May is mental health month and so perhaps this article is coming at the time it was meant to all along. A few months ago (January to be exact) I interviewed Mark Metry and asked him to speak with me about his life, success and his podcast: Humans 2.0.
Shortly after that I fell into a deep depression, up until then I had been able to manage the ride from depression to mania and back to depression again rather smoothly, not to say it is at all an “easy” ride. February hit and I went MIA, my cheap $15 recorder broke and my brain tricked me into thinking all hope was lost. Now, of course the cycle has come back around and I feel good – productive – and thankful for Mark and the time he has given me once again.
This time, as we spoke he plunged deeper into his story, telling me about his own battle with depression, suicide and the negative relationship he once had with food. Mark, if you don’t know, is now a highly successful twenty-two year old entrepreneur and host of Humans 2.0 podcast where he interviews some of the worlds most influential leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. Once you read about his journey you’ll understand his passion for investigating how individuals make the transition from the dreary, depressed 1.0 version of themselves, to the remarkable, successful and outgoing 2.0 versions. Like Napoleon Hill once said, “ Strength and growth only come through continuous effort and struggle”, and so you will find with every great success story, Mark’s included, this is the truth.
Naturally, I wanted to know what pivotal moment changed his life and how at such a young age, was he able to overcome many of the character defects that have stopped so many before him. When asked what that moment looked like he replied:
“I was living in default setting, living in the rat race and living with a victim mentality. My parents didn’t have any money, we grew up on government assistance, having to use food stamps and moving from apartment building to apartment building. I never had any real friends and I never played a sport. I was very unfulfilled in many ways.”
His parents had moved from Egypt to America after winning a green card lottery with only $200 and hustled to provide a future for their children. Mark was then born and raised in Boston, and as he spoke to me recalling memories and moments that lead to his success, the city streets of Boston is where a life-changing shift in perspective happened for him.
“I looked at my life as it was, full of social anxiety, and I began to play out my future. I said to myself ‘Okay Mark, you’re 18 years old now, let’s fast forward 12 years from now. If you stay like this you’ll be some guy working at a corporation somewhere that doesn’t know how to talk to people, that doesn’t have any friends, that is just a loser basically, and I began to feel that pain and ultimately it lead me to the conclusion that I have a choice. We all have a choice that is in front of us every single moment. Honestly, realizing that scared me, because it meant I was putting my own life in my hands.”
Trying to run from his own thoughts Mark turned to drugs, alcohol and food.
“Food was the big one for me, I used to be over 200 pounds and eventually that lead me to the darkest moment of my life where I really contemplated suicide. For two weeks I isolated myself in my apartment. I am a deeply spiritual person, and this shift happened for me one night. I wasn’t able to sleep back then, even after all of the drugs and the alcohol and the food that I was eating I couldn’t sleep, and so I would literally just walk around the city of Boston at 4am. It was during this time that I was having a bunch of suicidal thoughts and one night finally my brain was quiet… it was just me and the streets and I was trying to contemplate my suicide and I was just hoping somebody would come up to me with a gun and just end my life, but I had this moment where God or Higher Power or the universe, whatever you want to call it spoke to me.”
Many victories have been won by the most hungry, the least expected, the underdog. Andrew Carnegie grew up poor only to use the laws of success to become a best-selling author. George Soros fled Nazi persecution to later become an investment manager, starting his own hedge fund and making $1 Billion in a single day. Mark Metry on the streets of Boston one lonely night realized his past was not there to hurt him but rather to help him significantly.
“I began to realize that all of the past events of my life, all of the things I was depressed about, they all happened to me on purpose. The reason I am successful today is because I was so un-successful the first 18 years of my life in so many areas. Everything was actually happening for me…and without my past I wouldn’t be who I am today. You can’t do amazing things in the world if you have the same mindset as everybody else.”
And so began his shift in perspective, first changing his appearance. He adopted a Ketogenic diet, began meditating and working out.
“Everyday I meditate, I eat healthy, I exercise, if I didn’t do those things I would be the same person that I was when I was 18. If I stop meditating and start eating bad food I’m going to revert back to version 1.0, that’s simply the nature of human experience. It is simply a matter of what you do every 24 hours.”
Mark’s story is one many of us can relate too. Entrepreneurship doesn’t make us immune to hardship in many cases it is quite the opposite. The focus isn’t on being invincible; it is understanding that even the most successful individuals have experienced depression, anxiety and hardship. It is a testament to the human spirit and to each one of us who wake up each day striving for more, to be the 2.0 version of ourselves.
“We have the Human 2.0 versions of ourselves inside of us at all times, it’s just a matter of accessing it. “