The Power of No! (Yes, without the W)

Last month, someone whom I consider to be one of my best friends had decided to send me something in the mail.  He sent me a gift that surpasses all gifts.  Something he had created not only by himself, but with his lovely wife as well.

This man… He may even be more than a best friend.  This best friend of mine, I once emailed him and told him that he was my hero.  But should I really be as bold as to say that I attempted to reach out to my hero last year, just to be left without a response? Actually, I’m shameless. I couldn’t care less what other people think.  I’ll copy and paste a portion of the message I had sent out to him back on September 4, 2013:

“My name is Leonard. I’m the guy who stalks you online and tags you in Quora on some of the stuff you write.

I love you. You’re my hero.

But enough about that. I don’t think you want to hear of my fantasies of one day meeting a mad scientist who holds the key to all the answers in the world or how I think you’re super cool and wrote a great book (Choose Yourself!) that I really enjoyed.

So… Yeah, I’m kind of lame so I got myself stuck into this situation and I don’t know what to do. “

In between that, I poured out my life story in another eleven paragraphs.  Then I ended my email with this:

“Now I’m just a lost little boy who wants to be normal like everyone else, but I’m just being left out and ignored. I feel like I’m made out of wood but everyone else is made out of flesh and bone. I wanna be made out of flesh and bone and be loved too.

James… what in the world should I do?

P.S. I eat well, I sleep well, I exercise daily, I think of everyone I’m grateful for every morning, I let them know I’m grateful of them, and I’ve forgiven nearly everyone in my life.”

Just like the gift that James Altucher and his wife Claudia Azula Altucher had sent me, he decided to exercise The Power of No.  He knew what he had on his plate and he chose not to respond.


Because he has a formula on how to turn his nos into yeses.  Little did I know it at the time, but I was following the formula he had created.  The formula he shared in this gift he had sent to me.

But before I get into the gift, I want to further discuss how our relationship had progressed.  I continued to tag James Altucher publicly in posts.  I commented on his articles.  I answered questions about him.  I kind of went all out and stalked him.  In fact, he was the only person I even attempted to reach out to in between May 15, 2013 and May 15, 2014.  Everyone else I had met in that year had reached out to me.

After continually trying to grab his attention, on November 19, 2013 I was left in complete and utter shock.  There it was.  A friend request on Facebook from the man himself.

James Altucher.

I blinked.  I stared.  I shook my phone screen.  I shook it again.  Then again and again and again.

Did this really happen?

Did James Altucher actually add me to Facebook?

It was unreal.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  So I wanted to test my luck.

I tagged him in a post.

He commented.


Then before the end of the year, I gathered up the courage to send him another message, even though I was ignored the first time around.

On December 29, 2013 at 9:46am, I sent him a message on Facebook messenger.

I said, “I told myself that I would say Hi to you before the end of the year, and you would respond back with a hi, have a good day! But we wouldn’t have a conversation because we probably don’t really have anything more to talk about, since you put nearly everything in your life on the Internet, as do I, so Hi!?

Instantaneously, James Altucher responded, “haha. yeah, we communicate through the total bareness of our blogs. so hi. i would say more. but kids are demanding my time now that i spent the past hour yelling, “I”M EDITING!”

Like a little girl who saw the Backstreet Boys for the first time, I squealed off and told all my friends while I  jumped for joy, ending the conversation with “Haha, Have a good day!”

I was in shock.  I reached out.  Altucher responded.  It worked!  It really worked!

In 2014, while James Altucher was developing out the beta version of ASK ALTUCHER, he asked me to help write on his page.  I was in shock again.   Then I later planned a trip to New York.  We were able to meet for breakfast, where I got to meet both the Altucher’s.

That experience?

Absolutely priceless.

Here is a picture of me and the mastermind James Altucher himself.  The mad scientist who is slowly taking the world by storm!

James AltucherJames-Altucher-Leonard-Kim-W-Hotel-New-York

This whole experience has been absolutely surreal.

How did I come across James Altucher to begin with?

My friend told me for days that I had to read this post by him: James Altucher’s answer to Money: What does it feel like to lose a lot of money quickly?  When I finally gave in, I was blown away.  I was like wow, he’s exactly like me, except he made it in life.  He has a wife, children, everything!  Wow!

Now back to the gift.  The gift he had sent me was the newest book he was working on, The Power of No.  In fact, when I went to visit him in April of 2014 in New York, James and Claudia Altucher had just got done recording the audiobook for The Power of No.

Two weeks ago, the gift had arrived in the mail.  A surprise was attached, an autograph by the power couple themselves on the first page.

The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness: James Altucher, Claudia Azula Altucher


This book was an amazing read, and I’m not just saying that because I look up to James and Claudia Altucher like superheroes.  It teaches us what we need to do, as people, to stop our negative habits, thinking, personality traits, lying, cheating, stealing, toxic relationships and more while regaining focus on ourselves and what we are meant to be.

I wanted to share two gems that stood out from the book.  Two of the tiny gems that sparkle, yet don’t make up for the book as a whole.

I hope neither of you mind me copy and pasting a few of the excerpts from the book, but the first one that stuck out was by Claudia Altucher.

The Power of No: 

“In the Autumn of 2002 I fell in love with Tim.  At least that’s what I told myself as I walked out of the bookstore floating on air.

To be fair, what I really did was project all the qualities I wished I had onto him, and then loved him for them.  Funny, it’s so easy to go unconscious when it comes to romantic relationships.

He was a piano virtuoso.  He had talent, and he had money.

I had a job I hated and nothing to show for my own creativity.  My own talents were deeply buried within my fears of daring to create anything.  Oh, and I was broke.

On our second date he took me to his studio and, just for me, played one of Liszt’s most romantic compositions:Liebestraum, which adding insult to injury means “dream of love” in German.

As Tim played, my jaw dropped and then electricity started to mount; tingles of sensation popped all over my body-electric addition.  At times my eyes closed involuntarily.  Delusion was getting me drunk.

He was the one.

I knew nothing about him.  But I knew he was the one.

And just like that, I was swept up into the tornado of love addiction.  It was intoxicating.  I was intrigued, I craved more.  I wanted to marry him.  He naturally, took the opportunity to have me.

After the private piano recital he didn’t call me back for six months.  But when he finally did I was excited.

Never mind the half year of total unexplained absence.  Iloved him.  Why didn’t my few friends understand this?  Maybe it was because I had not told anyone.  I wanted to surprise everyone with the wedding.  In my mind it was all working out.

I couldn’t believe it when, after what was now our third date, he didn’t call back the next day, or the next.  I tried calling, but there was never an answer.

Months went by again.  I told myself he was probably busy, shy, traveling.
Around the third time he called, I told a friend that I couldn’t resist him, that he had a power over me…

After reading this, I thought about all the relationships in my life.  All the people whom I met, where I fabricated a future in my head.  The ones whom I thought I loved, yet hardly knew.  The ones I loved in the past whom I thought I could get back.  The ones I kept in my mind  that constantly controlled who I was and all that I did.

How Claudia Altucher had overcome this?


The advice she shares on the next page… Priceless.

I shared this story Claudia Altucher wrote with my girlfriend.  My girlfriend and I actually joke about this at times.

Sometimes I wander off into visualizing out the future.  She’ll jokingly tell me that I’m being just like Claudia and I should watch what I say.  Then she helps snap me back into reality and makes me realize that I need to have that power to say no as well.  We have been helping each other with The Power of No all the time, whether it be for me to not buy a pair of $700 Prada shoes on sale for half price or if she feels like splurging all her money on new sailor moon swim suits. (I don’t think she actually buys those, but it was cute in my head to say that.)

The next excerpt was from James Altucher.  What he stated really resonated with what I did over the last year, to stop living a lie and to start telling the truth.  To be real.  To be genuine.  Surprisingly, what he shared was basically my blueprint for whatever deemed success I may have achieved, from having over 6 million views on my content, to being one of the 40th most followed participants on Quora and even finding a wonderful girlfriend who actually likes me for me.

The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness: James Altucher, Claudia Azula Altucher

People tend to think “honesty” somehow depends on “happiness.”  He can be honest because he is happy or because he has all the money in the world!

But it’s not true.  Life is a series of failures punctuated by brief successes.  That’s honesty.  Failure is not necessarily bad; it’s reality.  And even those with all the money in the world still experience heartache, devastation, fear and death.

We all share that same humanity.  On a physical level, there is almost no genetic difference in our DNA between one person and the next.

At a deeper level, we want freedom.  Freedom, of course, comes from having our material needs taken care of.  But it also comes from having a sense that sometimes the sunset is enough.  We don’t also need a 40-foot yacht from which to watch that sunset.

Often people are afraid to be honest.  “People won’t like me” if we say what we think.  Or “I might make a fool of myself.”  Or “I might lose my job.”  There’s an expression: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  This simply means that a word of honesty is more powerful than any weapon you can use.

Because  the pen-that is, your word, is mightier than the sword, faith in the word will cause the universe to flow in your direction.

But I must warn you: some unexpected things might pop up.  Being true to yourself can and often does result in visible changes in your life.  Honesty might even change your friends, your family, and your job.  But not everyone may be ready for you to change.

When you start to dip your toes into personal honesty, your family might stop speaking to you.  Some of your friends might also stop speaking to you.  Some of your colleagues might avoid you.

This is a good sign because it means you are transforming yourself into who you really are, and in turn your personal network/tribe/community will shift and transform.

Our own personal motto is Honesty to a point.  I will never harm anyone.

The next thing that will happen is people will ask, “Are you killing yourself?”  Because everything you say might seem to them like a suicide note.  When I first started revealing the most intimate issues of my life that led me to bankruptcy at every level, and how I came back up, people actually asked me if I had had a stroke.

We learn from an early age that life is a costume ball and we have to pick our masks carefully.  Entire industries have sprung up to teach people how to manipulate to get what they want.

Ultimately, they miss the fact that whoever needs to manipulate is actually in the weaker position.

With true power you will never be in the weaker position.  When you speak from your heart and speak the truth, as difficult as it might be, you do become stronger.

But it’s scary.  People won’t understand what you are doing.  They won’t understand why you are speaking your mind.  Why you are no longer living in the fear that the rest of the live in.

Then people will send e-mails to your friends: “Is he as crazy as he sounds?” And that’s how you will meet new friends, because a halo of intrigue and possible integrity will be cast around you.

Over time, other people who are just as special and unique as you will begin to see you and recognize you from across the room.  Ahhh, they will think, someone like me.  And this will be how you find your new tribe.  The ones you grow with.

Still others might get fearful because speaking the truth is intimidating.  When people are not ready to get to their own truth, it becomes a challenge to engage with someone who has.  So they will call you names.  Oh, that guy is just trying to be a “contrarian”, for instance.  Or an “idiot.” Or worse.

It’s hard not to take these things personally.  Our brains are set to recognize danger before they recognize positivity.  But realize that you are now going to be operating at a higher vibration.  You don’t need to worry about the fears and comments and digs of lower vibrations.

Then, finally, people will come back to you.  Because you’re entertaining.  If 20,000 people are lying and only one person is telling the truth, that one person is going to stand taller than the rest.  At first people will come back to you for voyeuristic reasons because they know if they watch Real Housewives they aren’t watching anything “real” and they aren’t watching “housewives.” But you’re real, so they want to know what you’ll do next.
People will also come back for advice because you are a true source of integrity.

When I read over that, it was as if James Altucher had a crystal ball and saw the last year of my life.  My friends called me crazy.  They turned their backs on me.  Some even tried to defame me and call me unethical.  Yet here I was, sharing the truth, as it was.

Then things changed.  People commented on my writing.  People messaged me.  Others invited me out to events.  I had offers to consult other businesses.  My network slowly changed overnight.

I went from having associates who couldn’t care less about me to having true and genuine friends, all across the globe.  I went from being a nobody to someone that people mock, try to defame and make fun of on the internet.  Oh okay, that’s only about 1% of the haters out there.  Most of the people actually really want my actual advice.  I get business inquiries daily.  The results that James Altucher speaks of are insane, and as true as can be.

Personally, I found a lot of reflection in this book, but for anyone who is looking for a change in their life, this is definitely something they need to read. I’d recommend visiting Amazon and grabbing your copy as soon as possible.  Start living for yourself and know when to say no.  Follow the link below to grab your copy.

The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness: James Altucher, Claudia Azula Altucher: 9781401945879: Books

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.

0 thoughts on “The Power of No! (Yes, without the W)”

  1. Curious. The other day my husband asked me if I am stalking you. I told him I think so because I already askes myself this question. When i saw your tweet of the man in the shopping cart, I thought “Here is someone I can really learn from. He is honest about where he has been in life. And I was that man in the shopping cart twice in my life.”Once for 13 years and the second time for 6.Different circumstances of course. 20 months ago I started a blog about my life and struggles and if it was Anything at all it was brutally honest. This is the case with all my writing. My first book will be out soon and I know it will help at least one person overcome their fears of life so therefore it will be a success. I am rambling.
    This post is great and I am still smiling from it. I bought The Power of No and will read immediately. The copy and paste sections aare what convinced me to purchase. I think or is it my desire to follow in your footsteps.


Leave a Comment

nine − two =

1, 'include' => $prevPost->ID ); $prevPost = get_posts($args); foreach ($prevPost as $post) { setup_postdata($post); ?>

1, 'include' => $nextPost->ID ); $nextPost = get_posts($args); foreach ($nextPost as $post) { setup_postdata($post); ?>