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.


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

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,

What It Means to Be Rich (A tribute to Uncle Eddie)

May 16, 2011

This weekend I attended the funeral of my uncle, Edward Minicozzi. But before I tell you that story, let me first tell you this story.

I remember really liking Uncle Eddie ever since I was little, but I’d always been a little intimidated by him. He seemed larger than life. My uncle and aunt had a very nice house with lots of nice stuff; to be blunt they were the wealthiest people in our extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. They weren’t uber-rich by any scale, and my parents certainly weren’t poor, but the difference was enough that a child would notice.

As I grew older, I started to understand why he was so successful: He worked hard and he treated people well. If that’s not a formula for success, I don’t know what is. And this weekend, I got to see just how successful he really was.

My personal experience with my uncle was that he was generous—I only asked him for a few favors over the years and he’d say yes without hesitation—but until arriving at his wake yesterday, I had NO IDEA just how generous he was.

The line of people waiting to enter the funeral home stretched around the corner and down the street. Half a dozen fire stations sent trucks to hang a huge American flag from their ladders in his honor. There were five viewings over three days, and each was just as crowded as the previous one. It’s estimated that 2000 people showed up to pay their respects and say goodbye. (2000 people is the size of the student body at the college I went to.) And everyone I talked to or overheard talking about him had some story of generosity or kindness to share.

That’s when I realized what it means to be truly rich, truly wealthy.

To put it simply, I’m inspired. His obituary is amazing. The list of groups and causes that he gave time, energy, money, and heart to reads like a directory of charitable organizations. He did not keep this part of his life a secret, but he didn’t brag about it either. He acted in generous ways because that’s who he was, and those who were paying attention learned valuable lessons in contribution (as his three sons can attest). I wish I’d paid more attention.

My experience this weekend has made me take a good look at what I have to give and how I can give more, how I can be more like this amazing man. The priest at the funeral mass said that maybe he seemed larger than life to some of us because our view of life is too small. Uncle Eddie saw a much bigger version of life, full of possibility.

I share this for those of you who would like to be inspired to see life full of possibility, to be inspired to play a bigger game, to be inspired to become as “rich” as my Uncle Eddie.

Here’s his online obituary:


November 27, 2007

“She and I are soulmates,” my friend said.

Now before I continue, let’s look at what most people mean when they use the word “soulmate.” It’s that one special person in life you’re destined to meet and live happily ever after with.

A friend of my sister’s went even further. He believed that before you’re born, a soul splits in two. One half manifests in this world as you, the other as your soulmate. When you find each other, the soul is reunited.

Hogwash. Utter hogwash, I say.

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Play Each Ball

October 30, 2007

“I suck!”

A few weeks ago, my friend, Quinton, was kicking my butt in tennis. And I was pissed. Not at him, but at myself.

We’d been playing almost every week since the beginning of summer. At first it was a rediscovery for both of us. Neither of us had played in a while–in my case it had been something like 10 years since I’d played.

The first couple of weeks were awesome. Sheer joy. It didn’t matter to us who won or lost. We were caught up in the fun of whacking tennis balls back and forth.

So what had changed?

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October 17, 2007

On Monday night, the odometer in my car flipped from 199,999 to 200,000 miles.

I’d been watching it for days, determined to see this milestone. Determined to not miss it like I’d missed all the others:

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We Fall Down

October 15, 2007

Yesterday I went to see my friend Jim sing in the Higher Ground event at the First United Methodist Church in Germantown. But to call it a church is a little misleading. Aside from the architecture, it was unlike any church I’d been to. Instead of being somber and serious, the energy was playful and uplifting.

About a third of the way through the event, a teenage girl got up on stage to sing Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” (that should give you a good idea of what kind of church this was).

She hadn’t even finished the first verse and the microphone slipped out of the mic holder. She was already nervous, and this unexpected problem pushed her over the edge. She stopped singing and started to cry.

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Trust vs. Fear: How Safe Do You Feel?

October 2, 2007

A fundamental question that we all must answer for ourselves is this: Do I live in a universe that is safe or unsafe?

In other words, do you trust that the events in your life are for the best and that all of your needs will be met? Or are you afraid that they won’t?

I had a first date about a week ago with a woman I met online that put this question front and center for me.

We’d exchanged many fun, interesting, and playful emails prior to our date. And we’d had two great telephone conversations–both of which only ended because it got so late we had to get to sleep. So I was excited and optimistic to meet her in person.

And when we did, our date was a blast. We went for a beautiful hike, talked non-stop for about six hours, joked and laughed. But the next day she tells me she’s not interested.

Now you have to understand that on paper we were perfect for each other. Our interests, our values, our spiritual beliefs, our rapport–it was all a great fit. What went wrong?

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Now is NOW

September 22, 2007

Last weekend, I woke up early on Saturday morning to meet a friend for tennis. As I left my apartment, I didn’t give the beautiful tree outside my window a second glance, trusting that it was as fixed as the building itself…

When I returned in the early afternoon, the tree was gone.

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