Ice-T, The Power of No, and the Mindset of Success – My Podcast with ICE-T

[Click on the image above for my appearance on Ice-T’s podcast titled “The Mindset of Success with James Altucher”]

This guy I didn’t know texted me out of nowhere and said, “You name drop too much when you write. People who take writing seriously don’t like that.”

I should’ve just ignored it but I thought it was funny the way he said, “people”.

I said, “are you their elected representative to tell me this?”

He ignored me. He said, “Like the way you said ‘I met Jay Leno’ in one of your stories.”

I said, “well, the article was about Jay Leno. And I didn’t say I met him. It was about him.”

“Still,” he said.

“Don’t be defensive,” he said.

I looked the guy up. He wrote for one of the sites I regularly write for. We have 16 mutual Facebook friends. Which means we’re friends I guess.

A few weeks later he texted me again.

“I need $1000,” he wrote.

“Does this ever work. Asking for it like this?” he said.

Then a few hours later he wrote. “Forget I said that. Ignore it.”

Which brings me to Ice-T. Because I’m going to blatantly name-drop.

I just did his podcast! Yay! Claudia (my entourage) and I went over to his place knocked in his door, walked in and there he was!

In 1984 I watched the first battle scene in the movie Breakin’ probably 500 times. I wanted to learn all the moves. And there was a rapper on the stage doing the first rap I had ever heard. My brain exploded when I heard it. What was that!? I loved it.

And I practiced all the moves in front of a mirror so I could do them. I watched the scene over and over. Listening to that rapper each time.

Ice T was the rapper! 30 years ago.

Within seconds of walking into his place we were all getting along. Talking about a million different things. I was almost nervous we were using too much good “talking energy” without having the recording on.

On the podcast we got right into it. And we agreed on what I thought was important for me to always bounce back whenever I’ve been totally lost and down.

Being physically healthy, surrounding yourself with people you love and respect, honesty, creativity, doing what you love, achievement. What I usually call my “daily practice”.

I told him I was going to steal some of his lines. Like about life in general: “you can’t guide it, you gotta ride it.”

I definitely plan on using that in a talk and not attributing it to him at all. In his podcast, which comes out Tuesday there are some other lines I said I was going to steal. Claudia wrote them all down.

Oh! I told him I wrote a book with my wife, “The Power of No”.

He said, “In that case, I have a story to tell you. When I first started getting successful as a rapper I was getting non-stop pains in my stomach. I went to a gastroenterologist and they did all the tests and he said I was fine. He said, go to the doctor down the hall, he’s a psychiatrist.”

“So I went down there and the psychiatrist asked me to talk. So for 30 minutes I talked non-stop. He said, ‘ok, I have a prescription for you’. He wrote something down on a piece of paper and slid it over to me.”

“It had one word on it.


“The doctor said you just spent 30 minutes telling me about everyone else’s problems. Whenever you say ‘yes’ to someone you inherit all of their problems'”

I said to Ice, “Ok, I’m totally stealing that last line.” WHENEVER YOU SAY YES TO SOMEONE YOU INHERIT ALL OF THEIR PROBLEMS.

He laughed and said, “that’s ok. We’re stealing each other’s game throughout this podcast here.”

[HERE IS A LINK TO THE WHOLE PODCAST WITH ICE. I HOPE YOU LISTEN TO IT. It’s called “The Mindset of Success with James Altucher].

He said, “So I had to start learning how to say ‘NO’. My health depended on it.”

And it’s really true. The NO part of our brain is directly connected to every other part of our health and life. Without it, we suffer. We can’t inherit the problems of the world without taking care of ourselves first. NO. Claudia and I wrote an entire book about this, coming out July 15.

He told me another fun story.

“When I was a kid I saw this guy who was all flashy with his Bentleys and jewelry and he was a player soI wanted to be like him. He had no legs but he had a lot of money and cars and everything seemed to be going for him.

“I went up to him and said, ‘I want to be like you. How can I get what you have?”

“The guy, a pimp, said, ‘would you let me cut off your hand for two million dollars?”

“‘No’,” I told him.

And I’ll save the rest of that story for Tuesday’s podcast that Ice-T is releasing. But it was a very true story in the deepest sense of the word ‘true’.

I was glad I had a chance to share my philosophy of what helps me through the day. The idea of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. He very much agreed.

And I’m glad he’s going to come on my podcast because I want to drill down on all the pieces of his career that fascinate me.

30 years ago almost to the day I learned to breakdance just by watching him do the very first rap I had ever heard.

We spent 2 hours talking about money, achievement, music, happiness, and life in general. And how worlds as superficially distant as ours are actually very close when values align.

And in this post I’m totally name-dropping him.

Because I’m happy right now and the day I let others try to define me is the day I lose track of my own definition of myself.

People will always try to define you with their own limitations and restrictions. Remove those and you are a bird free from a cage.

And NO, guy, you can’t have $1000.

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