Best-selling author Tim Ferriss: 'You have gifts to share with the world'

New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss is used to strangers approaching him and asking for his autograph.

But there's one moment that was different. A man asked Ferriss to sign a book for his brother, who was a big fan. Afterward, Ferriss learned that the man's brother would never see the autograph. He lost his life to suicide at age 22.

This moment gave Ferriss the courage to acknowledge that he, too, almost killed himself. 

Ferriss wrote about this on his website The Four Hour Work Week .

It was 1999, his senior year at Princeton University, and he was dealing with the ending of a long-term relationship, the fall through of several job prospects and the stress of writing his thesis.

He decided to take a year off school to get a job and focus on writing his thesis (which infuriates his advisor and, therefore, terrifies Ferriss that, no matter what he does, he'll get a bad grade). He spends 8-16 hours a day alone in his room, working on his thesis (a recipe for disaster for anyone who is prone to depression).

Ferriss said his thesis was going nowhere, and, in his mind, he felt like he just wasted his entire college education. He feels like a burden to his family. So, he decides to take his life.

"The world was better off without a loser who couldn’t figure this basic shit out. What would I ever contribute? Nothing. So the decision was made, and I was in full-on planning mode," he wrote.

"It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to think that your entire life hinges on one thing you’ll barely remember 5-10 years later."

Obviously, Ferriss didn't go through with it. But what stopped him?

He requested a book about suicide to be put on hold at the local library. And, when the book was available for check-out, a note was mailed to his parents, “Good news! The suicide book you requested is now available at the library for pick up!”

When his mother called him, asking him about the book, "it was only then that I realized something: my death wasn’t just about me. It would completely destroy the lives of those I cared most about. I imagined my mom, who had no part in creating my thesis mess, suffering until her dying day, blaming herself."

So, instead of killing himself, he decide to stop worrying about his thesis, truly take the year off, and focus on his mental and physical health. He graduated in 2000 and, as you can tell, didn't end up ruining his life. On the contrary, he is now very successful (which no one would have known if he ended his life, ).

Here's some things Ferriss did or thought about that changed his mind about suicide:

1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

2. Remember, your suicide doesn't just affect you. "Killing yourself is like taking your pain, multiplying it 10x, and giving it to the ones who love you. ... Beyond any loved ones, you could include neighbors, innocent bystanders exposed to your death, and people — often kids — who commit 'copycat suicides' when they read about your demise."

3. You don't know that suicide will improve things. None of us know for sure what comes in the afterlife. There are no guarantees, so who's to say it'll be better than your life?

4. Make a non-suicide pact with someone you care about. Promise your mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, etc. that you will never harm yourself. Even if you don't care much about yourself, maybe, just maybe, at your darkest moment, remembering you have to keep this promise will make you reconsider.

Ferriss reminded people that the storm you may be going through in life will not last forever.

"You have gifts to share with the world. You are not alone. You are not flawed. You are human. And when the darkness comes, when you are fighting the demons, just remember: I’m right there fighting with you."

You Might Also Like


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sure, it's easy! If you know how to.
    If you know how to ride a bike it's easy, but if you dont know how to do it, it's a struggle.
    The same situation with writing. For writer it's easy, for novice it's difficult. But you may ask for tips on writing an essay and it will help you to write and make writing process easier