29-year old Ronda Rousey, the previously undefeated UFC bantamweight champion, recently shared how devastated she was over the loss of her title to Holly Holm. Her disclosing that she had suicidal thoughts after this defeat struck many as outrageous. Recently I overheard a conversation about it… “She’s rich and famous and she’s suicidal? Ridiculous! She has so much to live for!” But sadly that’s not the way Rousey saw it.
All generations can apply lessons from Rousey’s reveal:
- We all view challenges differently. Suicidal thoughts can impact people of all generations, particularly after they experience a major loss. Many of us tend to think of “loss” as losing a loved one. But Rousey’s loss of a professional athletic title triggered a catastrophic reaction for her. Lots of different types of losses (financial, health, professional) may prompt depressive and suicidal thoughts. The way we view our circumstances and the meaning we attach to them varies from person to person. If someone you care about is brooding over a major setback or problem, encourage that person to talk about it. If you need more guidance, call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255.
- Balance your life. “Sometimes I’m afraid of what I’m going to do with myself when I retire,” Rousey said to Shape Magazine back in November 2015. Workaholics of all generations can relate to this. Some retirees do feel their lives are meaningless once they stop full-time work. But developing passions outside of work can protect you from this tunnel-vision. When there is a setback in the professional arena, those who have other interests may handle the disappointment more positively.
- All generations are plagued by some negative stereotype—look past them. Millennials are tagged with being lazy and entitled. Rousey, a Millennial, is about as far away from that stereotype as you can get. A 2008 Bronze Olympic medalist, spokesperson, actor, and professional athlete, she works hard for everything she has. Instead of focusing on generational stereotypes, let’s all be mindful of the benefits of age diversity in the world. All generations have strengths to contribute to work and life.