I admit it's a collocation I use quite often, but trust me I never realized I was using it in those many different contexts!
I'd rather say there is not one but many ways of conveying that meaning in Spanish. Apart from what I already suggested, for a sentence like "He wants to climb Mt. Everest but if he wants to kill himself he'd be better off by just jumping off a tall building closer to home." I'd say: "Quiere escalar el Monte Everest; pero, si quisiera matarse (or "buscar una forma de matarse"), más le valdría intentar tirándose de un edificio bien alto cerca de su hogar/casa/cercano a donde vive."
As you see, there are many different ways to say it. I always remember Hemingway's love and admiration for the Spanish language (learnt in Spain during the Civil War) and based on its "flowery" grammar and vocabulary.