Linked below is an article on depression and suicide by Tim Ferris, an entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcast host who has studied and practiced self-improvement strategies and techniques that we can all incorporate into our daily lives in our quest for happiness. He is well known for his book “The Four-Hour Workweek” and his latest book “Tools of the Titans” is in the market.
All of us from time to time will face challenges that will make us sad, hurt, disappointed, and even angry. However, Tim Ferris, like my other favorite entrepreneurs/self-improvement coaches James Altucher and Marie Forleo – they encourage us to practice daily habits that make us positive and productive human beings.
In this article, Ferris wrote:
Most “superheroes” are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.
Here are some of my coping mechanisms for making it through the day:
1) Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. E-mail is the mind killer.
2) Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh like this) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper.
3) Write down the 3-5 things — and no more — that are making you most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually = most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict.
4) For each item, ask yourself:
– “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
– “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
5) Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions.
6) Block out at 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.
7) TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2-3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work.
8) If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.
9) Physically MOVE for at least 20 minutes each day. Go for a long walk, lift weights, take a free online yoga class (YouTube), anything. Ideally, get outside. I was once asked by friend for advice on overcoming debilitating stress. The answer I repeated over and over again was: “Remember to EXERCISE daily. That is 80% of the battle.”
10) Follow a diet that prevents wild blood sugar swings. This means avoiding grains and refined carbohydrates most of the time. I follow the slow-carb diet with one cheat day per week and have done so for 10+ years. Paleo also works great. Don’t forget to eat plenty of fat. High protein and low fat can give you low-grade symptoms of rabbit starvation.
11) Schedule at least one group dinner with friends per week. Get it on the calendar no later than 5pm on Monday. Ideal to have at least three people, but two is still great medicine.
12) Take a minute each day to call or email someone to express gratitude of some type. Consider someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time. It can be a one-line text or a 5-second voicemail.
Congratulations! That’s it.
Those are the rules I use, and they help steer the ship in the right direction.
Routines are the only way I can feel “successful” despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, hit snooze, nap, and otherwise fritter away my days with bullshit. If I have 10 “important” things to do in a day, I’ll feel overwhelmed, and it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle 1 must-do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2-3 hours a day.
And when — despite your best efforts — you feel like you’re losing at the game of life, never forget: Even the best of the best feel this way sometimes. When I’m in the pit of despair with new book projects, I recall what iconic writer Kurt Vonnegut said about his process: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
Tim Ferris’ link to his article is here: https://www.google.com/amp/tim.blog/2015/05/06/how-to-commit-suicide/amp/
“Failure” and “success” are both wins because we made an effort to embark on a journey by working on an opportunity. What makes “failure” and “success” both a win is when we appreciate what we’ve learned, the skills we’ve developed, and the people we’ve built relationships with. So even on our hardest day when we feel worthless, like Ferris wrote, we can list the things that are making us anxious, and choose to work on that one thing that would make us feel accomplished for the day and make all the other things on our list less important or easier to knock off later. Exercise, meditate, write our goals down, listen to music, take a walk, spend times with positive friends, or do an activity that will boost our happy chemicals and make us feel more accomplished. The small wins and accomplishments mean a lot, because when we achieve many of these small wins, we will eventually achieve the huge wins! On our goods days, we could rack up a dozen or more wins a day, but on our toughest day, even if we just make an effort to accomplish one very important task, that is a super huge win – huge!
Jon Riki Karamatsu