classics that help you build the idea muscle. Read the books that have withstood the test of time. Heck, read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and look for the quote: ‘’I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing,’ the old man said. ‘They say his father was a fisherman. Maybe he was as poor as we are and would understand.’”


    • Diversify. Don’t rely on one job, one outcome, one destiny, to fulfill your purpose in life. DiMaggio was a great hitter. But he was also such a great outfielder that that alone would’ve made him a Hall-of-Famer. It was hard to hit a ball past him.

      And after he retired at the top of his game, he took on a new chapter of this life—a multi-faceted business career that no one failure would be able to stop. The way to prevent the stop sign is to have multiple routes around it.

      In addition, Joe left a legacy many are unfamiliar with—a children’s hospital whose mission is to “provide safe, quality, cost-effective, patient- and family-centered care, regardless of one’s ability to pay, with the goal of improving the health of the community it serves.” His legacy extended beyond his own children and grandchildren to helping children for decades to come.


    • Lower your expectations. Joe DiMaggio didn’t set out to hit the ball for 56 straight games in a row. He set out to hit the ball today. That’s all you need to do to create a miracle in your life and in the lives of everyone around you. When you lower your expectations, you find, much to your delight, that you end up exceeding them every day.


    • Send three emails to people you are grateful for. This seems like it belongs in the gratitude category, but it doesn’t. The gratitude category is to help your body get used to the abundance that is coming its way. The way you create that abundance is by strengthening the network of good people around you. Send those emails. Tell them why. Thank them.


    • Go to your inbox. Find an email from 2007 that you never responded to. Respond to it. Connect the past to the future. As we know, DiMaggio never gave up on his past. When he found love, he was always there to reconnect with it.


    • Eliminate the negative people in your life. There’s a saying that you are the average of the five people closest to you. Don’t let those five people be a negative influence that could bring you, your family, or your coworkers down.


  • Listen. All our lives, people have given us great examples of what it’s like to be unhappy. Don’t try to solve anyone else’s problems. It’s hard enough to hit one baseball every day. Listen to people’s problems. Give them that. Show the people in your life that you are there. But often, they don’t want you to solve their problems.

The beacon doesn’t know which ships it is bringing safely to shore. It just needs to give off its light. It doesn’t need to guide the ships every step of the way. Be the beacon by listening. By exuding confidence. By practicing the ideas expressed above.

When you do the preparation every day, you can surrender the results. You’ve done the preparation. You are physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually prepared, and all the muscles are fully cooperating with each other.

It’s time to go to the game. It’s time to begin your own 56-game streak.


  1. Thank you, joltin James! Cleared the bases again… the daily practice of the fundamentals are crucial as evidenced by yourself and the Yankee clipper. Cool post!

  2. Live it.

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