The Dangers of Reaching Life’s Summit
Anthony Bourdain is not with us anymore. He took his life and left no explanation why.
The media is going nuts: how can it be? He was a best-selling author. He had a popular TV show and had a loving movie actress for a lover. He had a daughter whom he admired, and she is only eleven years old. How could he leave her?
Why would such a successful person commit suicide?
I read in a newspaper article that said there is a discrepancy between what we see of people on the outside and what they are like on the inside, between their public face and their private reality.
Okay, it makes sense, but it does not explain why he committed suicide.
I have a hypothesis based on my personal experience.
Ambitious people, (and he must have been ambitious or he would not have achieved as much as he achieved) need a challenge. I believe Anthony Bourdain had achieved the summit of his life and that was it. He had no new challenges. His life had lost purpose and meaning.
No person should reach his or her horizon. If you do, what is next?
When ambitious people reach the summit of the mountain and find that there are no more mountains to climb, they may become deeply depressed. I suggest that this is what happened to Anthony Bourdain.
He got to the top. Once he was there, he found he had nowhere else to climb, and so he descended and for someone with an ambitious personality, descending is the worst thing.
If you have the “PE” personality it is important to always ask yourself “what’s next?”
However, what comes next does not have to be another professional accomplishment, another achievement that earns you the approval of others. What comes next could be more self-appreciation. It could be improving the quality of your relationship with your significant other and your children. It could be taking better care of your health.
That is what I did. God helped me by giving me a failing kidney which forced me to make changes: stop traveling, stop chasing rainbows. It forced me to stay home for almost two years receiving dialysis on a regular basis. This experience showed me new challenges on the horizon; the challenge to improve my marriage and my relationships with my children, my neighbors, and my friends. I have discovered a new world of challenges and endless areas where I can improve.
If you have an ambitious personality, never stop moving toward a new target. For ambitious people like myself, the meaning of life is conquering new fields, exploring new worlds, reaching new summits. We cannot stop working on it. If we stop, we die or commit suicide.
Watch the founders of many companies. They are 90 years old. Still going to the office. Still making passes at young women.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes