The passing of Robin Williams—a time to talk openly about depression
Last week, a famous scientist and author that I greatly respect and admire—sent me this note of encouragement from London.
Hi Jim, Your tenacity on this lot is admirable, I have to say. Sadly, you are very definitely in a minority. But keep at it! Best, Stephen
Relentless and tenacity are two of my favorite descriptors when it comes to describing some aspects of leadership—although both words have less than pleasant meanings for some. Let’s see what Webster has to say:
Relentless. Oppressively constant; incessant, nonstop, never-ending.
Tenacity. The quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly. Persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose.
Speaking of “grasping something firmly,” yesterday, I decided it was time to update my professional bio, which perhaps more appropriately should be entitled “Finding my passion in life.” In a nutshell, it’s the story of how I transitioned from industrial engineer to business executive to corporate headhunter to an activist, who has recently gripped my new mission firmly. You can read that one-page story online by clicking here.
What about depression? From time to time, readers ask me how I can do what I do day after day—and not become depressed. Well, occasionally I do get depressed—and Wednesday was one of those times.
But the good news is that I learned how to “deal with” depression about twenty-five years ago. I learned a simple technique from a mental health professional and, thankfully, never had to return for another visit. Fortunately, I found the rare therapist who didn’t automatically prescribe medication for everything. Here’s the gist of what I learned from him and what I have practiced over the years. It may not work for everyone, but it has worked for me. Here’s what I do:
- Remind myself that it’s not all negative; depression can have healing powers.
- Don’t try to do too much while depressed. Let those healing powers do their thing. My father was a sales professional and knew that if he was depressed, that he should just stay at home until he felt better.
- Remind myself that this acute feeling of depression is temporary and that I will come back even stronger.
- Make a list of goals and action steps for achieving those goals.
- Start working on that list in earnest.
While depressed on Wednesday, I reminded myself of all of the above. Then I woke up yesterday, made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and created a brand new one-pager describing my #1 priority. Armed with that new one-pager, I now feel better equipped to “tell my story” as I go about recruiting that one powerful leader the world so desperately needs. I ended that one-page story with this:
Because of the severity of the emergency we face, we don’t have time for the normal process of grassroots change to happen. That’s why my #1 PRIORITY is recruiting that one powerful leader who can make it happen NOW. How do I describe that person?
I am searching for a proven leader with integrity, courage and a globally-respected name. After becoming fully enlightened regarding the ONLY viable solution to the emergency we face, he/she will know what to do. And I will be there to help!
The Bottom Line. I know that what I am trying to do is important. Perhaps more important than ANYTHING else in the history of humanity. I also know that it is a VERY difficult task. Further, I know that there is a reasonable chance that I will fail. Many tell me frequently that I will most certainly fail.
But then I remind myself of something my mother told me many times when I was just a boy.
God gave you a brain and he expects you to use it. You were put here to do something important and I know that you will. I always knew that you would be successful because you were born on Success Road. — Agnes Ware Stanfield Hicks (2200 Success Road, Memphis, TN, is on my birth certificate)
Dedicated to my son and co-author, Jason Stanfield Hicks
One more reason I don’t fear failure. Six grandchildren. I do care what they think about me after I’m gone and I don’t want to let them down. See first blog listed below.
- A blog that I posted on 2-5-14 about what my grandchildren might say about me after I am gone. Solitude of the cemetery; a place for soul-searching
- A blog that continually reminds me of what I must do. The ONLY viable pathway to SUSTAINABILITY posted on 8-4-14. It’s a simple story that absolutely NO ONE in the mainstream is telling; as most of them are “comfortably unaware.”
- My one-page story about why I do what I do. Posted on 8-14-14.
The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.
Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
- What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
- A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
- Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info: