WARNING: If you get triggered by suicide, or can’t be open-minded,
please click the button to go somewhere that suits you.
I know my view is not popular. I know many see suicide as bad. But I also know that being able to openly talk about it without judgment helped me personally.
We were standing mid-aisle. “Adam,” I struggled to calm my voice, but my rage was too strong to hide, “get back to work, please.” Adam glowered at me and stormed off.
How was a graduate from the gifted program who made $60-an-hour straight outta high-school stuck running a grocery dept.? And why was I so pissed at my staff?
Things seemed fine just a few days before. I loved to overgive, so I was popular with my co-workers (and everyone else). I moved up ranks at the store quickly, making me the most-loved ‘full-timer’ there.
But it was fake. They only liked when I was ‘on their side,’ as I found out right after reprimanding Adam. I was an instant enemy in his eyes, even though I’d helped him so much when we were ‘equals.’
It hurt. For a kid who was used to earning love by people-pleasing, it was an eye-opener.
So I retreated to the back-office and checked my email, only to find my girlfriend cancelling plans on me… again.
She assumed I’d be fine with it, and I figured she’d start hating me like my part-timers if I prickled at her usual last minute change.
Sigh, what a night. My temples were pounding and blood rushed loud in my ears, drowning out the drone of traffic.
The whole trip home, I seethed with judgment. I was Judgy McJudgerson. I judged everything. I judged my crappy job. I judged my sham relationship. I judged my siblings who didn’t get me.
I was an egotistical, entitled smartass, but that wasn’t the main problem. It was that I judged myself and my lack of success my whole life.
Like, I was always the good son, but only ’cause I thought that’s what society wanted. Straight As. Never a fight. Never a cuss-word. No drugs, no sex, etc. and I aimed to be better. I dreamed of being a celebrity success, ’cause I thought that’s how to get love.
Getting hated on by my staff was not part of the plan, and I judged myself for that too. I saw a solution, but it was extreme.
It was bliss. A tiny taste of bliss, but life still felt hard.
So, I dove into spirituality, reading Osho, Tolle, Hicks, and more. Tons more. They helped mindset, but my life didn’t seem to improve. Everywhere I turned, I ran into more failure and hardship.
I was unhappy in every job I had, so I promised myself I’d never go back to that. Even though my earlier startups failed, I was confident that my ‘gifted genius’ self would still succeed, right?
So with zero training or mentors, and total business ignorance, I chose to found my own company. It failed.
In fact, I failed about a business a year, for a decade.
I’d failed more businesses than most people ever start, but taught me a shitload on branding, identity, marketing & more. Anyway, the best (and most painful) part was that it I finally realized I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought.
Humbling. And the pain didn’t stop there.
During that decade I had and lost multiple girlfriends – blaming everyone but myself. Plus, I hired & fired staff and partners – often resentfully.
I drifted from my family, was arrested, evicted, and ran my life-coaching business while homeless on the streets for the better part of three years.
And it was ‘stealth-style’ homeless. I hid it well. My friends and family didn’t know, my clients didn’t know. I carried myself with dignity. I refused to pan-handle. I learned to survive on no food, sleep, or shelter. I had standards and creative hygiene, but I was living out of a bag, and my only real possession was my laptop.
I guess life wanted me to have even less than that…
…because then I was robbed.
My pack was stolen, and I lost everything except the clothes on my back. It wasn’t something I felt like sharing, but I posted publicly on my blog, asking people to help, donate, and rescue me.
And they did!
A few friends & relatives helped me out, but one of the most humbling things was having ‘strangers’ donate me back on my feet.
This got me a new laptop & pack. And while I was grateful for what they did, I felt like nobody else could understand or offer advice which would get me out of my homeless despair. I was still broke, defeated, and super alone.
I believed in myself & my talents, but it seemed no one else did enough to pay me properly.
I hadn’t starved or frozen to death yet, but those didn’t feel far off. It wasn’t really a life, nobody deserves that kind of existence.
I’d quit my job, ditched my girl, and hid from my family, and look where I’d ended up… I judged my life as a even more of a failure than when I’d started.
The last three years struggling to scratch out a living went against everything I’d been told. I made peace with an obscure death.
But society doesn’t teach that it’s OK to be Van Gogh. I’d figured out something most people never do: It’s ok to be a failure, a minor player, with mediocre impact during your lifetime.
It’s not ideal, but even the brightest among us may end up that way, no guarantees. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that it’s ok to stop trying, to surrender. Honest! No judgment.
Realizing that was an a-ha moment for me.
And so I felt there was no point in dragging my own failure out, so I may as well help it along.
I started planning my suicide.
And once I did that, I felt energized. Finally, something I could actually succeed at, ending my ‘worthless’ existence!
But, I have high standards.
Even after all my pain, I still had leftover judginess. I wanted my suicide to be ‘art.’
I wanted it to be brilliant, fueled by deep insight, and a cut-above what else is out there. I mean, hey, I gotta be me. Jump in front of a subway? Please. Too messy, and may not even work since trains slow way down before arriving now. I can do better.
Gun in the mouth? Bah. Sourcing one is tricky for a broke, homeless dude, and again, messy. Need something better.
How about poison? Noooow we’re getting somewhere, but pill overdoses fail so often, and then I’d just feel worse than when I started. So it was time to step it up, I dug deeper.
I discovered Exit International & Dr. Nitschke. I explored The Dignitas Institute in Switzerland. I found accomplished peeps who do suicide right. And I sourced lethal doses of professional euthanasia-drug ‘pentobarbital.’
It cost $400 to order.
Four hundred could keep me alive on the streets for a month, which meant I’d have to choose between another month of homelessness, or the sweet relief of ending it all.
I chose to end it, so I saved up the amount (harder than you might think) and then I realized I needed an address to ship the drug to.
I had no belongings, no ID, no shelter, no address, and couldn’t even get a P.O. Box. Telling a friend I wanted to ship an illegal suicide-drug to their door, was something I saw going poorly.
I was so angry.
I wanted it so bad I could taste it, but my plans –again– weren’t working out.
A hysterical laugh burbled up from my throat as another realization hit me.
Or at least I couldn’t kill myself the way I wanted, the way I imagined. So now what? Can’t win at life, can’t die properly, what’s left? I decided to do nothing.
‘Doing nothing’, like failure and suicide, was another topic I judged back then. My life previously was classic, society-driven hamster-wheeling, and this was the first time I’d ever let myself off that grind.
So I laid in a park for huge chunks of time, doing nothing, working on nothing, attempting nothing. I was the pre-suicide me would’ve labelled ‘useless and unproductive.’
To break the monotony, occasionally I’d go to a library & answer questions on some entrepreneur forums.
Which lead to an extremely bizarre series of events.
To start, I randomly threw away my last $10.
Actually, I gave it away. Evan Carmichael, founder of The Entrepreneur Forums, was hosting a fundraiser to help out a struggling Toronto cafe, and ’cause of my advice in the forums, I was invited.
So I used my only funds to donate. Why not? I’d given up. I was just gonna lay in a park and starve, or settle for a quick, messy end by jumping off a building. I might as well do some good with my last ten bucks.
So I got to Little Nicky’s, met some Toronto entrepreneurs, and Evan.
He and I became friends and worked together on his brand and business. That meeting led to him becoming my flagship client and an epic collaborator, someone I’m blessed and honored to know.
He appreciated me, believed in me, and made sure I was rewarded for it. He helped me get the #ryze business model off the ground.
It gave me stability, traction, and growth.
My salvation came from doing nothing. Definitely not a normal solution.
When I was trying to make money, be productive, yadda yadda yadda – things like surrendering, giving myself a break, and just doing nothing weren’t options. I had to make my business work, right? I didn’t want to be lazy. I assumed society would judge me and hate me as much as I did myself.
It took failing my own suicide to make me realize that judgment brings pain. Judging suicide didn’t help me. Judging laziness didn’t help me. Judging failure didn’t help me.
I lay on the grass, breathed, and stared at the clouds, judgment free, knowing I’d done all I could.
I let go of trying to prove my value. I realized that I’m valuable even as failure with zero results. I’m valuable even if I can’t control anything.
The deeper truth is that human beings are valuable for existing, even if they feel compelled towards suicide.
Society judges suicide, but I don’t.
Moving towards ending it all felt like ‘relief’ from a world where I was unwanted and unappreciated. And for some of the 7+ billion people on our planet, marching towards that relief may be a vital part of their journey.
Having the choice to end our lives is empowering.
Yes, it breaks my heart that anyone considers suicide, but I’ve been there, and it taught me some of the deepest wisdom ever.
I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did, but if those feelings are part of their journey, I’d like to see loving, judgment-free support for them.
We all have our journey, and we all have our time, maybe we could all meddle a bit less?
It’s not preferred, it’s not neat, it’s not controlled…
…but it’s everyone’s freedom to participate in life or not. And it’s each of our freedom to explore or own mortality.
Whether thinking about it, or acting on it, I believe suicide is a valid choice. People are powerful, and deserve the authority to leave a world that doesn’t serve them or value them any more.
Angelina Jolie tried & failed, as did I, and we became stronger for it. Kurt Cobain went through with it, sad, but it left a major impact on society.
Follow your heart no matter what, free of judgment, but don’t be surprised if life rescues you at the last second.
Don’t be surprised if a dark journey re-energizes you, & keeps you on the planet to serve others in divinely fulfilling ways.
I ended up a consigliere to empire-builders, appreciated, valued, and cherished, but the path that brought me here required intense intimacy with my own mortality.
Suicide taught me a new definition of success.
One of living on your own terms, doing what you want, when you want, how you want, regardless of results…
If you’re able to make peace with your own mortality, and that of others, and you keep it in mind as Steve Jobs did, you’ll unleash a rare level of power and influence that most humans never tap into.
“And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
But please don’t cry
Just know that I have made these songs for you
And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
‘Cause I’m ready for the funeral”
– Kid Cudi, The Prayer