Suicide, and 13 Other Ways to Deal with Failure

Grand-central-station_wide

I’m really scared to stand in one place in Grand Central. Because then you hear all the people who are doomed rushing around you.  But that’s where I was yesterday.  Two older guys in suits, red and brown ties, gray hair, glasses, balding, big noses, big guts, walking faster than they normally walk so they were out of breath, and saying, “hopefully Neogenetics will buy us  after they meet us.”

Trust me, they won’t.

Another pair, two women, were saying, “one day he will be Secretary General of the UN” and the other girl said, “we can only hope.” Well, don’t hope anymore. He won’t be.

When a man and woman kiss in Grand Central and then head for different trains I can tell you one thing: they are both cheating on their spouses. Don’t worry, none of it will work out. As I’ve mentioned before, Most things don’t work out.

I might’ve mentioned in this blog before. I’ve had one or two things I’ve failed at. It hurts. It’s painful. It’s really hard to come back from.  But listen: failure is actually two arrows. The first arrow is the failure itself. That first arrow is a horrible impact. Knocks you down. Knocks the breath out of you. Makes you bleed. But that arrow won’t kill you. The second arrow is how you react to the failure. That arrow will blind you, infect you, and eventually kill you.

Most important for success is to dodge that second arrow. Here’s 13 ways you do it:

A) Cleanliness. I’m not a naturally clean person. My desk is a mess. Given a week of no meetings, it might mean a week of no showers. But after a failure, you must bathe, you must clean your work space, you must wear a suit, nice pants, a tie. You are going to WORK. And the work is now your true calling, the whisper of God that demands now to be listened to. Now that you have no more meetings that last for hours that ended up accomplishing nothing. No more bosses, clients, pimps prostitutes. Now you need to clean for the real work in front of you. And if your office is cleaned, clean your house. Clean your breathe. Take deep breaths. Not the short anxious ones that slid you into failure. Don’t even curse.

(Years of dirt, inside and out, have to be cleaned out)

B) GO to work. Leave the house in the morning even if you have nowhere to go. In 2002, having nowhere to go in the middle of winter, after losing home and dignity and crying like a little baby, I’d at the very least go at 6am and swing on a swingset. In my suit. Then I’d shoot baskets. Then I’d go for coffee.   Bring a pad. Your ideas are more valuable per idea than ever.

It used to be you were a slave, and all of your ideas were owned by someone else. Now, the gift of failure has bestowed on you a weird sort of freedom – your ideas are for nothing now except for yourself. So start generating a lot of them. The first 200 or so will be bad so you need to get through those quickly. Now, you own them. So they are valuable to you. Create as much value as possible.

 

C) Where is the pain? When I fail I feel pain. It might be that I’m shaking. Or that I feel pain in my stomach. Or my chest. My heart. My head.  But I definitely feel pain somewhere on my body. Identify that pain. Where is it? What does it feel like? Can you move it around a little by thinking about it? Can it go from your throat to your chest, for instance? Or from your jaw to your stomach? Again, what does it feel like? Talk to it. No joke. Ask it, “how long do you plan to stay?”

If it wants to stay for a long time then say hello to it. Get to know it. Do you remember feeling this physical feeling before? What was that like? Make the pain of failure feel at home in your body. I know when I sit at home doing nothing for long periods of time eventually I get bored and leave. If you make the pain of failure feel at home, eventually it gets tired of you. “Why is he so friendly to me?” it might think. It doesn’t like that. So it packs its bags and takes off. This sounds stupid. But its not.

D) Mourn. Failure is a loss. You’re allowed to mourn for that loss. You don’t have to pick yourself up the next second, or the next day, or even the next week. But after a week its too long. Cry when you fail. Something has died. Don’t deny it. Get it out of your system.


E) Sleep. The only way to overcome failure is to sleep eight hours a day. Failure wants you to wake up at 2 in the morning and think about it. Its a jealous lover. “We NEED to talk about this RIGHT NOW!” at 2 in the morning is what failure is trying to shout at you. But you need to sleep. You’ve got more important things to do. Like training for the Olympics. How do you sleep though when all of this is going on? One way is meditation but thats not practical for 99% of people. Another way is medication.

Go to a psychiatrist and say, “I just failed at something important to me and I can’t sleep more than 3 hours a night and need medication until I can sleep again.” They will give you medication.

If you want to try meditation here’s a real good one that works at 2 in the morning. Its the same meditation your parents told you when you were five years old. Visualize lambs jumping over a fence over and over. Believe it or not this is all the meditation you need to become a Buddha. Which is why it also causes most people to fall asleep. Here’s another one, take a deep breath, then exhale. Mid-exhale, hold your breath, then continue the exhale, then hold again. How many times can you do that before you have to inhale again. Repeat.  Whatever you do at 2 in the morning, DO NOT turn on the computer. Failure loves looking at that computer screen.

 


F) Funny movies. There’s two aspects of failure. There is surviving RIGHT NOW, and then there is “WHAT NEXT?” The first thing of surviving now is remembering what it feels like to laugh. Watch a funny movie that’s going to make you non-stop laugh. Watch two of them. Don’t watch Schindler’s List! That’s depressing! My favorite? “Superbad”.

G) Anger. When you fail there might be reasons external to you. Like a crappy boss. Or family that is harping on your failure. Or partners that screwed you over. Some people will say “feel compassion towards them”. This doesn’t work. Why feel compassion towards people who suck and just screwed you over? BUT, Anger is the Second Arrow. Your only job right now: feel non-anger towards them. If you feel anger, catch yourself. Go back to non-anger.   They set you on fire and let you burn while they laughed. That feels really bad. So get up and walk away. Don’t carry them with you.

The more they stay in your brain, the more they are still doing it to you. No more mental conversations with these evil people! And if you run into them and they bring stuff up then TRAIN THEM. Walk away, or say, “ok, well, I have to go now” and walk away. If you have to stay right with them, then just turn your brain off. Get them out of there. As long as you are the slightest bit angry then you are still in anger mode. You don’t need to love them. You’re not Jesus. But Anger will kill you. Read my post, how to deal with crappy people.

H) Spiritual. I hate that word. It has so many negative connotations and I don’t even know why. Probably because religion was so boring when we grew up. I remember hebrew school class, some girl telling me “beggars can’t be choosers.” I was the beggar in that metaphor. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be choosing. Her? Also, sitting for hours on end while random teachers taught us science fiction stories as if they were fact. So and so split the red sea. Another guy walked on water. Another guy floated into space and now we set a seat for him at the dinner table. Oh, he needs coffee too to digest. Another guy got every animal in the world to fit on his boat. And then later in life, all of the annoying people who went new age and spiritual on us in rebellion to these science fiction stories. Only the stories kept getting more and more science fiction. So FINE! Lets take it to the max.

Picture your body is a vessel. And THE FORCE from Star Wars is filling it. Tell the force, “whatever you need, baby, I’ll do it for you today.” And then everything you do that day keep checking back, is this what the higher power wants you to be doing? The way to overcome failure is steady practice of surrender to this higher power. Has to be steady and consistent. And it takes a long time of practice to build the communication with that higher power so that you know whatever it is you’re doing is in conjunction with what it wants you to do. I bolded steady everywhere. That’s the key word. You always have to bring yourself back and ask: am I surrendering. Steadiness will block that second arrow. This is the second most important item on this list of 13. It works. I know because it’s worked repeatedly for me.

(Yoda failed BIG TIME in Episode 3. But came back.)

I) Write to people. Write to your wife, write to old bosses, professors, childhood friends: tell them how much they mean to you. It’s almost like you’re writing a suicide note. Tell them why they meant something to you and how that helped you later in life. Write without wanting anything back in return. Be honest. Be so honest that you bruise yourself. Be so honest that they are bruised also with those memories. Not in a bad way, but a way that makes an impression. A raw bruise opened. Return unread emails from 5 years ago. Apologize to people. Write every day to people who never expected to hear from you again. This is part of the cleansing.

J) Worst case scenario analysis. At any given point in the past 15 years I’ve had a worst case scenario: I lose my home, my family, my friends, my pride. I have to scale down, scale out, go to jail (I’ve never had to go to jail for anything but we’re talking possible worst case scenarios). I think my article about Yitz, where he did go to jail for 19 months while he went broke, sums it up. Its never as bad as you think. If you have to move, maybe you move to a place by river. If you have to go to jail, you exercise and read. If the people around you cant handle the worst case scenario, I get it. But they either leave or get more flexible. Picture very clearly the worst case scenario. 99.99% chance its not going to happen.

It never really does, which is why waking up at 2 in the morning is so bad because that’s where the beast called “worst case scenario” lives. But picture it and realize it’s never as bad as you think. People say, “you get what you visualize” but this is new age crap. By practicing awareness of the worst case scenario you build an awareness that it’s never as bad as you think. This is a good practice. My worst case scenario is having a stroke like my dad and being locked into my body for three years while the body is dropped on the floor a million times and I have to blow my nose but can’t. If that happens to me, Claudia, give me a lot of morphine and let me just die. If somehow I lose everything I own, I’ll move to smaller place and get a job in a gas station. I know myself. I’m an idea machine. I’ll get out of any bad situation

K) Prepare in advance. Make a lot of friends. Email people and keep in touch. Help people today so you can be helped tomorrow. One of my first posts on this blog is a philosophy I live by: Give and You will Receive. I always tell people that the only thing I ask in return is that if they seem me in the gutter with a needle in my shoulder than at least help me take the needle out. Have lunch or breakfast with people. Read a lot (see the Summer Reading List, its filled with failures). Exercise every day. You’re in training for the olympics of failure. Every day get rid of one person who brings you down and bring on one person who brings you up. Stop reading the news. Its depressing and filled with failure. Stop watching TV from 8-10pm. Its the worst shows and wastes valuable sleeping or idea time.

(headlines are evil)

L) Follow the Daily Practice. If its too hard, then modify it until it works for you. And keep the idea muscle stretched and flexible so that when you need it most, its there for you. And part of that includes Surrender. Surrender to the fact that you’ve done all you can. And so only good things will happen. When an athlete knows they have done all they could to prepare, then they are ready for anything in the Olympics, even failure.

M) Read this. If you were fired yesterday.  Its the quick fix.

One person asked me, “but if I have a track record of failure, how do I go about raising money for the next thing?” I say this with compassion: if you are thinking that way then you aren’t ready yet to raise money for the next thing. You need to do the above. Then you will be ready. #12 is most important. Within six months of doing #12 your life will be completely different, almost by definition.  #12 is most important on a list of 13 equals.

13 is supposedly an unlucky number. I’m going to look it up on my brain-extension, wikipedia, so hold on a second…ok, I didn’t know this: 13 is the smallest emirp (a prime which is also prime when reversed).

Oh wait, I now have a #14: Analysis. The only way to improve is to analyze your failures. Every competitive athlete knows this. Every chessplayer knows this. Every coach knows this. What went wrong? What could you have done differently? How could you have communicated better? At what point should you have changed directions before things got as bad as they did. The key here is to never blame others. Remember: its your fault. But you have to be a student of your own life. Take responsibility and analyze.

Nine years ago, when I lost my house in the city, I felt like I was forced into a miserable exile. I moved about 70 miles north. It was like moving to the Arctic Circle. The sound of the train across the river at three in the morning were like the gates of hell opening up to let all the demons out and into my head. The clash of metal against metal, river, motion, the death of night. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe. The first time I traveled back home from Grand Central I was horribly depressed. I had never even been in Grand Central before. Everyone in fake suits pushing, rushing, panicking, hurrying. This was my life.

I’m typing these words. This is my life.

Follow me on Twitter.

PS – Note on Suicide: Suicide is no good and I’ll tell you why. Its really hard. Believe me, I’ve looked it up in every way. A friend of mine with two kids  tried to kill himself once. He put a rifle in his mouth and fired. He blew out one eye and half the back of his head. He damaged his brain so he can’t walk. He’s totally disfigured now. And guess what? He married his nurse. He’s actually happy! But if he had succeeded, imagine the regret and pain and despair he would’ve left all around him. Particularly those two kids. My own two kids are probably the main thing that has stopped me at my worst moments.

Other ways to kill yourself don’t work. Pills can leave you brain damaged. They make pills pretty good now. If you take 1000 of them they don’t kill you, they just eat at your brain so its like you’re a permanent stroke victim. What else? Jumping out a window, you can just end up breaking every bone in your body and never walking again. Same for getting hit by a car. Only the lucky can kill themselves. And you’re a failure. So don’t think your luck is coming back so fast just so you can kill yourself.

What about death by hanging? Here’s what can happen: you can break your neck and just sit there suffocating for 20 or 30 minutes. Thats a pretty slow painful death and if someone finds you then you’re in big trouble, you might be brain damaged and you can’t walk anymore. And your pants might be down if you were masturbating at the same time so that’s pretty embarrassing. Don’t be one of those statistics.

 

 

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • http://twitter.com/Avatar_Jack Avatar Jack

    Maybe the best anti-suicide PSA of all-time

  • Bbstammis

    I can’t decide if this is inspiring or depressing.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Failure is a hard thing to deal with. Its never inspiring to fail. But we come out of it and persist and then succeed.

      • MikeH

        James, you inspire me through depression. And that’s a compliment. For me, a column like this is like going out for a couple of drinks after some sort catastrophe – and getting to the point where you can laugh at the whole situation. 

        This one got me on the prison reference. I’ve been comparing my job to a 12 hour a day prison. Except I forgot that I’d be able to read and exercise in prison, so only the loss of income is a drawback.

      • Falternot

        Sorry, but I have a way different viewpoint. Failure is final. Failure is damning. No matter how many successes you’ve had, your failures – no matter how few or many – will always haunt you. You look back, and they’re just sitting there. Wouldn’t it be a lot better if one were able to live with a clean track record of constant success? Imagine if you just succeed in everything you do; by the time you hit 50, you have a litany of achievements to boast of, and to be envied. I’d honestly sell my soul to the Devil – or at least give up a testicle – for that kind of life.

  • Jake

    I really liked the last part about being discovered hanging with your pants down and being embarrased by it. That thought / concern must have crossed my mind at some point, because it resonated so much.

    Hello James, I was curious: if you could accomplish one more thing in this life before it’s over, and you could choose what that achievement would be, what would you choose? Thank you.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      wining the new Nobel Prize in Blogging

      • Jake

        I was guessing you would say achieving nirvana (or whatever you might call it). It seems to me you’re on the path towards it.

      • Frist

        James, keep writing in a light way about scary subjects.  It is working.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    Failure and success; can one exist without the other?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I don’t think Success can exist without Failure. But Failure can certainly exist without success.

      • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

        It would be overwhelmingly depressing for me to believe that one could live a life of total and never ending failures, without even a hint of success somewhere at some point in time.

        (maybe you are referring to a singular topic of monetary wealth/success in business (?)

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          This might be the topic for another post, but I do think its possible to be totally broken so utterly that one finds freedom through that. So failure transmutes into a sort of success.

          • Anonymous

            Lenny Dykstra might be a perfect subject for this kind of thing, last week he tweeted something about his comeback being the only thing left when a man has everything taken from him

          • CMS

            If Dykstra is talking about everything being TAKEN from him.  He still has a ways to go.

  • Jdpeak

    Excellant. Your reaching out to me a few months ago about my on issues appear now to have  been a turning point. Though I’m not past my “walk through fire,” I’m one hell of a lot further down the road. God bless.

  • Aniket Ponkshe

    I once heard a story about a guy, who used to drive up to the local train station in Mumbai in a fancy car and used to take the local train to work. Conversations on the crowded train tend to be overheard. When he overheard someone narrating an unfortunate incident of life, he always said, “You know, you are very lucky.” And then he went on to tell his own story. A story in which something worse had always happened to him.If he overheard someone talking about a son who had been sick for 3 months, he had a story in which his son had a bad reaction to some pill, and had been a paraplegic ever since. If some poor person’s camera was broken – and that person did not have the throw-away money to get it repaired, he always had a story in which his camera was irrepairably damaged.The author, traveling on the same train, heard him do this a bunch of times and followed him outside to catch hold and ask him why he was so obviously lying. His answer was, “For a hurt person, at times, it is a great comfort to know that someone else had been hurt the same way, and even worse than he had been. ” Maybe it helps people be reasonable about their loss and get on with their lives.I wonder if this is what your writing tries to achieve – consciously or not.

  • http://www.parmcharm.com karen parmelee

    Very interesting post once again James, thank you. So there’s non-anger?  As an ACOA, I have difficulty expressing anger and is always directed inward toward myself, ala, self-sabotage. Would love to know more about experiencing non-anger, especially with the visual you provided: being set on fire and they laugh whilst I burn.

  • MikeM

    Nice notes on how suicide can go horrifically wrong so don’t try, but if ever there was a very pragmatic reason for not suiciding, it is that you can’t reap the rewards of your success.  A person so hurt just wants the pain to stop, which means they feel better, but one can’t feel better if one is not there.

  • MikeM

    Nice notes on how suicide can go horrifically wrong so don’t try, but if ever there was a very pragmatic reason for not suiciding, it is that you can’t reap the rewards of your success.  A person so hurt just wants the pain to stop, which means they feel better, but one can’t feel better if one is not there.

  • Caromusa

    I would add #15: keep trying. That keeps you busy so you don’t have time to be depressed. And every success comes after lots and lots of failures, so one has to respect the statistics. The only real failure is when you don’t learn from the experience (cheesy, but accurate).

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree with that. This is sort of “phase 1″ for dealing with failure and the note about starting to take down your ideas again leads to the “keep trying” but very good point that “keep trying” by itself deserves its own bullet.

      • Caromusa

        And, sometimes what looks like a failure at the time, turns out to be the way to something much better in the future… cheesy too, but that really happened to me lots of times, so I know it’s true.
        We just see the big picture later.

        Great post by the way, once again!

  • Anonymous

    I read and reread your blog and make my husband read it too It makes me nervous that you write stories like this and call yourself an optimist. Nervous because I agree with you ( I think you are an optimist), yet your outlook still has alot of…vinegar?

  • Anonymous

    When  you wake up at 3 am and your brain is racing with questions and anxiety, ask yourself – Was I worried about this at 3 pm yesterday? Usually the answer is “no”.  The second question is “can I do anything about this right now?”  Almost always the answer is “no”.  That exercise seems to put your anxieties in perspective for your mind and allows the brain to “calm down” enough to go back to sleep.  Of course, if there is something you can do at 3 am, then get up and do it! That’s guaranteed to allow you to go back to sleep once you have taken care of it!

  • Athwal Amar

    Wow..there’s been some dark posts lately James…you should read a comic…check out concretecouch.net

  • Omon Ra

    Dale Carnegie “How to stop worrying and start living” can help to people who affraid of the failure to fail gracefully with limited amount of loss,

    Thanks for the post, cheers

  • Anonymous

    A gem.  This entry is a gem.  Thanks for mentioning the thing about the pills… guess that was a waste of money.  Seriously – was there a basis for this list?  Have you been compiling it for a long time?  It’s really comprehensive and makes total sense — I started setting my alarm for 8 a.m – just as a starting point [GO to work] – and it feels better not to wake up at 10 and struggle with the realization that I missed half the day.  I have already been trying many of the ideas here – and now I feel confirmed it is the right thing to do.  Especially reaching out to old friends – it’s just harder to do when you are in a rut – and less likely to happen when you are riding high.

  • John H.

    James you are amazing. I swear we should make an app out of
    you.

    Age certainly makes a difference in how you look at failure.
    As I deal with the failure of my business I can tell you I have never felt so
    old. Yet, reading your blog, and doing the Daily Practice reminds me that when
    I start up again I will no doubt feel like a spring chicken once again. I’ll
    vote on your Nobel for blogging if I get the chance to.

    Cheers, John

  • http://economicdisconnect.blogspot.com/ GYSC

    Very moving post James.  You really can and will go anywhere your mind wants, I like it!

    Fear can be a tough thing.  Imagine walking out in a packed auditorium to box a guy that wants to hurt you.  The crowd is all behind you, but when that bell rings it’s just you.  You and the guy that wants to knock you out.  That experience for me makes fearing trying new things, worrying about money, or thinking things are too bad to go on seem way off base to me.  I can still understand how it’s an issue for people though.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jayzalowitz Jay Zalowitz

    “And your pants might be down if you were masturbating at the same time so that’s pretty embarrassing. Don’t be one of those statistics.”

  • TripleB

    Your paragraph on pain reminds me of Rumi’s best poem – The Guest House

    http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Guest_House.html

    (You switched from letters to numbers along the way…)

  • thanksjames

    odd how timely this was…. was feeling really down about being fired, and not landing anything after interviews… still trying to cope with the one i love after 2 years and still being friends with her… i was depressed because it was scaring me how much i thought of suicide in the past bit…i’d never have the balls to do it…but i was always the happy/optimistic guy and lost that the past 2 years through ups and downs but especially the last 2 months… i was writing about it, then i go on twitter and see this posted and the timing was perfect… i have to stop beating myself up and being depressed about the past and just apply whats in front of me and move on in life… im young in my 20s and have my whole life ahead of me to pursue my passions and really make an impact… thanks james… your posts that i’ve discovered in the past week are my up moments

    • nysepete

      “young in my 20s”  – you, my friend, have the best years of your life to come.  At your age – there is nothing but possibilities — consider them – choose one that you might reap rewards long-term — and achieve it.  Set your mind to it and don’t give up.  And… find a different girl!  Keep the other as a friend – but go out and find a new friend… with benefits!  Avoid getting attached at your age – and just enjoy it!  Set yourself free – join a group, any group with similar interests – make some new friends and explore the world.  Go on a road trip.  Don;t give up!

    • nysepete

      “young in my 20s”  – you, my friend, have the best years of your life to come.  At your age – there is nothing but possibilities — consider them – choose one that you might reap rewards long-term — and achieve it.  Set your mind to it and don’t give up.  And… find a different girl!  Keep the other as a friend – but go out and find a new friend… with benefits!  Avoid getting attached at your age – and just enjoy it!  Set yourself free – join a group, any group with similar interests – make some new friends and explore the world.  Go on a road trip.  Don;t give up!

    • nysepete

      “young in my 20s”  – you, my friend, have the best years of your life to come.  At your age – there is nothing but possibilities — consider them – choose one that you might reap rewards long-term — and achieve it.  Set your mind to it and don’t give up.  And… find a different girl!  Keep the other as a friend – but go out and find a new friend… with benefits!  Avoid getting attached at your age – and just enjoy it!  Set yourself free – join a group, any group with similar interests – make some new friends and explore the world.  Go on a road trip.  Don;t give up!

    • nysepete

      “young in my 20s”  – you, my friend, have the best years of your life to come.  At your age – there is nothing but possibilities — consider them – choose one that you might reap rewards long-term — and achieve it.  Set your mind to it and don’t give up.  And… find a different girl!  Keep the other as a friend – but go out and find a new friend… with benefits!  Avoid getting attached at your age – and just enjoy it!  Set yourself free – join a group, any group with similar interests – make some new friends and explore the world.  Go on a road trip.  Don;t give up!

    • nysepete

      “young in my 20s”  – you, my friend, have the best years of your life to come.  At your age – there is nothing but possibilities — consider them – choose one that you might reap rewards long-term — and achieve it.  Set your mind to it and don’t give up.  And… find a different girl!  Keep the other as a friend – but go out and find a new friend… with benefits!  Avoid getting attached at your age – and just enjoy it!  Set yourself free – join a group, any group with similar interests – make some new friends and explore the world.  Go on a road trip.  Don;t give up!

  • tsp

    I like to read your blog James, really…
    I remember that in May last year I even saw You in a Borders Bookstore in Manhattan, the one near Wall Street, it’s out of business right now… But I was to scare to even say hi ( I didn’t want to bother such a famous person…) I think you were looking at some DVDs with your wife… Anyhow,  even though I like to read your blog… I just can’t agree with what you just wrote… I couldn’t even finish it… i just think, that suicide is sometimes the best solution… well thank you anyhow.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Ha, well, next time say “Hi”!

  • tsp

    I like to read your blog James, really…
    I remember that in May last year I even saw You in a Borders Bookstore in Manhattan, the one near Wall Street, it’s out of business right now… But I was to scare to even say hi ( I didn’t want to bother such a famous person…) I think you were looking at some DVDs with your wife… Anyhow,  even though I like to read your blog… I just can’t agree with what you just wrote… I couldn’t even finish it… i just think, that suicide is sometimes the best solution… well thank you anyhow.

  • http://jlcollinsnh.wordpress.com/ Jlcollinsnh

    Interesting thing about suicide.  If you are right there, really ready to turn out the lights you are truly free.  nothing matters.  all attachment is gone.  if you are really ready to die, the problems that brought you to this point are tiny in camparision.  now you can chose.  death or rebirth.  if you choose rebirth, nothing need follow you into your new life.

    I’ve been working on a post of my failures.  so far I’ve failed to get it done.  add one more to my list.  for now. 

    I did just finish one on mistakes which, like failures and standing on the brink of suicide, can be wonderful tools.

  • george obien

    A woman I used to work with (and I liked very much) drank poison, slit her wrist AND jumped out the window on the 20th floor. I miss her she always was driven.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      George, I’m so sorry to hear that. What do you think drove her to it?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q5WQNSAEQBTN3VNY7UQF6V6LXU Trader Kevin

        James, most suicides are a fatal case of depression, so the question “What do you think drive her to it?” isn’t really applicable.

        In the wake of a suicide people have a need to “make sense” of it. They must find a rational reason. Except that it’s impossible to make rational sense out of an irrational act.

        People will say, “I heard he was having financial problems” or “I heard her marriage was failing” to explain a suicide. Except that lots of people have financial challenges and most of them don’t take their own lives. Lots of people get divorced, but most of them don’t take their own lives.

        What most people DON’T have is a sense of despair so great that they feel ending their life is their only remaining option.

  • Rolf Norfolk

    Your rackety ride through life is yielding you results. Reading you, I recalled William Blake:

    The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom;
    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Very true. Instruction, you forget. Pain is in the memory forever.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    re: PS Note on Suicide:
    I always wonder about re-incarnation – You could go to all the trouble of escaping your crappy horrible life only to be born into even a worse more terrible life.
    ___
    Suicide is a very emotionally packed subject for me, and I have great difficulties in clearly expressing my thoughts on it. That said, if anyone is considering suicide – please don’t.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I second this motion.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I second this motion.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I second this motion.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I second this motion.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I second this motion.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q5WQNSAEQBTN3VNY7UQF6V6LXU Trader Kevin

      Suicide is a very emotional subject for me as well, but I have no difficulties clearly expressing my thoughts on it: SUICIDE SUCKS!

      Last weekend marked the first anniversary of the suicide of one of my best friends, who was a big local in the Eurodollar futures pit back in the day. In a couple weeks I’ll endure the ninth anniversary of my brother’s suicide.

      Even when it seems impossible to continue, know that things will get better. Choose to make it one more day…week…month…year. God has a plan for your life. He doesn’t just want you to survive, He wants you to thrive!

      And for those of you who endure the sometimes unbearable pain of losing a loved one to suicide, please know that God can make good come from the worst of circumstances. The gift/curse of my brother’s death is a depth of empathy which barely existed previously in my life, if it existed at all. The experience of my brother’s death gave me the ability to help my friends deal with the death of our buddy last year.

      • x

        God does not exists.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    re: PS Note on Suicide:
    I always wonder about re-incarnation – You could go to all the trouble of escaping your crappy horrible life only to be born into even a worse more terrible life.
    ___
    Suicide is a very emotionally packed subject for me, and I have great difficulties in clearly expressing my thoughts on it. That said, if anyone is considering suicide – please don’t.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    re: PS Note on Suicide:
    I always wonder about re-incarnation – You could go to all the trouble of escaping your crappy horrible life only to be born into even a worse more terrible life.
    ___
    Suicide is a very emotionally packed subject for me, and I have great difficulties in clearly expressing my thoughts on it. That said, if anyone is considering suicide – please don’t.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    re: PS Note on Suicide:
    I always wonder about re-incarnation – You could go to all the trouble of escaping your crappy horrible life only to be born into even a worse more terrible life.
    ___
    Suicide is a very emotionally packed subject for me, and I have great difficulties in clearly expressing my thoughts on it. That said, if anyone is considering suicide – please don’t.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    re: PS Note on Suicide:
    I always wonder about re-incarnation – You could go to all the trouble of escaping your crappy horrible life only to be born into even a worse more terrible life.
    ___
    Suicide is a very emotionally packed subject for me, and I have great difficulties in clearly expressing my thoughts on it. That said, if anyone is considering suicide – please don’t.

  • North

    Once contemplating suicide, the only aspect that prevented me from carrying it out was the indecision of which wall in the house would bear the results of the exit wound.

  • North

    Once contemplating suicide, the only aspect that prevented me from carrying it out was the indecision of which wall in the house would bear the results of the exit wound.

  • North

    Once contemplating suicide, the only aspect that prevented me from carrying it out was the indecision of which wall in the house would bear the results of the exit wound.

  • North

    Once contemplating suicide, the only aspect that prevented me from carrying it out was the indecision of which wall in the house would bear the results of the exit wound.

  • North

    Once contemplating suicide, the only aspect that prevented me from carrying it out was the indecision of which wall in the house would bear the results of the exit wound.

  • Mike

    James,

    This is your best post to date (or at least it’s touched me the most).  Reads like an Altucher’s Greatest Hits.  I previously worked for an investment firm, mainly supporting the CEO and his clients.  I had only a few clients of my own.  I implemented so many ideas that saved the firm money, made clients more money and further cemented client relationships; however, I was never compensated for my hard work.  Only empty promises.  My former boss was a great rainmaker, but a terrible leader of men and women. 

    I decided to strike out on my own.  It’s been tough, but this post is truly motivating, and worth reading everyday.  I’ve implemented a lot of these points already, but need to be even more diligent and steadfast.  Especially the part about making friends.  If I had focused on making more friends over the past 5 years (instead of making money for my boss) I’d be in a much better position.  But, we gotta play with the cards in our hands right now, right? 

    This post will now be my manifesto and required reading each day. 

    Mike S.
    Atlanta

  • DMan

    Your timing is perfect.

    After two years of trying to clean up my life, sort out stuff in my head (visits to a ‘shink’ and all that kind of thing), businesses failing, dumping bad ex-accountants and so on, over the last few months – and reading your blog – I’ve started to feel like I’m making some progress.

    Until today.

    I know it’s my fault (as per your blog post), but my ex-accountants who ‘disappeared’ about six months ago, never to be found again, appear not to have filed and paid some taxes on behalf of my old company for the last 4-5 years… So today I get a letter from the tax people basically saying ‘we know who you are, what your old limited company was, and if you don’t file outstanding taxes and pay them within 14 days, we might sue you a shit load of money, and/or throw you in jail’.

    For a few minutes there the old way I used to think kicked in – the ‘S’ word mentioned above.  Now, after taking the time to read through your blog again, I feel slightly better about things – I’m  trying to visualise the worst possible scenario – which probably won’t happen.

    Scariest thing though is I’ve been building up a new, successful company over the last 6 months (with good accountants this time who DO file things).  I could be (possibly) shut down by the tax people though because of the previous issues.  

    Hopefully by Monday something will have magically happened to sort it out, but it’s crazy how these crazy moments put the ‘S’ word back into your brain in an instant.  Stupid brain.

  • Vlado

    Suicide is a fascinating topic, even if a little morbid. I am not sure if there are any statistics on this, but my guess is that pretty much everyone at some point in their life has seriously or semi-seriously considered suicide (anyone disagrees?).. and the motivation is escape from whatever your current circumstances are? Fortunately most people reach the conclusion that suicide is not a solution to anything, but for those who don’t, I wonder why more people don’t opt for a literal escape. Pack and go. Go live in the Australian bush, or if you can’t get a visa go to anyplace you can and become a dog breeder or a hunter, a smuggler. whatever. leave. hide. your life is over, start a new one and have some fun with it. and leave a note. I wonder if anyone else has had these thoughts. Can’t this be promoted as an alternative to people who consider suicide? or is that a horrible idea.. i don’t know. 
    I am oversimplifying, that I know. 

  • Jeff

    Thanks for another good inspiring post.  Some of your suggestions reminded me of Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”: http://www.amazon.com/Stop-Worrying-Start-Living-ebook/dp/B003WIYCCY/

  • pearlbeauty

    Every time I go through Grand Central I pause for a moment and look up.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis led the effort to restore the terminal during the last years of her life, and I feel a surge of gratitude for her efforts.  I remember Grand Central in the old (dirty and rundown) days.

    Now the chandeliers have been washed, restored, and gently golden.  The ceiling is a lovely turquoise, with the zodiacal figures above.  All the marble in the center space has been cleaned, and shines, as do the brass railings on the stairs. 

    The terminal is a national treasure.

    Time to look around you with a fresh eye, James. Look up.

  • pearlbeauty

    Every time I go through Grand Central I pause for a moment and look up.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis led the effort to restore the terminal during the last years of her life, and I feel a surge of gratitude for her efforts.  I remember Grand Central in the old (dirty and rundown) days.

    Now the chandeliers have been washed, restored, and gently golden.  The ceiling is a lovely turquoise, with the zodiacal figures above.  All the marble in the center space has been cleaned, and shines, as do the brass railings on the stairs. 

    The terminal is a national treasure.

    Time to look around you with a fresh eye, James. Look up.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Its definitely pretty when you look up. But sometimes I like to just look down and get to my train as fast as possible.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWDJLDSX62HURYNKVUR3VJLSIY Stuart

    I’m a Bill Hicks fan.  Life is just a ride.  Ups and downs and all around and it appears SO real.  But it is just a ride.  It can all change in an instant.

    Live by the Golden Rule, try to do your best, laugh at the silliness, nothing ever lasts forever.

    There is no perfect.

     

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWDJLDSX62HURYNKVUR3VJLSIY Stuart

    I’m a Bill Hicks fan.  Life is just a ride.  Ups and downs and all around and it appears SO real.  But it is just a ride.  It can all change in an instant.

    Live by the Golden Rule, try to do your best, laugh at the silliness, nothing ever lasts forever.

    There is no perfect.

     

  • http://aeronode.tumblr.com james

    Ugh, way to remind me of a date that ended in Grand Central.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      well, now you have to tell us what happened?

  • Robert

    well Give and you will receive is biblical principal…you mocked it as a child and appear to do so still..but for all of your wisdom and good stuff here you have a problem you are ignoring, death is our final destiny…Christ the Jew and God died for you and me so we could rise again. Its objectively provable as Sir William Ramsey, and many others have discovered.

  • Buckyballbaby

    What’s so embarrassing about masturbating?

  • metropool

    suicide is the height of selfishness

  • Tim Hofmann

    ” I know myself. I’m an idea machine. I’ll get out of any bad situation.”
    James, I’ve adopted you as a role model. I’ve been writing down ideas for people. It’s amazing. I go over the ideas with them and every person’s response has been identical: “can I have that?” I hand the sloppily handwritten list over and see how they look at it. I could hand them a $100 bill and they wouldn’t look at it the same way.

    As I’m living through an excruciating slow-motion failure this has been a source of inspiration and little moments of happiness. This chapter will end eventually and I can move on to doing things that make me happy.

    thanks, keep writing.

    • Stuart Williams

      If you keep doing the right thing, the universe will start to comply with your energy.

  • http://www.ildarshar.com Ildar S.

    Thanks James for sharing this! Did you find that your the very first failure was the hardest? I guess it’ll be. And I guess it really depends on wheather or not you saw the failure coming or not.

  • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

    James, I’m glad you didn’t kill yourself. There were times when the only thing that has stopped me is the same as you- my son. 

    Having since witnessed a brutal suicide I can honestly say I would never consider it again. You think about the impact your death will have on friends, coworkers, family and enemies. Maybe those thoughts even bring comfort- the idea of being mourned, the notion of someone else’s regret. It sounds awful, but when you’re in that mindset everything that crosses your mind is awful. 

    You don’t think about the impact on strangers- people who have no connection to you whatsoever. But that impact is real and valid and unavoidable. I had something skin to PTSD after I saw that. I never went and got diagnosed or anything like that. But I couldn’t work. I couldn’t even be out in public. I nearly lost friends who couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. All because of something I saw happen to someone whose name I don’t even know. 

    Suicide is a terrible thing. If it works and if it doesn’t. 

  • Kevin M

    Eight years ago, I was laid off, then decided to get divorced and thus had to sell our house. It was the worst time of my life at the time. Truly it was a “rebirth” now that I look back. I was miserable at that job and with the ex-wife and all the stress the mortgage caused. But it was scary to face the world and the way it would judge me for failing at 3 major life events at once. I’m glad I had good friends and family to show me what is really important in life. I still have my moments of fear that appear at 2 am, but getting through those times (sort of my own worst-case-scenario for a 20-something guy) gives me hope I can move forward.

    I had a boss that committed suicide. His son was about my age at the time, I just watched him at the funeral and wondered what brought his father to that point? What made him think removing himself from the picture was the right answer? The only answer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1188312586 Javier Rodriguez

    Nice post, even though I only scanned through it. I like most of your thoughts, but am drowned with negative thoughts. Bummer. I gotta try and make time for some of your ideas such as the “comedy” thing. Anyway, take care.

  • http://mcmimik.ru/ Andrew Yugay

    Russian translation: http://mcmimik.blogspot.com/2012/05/suicide-and-13-other-ways-to-deal-with.html
    Thank you!

  • the real

    I read the Dale Carnegie years ago, not really a big help. Failure arrows have hit me so many times that they did finally wear me down. I honestly wish several times I had never attempted many things and lived with the delusion that had I tried I could have succeeded. I have read so many things contrary to this but sorry folks it did not work out in my case.

  • SensitiveMan

    Why aren’t you running for president, James?

  • james_follower

    James, you write some of the best inspirational and thought provoking articles. They always make me think of things in a totally different manner. Your articles are appreciated and affect people in wonderful ways, so please keep writing them. Thank you.

  • Hank Murphy

    Yeah, and what if part of the massive failure in ones life is the inability to find a decent job?