Personal Choice & Suicide

June 6, 2014

A Case Against Suicide

The issue of suicide is a heated one. And it’s complicated. I want to look at it from the perspective of personal responsibility. The common responsibility argument goes like this: You have a responsibility to the people who love you; suicide will cause them to suffer so you shouldn’t do it.

I would argue that our first responsibility is to ourselves. I’ve built a business around the idea of empowering people to make their own choices. So then you might think, well Curtis, isn’t it a personal choice whether or not to commit suicide? Yes, it is. But whose choice exactly?

With most choices you make in your life, a future YOU will have an opportunity to make a different choice if you don’t like the consequences of the previous choice. Suicide, on the other hand, is the one choice that you make for yourself now and also for the future you.

Yes, you have the right to make a choice for you now. But do you have the right to make that choice for the future you? If you don’t want to live but some future version of you might want to live, do you have the right to take away that choice from yourself in the future?

This may all sound hypothetical, but talk to people who tried to commit suicide and survived. Many of them are happy to be alive now. And others like myself who considered suicide (I got so far as “suicidal ideation with a plan,” according to a friend of mine who is a counselor) are so grateful we never made that choice. I would never have met my nieces, I would never have started my business, I would never have visited all kinds of amazing places, I would never have written songs or made films, etc. What was I thinking that I would have given up all of that? Did that person that I was — that person that was so blinded by hopelessness and suffering — have the right to take all that away from me?

So my case against suicide is a personal one. You don’t owe anything to anyone else. But you do owe yourself. Be selfish and let yourself find out if life was worth living after all.


Forgive Your Way to Productivity & Success

December 4, 2012

I just watched this very exciting video that reveals a benefit of Integrity Day that I’ve sensed but up until now haven’t been able to articulate.

The video describes research into what makes an otherwise honest person cheat. One insight to come out of this research was the value of a “clean slate” in getting a person to behave more honestly. Think of Catholic confession, as an example.

What they found was this:

Honest people have a tendency to rationalize small opportunities to cheat: having a cookie when you’re dieting, or taking a box of pencils from work. But as this cheating accumulates, there comes a “what the hell” turning point. At this point, the person sees themselves as a cheater, so they figure they might as well embrace it and enjoy it.

But if you give that person the opportunity to say what they did and ask for forgiveness, it negates the “what the hell” effect. They see themselves as a good person again, and they don’t want to cheat.

This is exactly what happens during each hourly check-in call on an Integrity Day.

At the beginning of the Integrity Day, you declare your intention: I’m going to focus on Project A for the next hour. You work hard, and when you check in at the end of the hour, you report on your success and everyone cheers you on.

But, if you’re human like me, you will have some hours when you don’t. When you procrastinate. When you cheat. You get on Facebook, or email, or you go get a cup of coffee and chat with a co-worker. Your actions are out of integrity with your declared intention.

But what happens?

You get on the check-in call at the end of the hour, and you say, “I didn’t do what I intended.” And the group cheers you on. We cheer you on anyway. Why? Because we’re human too. We’ve all been there. And we intuitively know that shame is not the pathway to success.

So in addition to accountability and community, one of the benefits of Integrity Day are those hourly opportunities for a clean slate.

I would love to hear from those of you who’ve experienced the benefit of this clean slate theory in the context of productivity, whether in an Integrity Day or in some other situation.

And if you’d like to come join an inspiring group of “creative doers” in an Integrity Day, you can check out this month’s schedule here:

Health & Fitness: How to Succeed When Willpower Fails

August 2, 2012

Can you remember a time when you were eating out of control? When you weren’t actually hungry but you kept stuffing food into your face anyway?

I can… It was this past Saturday.

It was an “all you can eat” situation at an outdoor festival and I PIGGED out. I got so full and bloated that I started jokingly sticking out my stomach and asking my friends if they wanted to feel the baby kick.

Yes, I hide my shame behind humor, just like you.

Now what happened? Why was I so out of control? Was it a lack of willpower? That’s what most people think to themselves: “I just need more willpower.”

But willpower is a lie. Think about it. Do you really believe in some magical force inside of you that you can somehow conjure up to make you do the things you don’t want to do?

We do things for REASONS, not because of magical forces like “willpower.”

We have internal reasons and external reasons. External reasons are things like wanting a promotion or fearing someone’s negative opinion of you. Internal reasons are things like your values and beliefs about life.

BOTH the internal and external are important, but consider this…

Bucky Fuller (arguably one of the smartest thinkers in the world) said that “environment is stronger than willpower.” What he meant is that if the forces that surround you are pushing you in one direction, it’s extremely difficult to sustain the inner motivation to go in a different direction.

For example, if you’re trying to eat healthy and you’re surrounded by all-you-can-eat desserts and fried food, it’s going to be very difficult to stay on the healthy path.

So you want to align the external forces in your life to point you in the direction of your goals. When you do that, you almost don’t even need inner motivation. Life will move you forward naturally.

I like to call these external forces STRUCTURES.

So what happened to me on Saturday that I “lost control” of my eating choices?

I didn’t have strong structures to support me. There was no lack of structures, of course. But they were pushing me in the direction of overeating:

  • Peer structures: All around me people were eating and drinking to excess.
  • Financial structures: There was no extra cost for eating more, and no savings for eating less.
  • Linguistic structures: Phrases like “get your money’s worth” and “all you can eat” created a positive connotation for over-consumption.

Now before I make too big a deal about this, let me acknowledge that, yes, it was just one day. I don’t eat like that every day. But that’s the point.

Why don’t I eat like that every day? Partly because of my values and beliefs, yes.

But another big reason (maybe even BIGGER reason according to Bucky Fuller) is because of the structures I’ve consciously chosen to support a healthier way of life.

Here are some examples:

  • I only keep healthy foods in the house. This makes it harder to eat unhealthy because it means an extra trip out to go get the junk food.
  • I have several standard meals I love to eat that are also very healthy. I don’t have to struggle with the question “What am I going to eat?” at every meal. It’s easy to make a healthy choice.
  • I often use a “100 Days” structure where I commit to some habit or way of living for 100 days and I blog about it. It makes my goals public, so people will see me whenever I “cheat.” I can’t hide.
  • I often seek support from a coach or mentor. This is someone who can help me through the challenging times when my choices seem murky or confusing.
  • I follow proven programs and strategies (whether it’s an exercise program, dietary guidelines, or a deliberate stress-reducing practice like meditation). It’s a simple matter of following the steps, which takes a lot of the anxiety and doubt out of the experience.

Can you see how all of these structures support me in my goal to eat healthy? And how much more difficult it would be without them?

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  1. What are your favorite structures that support you in living the way you want to live?
  2. What structures tend to steer you off track and away from your goal?
  3. Where in your life are you stalled and not making the progress you want to be making?
  4. Where in your life do you feel out of control?

Email me your answers to these questions and I would be happy to suggest structures that will support you in pursuing your goals with greater ease and flow.

©2012 Curtis G. Schmitt

How to Make Integrity Day More Valuable

June 5, 2012

A client and frequent Integrity Day participant (you may recognize his voice) recently shared with me an insight he had about how he gets the most value out of his Integrity Days.

You can listen to him explain in his own words (the audio clip is about 1 minute long):

Another way to increase the value of your Integrity Day is to complete the Pre-Call Exercise worksheet before the first call.

My mission is to help you take your productivity to the next level! To help you SOAR!

I hope to see you in an Integrity Day soon! Click here for the full June schedule of Integrity Days.

Peace & Passion,

Thank You, Scott Foster

May 8, 2012

Flower on the Beach by Scott Foster:

A beautiful song by an amazing man. He died 4 years ago, and I am so grateful to have known him for as long as I did. Who I am today is due largely to his friendship. So if I’ve been a positive influence in your life at all, please thank Scott by sharing a little extra kindness with the world today.

As I walk along the sand
I hear the sound of water
I push against the breeze

Ripples in the sand
Etched in by the wind
Leave me to wonder
I wonder what I’m feeling
To be touched so deeply
To be held so strong

As I look into the mirror
I don’t want to face
I’m afraid of what I’ll see

As time claims my life
In time

I look up to the sky
The sea is born again
And so am I

As I walk along the beach
The openness of space surrounds me
Where do I fit
Within these grains of sand
That I walk upon

Put your faith in me
Show me how
Give your heart away
Help me to

Give it away

Put your hand in mine
Lead me there
Give your heart away

Follow the steps I take
And be reborn again
Like a flower

The Curtis Factor: Your Productivity-Related Questions Answered Now!

December 29, 2011

Click here to submit your most burning productivity-related questions to me here and I will answer them with practical, actionable advice for free:

The Curtis Factor: Your Productivity-Related Questions Answered Now!.

20 Questions for the New Year!

December 17, 2011

Yes, it’s that time again! Time to reflect on what you’ve learned this past year and create a vision for the coming year.

Every year I send these questions to my list, it’s by far the most popular email all year. If these questions are new to you, I encourage you to carve out an hour or two to sit quietly, maybe late at night with a glass of wine, or early one morning with a cup of tea or coffee, and use these questions as an invitation to insight.

Of course, you could do this any time of year, but because of the way the calendar is, there’s a mood of reflection and possibility, a subtle feeling of endings and new beginnings. It’s in the air, so use it.

Most importantly, have fun. If any one question gets you stuck or feeling stressed, skip it. Come back to it at another time and you might find you’re more open to answers.

But don’t run from a challenge either. Give the answers some space to surface.

You might want to keep your answers to yourself or share them with close friends. It can be fun to hear from others about what they learned in 2011, and what they want to create in 2012.

And as a special gift to you to celebrate new beginnings and new creations, I’m offering a free strategy session with me to the first 10 people who register here:

Ready to get started? Great! Here are your…

20 Questions for the New Year

  1. Most valuable lesson from 2011?
  2. How will you apply that lesson in 2012?
  3. If you could go back to the beginning of 2011 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  4. If the future you from the end of 2012 were to come back in time now to give you a piece of advice for next year, what would it be?
  5. How will you apply the advice from questions 3 and 4 in 2012?
  6. Who are the people who had the greatest positive impact on your life in 2011?
  7. Who are the people YOU had the greatest positive impact on in 2011?
  8. Who are the people you intend to have a powerful positive impact on in 2012?
  9. What was your greatest experience in 2011?
  10. What would you like your greatest experience in 2012 to be?
  11. What unexpected gifts or blessings did you receive in 2011?
  12. Where did you push your comfort zone in 2011?
  13. Where will you push your comfort zone in 2012?
  14. If you were to receive the “2011 Personal
  15. Achievement Award,” what would it be for?
  16. If you were to start a quest and change the world in some way in 2012, what would that look like?
What’s one of your greatest strengths and how will you use it in 2012?
  17. What’s one of your most challenging weaknesses and how will you get help overcoming it in 2012?
  18. Top 3 goals for 2012?
  19. For each of your 2012 goals, what benchmark would you like to reach in the next month?
  20. What structures will you put into place in 2012 to make sure you follow through on your plans and reach your benchmarks? Who will you ask for support from in 2012?

Have fun with these questions! I plan to answer them over the next two weeks and then share my answers with some friends on New Year’s Eve.

And I’d love to hear from you, too. I invite you to share your answers with me or just let me know how you enjoyed this experience of reflection and creation.

And remember to claim your gift strategy session: 

Enjoy the rest of 2011, and make 2012 your best year yet!

Peace & Passion,

Control Your Eating During the Holidays

November 23, 2011

Many people struggle with weight issues around the holidays. Face it, there are all kinds of parties and big family dinners and stuff, and it can be really challenging to make healthy choices.

As a way of saying “Thank you!” to all of my loyal readers and clients I’ve posted two tracks from my popular “Control Your Eating & Achieve Your Ideal Weight” CD to help you prepare for those situations where you may be tempted to over-indulge. Listen to them for free:

Step 2 of 6:

Step 3 of 6:

And remember to apply what you learn ASAP. If only there were some event or holiday you could practice this stuff at where you typically eat too much and then feel bad about it the next day…

Oh well. And by the way, happy Thanksgiving!  🙂

Peace & Passion,

A 21-Day Meditation Challenge

November 17, 2011

Another great free resource—this time to help you deepen your Practice of Presence (one of the 4 practices of Peaceful Productivity Now)…

The Chopra Center is offering 21 days of free guided meditations, starting on Dec. 1st. Click here to sign up.

I’m two-thirds of the way through my own 100 Days of Peace meditation challenge, so I won’t be participating per se, but I will be with you in spirit. Enjoy!

Peace & Passion,

P.S. Check out Insight Timer, a really cool little app that helps you track and time your meditations. It even shows you who else is meditating with you all around the world. If you see me on there (usually 6:30 to 7:15 AM ET), make sure to friend me!

Look Behind You

November 16, 2011

No matter how much you prepare for something, no matter how well you execute it, it’s the thing you’re not expecting that’s gonna getcha…