It’s almost been two months since the news headlines were flocked by the story of a young, brilliant, and a well-accomplished actor ending his life due to depression.

Sushant’s death was the most dreadful and apocalyptic incident in recent memory. Though his last movie ‘Dil Bechara’ has won many hearts, yet there is still a big mystery over his death – was it murder or suicide?

Nobody can say anything for sure. For all we know, it can be both. However, the unfortunate turn of events has left a heartfelt question on our lifestyles, and our supposedly correct pursuit of happiness and money.

I have written this article intending to contemplate about life deep within the surface level of our problems. To question all our theories, assumptions, and beliefs that we use to navigate through our days. To decipher life in a way that discerns our most profound need to feel happy, loved, and satisfied.

And we’ll do it by digging three levels.

Before we begin, I wish you rest in peace, Sushant Singh Rajput. You’ll always be remembered for an elegant piece of talent and hard work that you were.

Level I – Money and Glamour is clearly not everything

Imagine your best friend gifts you a new video game. He also suggests some shitass ideas and teaches you how to play. You play that game very cautiously and with sincerity, completing all the missions, following all the ideas advised by your friend. And suddenly a black screen appears stating – “Fuck you, you’ve lost. Now wipe your ass and start again!”

How would you feel?

Confused? Shattered? Disheartened? Maybe, all three.

This game is a reflection of real-life, except we cite “fuck me, I’ve lost everything” more times than there are dates in the calendar. We frequently feel lost and incomplete, and as if everything is going down the drain somehow.

And that’s primarily because – all the rules and definitions taught related to life, to us, pretty much suck.

With all due respect to Sushant, when a person with striking looks, fame, recognition among over a billion people, 59 crores in the bank, a very fancy and stylish BMW motorcycle, and a luxurious sports car – Maserati – commits suicide, it’s not usual or natural. It is, in fact, contrary to natural.

Sushant Singh Rajput with his luxurious car - Aashish Vats

We chase money like a mice chases cheese just before getting himself trapped. We adjourn popularity, influence, and fame as invincible and dedicate ourselves to attain all three through insanely pretentious posts on social media. In fact, we change and betray our values to seem cool and acceptable, or maybe to make some extra bucks. And we follow and involve ourselves in every fuck piece of trending crap on Twitter and Instagram.

Many of us never get to pursue our dreams and some people who do not always end up making millions of dollars through it. But Sushant was following his dreams, and he was doing pretty good at it. So what went wrong? Why was he in depression?

Sushant Singh Rajput, in many ways, was a common man’s desire. He had everything that defines material success. He was successful and loaded. Sushant was so good looking that I am quite sure many females visualized being with him, and many males, well, craved to be like him.

Since the day we are old enough to pursue school, we are told and educated to achieve what Sushant already had. Our parents, friends, families, teachers, everyone compels us to chase

  • material wealth,
  • financial independence,
  • and a respectable position in society where people can admire the shit we crap.

As a rational person, all our dreams, desires, and life goals gravitate towards the incomprehensible lust to attain all three, or in other words, to be like Sushant.

However, Sushant’s tragic demise forces us to reconsider our judgments. We need to evaluate whether six or seven zeroes in our bank balance are actually enough? Do over a couple of million followers on Facebook and Instagram really matter? Or is there something else, something more significant to life?

This is where a capitalist will most certainly argue that money is not only valuable but essential for a good life. And you’re right, my friend.

Money is indeed vital for a comfortable life, or maybe for even a basic lifestyle. But money and fame are not everything, for everyone at least.

Dave Mustaine – the successful failure

In 1983, on a bus ride to Los Angeles, Dave Mustaine decided to form his own music band. The band for which he worked vigorously for the past couple of years had just shown him the door. He wanted to be so successful and popular that his former colleagues would regret abandoning and firing him.

Dave imagined himself singing in front of crowd-filled stadiums and on radio and television. He visualized his posters on every street and pictures of him in magazines while his former colleagues would be, well, shitting themselves somewhere.

Dave worked hard, spending months recruiting the best musicians he could find, writing dozens of songs, and practicing religiously. His ambitions were apparent as he followed them with all his heart.

Within a few years, his band signed a record deal, and a year later, their first recording turned to gold.

Dave Mustaine became a famous guitarist and the founder of the legendary heavy-metal band Megadeth. Today, he is considered one of the most exceptional and influential musicians in the history of heavy metal music.

Dave Mustaine - Aashish Vats

Megadeth went on to sell over 25 million albums, and the band toured the world many times over.

However, there was just one problem. Dave’s former colleagues didn’t really end up shitting themselves either. In fact, his former colleagues were one of the greatest rock bands of all time – Metallica. They went on to sell over 180 million albums worldwide.

Therefore, despite his exceptional success, Dave, in an interview in 2003, admitted that he couldn’t help but still consider himself a failure. Because he couldn’t beat Metallica, in his mind, he was always the guy who got kicked out of Metallica.

Level II – What is the root cause of life problems?

Money, fame, success, glamour, respect, and appreciation – they represent our desires from the surface. There is a deep sense of origin for all our needs and aspirations, and that is the absence of emotional fulfillment.

All humans are slightly slushy-mushy – soft and excessively sentimental. Emotions are at the root of all our actions and inaction. If not for our feelings, we wouldn’t be motivated to do jobs or drive to the beaches or mountains or smoke joints or even listen to music. Even the smallest of our activities are set off by our emotions.

Without our feelings, we would merely be apes with no sense of glory and glamour and no vision farther than the next meal on the table. It is our feelings that encourage us to learn the significance of time and money.

We even adopt our life values based on our feelings and then use those values to measure ourselves and our success.

At this point, you can imagine Michael Buble singing ‘Feeling Good’.

Michael Buble Feeling Good - Aashish Vats

In other words, all markets, economies, and our whole world revolves around feelings. It’s our swampy little identity that we use to recognize and differentiate ourselves from others.

Therefore, it is understandable that when our feelings do not match our expectations, we cry havoc. It is the reason that our feelings explicitly outvalue money and fame. 

If it didn’t, Sushant would never have killed himself. If money and fame were everything, Dave Mustaine, wouldn’t consider himself a failure even after selling more than 25 million albums and touring the world several times.

The problem is that our societies and cultures, at some point, confused material wealth as the source of emotional fulfillment. And this message is perpetually transferred from generation to generation. And because it feels so apparent at the surface, people believe it undisputedly. We dedicate our lives to earn an enormous wealth, drive luxurious cars, and own royal penthouses and villas until a certain Sushant Singh Rajput confronts the truth.

Level III – What is Emotional Fulfillment?

Even after being rich, even after following his dreams and being successful, Sushant missed something. And he carried that pain of unfulfillment within him. Maybe he felt unloved or unappreciated. But his feelings were so strong that his mind couldn’t withstand the thought of living with himself.

However, for Dave Mustaine, the story changed a bit. After many hit albums and worldwide shows, in 2009, Mustaine was named the No. 1 player in Joel Mclever’s book – The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. Joel had previously written books about Dave’s former band Metallica.

In an interview with Classic Rock magazine in September 2009, Dave revealed that he was explicitly delighted to be ranked higher than his former colleagues (from Metallica, who once kicked him out) James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett. For Dave, it was his victory. Sweet revenge.

It meant a lot to him. In his own words, “it’s been one of the pet peeves of my career, and I’ve never known how to deal with it. All I thought was – I win!”

Dave Mustaine in an award show - Aashish Vats

After years of passionate work, he finally accomplished what he wanted, and this was his emotional fulfillment.

Beneath our material desires, there is a deep emotional desire to be liked and admired. To be respected and well-regarded. Similarly, beneath our physical needs, there is a passionate desire to feel loved and appreciated. To feel great and wanted. Sex was incipiently only a means to communicate love between two people.

For professionals, artists, and other people from the arts and entertainment industries, their work to be recognized and valued is their ultimate emotional fulfillment.

When the reality of our life is in agreement with how we expect to feel, we experience emotional fulfillment.

And a funny thing about emotions, whether we like it or not, or whether we want it or not, our emotions run our life.

We can have everything, but if our feelings are not understood and appreciated, then everything quickly turns into nothing. Our partners can love to the best of their abilities, but if we aren’t loved in the way we want, then their effort means nothing to us.

Emotional fulfillment is one of the major tests for romantic relationships. It’s part of the reason why Gary Chapman’s – The 5 Love Languages – sold millions of copies worldwide.

Emotional unfulfillment is the cause of increasing depression and anxiety levels throughout the world.

What is the solution?

Back in January, this year, I had published an article related to human identity. In that article, I talked about the bunch of stories that we spin in and around ourselves. I mentioned that its the network of our stories that we use to identify and understand ourselves.

If you’re new to this website, then let me take you through it from the top.

As we grow up from kids to being adults – our memories, collection of events, past experiences, and our feelings, serve as stories to us. In other words, our narration and interpretation of all our life events combined and the way those events made us feel, is our life story.

Now, of course, not everything goes right with our childhood and early life. Even as we grow up, we are always surrounded by disappointments. There can be abusive parents, or that toy that your mother didn’t buy you, or the fact you were not pampered enough, or maybe you were just not allowed to eat ice-cream and chocolates.

There could be extreme scenarios either, for instance, a parent left you when you were born, or someone very close to you died.

Such things stick with us, and we cling to them like wet clothes. We accept them as a part of ourselves. It’s our movie that we regularly rerun on the screen of our headspace. Our reality – the fuckin life story by Christopher Nolan.

Happiness Quotes

Let me pause here for a while. For what I am about to tell you might sound incredibly nuts and naive. When I suggest it to people personally, they look at me as if I have more than one head.

See, here is the thing – if your story is not making you happy, then why are you holding onto it? If you’re depressed or upset about something, then why don’t you just spin your story in a different way, which gives you peace and comfort?

Observe.

You loved a girl, and she left you. Now you’re depressed. But she bequeathing you is just one way of discerning the situation. In your mind, where you’re supremely powerful, you can interpret this situation in an entirely different way. For instance, you can make yourself believe that it’s her loss that she missed a chance to be with someone great.

In the case of childhood trauma or other physical and/or mental abuse, the story can be spined as well. I know you’ll be thinking that this is easier said than done. But believe me, from my own experience, it’s not difficult either.

Ultimately, you’re the supreme power of life. Whether we realize it or not, but we, by ourselves, dictate the terms of our life.

Sushant could have spun his story in whichever way he wanted. He could have chosen to identify himself with any of his several accomplishments. But he allowed his story to overpower him, a story which was not healthy.

By no means should we ever measure our success by how people treat us and how much they value us. However, the sad reality is that our societies and cultures teach us to measure ourselves through others, through what we become and accomplish.

Depression is a severe concern for our generation, and its because the subconscious values educated to us are remarkably toxic and psychologically unhealthy. Over the years, the authentic values of life have been lost.

Fundamentally, life is not meant to be smooth. Neither it’s meant to be stressful. However, it should be a challenge, otherwise, without suffering, there will be no real meaning in pleasures.

Remember, if your story is not making you happy, then just bloody change the goddamn story. Get a new one. People believe that they deserve to be content, and they try to feel it through material sources. In other words, we confuse excitement for happiness. And it’s a mistake.

Happiness can only be found in your emotions. And it largely depends on the story that you adopt for yourself.