Mastering Depression and Living the Life You Were Meant to Live

############################################

WARNING: This is a different kind of article than my usual ones but if it helps even a single person to heal themselves and live the beautiful and brilliant life they deserve despite struggling with the darkness then it was worth it.

############################################

I’ve lived with bouts of deep depression my whole life.

I’m not afraid or ashamed to say it. It’s just the way that it is and what makes me, me.

It’s a part of who I am.

I don’t think of it as mental illness or a disorder or a disease. It’s just part of the way I’m wired. This may seem strange, but frankly I don’t think about it all that much anymore and I rarely talk about it. As I’ve gotten older my time in the dark has gotten less and less frequent and intense. That’s because I’ve found some very effective ways to deal with it.

That’s what this post is all about:

Dealing with it and living a big and bold and beautiful life anyway.

So if you’re struggling then come walk with me for a little while and I’ll show you a different way out of the darkness and into the light.

Fake Self Help

Let’s start with what not to do.

Number one, stop reading fake pop psychology articles like Fifty Things Overachievers Do Every Day and Thirty Things to Do Before Breakfast.

These articles are crack on Medium and everywhere else. People posting these articles have 100s of thousands of followers and a rabid group of fans who just want a taste of syrupy sweet nonsense after rolling out of bed with their smartphone before rushing off to work.

If you want to be super popular on social media just tell people a bunch of bullshit that sounds great but really does absolutely nothing to make you healthy and happy. It’s also the key to getting on every best seller list and getting quoted on Oprah and tweeted by mega-celebrities who sell products they don’t use because they’re pretty to look at and have a few million followers on Instagram.

It’s all a lie.

Nobody does a bunch of things before breakfast. Nobody is constantly at the top of their game. Nobody is pretty all the time. Nobody has fun all the time. Those stunning girls on Instagram didn’t lose weight because of Detox Tea. They lost it because they work out hard and eat right or because they’re twenty and their metabolisms are revving at 10x.

The faster you realize this the faster you can start to heal yourself and live an authentic life, the life you imagine for yourself.

It may seem like I hate these writers and celebrity teeth whitening pushers but I don’t hate them at all. Sure a number of them are outright, cynical hucksters but many of them are probably sincere. And that’s the real problem.

They’re unwitting agents of delusion.

That makes them the worst kind because they don’t know they’re creating delusion. They believe their own lies and think they’re helping people. Hell, maybe they do help you every once in awhile if you just had a bad day because someone yelled at you at the office or cut you off on the freeway. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the times where you wake up and can’t get out of bed and you feel like nothing will ever go right again and your whole life is meaningless. That’s when those articles are less than worthless. They’re actually even worse. They’re hurting you.

That’s because what they’re selling is the easy button and there is no easy button here. This is something you will deal with every day of your life. Take a breath though. That’s the bad news.

The good news is there are some powerful ways to actually deal with it instead of pretending you dealt with it by reading some fake Chicken Soup for the Soul knockoff.

Dealing with depression starts with understanding.

Know thy enemy.

If you can shine a light on the darkness, the darkness disappears. So let’s get to know our antagonist, the Demon of Depression.

The Killer Inside Me

J.K Rowling suffered with depression at different periods in her life, most acutely when she started work on her first book. That’s how she came up with the most terrifying creatures in the epic fantasy saga of Harry Potter:

The Dementors.

The Dementors are the living embodiment of depression.

An interviewer once noticed it and asked her whether they were a direct metaphor:

“Yes. That is exactly what they are. It was entirely conscious. And entirely from my own experience.
Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced.
It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It’s a necessary thing to feel.
Depression is very different.”

Nobody has ever described it better. That’s the nature of the demon. It’s the absence of feeling. It’s the end of hope. It’s feeling like nothing will ever be good or bright or wonderful ever again. It’s feeling like you’ll never have anything but failure, you’re not good enough for what you want in life and you’ll never get it no matter what you do.

The good news is, it’s a lie. The bad news is, it doesn’t feel that way while you’re in it.

We’re going to talk about some very hard things now but walk with me a little longer because the more we know about our enemy the better we can prepare for him.

The most important thing to know is that the Demon of depression doesn’t care who you are or who you know or how much money you have in the bank. Doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, or somewhere in between. If you’re famous, talented, or a totally talentless hack the Demon does not discriminate. He can come for anyone at anytime, when they’re high or when they’re low.

That means we’re all in this together.

Anthony Bourdain had “everything”: money; fame; effortless cool; powerful and fun friends; a best selling book; a great job; fine food and a life of travel and adventure.

He killed himself anyway.

So let’s stop for a second here and take a breath and try to understand what happened because it’s super important. It goes to the very heart of the matter.

And I mean really stop and take a breath or walk away from this article for a bit if it’s hard to read. Talk a walk. Take care of yourself and come back but do come back, OK? Stick with me here. It’s worth it. Promise.

Now, we will never know precisely what Bourdain felt and thought at the very end but I have a good idea because I’ve been there myself, dreaming of my shotgun in the early hours of the morning, tossing and turning and picturing all the steps I’d need to end my life. It’s a horrible place that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I don’t know precisely what he thought but I have a pretty damn good idea how he felt and saw the world at that terrible moment.

Bourdain’s death hit me very, very hard. I had tears in my eyes as soon as I saw it posted in the early morning hours on my news feed. It caught me in the middle of the morning, when I wasn’t expecting it, just clicking through the news feed on my phone on the way to the bathroom to take a piss.

I cried on the toilet in the early morning twilight.

And I couldn’t understand why. Usually news of celebrity deaths don’t much phase me. People die every day, powerful or poor, famous or infamous, legend or nobody. So even if I loved that person’s music or writing or painting or speeches it doesn’t hit me hard at all.

But Bourdain hit me like a freight train.

After a few days I finally figured out why.

I admired the man.

Maybe behind the scenes he was some kind of asshole and jerk, I don’t know. But even if he was people are more than one thing in life.

When it comes to me, he was one of the last people on Earth that I actually looked up to a little. In a world of duplicitous politicians, fear spewing TV talking heads and Instagram celebrities that will disappear like sand scattered on glass blown apart by the wind, he was real. I loved his show and his rip-roaring honest writing and the way he thought about the world. He had a lot of things I wanted in life, some of which I already have and others I’m working hard to get.

And it made me question every single bit of it. I wondered if that was my own trajectory?

That’s a good thing. Because I was reminded of something very, very important:

Never compare yourself and your progress to anyone but yourself.

I had managed to master that art with almost everyone on the planet, but Bourdain and a few others still managed to make me look on with longing.

No more.

I will never again look at what anyone else has and pretend that they have it all together or that they’re happy. We can’t know anyone else’s inner life. It could be wonderful or it could be a mess. The problem is that looking at it from the outside gets us nowhere because people show us only what they want us to see.

From now on I will only measure myself by my own yardstick and you should do the same. I measure myself by where I’ve been and where I’m going. Did I learn something new? Am I making a little bit of ground every day, even if it’s only an inch? And if I fail, am I being gentle with myself while still having the discipline to get back up and join the fight again?

These are the things that matter.

This was an incredible lesson to remember. And I will never forget it again.

I compare myself to me and me alone.

Trust the Universe and The Thing You’re Avoiding is the Thing You Need to Do

There are a number of lessons to discover in Anthony’s death so let’s look a little deeper. The second one is this:

External success is not the same as inner success.

Inner success is something very different and very precious. It’s the thing you really want.

One of my favorite authors, Jed McKenna, calls it “Human Adulthood.” It’s about becoming a real, full fledged and proud card carrying member of the adult world. It’s surprisingly rare. When I look around at most celebrities and kings and politicians I see children, people trapped, people who never grew up, who stopped developing.

Inner success is about putting away childish things while never losing your capacity to see through the joyous eyes of a child.

It’s the rarest thing in the world.

A person can have all the money and fame in creation and still be a beggar.

In the book, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, McKenna talks about a poor housekeeper who was tougher and happier and stronger than almost everyone else walking the planet today.

“Human Adulthood is not the supreme state; it’s the natural state. To have money and adoration and power is less than nothing compared to residing in the state of Human Adulthood, and so a lowly cleaning woman can be a regal being while a rich, beautiful, movie star can be a peasant.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first, camels can’t pass through the eyes of needles, the meek shall inherit the earth, and so on.
Once unshackled from the life-sucking demands of ego, we clearly see the unformed creatures we had hitherto been; the state of Human Childhood. Like children. Not children in the happy, lyrical sense, but in the abrasive, self-absorbed, discordant sense.
What we consider bright and beautiful in children is the inherent nature of the fully developed human, of Human Adulthood. Our true state is one of playfulness, innocence, lack of guile, unboundedness of spirit, robust health and inner light, a natural confidence and unerring sense of right, imperturbability, grace, a calm eye and easy good humor, balance, freedom from malice and pettiness, the absence of fear, the presence of largesse and a permeating sense of gratitude.
Creativity. Connectedness. Correctness.
This is the clear and rightful state of the human being, and to arrive at it, one must die of the flesh to be born of the spirit. One’s life energy, formerly squandered by ego, can then be turned to the higher purposes and potentials of life in the magnificent amusement park of duality.”

But how does a person who seemingly has it all become a beggar in spirit?

It can happen for a lot of reasons. The biggest is that you go somewhere only to find out that’s not where you wanted to go at all. You wanted something so badly but it wasn’t what you expected.

In other words, you changed.

You went further down the river and realized you wanted something else entirely.

That’s a huge blow. And it often feels like there’s no way out. You’re stuck.

Maybe you’re in the wrong career or married the wrong person or started a company only to realize you don’t want to own a company?

Maybe that’s what happened to Anthony? At some point travel lost its luster. He didn’t want to get on another plane or eat another four star meal or make jokes with a famous person. He just wanted to be home and hanging out with his dogs or eating a plain old hamburger instead of a gourmet plate of pasta drizzled with truffle butter and lobster.

Here’s the thing though. Life is change. The river is always flowing and moving and we are always changing with it. We are not the same people we were yesterday or the day before that or the year before.

Eventually you might be a totally different you and that means one thing and one thing only:

You have to change once again.

When we don’t want to be doing something anymore it’s time to take action. The faster we can take action, the faster we can move on from our depression.

That’s a lot harder than it sounds but it’s the only real solution.

The obstacle is the way.

We have to go through it, not around it. We have to do something else.

The problem is that we feel like there is no other path. What happens if we give up our livelihood? Will we starve? What happens if we leave our significant other? Will we lose all our money or never see our kids again?

The way through is to trust the Universe.

I’ve discovered time and again that the Universe is not evil. There is evil in the world, evil people and evil events but the Universe itself is working for us at all times if we open ourselves to it. We often can’t see the path out of the storm but our job is not to find the whole path right away.

Our job is to take the first step and then the next and then the next.

And the way to do that is to trust.

The more we do it and the more it works out, the more we trust.

Let me give you an example. Long before I was a writer I loved to draw. I spent every second I could drawing spaceships and monsters and aliens. When I got to high school I knew I wanted to go to an art college.

There was just one massive problem. I grew up in a time when there was no Internet, no blockbuster comic movies, no video games with mind-blowing graphics.

And that meant I loved drawing things that would not get me a job.

That might seem strange to you today because sci-fi and fantasy are everywhere. But back then there were only two paths in art: fine art and advertising.

I hated advertising. The idea of drawing an arrow to represent some company’s growth made me sick to my stomach.

Fine art was out too. I wasn’t going to paint a canvas red and pretend it meant something or a bowl of fruit just to get in a museum.

So I quit. I stopped drawing all together. I went to a regular college and I never drew anything again.

It was the greatest mistake of my life.

I’d failed to trust the Universe to open a path for me. If I’d just gone to art school and taken a job that wasn’t perfect but kept drawing my monsters and aliens and spaceships in my free time I might be a famous artist today. Now we have the Internet and video games and special effects movies. There was no way to see any of that coming.

Well there was and I just didn’t know it.

It’s called getting into the river and swimming. You trust that the river leads somewhere even though you can’t see where it goes up there around the bend. If you keep working at the things you love eventually the Universe opens a door that you could never see coming. And the only way to get there is to take a big step into the unknown and trust that something is there to catch you when you fall.

We have to keep going, make changes and adjust.

As soon as we do that we begin to see more clearly. The very act of starting to look for a new job or a new place to live or a new career path is often all we need to break the cycle of despair. It won’t be easy but taking real bold action breaks the Demon and gets us moving again. We don’t have to complete the whole process. Often times the things we need to do to fix our lives is to just get started. It make take days or months or years.

But don’t worry about the steps two years from now. Just do they step you’re on and forget the rest.

As Steve Wozniak once said:

“I learned not to worry so much about the outcome, but to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it.”

The Power of No

The third lesson in Anthony’s death is learning to say no.

Whenever I’ve taken on too much and I start to lose it I know I’ve got too many plates spinning. We run around like crazy people keeping all these plates spinning in our lives from work, to social obligations and children, to meetings and night life and social media.

It’s exhausting.

It’s killing us.

Anthony had too many plates spinning. That’s obvious. Traveling around the world all the time, book signings, drinking and eating and drinking some more, media appearances, interviews. It gets overwhelming even in short doses. I travel a ton now to give talks all around the world and I can tell you that after only three weeks I want to be home in my backyard with my beloved cats and staring into the clouds with my phone far, far away from me.

Most people never take the time to slow down and just say no. It could be raising your hand for every extra task at work as soon as your boss asks for volunteers, or saying yes to school boards and soccer league and dance lessons and a million other things all at once. Pretty soon it’s not one glass of wine at dinner to cope, it’s three.

This is a path to disaster. Eventually it just becomes too much. And, even worse, it can creep up on us. We might be running around like a chicken with our heads cut off for weeks or months and then suddenly collapse in a heap of tears and despair.

The key is not to get there in the first place.

And if you do, stop. Pawn a task off on someone else shamelessly. You can pay them back later. Bow out of the school play. Have the kids take Uber to freaking dance class. Call the neighbors and rope them into taking over the PTA.

Just say no.

Cut. Don’t add.

Saying no is very liberating.

In the book Spiritual Warfare, McKenna talks about one of his students, a mother named Lisa, who woke up one day and was sick of being a high powered lawyer with a family and no end of her obligations in sight. She’d taken to dreaming of her death as the only way out until she finally realized there was another path:

She took her daughter and walked out the door.

The door was never locked. She just imagined it was.

“For Lisa, though, that’s what life was; schedules and obligations and responsibilities; an endless plate-spinning act. For her entire adult life that’s all she’s been doing, frantically keeping dozens of spinning plates balanced on sticks like an old Vaudeville routine, scurrying back and forth in a perpetual panic, terrified that one might fall and smash, adding more plates every year, performing this manic, macabre dance not for five minutes at a time, but every waking minute of every day for years on end with no end in sight, unless…
Unless she just stopped.”

Stop. That is the key.

Just stop.

Learn to say yes to the things that matter and no to the things that do not.

And so much of the crap we say yes to absolutely does not matter. Learn to tell the different and start seeing the difference in your own life.

Finding Forgiveness

I didn’t know Anthony but I call him a friend because he was a friend in spirit. And the next lesson from my friend’s death is this:

Let go of the past.

Stop carrying it with you wherever you go because your present life is heavy enough. You don’t need all those ghosts of the past tagging along for the ride.

Let me show you what I mean with a story from my own life.

I remember a girl who teased me in grade school and made the other kids laugh at me. She used to call me “chicken legs.” Looking back on it now it’s strange to think that could ever hurt me. It was pretty ridiculous. My legs aren’t remarkable at all. They’re not too big or too small and certainly not disproportionately thin. They’re just legs.

But that’s the thing about kids and humans in general. They find ways to hurt each other even if it makes no sense. Fat, small, skinny, thin, dirty, clean, tall, short, everything is fodder for the cruel parts of ourselves, the wicked monster that’s in all of us. Kids make up some crazy nickname until it sticks and then somehow it becomes our reality even though it has no reality at all.

For years, I carried that pain with me. I didn’t even realize it because I’d buried it deep in the darkest reaches of my unconscious mind.

But our pain is never really hidden. It pops up like a steam burst somewhere, distorting our lives in strange and ugly ways, warping our behavior and our choices.

In my early twenties I refused to wear shorts, even in the baking sun, because I hated my legs, all because some girl made fun of them when I was young.

And then one day through the miracle of the Internet I ran into her as an adult on a school reunion site. My sudden fury surprised me. It all came back in a blinding red flash. I wanted to strangle her for what she’d made me feel. I spit venom as fast as I could, telling her how much I despised her for what she’d done.

And she just said three little words:

“I’m so sorry.”

That stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t expect it at all.

That’s when it hit me.

She didn’t hate me. She barely even remembered me.

It was an illusion.

I’d taken real pain and suffering and I’d magnified it my mind and carried it with me. I carried it a thousand times longer than I needed to carry it.

It was a massive rock I’d dragged everywhere, never realizing I could just stop and put it down.

And she hadn’t “made” me feel anything. Oh she did once, decades earlier. But I’d chosen to keep that pain and rage with me for so much longer.

We don’t choose how people treat us but we can choose how we react to it.

Eventually.

We’ll feel hurt and furious in the present by holding onto that hate is poison in our blood. I’d reacted in the worst way possible, but letting my hatred seep deep inside my spirit and poison me slowly.

It was as if I’d woken from a nightmare and there was no monster chasing me. There never had been. It was only my own mind.

She told me her own story then.

She’d had a very hard childhood, much harder than mine, with parents who hated each other. They yanked her around like a trophy in a vicious and endless tug of war. Every day she went to school furious and full of spite. And she lashed out at everyone to feel good about herself because she hated herself and her life. I wasn’t singled out for some special reason. I was just a random target in the way of a wave of sorrow and rage.

And like me she carried her childhood pain with her long after her parents split up. She’d married a man like her father and started the cycle anew, battling with him, with her own daughter in the crossfire.

But then one day she woke up. She changed. And she realized one of the most important lessons in life:

We’re not clones of our parents. We don’t need to make the same mistakes they did.

As the master sage, Khalil Gibran, once wrote:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

He could have just as easily have said:

They come through you but they are not you.

And so just like Lisa in Spiritual Warfare, she left her unhappy marriage and made a new choice. She struck out on her own and raised her daughter by herself. While it was never easy, it was the right choice.

And more than that, it was the path to true joy.

When we realize we’re not prisoners of the past and we have our own thoughts and bodies and souls then we can start to really live our own lives.

I listened to her whole story with tears in my eyes and then I said three little words that made all the difference in the world:

“I forgive you.”

And that’s when I put my rock down for good.

I left it there and never looked back.

The Storm

I’ll probably surprise a lot of people who wonder if I meditate or do some kind of visualization technique.

I don’t.

Not anymore at least. Not much. I’ve tried it all from meditation to visualization to mantras and more.

You can meditate if you want to calm down and if it helps you unwind but that’s all it is and all it has to be. It doesn’t have to be some path to mystical understanding and enlightenment and beatific calm.

I’ve tried a lot of the various self help techniques and they have a lot of rabid adherents who will likely show up in the comments section of this article but they don’t work. They really don’t. They’re a part of the same fake life hacks as all the rest.

They might give you the illusion of working for a time and you can sell a lot of books with the Law of Attraction, but you won’t be getting a Lamborghini and your dream house by thinking about it for twenty minutes a day. You’re better off just working for it.

Humans love illusions. Illusions are really, really comforting. We imagine a secret technique that the ancient masters know. If we could only find it everything would flow easily and smoothly all the time.

Enlightenment is an imaginary state that’s for sale everywhere. It’s the foundation of the modern world and of advertising campaigns. It’s the foundation of every religion whether it promising the feeling now, in the afterlife or a few lifetimes from now.

Get this. Buy that. Be this. Own that.

I am this. I am that.

It’s pretty people on billboards or on a stage selling you perpetual happiness.

Happiness and sadness and depression come and go in cycles.

Nothing lasts forever, good or bad.

There is no way to avoid the darkness so I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms to deal with it.

My technique is deceptively simple but it’s actually very hard to master and it won’t work every single time. Sorry. That’s life. But it does help a lot to alleviate the madness. When you mind is swirling with fear and crazy thoughts and negative energy do this:

  1. Stop and do nothing.
  2. Wait for a clear signal.
  3. When you get a clear signal move forward.

Let me explain each of these in turn because it’s not enough to just see the steps and it sounds a little like the opposite of what I was saying earlier. It just appears that way on the surface.

The first one is the most crucial. When your mind breaks down and collapses in on itself, it’s like getting caught in a storm of delusion. This is the Demon’s playground. The thoughts are wrong and insane and negative but they are not real. They are nothing but a dark wind and they have as much substance as the wind.

So the key here is not to listen to any of them. Do not get attached to any of them. Just find shelter and wait it out. Do nothing. Take no action that comes from these wrong and unclear and delusional thoughts.

And just like a storm the thoughts will start to burn themselves out.

The energy of the storm exhausts itself when you don’t get caught in the thoughts.

Don’t make any real decisions here. Don’t quit your job, or call your ex, or jump off a bridge, or book a ticket to Europe.

Do nothing.

Let the storm swirl.

Let it exhaust itself.

The second one is to wait for a clear signal. As the storm clears and the energy of the thoughts slow like a dying wind, you’ll start to feel your own clear voice again. It’s hidden in the storm and it’s calling out to you but you can’t hear it in the chaos. Eventually it breaks through, as the storm slows.

And that voice is the one that knows, your true voice.

Eventually it will say something loud and clear, like a trumpet blast.

And when it does comes step three. The storm has passed and you have your next mission. It could be as simple as saying no to another pointless meeting or taking time with your friends and family on the weekend. Or it could be the time to quit your job or book that ticket to Europe.

Stop. Let the storm pass. Once the storm passes, listen. Then take action.

I’ve used this technique for years. And it’s helped me battle all kinds of monsters.

Eventually I got faster and better with it and the storms kicked themselves out faster. That’s what happens with practice. It’s just like anything. It takes time to master.

Be gentle with yourself as you work on this because you won’t get it right the first time. Or the second. Or the tenth.

But keep trying.

Keep going.

Further.

Finding What You Love

Maybe the thing that helped me more than anything was finding writing.

And more importantly committing to writing.

I know not everyone has a true passion or talent but that’s not the point. Everyone has something that gives them joy, even if they do it at an amateur level.

My grandfather worked in an airplane factory his whole life but he had a stained glass workshop in the basement and he spent many hours down there making beautiful colored glass ornaments and artifacts. One of my old friends loved photography and always carried a camera with him on trips despite being an executive at a bank. Everyone has something like this, some refuge and escape from the world.

Nurture that. Never neglect it.

Joy is found in returning to the things we love again and again. It’s better than sex, or drink, or drugs, or food, or any other substitute for joy.

The meaning of life is not found in the famous, age old question:

What is the meaning of life?

That is a universal question that has no answer.

The right question is what is the meaning of life to me?

When you stop trying to keep all the plates spinning and stop trying to do everything the world tells you and you stop chasing fantasies of perpetual happiness than you can just live your life.

And then you can find the true joy of life which is spending time with family and loved ones, eating things that you like that make you feel healthy and sometimes eating something unhealthy too and being OK with it.

Exercising, creating things, writing, talking, walking, recording, painting, traveling, thinking, spending time with kids and animals, whatever those things are for you, find them.

When you stop worrying about all these other things then it opens up the path to the true meaning of life, which is spending time on the things that you love.

One Bad Day

There’s one last lesson from my friend Anthony’s death that I wanted to touch on. It’s not an easy one to talk about but it’s an important one.

One bad day does not take away a lifetime of amazing.

I’m sure Anthony battled the Demon regularly. And yet he did spectacular things. He wrote a best seller and traveled the world and met amazing people. He did all of those things and more.

Then one day he didn’t beat the Demon. But for me that doesn’t take away all the days that he did. He lived a life most people can only dream of and there’s just no way it was all bad. Impossible. It was up and down, a roller coaster like all our lives. He took big risks and put himself out there in the public eye.

He lived big. Nobody can take all those other days away from him or us.

I’m reminded of some famous lines from Teddy Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

If you’re going to fail at least fail while daring greatly. Take a chance. Embrace life. Open yourself to possibility.

The stakes are real and the stakes are high. But that doesn’t make it not worth it.

I have a Snoopy cartoon I printed out from Reddit one day. I’m pretty sure it’s not from Charles Shultz and just something someone Photoshopped to inspire people. It worked.

I pasted the graphic below so you can have it too. It’s on my whiteboard and I look at it almost every day as I contemplate life, the universe and everything.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown sit together, the best of friends, sharing a late afternoon look at the sunset.

Charlie says “Some day we’ll all die, Snoopy!”

And Snoopy says “True, but on all the other days we will not.”

That’s just the thing. A lifetime of greatness and struggle against the darkness is not erased by one bad day.

So live! Live big! Fight! Make your life a great story and adventure!

The Hero with a Thousand Faces is me and it’s you.

No matter what happens to me now, nothing can take away the life I’ve lived. Nothing can take away the things I’ve done and the worlds I’ve imagined and the places I’ve been and the great loves of my life and my friends and animals. Those moments were mine and I lived them.

And if one day you find I am no longer here and the Demon got to me, don’t cry for me.

Because on all the other days he did not.

############################################

If this article struck a chord with you then please visit my Patreon because without it these articles wouldn’t exist.

############################################

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed psychiatrist and I’m not anyone’s personal therapist and I can’t be that for you. If a spiritual practice or drug regimen or anything else is working for you, great. Don’t stop on my account. I’m just relating stories from my own life and telling you what worked for me. Your mileage may vary. All I have to offer is my articles. They’re my gift and they’re all I have to give. The rest is up to you.

############################################