Your Soul Food for June 28th 2013: There is Always a Way!

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future;
it is something you design for the present.”—
Jim Rohn

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:

How can you apply design thinking to create a happier, more fulfilling, soul-filled life?

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is an analytic and creative process that engages individuals and teams in opportunities to experiment, create, and prototype models, gather feedback and redesign.

By definition design thinking is iterative, so rather than try to get it perfectly right the first time (as you will read below, “perfectionism can be a form of self-abuse”) you iterate, and by successive approximation do get there one iteration at a time.

In this model, there is no failure only feedback and no long planning/production cycle.

Cultivating the mindset of design thinking requires:
Empathy– Imagining from multiple perspectives with a “Person First” approach

Integrative Thinking– Embracing all salient features including seemingly contradictory ideas

Experimentalism– Trying new approaches and processes by prototyping

Interdependence– A team and integrated systems perspective

Optimism– A belief that THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY to make it better!

Taking the first letter of each of these and Old MacDonald had it right, “EIEIO”!

If you are committed to designing a better life here is some soul fodder…

1. The first set of pictures will expand your sense of what is possible

2. If design in the right blend of aesthetics and functionality, the second item will help us redefine beauty.

3. Beauty is indeed within as is happiness. The third submission is about debunking the myths of happiness from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

4. Lastly, enjoy a dog story that will confirm the mind is not in here and the world out there, but the world is in here and the mind out there!


First: Click here for some fantastic photos.

True Beauty by Pam Thomas

Have you ever known someone who was absolutely stunning on the outside, but the minute they opened their mouth they became the most unattractive person ever?
There’s a reason for that.

And while I am not a psychologist, I’d be willing to bet you dollars to donuts, that regardless of their outward appearance, jealousy and insecurities, the need for constant validation, etc. where most likely running rampant internally. Sadly, those qualities and characteristics often lead to not-so beautiful outward behavior, i.e. cattiness, gossip, “It’s all about me” tendencies, negativity, as well as neediness … hence the diminishing attractiveness.

My friends, here’s the straight skinny… True beauty radiates from the inside outward. It is not defined by having flawless skin, wearing size 2 jeans, sporting cellulite free legs or a toned butt.

True Beauty …

.. is the person who shares a smile with a perfect stranger, lends a helping hand to someone in need, listens open-heartedly to a friend in pain, gives love unconditionally, or finds the joy in the small things. And it is my hope that you begin to recognize your true beauty which comes from your heart.

While I have given some examples of what true beauty is, I think it’s also very important to mention, that beauty is subjective. It’s not about comparisons, but rather recognizing and creating our own true definition of beauty.

So, how do we define beauty within ourselves?

The first step is taking responsibility for ourselves. What does that mean? Well, that means knowing that what you think about you, how you feel about you, what you say about you (and even about others), and how you show up each day is down to you. You are in the driver’s seat. You have choices and options, but in order to see those choices and options you have to create some awareness. As I mentioned in this week’s audio message awareness is critical to creating change and to not only radiating beauty from the inside out, but attracting good things to you. There is beauty in taking responsibility for ourselves.

Next, it’s being committed to being our most authentic selves. It is all too easy to try and conform, conform to societal expectations or other people’s opinions. This only serves to diminish and overshadow our true beauty and it sends a message not only to the world, but to ourselves that who we are just isn’t beautiful enough and NOTHING could be farther from the truth. When we can be who we are and know that it is enough, that’s when we begin to share our inner beauty.

It’s also about realizing that there is no such thing as perfect so it’s time to release the pressure and stop striving for perfection. I once had a student share a quote with me that really hit home; “Perfection is just a form of self-abuse.” Hearing that completely rocked my world, especially since I will admit that I am a recovered perfectionista of the highest order. Striving for perfection really equates to (yet again) telling yourself that you aren’t good enough as you are. That’s not only degrading, but it’s deprecating, and it truly stifles your own inner beauty.

And lastly, it’s being willing to be vulnerable. What does it mean to be vulnerable?

First and foremost, it means accepting that you are amazing, imperfections and all.

It means knowing that you are more than enough now and that you always have been. It means being open to sharing with your whole heart regardless of what others say, do, think or feel.

While it may be scary and while vulnerability gets a bad rap, it’s actually a beautiful place to come from. As difficult as it may be, when we are vulnerable we are able to reach out to others for support and assistance without feeling guilty, and most importantly, we come from our hearts rather than our heads where ego lives.

Please know something, being vulnerable does not mean becoming a doormat or being perceived as weak. As a matter of fact, to be vulnerable requires strength and the internal fortitude to stand strong in your own beliefs and in who you are.

Debunking the Myths of Happiness

Dog For Sale:


A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: ‘Talking Dog For Sale ‘He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard.

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.

‘You talk?’ he asks.

‘Yep,’ the Lab replies.

After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says ‘So, what’s your story?’

The Lab looks up and says, ‘Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so… I told the CIA.

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.’


‘I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running…

But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.’

‘I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.’

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

‘Ten dollars,’ the guy says.

‘Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?’

‘Because he’s a Liar.  He’s never been out of the yard’


Thanks this week go to Alan D, The Daily Good, Larry H, and the unconditional love of dogs everywhere!

Pay it forward…


“You see things; and you say Why?
But I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?”—
George Bernard Shaw

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s