SUICIDE: protect yourself and especially your children from the desire to commit suicide.

The stats about suicide are ugly. By the time I write the next sentence someone in America either died from taking their own life, suicide, or has come close to doing so by attempting suicide. There is something YOU CAN DO about it.  Strengthen your belief in life and living, and especially, work at building that muscle of belief within your kids.

STRENGTHEN BELIEF IN LIFE AND LIVING. Start now. It’s not too late for you.  It is never too early for your children. 

Years ago, when I interviewed Dr. Robert Carom, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, following the suicide of a very, very close friend of mine, I was told that people who attempt, or commit suicide, do so because their belief in life is not strong enough to withstand the challenges coming at them and, therefore, their coping mechanism is insufficiently strong. My takeaway from that interview is simply this: work at building your belief in life as if it is a muscle. Exercise it. Teach your kids how to exercise it and to strengthen it.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to building a stronger belief in life:

  • Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can save human lives. Increase your curiosity.  A sense of wonderment fills both the heart and the mind and leaves little room for negativity.
  • Forget about entitlement. No one is owed anything. No one deserves anything. Everything must be earned…one step at a time.
  • It’s never about the effort. It is always about the outcome. Don’t build your expectations of rewards, nor that of your kids, on going through the motions, but on the outcomes.
  • Not all outcomes can be the same. If you reward failed outcomes, or expect a reward for failed outcomes, you distract from the need to achieve. Reward positive outcomes, but do not punish effort, motivation, and failed outcomes. Treat failed efforts as a step towards, but not as having arrived at, success.
  • Keep your eyes open for the positive things in life and don’t hesitate to point those out to your children. When they see all the positives, they’ll learn to balance future negatives.
  • When something must be done and is terribly boring, try to find a way to make it more interesting, possibly turning it into a game of some sort.
  • Train yourself to be happy with what and who you are. Turn the focus away from yourself to your situation, environment, circumstance. This does not mean you ever stop learning. You never stop learning or improving yourself.
  • Keep learning about positive things. Switch off the news…it’s almost always negative. Read an uplifting book. Read about the sciences, research, invention. Learn to marvel at the work of the smart people. Take courses. Read useful books that can be a positive, harmonious influence on your life and your activities. If you expose yourself or your kids to negative influences, you subtract from the good stuff of life and will eventually distrust everything and everyone. Expose yourself to the positive elements and influences and your strengthen your belief in the good that life has to offer.
  • Make yourself better every day. Accept yourself for what and who you are, but tweak your knowledge, your skills, your attitude for the better and do so every day.
  • Dreams without commitment and action are dangerously depressing. If you have a goal or a dream, do something positive each day to move you one step closer.
  • Create change in baby steps over the long term. Avoid the desire to make major changes within an instant. You can’t lose 50 pounds in one day. You can’t earn a PhD. in one day. Some goals need lots of time. For example if you wish to learn to play the guitar, spend at least 1/2 hour of useful, directed, practice each night and think long term such as 5 to 10 years.
  • As long as your brain works, find a way to deal with and manage your handicap. It’s your brain that matters, not the vessel in which it is contained. If you have a handicap, learn to deal with it. Our best example of this may be Steven Hawking who uses his brain and is a highly regarded scholar.
  • SEARCH, READ, ASK…SEEK FIRST, then solve. Don’t waste your time seeking solutions to problems that have already been solved by others or by experts. Find the authorities on issues similar to what you face and seek their knowledge. GOOGLE is making that easier to do. But textbooks and biographies of others are also good places to look. There is a ton of research out there and that research is often available to laypeople, too. SEEK first. If you can’t find existing solutions, then work at cracking your problem one step at a time and understand that you must give yourself time enough to learn any new knowledge or skills your will require as you plod towards your own unique solution.
  • Strip the emotion out of your problem. Keep hammering at your problem asking questions until you can reduce it into a simple closed-ended question. A closed-ended question is one that leaves no room for an explanation, rather, it can only be answered with a “Yes” or a “No”. Once you get to “Yes” or “No” your problem or decision has no room for emotion or ego.
  • Recognise that we humans never arrive at anything and that anything can always be changed or be done better. No matter how smart, how agile, how strong, how superior at anything you are, there will ALWAYS BE SOMEONE BETTER. When you have spent a lifetime achieving something expect that someone else will have had similar goals in life and may be better at it than you are. That is not cause for being disappointed. That’s just how life works.
  • Learn to celebrate, enjoy, model after, someone else’s excellence. Everybody has faults, especially politicians, of course! Yet, everyone has something at which they are good or even excellent. Marvel at a tennis player’s uncanny ability to anticipate the next move in the volley, though that person may be a terrible manager of his or her own finances. Marvel at the golfer’s precision swing, though that golfer may be a terrible father. Or, the martial artist. Or, the musician. Learn to absorb the sense of wonderment that comes from witnessing the outcome of other people’s tens of thousands of hours of discipline, practice, and dedication to acquiring their particular skills and focus on that, and not the entire human being.
  • Learn to separate excuses from reasons. There is a difference.
  • Change wrong thinking. Change bad or wrong decisions. If you make a mistake, don’t waste your energies on trying to conceal it. Own the mistake and work to correct it. Everyone makes a mistake. If something needs to be changed but you enshrine it and protect it from the need to change it, you almost always multiply the complexity, confusion, and disappointments that will be sure to erupt later.
  • Strip your ego out of your thinking and out of your decision making. I’ve written extensively on the dangers of ego-thinking. Watch for it. Being “absolutely positive” about anything is one sign of ego-thinking. Ibsisting that an idea, action, innovation, product, strategy be done 100% your way is another sign of distorted thinking that is influenced by ego. Making bold assertions or claims is likely to embarrass you later. There are no absolutes in life so don’t stake your reputation on anything as if it were locked into concrete.
  • Find some role models and model after your role models. There is no one person who is perfect and there need not be only purely perfect people to fulfil this criteria. You can take a”piece” of good from one person, and another from another person, etc. Think of working with clay used in building a sculpture. That sculpture is your new life. The clay is the pieces of good you extract from the personalities, knowledge, behaviour of others. Like modelling with clay, you can stick all those pieces together to sculpt your own unique psyche and behaviour to help strengthen yourself, your motivations, or even to build a new you.
  • REMEMBER THIS UNIVERSAL LAW OF NATURE: whenever you create a plan, something WILL GO WRONG. That is not cause for becoming depressed. If you expect that the unexpected will cause your plan or goal to fail, you’ll LIKELY be less inclined to become depressed. Understand this unexpected influence to be what it is: KARMIC LAW, (Karma), reaching out to you while you are alive and able to take corrective action by teaching you what does not work. Think of it not as abject failure. Rather, as a hidden force pushing your buttocks to help you climb up the next rung of the success ladder.

Everyone has dreams, ideas, and opportunities. Only those which we grasp and act upon can ever amount to anything relevant.