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.

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Miracles, All Miracles

September 6, 2011

This line from A Course in Miracles has fascinated me since I first encountered it:

Each decision that you make is one between a grievance and a miracle.

That statement is quite confrontational when you really look at it. There’s no middle ground. Kind of like life’s version of “love me or leave me.” Now, whether or not that’s true that there’s no middle ground, I’m not here to debate. What I’m interested in most is the degree of insight this perspective provides on the choices we make—specifically, how conscious and intentional are those choices, and how do they combine to create our own personal versions of heaven and hell?

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
—Milton, Paradise Lost

Let’s begin by drilling down into what this “miracle or grievance” idea is saying.

Essentially, it’s saying that in each moment, you are choosing whether to appreciate life for what it is OR resent it for what it’s not.

But what of moments that blend things we appreciate with things we resent? Does appreciating those moments mean we must resign ourselves to accepting things we don’t like? If so, then how do we grow, learn, and progress?

Acceptance is very simply a gracious acknowledgement of what is. It does not mean resigning, condoning, or endorsing. And until you can acknowledge a situation as it is, your power to change it is handicapped.

When you don’t accept something, you’re denying what is, and denial does not lead to change or growth. When you deny what is, you stop perceiving the world. You’re like the child with his fingers in his ears, repeating, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you.” This limits your options and your ability to respond and create change. The ability to perceive a situation—especially the parts of the situation you want to change—gives you the most power to influence the situation and create the very change you want. Only through acceptance can we harness our real personal power to create and take action.
Peaceful Productivity Now, p. 61

But as valuable as it is to learn acceptance as a precursor to effective change, that’s not even the most important part of this conversation. There’s another reason why consciousness and intentionality of choice is so fundamental that it means the difference between experiencing life as heaven or hell.

Our choices are how we consciously interact with the world. We interact with the world in many unconscious ways, too. But if we are able to rise above the level of instinct and reaction in any given moment, it is only because we’ve evolved the ability to choose.

The most direct way we can participate in and converse with life is through the choices we make. How conscious and effective our choices are determines the quality of that conversation.
Peaceful Productivity Now, p. 72

Is your conversation with life a miraculous collaboration, or is it a grievance-filled argument?

Now, here’s where things gets tricky.

Let’s say you just happen to be choosing a grievance in some given moment. A coworker stole your idea and presented it to the boss. You find a fresh dent in your car in the parking lot at the supermarket. Your best friend forgets your birthday. Et cetera.

You feel betrayed, pissed, hurt. That’s what NOW is for you—one big honking grievance.

You become aware you’re feeling this way, and you think, “I should find the miracle. I shouldn’t be focusing on the grievance.”

Hm. Do you see what just happened? Look for it…

That thought was another grievance. You made yourself wrong for feeling betrayed, pissed, or hurt. Making yourself wrong doesn’t get you to miracles. So where do you go when you’ve chosen a grievance? You don’t go anywhere. Stay with the grievance because…

The grievance is the miracle.

WTF?

Both miracle and grievance are perspectives; they are mental concepts we layer on top of our experiences. In other words, a miracle and a grievance are simply different interpretations of an experience.

Therefore, even an experience of intense physical or emotional pain can be interpreted as a miracle, just as an experience of tremendous good fortune can be experienced as a grievance.

But let’s avoid platitudes and address directly the burning question on your mind: What is the miracle of intense pain?

Very simply put: Depth of feeling. Pain is a strong feeling that wakes us up from the numbness of ego. In other words, pain snaps us back to the present. Any intense feeling can do this, including feelings like love, joy, and gratitude. But if we were to live in a space of love 100% of the time, we would certainly go numb to it. That is how our bodies and brains are built. We need contrasting experiences.

So grievance provides contrast. That is its miracle. Because life is contrast. Light does not exist without dark, nor does hot without cold, trust without betrayal, or connection without separation.

The miracle of grievance is that miracles could not exist without grievances. And yet, if even grievances can be interpreted as miracles in this way, then yet another interpretation is possible: It’s all miracles.

What a beautiful paradox…

I invite you to share your grievances and miracles.


Conscious living means conscious choosing

Read Peaceful Productivity Now and learn how to:

  • Respond consciously and intentionally to life, no matter how it shows up
  • Recognize the gifts and miracles that surround you in every moment
  • Connect to your “Big Yes” in life so that your choices become filled with even more meaning and passion
  • Transcend the “lie of time management”
  • And much more…

Click here to start experiencing the miracle of Peaceful Productivity NOW!



Use “Ethical Bribes” to Get What You Want

October 28, 2008

My cousin, Carleigh, is an actor. Several years ago, after an amazing performance, she told me about her acting technique. In every scene, no matter what the scene was about, she focused on what her character WANTED.

She told me that every character in every scene wants something. It may be obvious or it may be subtle. Actors who remember this fact create characters that feel real to us.

Now in real life we don’t ALWAYS want something from the people we interact with. But much of the time we do. And wanting, especially frustrated wanting, can be a big obstacle to Peaceful Productivity.

So I’m going to outline 3 steps to help you get what you want in a way that serves the highest and best good for all involved.

STEP 1: RESPECT

Understand that people are not a means to an end. They are human beings, just like you. They may or may not choose to give you what you want. And you must respect them enough to let them make that choice without judging them if you don’t like what they choose.

Respect includes listening to them, understanding what THEY want, and respecting that. As Stephen Covey puts it, seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Without respect, you are using that person. And no one likes to be used.

STEP 2: ENROLL

You might know for a fact that what you want is truly in the best interest of the other person. But if they don’t know that, if they don’t FEEL that, then they’re likely to say no.

Enrolling is giving someone an exciting vision of what’s possible. It’s in those feelings of excitement and possibility that people love to say yes.

When a person is enrolled, saying yes to you will feel natural to them. When they are not enrolled, your question will feel like pressure to them. And no one likes to feel pressured.

STEP 3: BRIBE

Bribe is a word with negative associations. What makes a bribe “ethical” are the first two steps. Without respect and without enrollment, your bribe becomes manipulative. Another way to describe the ethical bribe is “sweetening the offer.”

Even when someone knows and feels that a choice is in their best interest, even when they feel respected and excited by the possibility, they still might say no. Why? Habit.

We are so bombarded by people asking us for things, whether it’s personal favors or telemarketing calls, that we build up a resistance. We say no first, regardless of the situation.

The ethical bribe gives a person an excuse to say yes to something that’s good for them.

EXAMPLE

Let me use my Peaceful Productivity Group coaching program as an example:

Respect

First, I show respect by letting my prospects know up front that THEY get to choose if the program is right for them or not. My job is to provide as much information as I can to help them make the best choice for them.

I do this by introducing them to Peaceful Productivity in a free teleseminar called “Productivity & Peace of Mind: You Don’t Have to Sacrifice One for the Other.” I also outline exactly what the program includes so there are no surprises. I also give them my personal phone number to call me if they have questions.

And I even offer a no-hassle guarantee so if they join and find out it was a mistake, they’re not trapped and they don’t lose a penny.

And beyond all that, I offer to help them find a DIFFERENT program or coach that fits them better, if they’re not happy with me and my program.

Enroll

I enroll people in the excitement and possibility of the Peaceful Productivity Group by giving them a powerful EXPERIENCE in the free teleseminar.

It’s not a teaser. It’s a stand-alone interactive teleseminar full of valuable and actionable advice and information.

At the end of it, they can choose to take that experience and go off and never talk to me again. But when I explain that what they are feeling at that moment is something they can feel again and again each week in the Peaceful Productivity Group, my intention is that they will be so excited by that possibility, they will join.

Bribe

Finally, I sweeten the offer by including ALL of my products and services in the group membership. You can see the full list of extras here:

http://www.PeacefulProductivityNow.com

And I’ve just added a few more ethical bribes:

If you complete and submit the group program application, you get a downloadable recording of my “Productive Planning” teleclass, whether or not you join the group. In this teleclass I outline a 6-step planning process that’s perfect for when you have too much to do and not enough time.

If you submit the program application within 24 hours of requesting it, you get an mp3 of a song I recently wrote and recorded called “Where I Want to Be.” Know that I have no aspirations to be a professional musician. This is just something fun that I hope you’ll enjoy. 🙂

And finally, if you join the Peaceful Productivity Group by midnight on Thursday, you get one month of one-on-one coaching from me (a $358 value). My minimum coaching term is normally 6 months, so this is something you cannot get unless you join this group.

ACTION STEPS

  • How will you put this 3-step process of Respect, Enroll, and Bribe into practice in your business or personal life?

I’d love to hear your ideas, comments, and questions.

Always remember the first two steps. Even if you’re not comfortable with the ethical bribe, the more you treat people with respect, and the more you enroll them in your vision, the more they will want to do for you.

As long as they feel empowered to choose what and when, people LOVE to give.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt


The REAL Reason to Plan

August 20, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the purpose of planning:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The REAL Reason to Plan

There’s a saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. So then, why plan?

Most people think the purpose of planning is to achieve the specific results that you’re planning for. And that seems to make a lot of sense. If you want a certain result, you create a plan to get it. So that must be why you plan, right?

But hasn’t it been your experience that no matter how carefully you plan for something, your actual path to your goal is at least a little different than your plan?

If that’s true, if things rarely go exactly according to plan, then that can’t be the purpose of planning. Think of that as the motivation for planning—the result you want is what motivates you to plan, but it’s not the purpose. So what is the purpose?

The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens—when something new comes up—you can refer to that plan to help you make the best choice possible.

The real value and advantage to having a plan is that it gives you the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and unexpected events.

For example, you create a plan for the week. It includes all of your appointments and top priorities and tasks for the week. At 11 AM on Tuesday, your boss tells you to drop everything to prepare a report for her by the end of the day. Dealing with that task now becomes your new top priority.

Because you already had a plan for the week, you can make informed and intelligent choices quickly about what to postpone, what to reschedule, and what to delegate so that you can deal with your changing priorities. Your plan empowers you to deal with those changes.

Imagine you didn’t have a plan for the week and your boss gave you that task. You’d be trying to juggle all of your existing appointments and priorities and tasks in your head as you dealt with this new emergency.

At best you’d feel stressed out. That new task would create a ripple effect in your brain as you tried to mentally make all of those adjustments.

At worst, your brain would shut down, mentally dropping everything but the new task. You’d start missing appointments, missing deadlines. Where’s the power in that?

Understand that time is fixed—we all have 24 hours a day, no more and no less. Your power is not in how much time you have. Your power is in how effectively you choose to use your time. And planning enhances your power to choose by giving you the context you need to figure out what to do when things change.

So let me repeat: The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens, you have the information you need to make the best choices possible.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Productive Planning: From Stress to Success

Learn a 6-step process that will make you an expert at completing your top priorities…no matter what else is thrown at you during your day. To find out more about this powerful teleclass, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/productive_planning.html


Be a Leader in Your Life and Your Business

April 15, 2008

“Leadership is action, not position.”
— Donald H. McGannon

A general in the United States armed forces created two separate teams to develop each of two possible plans to achieve a set objective. Both teams were filled with the smartest and most skilled people the general could find.

After several months of preparation, each team presented its plan to the general, outlining its virtues, costs, timeline for implementation, etc. Both plans were top notch.

When the presentations concluded, the general spoke…

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