A woman in my life passed away recently. This is the first time something like this has happened to me.

I need to protect her anonymity so I can’t give any details about her other than she was stunningly beautiful, had a good heart, was in her mid-30s, and had a long history of health problems. She was someone I had known for many years. She passed away just three months after we had last seen each other, making her death a very eerie and uncomfortable experience for me. I suppose if it had been over a year since I last saw her, it would have been different (i.e. easier). Maybe.

When I first received the news I felt sick to my stomach in a way I’ve never felt before. I’ve never had anyone close to me die. I’ve had grandparents pass away, but that’s another thing entirely. Those were family members in distant cities.

My first reaction was shock. Not the kind of shock when you jump while watching a horror movie. More like the kind of shock that stays with you for hours and hours, never letting up.

My shock then slowly morphed into…I’m not sure what the emotion was…but I’m going to call it disappointment. Don’t hold me to that wording…that may not be the best way to describe it.

Here’s the deal. She did not have to die. She could have lived a long and fruitful life. Her death was the direct result of behaviors she insisted upon continuing despite knowing they were detrimental to her health, which was never 100% to begin with. Moreover, there were certain people depending on her and this didn’t sway her thinking or her actions. When I say “actions”, I’m talking about physical behaviors and mental attitudes. Again, I can’t give specifics. Sorry.

We all get into bad habits. I’ve certainly had my share, and still do. But we all have the ability, if we want it bad enough, to change our habits so we can live better lives. I have always wanted a better life, ever since I was little. It’s hard for me to understand people who don’t have that trait. To have problems, to continue with those problems, and to refuse to change. I think most people are like that to some degree. I don’t understand it. I never have. I wish I did.

Now that someone special is gone because of this, I’m…disappointed. I’m disappointed at her. She didn’t have to do this. She had a choice. I’m also “disappointed” that there are millions of other people like her, who embrace their problems and never let them go, bringing great harm to themselves and to all those around them.

Emotions being the irrational things they are, I might very well be just as disappointed if this woman was doing everything right in her life and was suddenly killed in a car crash. Then I’d probably be disappointed about how senseless and useless her death was. So maybe these feelings are “required” regardless of how a person goes. (Yes, I am well aware of the five stages of grief, though knowing the five stages of fear are much more useful.)

Here’s something interesting. About two years ago, she told me she was doing to die. I was talking about how my life would look ten years from now. As I talked, she slowly started shaking her head.

“No,” she said quietly, “I’m not going to make it ten more years.”

“What are you talking about?” I said, “In ten years you’ll be just a little older than I am now.”

“No,” she said again, “I’m not going to make it ten years.”

Goals work. Affirmations work. Attitude works. Self talk works. Even when these things are negative. If you start believing and talking about how you’re going to be successful in life, then guess what? You’ll very likely be successful. If you start believing and talking that you’re going to die soon, then guess what?

Yeah. This stuff works both ways.

This is why you need to be very, very careful about what you believe, what you say, what you assume, and what you act on. When you say something negative about yourself, when you think something negative about yourself, it has real-world, external consequences to your life. Bad ones.

The problem is that you can’t see these consequences immediately. They take time to manifest. If you stab your own leg with a fork, you will see and feel immediate and terrible consequences. Therefore, I have a feeling you probably won’t do that.

But if you walk around thinking or saying “Women don’t like me” or “I’m ugly” or “I’m too short” or “I’m not good at making money” or “I’m a wimp” or “I’m a beta” or “I have oneitis” or “Women only like muscular guys” or “I can’t do that”, the negative consequences are just as real as stabbing yourself with a fork, except you can’t see them immediately. They take months or years to manifest, but trust me, they’ll manifest just the same.

Because nothing bad happens to you immediately, I have a feeling you’re believing or saying something negative about yourself right now. And if you are, you’re just as insane as the guy who stabs himself in the leg with a fork.

This woman, this wonderful, beautiful, kind-hearted woman, died for no reason. Her death was not set in the stars; it was not predestined. It did not have to happen. It could have been avoided. She was young and strong, both in body and will.

Tragic and pointless. And she’s not alone. I wish she was the last person to ever die, literally or figuratively, because of a refusal to change.

But I know she won’t.

Pointless.

24 Comments on “Death…And Negative Attitude

  1. Yes, that’s a very bleak outlook on death. She’s not you. Her world is not yours. Her death is not yours. Let her go.

  2. Some advice I ran across a long time ago:

    Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

    A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. Men do not attract what they want, but what they are.

    This stuff is real gents. Sure there are some people out there who are fucked no matter what, but there are way more who have massive potential yet squander all their chances. Why do you think positive role models are one of the most important things you can have… they literally shape your thoughts. Why do you think winners only hang out with other winners? Where do you think the saying “Your the sum of your five closest friends and mentors”…. All these things influence your thoughts and mold your brain.

  3. I have a bit of a different perspective.

    I have never lost someone from the life choices they have made but I did lose an ex girlfriend to epilepsy. She had a seizure while driving and was killed. She was an incredible person on every level. I didn’t actually find out until after I got divorced and tried to look her up. Like you it upset me to my core.

    However, I would argue that your friend was born to a set of DNA (that she didn’t choose) and born to a set of circumstances (that she also didn’t choose) that made her the way she was. Of course she made life choices but I would argue that those decisions were determined. To be clear I am not being fatalistic but deterministic.

    In the same way my friend didn’t choose to be epileptic, your friend didn’t choose her wiring either.

    I have never had a suicidal thought in my life and live a healthy lifestyle. I have never taken any drug and never drank alcohol until I was 35. Should I feel some form of moral superiority because of this? Of course not. I didn’t choose my wiring either. I was simply lucky to be born to a set of DNA and circumstances that keeps me from self-destructive behavior.

    I have found that understanding this lack of free will makes people more humble and more empathetic of others. I would strongly recommend Sam Harris’ book Free Will. It delves into this topic in fine detail.

    I hope this note is received in the spirit in which it was intended…to see your friend in a better light and with more empathy. But I could see how what I am saying might piss you off. I hope not because I am a huge fan of yours.

    Even though it was nearly 15 years ago since I lost my friend I remember it vividly so please accept my deepest condolences for your loss.

  4. Yes, that’s a very bleak outlook on death. She’s not you. Her world is not yours. Her death is not yours. Let her go.

    I did. This was all a little while ago. I’m fine now.

    However, I would argue that your friend was born to a set of DNA (that she didn’t choose) and born to a set of circumstances (that she also didn’t choose) that made her the way she was. Of course she made life choices but I would argue that those decisions were determined.

    That’s a very, very big topic, and I don’t completely disagree, especially on the DNA stuff.

    The problem is we still have the ability to choose our lives and our actions regardless of our DNA and/or upbringing. The only exception to this would be people like the woman you described…obviously it’s not her fault she had epilepsy or had a seizure in the car. But you have to admit she’s an extreme example.

    If you have DNA and/or upbringing that “causes” to do a lot of drugs, or a lot of drinking, or whatever, you can CHOOSE to not follow that DNA and upbringing.

    Perfect example: I have DNA that wants me to be fat. I’m not fat, because I *choose* not to be. My sister has the same DNA (and upbringing!), and she’s very obese. She *chose* to “follow her DNA”.

    It’s not easy, but we all (or at least most of us) have a choice.

  5. I can’t agree more on the true meaning of this post wich is about the way you conceptualize moments, life and yourself and take decisions based on the prior things and the way it affects you.

    BD: I think that change is one of the most difficult things to do in life, everyone tends to remain the same and you need an extraordinary force to change, the amazing woman you talk about didn’t have it, but don’t feel disappointed and don’t judge her because people like her are the rule instead be thankful because you’re one of the few exceptions and because you had the gift of meeting her.

    “The problem is we still have the ability to choose our lives and our actions regardless of our DNA and/or upbringing.”

    Completely agree, Anthony Catanzaro, a true bodybuilder says two things that really inspires me:

    1. Sometimes in life you have to create your own genetics. So…

    2… Anyone that blames other people for their misfortune or for not achieving what they want is a coward! You’re the one that’s in the driver seat of your life.

    Also, I agree that negativity is one of the worst things you can practice in life, I’ve always had theories about the correlation between the way you think and the quality of your life

    I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU GUYS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT (Do your own research because I’ll be brief, you can do your own experiment with rice and water, use google for details).

    Dr. Masaru Emoto made an experiment: he talked to water contained in two bottles, and then he looked at them under the microscope:

    Bottle 1: He said nice, positive, loving, etc words. The water looked beautiful!!!
    Bottle 2: He said negative, destructive, offensive etc words: The water looked awful!!!

    Why? No one knows for sure, but it is clear that the way you think affects on many different variables, not just your own life and in ways that we’re not even aware of.

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

    PUA Brian Kinney

  6. Fascinating topic … some great comments here …
    The subject reminds me of my comments about the insidious impact of a man’s optimism or pessimism (posted here 3 weeks ago).
    Funny, those comments got not a single response at that time.
    Maybe timing is crucial in everything under the sun.

  7. Most people who are unhappy and or treat themselves badly have medical problems. Millions of people are walking around with un-treated thyroid problems that can be debilitating. Millions of others are making themselves sick via the shitty diet they eat. They eat cheeseburgers and fries every other meal. It makes them feel bad so they self medicate with booze and drugs. This makes them feel even worse, so they exercise less, which makes them feel even worse yet. Rinse and repeat.

    No amount of happy talk or positive thinking can overcome situations like these. You simply cannot function well when you are ill and do not feel well.

    Even if a person feels well they may still be depressed. I know of a few people who were being treated by psychiatrists for depression. Yet they still committed suicide. The doctors had no answers for them and the pain was too much for them, so they ended it.

    Point is, people are driven to do what they do by all sorts of things that will never be understandable to anyone else. It’s not as simple as “just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with it”.

  8. The only guy that I was sexually involved with that died, also told me he was going to die. He told me twice that he would die before he turned 30, and at age 28 he was shot and killed.

    I had a dream about it the night he died and even wrote a blog post about it. http://lifeofalovergirl.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-ghosts-of-guys-in-the-past/

    He died because he was living the fast life, selling drugs and doing stupid things. It still makes me sad that he left life so early.

    I have the DNA to be a drug addict. Both od my parents had issues with drugs, but ive made the choice not to. Most people in my circumstance growing up wouldnt have made that chouice. You do have some control over your destiny, even those of us who werent given the greatest circumstances to work with.

    Nevertheless, people can die suddenly and without warning, even when they are doing nothing wrong, like my sister’s fiance/baby daddy who was run over by a moving truck when he was working.

  9. I’m sorry for your loss.

    On the other hand there is this smug “I told her so, if only she listened to my advice” embedded in this post.

    You cannot intellectually understand the depth of pain that leads certain people to behave in certain ways. You understand the emotions enough to deflect them away from yourself, which you do to good effect in relationships. But the way you write about them makes it obvious you live out of the fray due to your wiring.

    Many demons are hard to see or describe. Some ambush randomly. Some paralyze completely. They often stick despite efforts to shake them. You can’t put them into an excel spreadsheet or reduce your intake of them. There is always a degree of choice, but that’s not the same as control.

    Your approach is typical of alot of hardcore behaviorists, and it goes well with your whole “life coach” angle. I just wish you would accept that deep emotional things are out of your scope and call it a day. You’re different. Drastically different. And that’s OK.

  10. I’m actually surprised to see the comments by JFUNK, AKA and Dawson Stone on this thread, because they aren’t typical to this type of blog. Both those users are right in their analysis: the name of this game is DNA and life experience. And that’s it. The whole “you can do anything” slogan taught by Anthony Catanzaro and the like is societal programming just like Fantasy Disney.

    Expanding on what’s already been said: consciousness is a mere observer of our actions; we don’t choose what we ‘want’ to do, we just choose what we do. Sure, we make choices, but those are really just reactions. The subconscious (DNA, life experience) is what fires off the messages that ultimately determine our actions. We are REACTIVE creatures. From birth, be are constantly experiencing and reacting. And all this stuff compounds over time. For example: right now I decided to type this here response. But WHY did I decide? Well, there’s an entire history of my DNA and life experience (view it like a computer algorithm that’s constantly acquiring new information) that led up to this moment with me doing what I’m doing.

    So what’s the difference? “So what if I’m not choosing what I want to do; I still can choose what I do!” Well, that’s correct, but drop the ego. You’re a biological machine that’s running around on planet earth, no better and no worse than any other person. You may as well have been born that guy – or girl – over there.

  11. BD, read Free Will by Sam Harris or watch one of his may YouTube videos and then tell me if you REALLY think you choose CONSCIOUSLY what you do.

    If you were born into the EXACT same DNA and the EXACT same circumstances as another person you would do EXACTLY what they do. What is the magic third ingredient that makes you override your DNA or circumstances? A soul? Magic pixie dust?

    You example with your sister is flawed. Different gender. Born at different times. Parents were different ages (and themselves had different experiences by then). You have different other people over the span of your life that you have interacted with that have influenced you (different teachers, different friends, different careers, etc.) And most importantly…different DNA. Same parents but still different double helix.

    I would argue that you are simply luckier than your sister to have been born with different DNA and mildly different circumstances that have the determined effect of giving your more will power. If you were born into PRECISELY your sister’s body, circumstances, etc. you would be just as obese as her.

  12. Here is a video that will make people question the whole “free will/I choose” concept:

  13. I’l make one response on this topic then drop it, since it’s a very big topic and far off-topic from what we’re talking about. You’re welcome to discuss it here all you like. I’m just saying I’m going to make this one response only.

    If you were born into the EXACT same DNA and the EXACT same circumstances as another person you would do EXACTLY what they do.

    I am aware of Sam Harris’s work, and I don’t disagree with most of his overall points. However, what you’re saying is an overstatement for the following reasons:

    1. You can’t prove what you just said. It’s a supposition, not a fact. Facts can be proved. Destiny is not a fact.

    2. If your’re 100% right in all cases, we are all helpless robots and shouldn’t bother “trying” or “choosing” to do anything.

    3. If your’re 100% right in all cases, nothing is anyone’s fault, and no one should be held accountable for anything. (I suppose you could argue that dangerous criminals should still be put in prison even though nothing they did is their fault, just to protect others, but beyond examples like that, your belief means no one should be punished for anything they do, rewarded for anything they do, or be treated any different based on anything they do or don’t do, no matter how evil or wonderful.)

    Again, I don’t disagree with lots of what Harris has to say. I also think that dogmatically following a theory word-for-word in all cases is a mistake.

  14. Totally cool if you don’t respond but I must reply so others see the complete argument.

    1) In the same way that one cannot prove there is no god I cannot (no one can) prove that there isn’t a magical third ingredient that would somehow override our DNA and circumstances. It is silly to use the argument that because someone can’t disprove a negative doesn’t make it so. I am simply saying, as with god, there is simply no evidence to believe there is one. Same goes for magical third ingredient.

    2) I wouldn’t use the word helpless but yes. You are confusing fatalism with determinism. Every choice we make matters. I am simply saying the decisions we make are reactions to external events based on prior programming and not ones we CHOOSE. It feels like we are choosing but in fact we are not.

    3) I would argue that there is no such thing as evil. Evil implies free will. Good versus bad however. Good is anything that is a happiness producing activity. Bad is any happiness destroying activity. And yes, if someone hurts others they need to be put in prison so they don’t hurt others. But not for punishment. If my daughter behaves badly I may punish her. If an employee steals I would fire them. Of course there is punishment even if you don’t believe in free will. My punishment will be an input to my daughter’s or employee’s programming and they could behave differently down the road.

    Like I said in my earlier post, what not believing in free will DOES do for you is make you more humble and more empathetic. People have an irrational desire to feel that they are somehow special. As Nihilist so eloquently said, “…drop the ego. You’re a biological machine that’s running around on planet earth, no better and no worse than any other person. You may as well have been born that guy – or girl – over there.”

    OK. Now I’m done. 🙂

  15. 2. If your’re 100% right in all cases, we are all helpless robots and shouldn’t bother “trying” or “choosing” to do anything.

    The mistake Blackgragon makes here, as Dawson Stone noted, is that he is confusing fatalism with determinism. Fatalism says that no matter what I do X is going to happen, so there’s no reason to do anything. This obviously isn’t true. Contrary, determinism says that I need to do A, B, and C in order for X to occur, but the actions A, B, and C are determined by a set of circumstances that can be traced back to conception (or, in the larger picture, the beginning of the universe). These are two drastically different isms and yet people always confuse the two.

    3. If your’re 100% right in all cases, nothing is anyone’s fault, and no one should be held accountable for anything.

    The alarming thing to me here is that Blackdragon is actually responding in the way a monogamist would respond when being dealt with the blow that there is no such thing as ever-lasting love, albeit BD is more calm and coherent. This is not to persecute him, but to point out how humans react when faced with cognitive dissonance. A different way of saying it is like this: when the societal programming we’ve been told for so long turns out to be false, it’s not very comforting, or easy, to accept that the way things really are is very different from our current beliefs. People didn’t like it when the earth wasn’t at the center of the universe, and they don’t like knowing/admitting that their existence is not what mommy, daddy, and the tv infomercial guy/gal told them it is/can be.

  16. Dawson Stone, how is being more humble and more empathetic desirable to feeling somehow special?

  17. Greg,

    I think I understand your question.

    I do my level best in life to make my decisions as free from emotions and ego as possible. I do this for the simple reason that I believe it will give me the best chance of making the best decisions and therefor make me as happy as I am capable of being.

    True humility (VERY VERY DIFFICULT) is having an objective view of what’s true and removing ego. Humility allows me to make more objective decisions.

    Empathy is even easier. Let’s say that someone mistreats me. If I lack empathy I am MUCH more likely to be upset by that behavior and my being upset is MUCH more likely to linger longer. Again. Being empathetic simply allows me to live a more enjoyable life.

    The delusion that we are somehow special (other than by the sheer luck of the DNA and circumstances we are born into) by definition injects ego and therefore is more likely to cause one to make inferior decisions.

  18. Dawson Stone, are you familiar with the users Inmendham and TueenTuo on YouTube? I think you’ll find their insights into reality refreshing. Also, what’s a guy like you doing gonna blog like this? Myself, I used to be obsessed with pickup but then had mNy of the realizations discussed in this thread, and you basically realize it’s all just for a short, momentary ego boost that soon melts away and you’re back searching for a new boost.

  19. Nihilist,

    I haven’t heard of them and I will definitely check the out since you and I seem to see eye-to-eye on a lot. The reason I am on this blog is because I am working on one of my own and I really like much of what BD has to say on the topic of dating and non-monagomy.

    I am not obsessed with the chase and conquest of women but I do love, love, love to have sex with young, beautiful women whose company I enjoy. It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of life and I plan to experience it to the limit until I am physically unable to any longer.

    One of the odd paradoxes in life is that one needs to be as emotionless and egoless as possible to make the best decisions, and yet joy and happiness is maximized by being as emotional and vulnerable as possible in the moment. I don’t know if that makes any sense but that’s how I try to live my life.

  20. Man BD, in the influx of trolls in alarming. It was bad enough with a female blogger that clearly just wants to rant about herself, off topic or not, to gain readers to a poorly constructed blog but we have moved forward to intellectuals just arguing for the sake of arguing. And the world just moves forward…

    To the two clearly deep intelligent commentators… There is a third “magic” ingredient. I have no idea what it is… maybe its a soul, or simply the human WILL. If it was as simple as DNA wiring and life circumstances my life would be vastly different than it is. I should be an alcoholic pussy looking for my fourth wife. But Im nothing like my family because I made a choice to be different. If thats in my DNA Im the only, and I mean ONLY, person in my family that got that memo. Im happy with my life…they mostly are not or are zombies.

    I hope you both consider how different your DNA and life situation are from the average person. Most humans are not deep or intelligent. They mostly need to follow a leader. BD was trying to explain that you are you thoughts. Your thoughts lead your life and if this friend of his has faced her life and changed her life style a different outcome might have followed. Your advice is not making the world a better place…its mostly ego driven mental masturbation. Its cool, most of life is…but you’re far far from making the world a better place. I believe BD is trying to improve peoples lives thru his life experiences and encouragement that one can have better if the try. A concentration will if you please.

  21. Man BD, in the influx of trolls in alarming. It was bad enough with a female blogger that clearly just wants to rant about herself, off topic or not, to gain readers to a poorly constructed blog but we have moved forward to intellectuals just arguing for the sake of arguing.

    I know. It’s part of the deal when you have a popular blog. Nitpicking and “arguing just to argue” is a common internet pastime among a percentage of readers, and if I moderated all of those guys I would spend my time doing nothing else.

    So for the time being, I allow moderately off-topic comments here, no matter how insane, as long as no one breaks the 5 Simple Rules. I will also refrain from going off-topic myself, and stick to the key points in the relevant blog article. Then I let the readers make up their own minds.

  22. “If it was as simple as DNA wiring and life circumstances my life would be vastly different than it is. I should be an alcoholic pussy looking for my fourth wife. But Im nothing like my family because I made a choice to be different”

    this paragraph alone demonstrates that need to do much more reading on this topic. Its a common argument by people who didn’t do their homework. Your “choice” IS predetermined by your previous life circumstances and your DNA, its not an extra part that is independent of the other two elements. You did not grow up like your family members because you have another DNA and you had much different life experiences. Maybe you want to read more on the topic? More likely (because thats what most people do when they are confronted with something they don’t like) you will just keep your current beliefs and ignore anything that goes against it

  23. why is success valued by the amount of money an individual earned?

    an investment banker produces nothing yet earns more than a nurse, who actually creates and does something..

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