I killed myself every day. Non-stop torture.
For decades my “self” was a deadly mixture of anxiety about money, pain about relationships, petty jealousy, fear, wanting people to like me.
I was thrown out of graduate school, failed at business, failed at jobs, lost a marriage, a house, then two.
Always jealous. Always crying. Always wishing I were someone else.
I constantly thought about money. Night and day. I would go to therapists not to reduce my anxiety but just to ask them for money.
I’d go to psychics and astrologers and ask them when I would make money.
They always said, “Next year you will make a lot of money”. Or, when China was “hot”, they’d say, “I see China in your future. A lot of money.”
None of it ever came true.
I exiled myself 70 miles away. I didn’t leave my house for three months. I felt dead.
One day I had a bad trading day. I was so upset. When will things change?
There was a little island near where I was. I walked into the water. I let the water go over my head and I just floated. I wanted to die.
I was so sick of being a prisoner to the enormous desire of money.
It was a monster. It never left my head. It was killing me. I wanted to sink.
The next day I said, “Why do I keep making it and then losing it?” Why do I keep falling in love and then…disaster?
— What is going right when I make it? What is going wrong when I lose it?
What is going right when I fall in love? What is going wrong when I lose that love?
What is going right when I am creative? What is going wrong when I lose that creativity?
There was a time in early 2008 I was writing for the http://street.com. I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed.
My business partner, Dan, was writing four articles a day under my name so nobody would realize I disappeared.
I had to change. Maybe desire = anxiety = negativity.
I became addicted to anti-anxiety drugs. Anti-psychotic drugs. Painkillers. Alcohol. Everything that could numb me enough to sleep.
I was so addicted to the worst drugs I’m still weaning off of them a quarter milligram at a time.
I’ve always been an addict. I always will be an addict.
I looked back at the best times in my life. When I felt confident. When I was making money. When I felt the courage to love others, when I felt the strength of having others love me.
— What was I doing right?
I looked back at when I was doing things wrong: businesses failing, no friends, aborted relationships, lying.
— What was I doing wrong?
I didn’t have a core integrity to speak from. I didn’t have a core manifesto. Now I do and I try to live it every day.
People always want complex solutions to simple problems. But minimalism, simplicity, less, is always the best.
So I’ll write what I’ve written before. Maybe add a tiny bit.
The entire universe came from a single infinitesimal dot.
A fresh start.
PHYSICAL HEALTH – Eat / Sleep / Move.
– 8 Hours of sleep
– Simply don’t eat processed foods (I try. I try.)
– Move. On a recent podcast, the author of “The Bad Food Bible” told me, “30 minutes of brisk walking a day is enough”.
EMOTIONAL HEALTH – ZERO toxic people
I have so many examples of this:
– a bad romantic relationship will destroy every opportunity and friendship in your life
– one single bad business relationship can destroy a billion revenue company
– one bad friend can cause months of anxiety and worry
Only 1000 “No”s can find you the right “Yes”.
——To you who are special to me: “YES!”
I always say, “write ten ideas a day”. Not to have a good idea. But to exercise the idea machine. A machine that will change your life once developed.
Every day this idea machine fuels the rest of my life. It’s a miracle.
How can you be creative? I don’t know. Keep a notebook (I keep a waiter’s pad), write your ideas down for the day. Then write down everything interesting to you.
Practice: write ten novel ideas. Write ten inventions. Write ten things McDonalds can do to be better. Google. Your friend. Your spouse.
I hate the word “spiritual”. It sort of feels gooey.
But the essence of spirituality is simply: “I can’t control the world.” And the world is an irrational place filled with irrational people. And yet happiness still exists.
What is happiness? I don’t know. But this is what I try:
– friendships and love
– improvement every day in the activities I love. Even tiny improvement.
– freedom. Making more choices for myself today than the day before.
If others are making choices for me, the results won’t be as good as my own choices for me.
Everyone else’s agenda is worse for you than your agenda.
1% Improvement a Day
Whatever I try to get good at, I try to improve 1% a day.
- virtual mentors
- studying failure (never blame, always study)
- challenge myself. If I want to get better at something, find the worst conditions to practice in.
Mikhail Botvinik, former world chess champion, used to play practice matches with someone blowing smoke in his face.
Did he get better? Yes.
Did he die of cancer? Probably. But he got 1% better a day.
Two years ago I threw away everything I owned. I lived for two years in Airbnbs.
Now I am starting to slowly build up.
In those two years I was more successful than I ever was. I discovered new and great friends. I met someone special.
When you get rid of the clutter of life, of the mind, of emotions, then true love takes its place.
Loving yourself is Abundance.
From nothing, comes everything.
What did I learn too late in life?
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