Up, down, dead
How life can crush you if you don’t notice warning signs
As you know (perhaps), my first article three weeks ago was quite optimistic. Life can be extremely wonderful and leaving your comfort zone can change it.
It has been noticeable in my personal life recently. I continue to publish my Hotel-Podcast week by week and now have a clear idea of how to push business at likeMagic forward in a structured way. We also have our first customer from Vienna, where I spent two weeks every summer as a child as my great-aunt used to live in the Austrian capital. Finally, here is my second article in English, which makes me feel a little bit proud.
But life doesn’t always go up. Life may sometimes be a bloody rollercoaster.
Sometimes life goes up slowly, stops at the top, and then races downhill without brakes.
Usually, the rollercoaster brings you back to the point where you started. Same as life. However, sometimes…
Only two days after August 2022 – the best month of my life? newsletter came out, one of my buddies received a devastating news that his best friend (for over 40 years) committed suicide. Learning a little about what his friend’s background was, I started to get very angry because I couldn’t understand why he had made such a decision.
Let’s call him James and let’s be hopeful he rests in peace since he took this fatal decision. A businessman for a long time of his life, he certainly experienced many successes often. Business can be a lot of fun, especially after you find the right place for yourself as an entrepreneur. Business generally hardens you so much that you don’t get upset about every little thing in life. At least this is what business has done to me after being a full-time entrepreneur for over one decade. The best thing is that you learn to handle every kind of challenge and one day you have the conviction that there is always a solution no matter how big the problem is.
But is it really always? I am sure that James had a similar mindset as most entrepreneurs do. However, his rollercoaster didn’t come back to where it had started. It went up and crashed. I don’t know if he knew that he was sitting in the wrong car. Possibly, nobody in his environment could ever evaluate the situation properly. Neither his family nor my buddy. As another friend of mine always says, in the end, you cannot look into the head of someone, you can only see the face.
Is there a higher probability that entrepreneurs end their own lives?
One source that I found says that there is a comparatively higher suicide rate among doctors who are also entrepreneurs. Since my wife graduated from a medical university, she has often mentioned this as well. One of the reasons can be the fact that they deal with quite large sums of money running their clinics but never learned this at university.
James wasn’t a doctor but he managed to set up more than ten branches of his business. I was so angry because I couldn’t understand how such a successful entrepreneur wouldn’t have found another solution than ending his life, whatever his challenge was.
Isn’t there always a solution as I assumed before?
Perhaps not. After careful consideration, I have concluded that a positive solution is not always achievable for various reasons, e.g. serious mental conditions.
If you don’t suffer from a serious mental disease, you must learn how to handle private and business crises. Life goes up and down and often up again. If you follow this simple rule, you must just recall this at the right time when it’s needed.
What also helps is to have positive people around you instead of complainers that never find a reason to smile. The thing is that you are the only person who can change this. You just have to get your ass off the couch and meet new people.
Never take reality for granted. In this context I liked what Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia said:
There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.’ Either way, nothing happens.
On one of my last trips to Zurich, I listened to a podcast by Pauline Laigneau from France. Her invitee said a remarkable sentence: “Quitting is a skill”. I think that she is very right about it. As an entrepreneur or in your private life, things can always go in the wrong direction. However, you usually have a gut feeling when it’s about to happen.
Do not hesitate to stop doing something or stop someone from doing it if it has a detrimental effect on your or somebody else’s life. Act and get your balance back. If you keep moving, there is a big chance that the bad feeling only lasts a very short time.
I usually make decisions very fast or at least I’ve learned to do so while being an entrepreneur. Fortunately, my wife has known me since the age of 17. If she hasn’t, she might feel a little bit uncomfortable with my decisiveness. A nice example was when I decided to no longer manufacture handmade chocolates (full-time) at the beginning of 2018 and applied for my first real job a few days before Christmas, followed by an interview invitation for the 2nd of January. Therefore, I took the TGV to Aix-en-Provence on New Year’s Day (would I have drunk less) and moved to Southern France only half a month later.
After such a long time of being an entrepreneur with several financial ups and many downs, my sleep quality changed instantly. What’s more, my sister-in-law found out that I changed into a much more positive person during her first visit to my new home. Anyway, at that point, it was not at all clear how and when my wife could keep up with me. One day I will let you know what our solution has been.
Always look out for warning signs
To recognize warning signs, take time for yourself. Of course, there are so many tasks throughout the day, but taking care of yourself should always be one of your daily tasks. Therefore, you need to establish rules and it’s sometimes easier if someone assists you. For example, I started to do more sports at the beginning of the year. I do it weekly now. However, my latest idea is to organize a “Stammtisch” where I meet my male friends from Stuttgart regularly and enjoy some beers together.
If you want to join, just leave me a message in the comments. 😀
Wishing you a wonderful Sunday,