YOUR Soul Food Friday for September 18th 2015: Make Your Life into a Masterpiece- Name It, Claim It & Aim It!

Happy Soul Food Friday!

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.

– Mahatma Gandhi

Meaningful Life

Even though American happiness levels are at a four-year high, 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose…

Connecting to the season, Shanah Tovah –As I understand it, conveys hope for a good year rather than a happy one. Leading a happy life is often associated with being a taker, but leading a meaningful life is about being a giver…

This week:

Make Your Life into a Masterpiece

The most important masterpiece you’ll ever create is your life. But to create your masterpiece you must first design it. You must have a vision of what it looks like. Once you have a vision and design it you can begin the process of building it.

To help you with your design you can ask questions such as:

What does your life look like when you are at your healthiest, strongest, and best?

What does your family situation look like while you are pursuing success in your work?

What matters most?

What priorities drive you each day?

What are you doing that makes you come alive?

What are you born to do?

What are you doing to live and share your purpose?

When you look back on your life what do you want to be able to say about it?

How do you want to feel?

What will you have wanted to accomplish?

What legacy will you have left?

I asked these questions at the peak of my unhappiness 13 years ago and realized that instead of creating my masterpiece I was building a piece of a junk. Over a period of a few weeks filled with a lot of walks and prayer the answers to these questions came to me and I began the process of designing and building my life as a writer.

For some the answers to these questions may lead you to a new career. However, for most, it will simply lead to changes that will align your life with the vision and design you have for it. For example you may need to exercise more and eat healthier to create your masterpiece. Or perhaps you may need to spend more time with your family because your masterpiece includes great relationships with your kids. Or you might realize that you are not spending enough time on your priorities and therefore your masterpiece is not developing like it should. Whatever your masterpiece looks like, your design will help you see what you need to do, or stop doing, in order to create it.

I also want to caution you to make sure you are building your masterpiece and not someone else’s idea of what your masterpiece should be. I know this well. My mom always wanted me to be an attorney. I planned on going to law school after college. When I didn’t get into law school, because my LSAT score was so poor, I gave up on the idea of being a lawyer. However, after getting my masters in teaching, opening several restaurants and running for city council of Atlanta at the age of 26 my mom’s vision for me still stuck with me. I ended up going to law school in Atlanta for a year and a half. But while taking my second year exams I had this strong feeling that there was something else for me. I stood up and walked out on my final exams and never looked back.

I recently spoke to a school where the wife of my friend from law school is the principal. My friend said when I walked out of the law school exams no one could believe it. He said it was legendary. But I don’t think it was legendary to quit. What I think is legendary is when someone stops trying to create someone else’s masterpiece and instead focuses on designing and creating the masterpiece they are meant to build.

You have one masterpiece to create and I want to encourage you to design and build YOUR masterpiece, not someone else’s.

I also want to encourage you to stay positive as you move from the design phase to the building phase. You will face challenges during the building process but always remember, negative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure, but positive thoughts will build you a masterpiece.

Stay flexible and adaptable through the process. It’s okay for your plans to change, especially when your plans must give way to the ultimate creator’s master plan.

And lastly, make sure you choose the right habits because what you do each day will become who you are. Your habits will transform your design, vision and plans into the masterpiece of your life.

-Jon Gordon

Can Paradoxical Intention/Thinking Serve as a New Model to Promote Peace in the Middle East and in Your Community?

Recently, I was privileged to spend an afternoon with two internationally regarded thought leaders and peace-seekers.  Dr. Ken Druck, the founder of the Jenna Druck Center in San Diego and Yitzhak Frankenthal, the founder of The Arik Institute for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace in Israel. Ken lost his daughter Jenna and Yitzhak his son Ari-both in tragic circumstance. Both men have beneficently taken the terrible personal experience of losing a child, and transmuted that into a commitment to addressing root cause issues of deep human suffering, developing effective strategies for dealing with loss, creating systems change, and helping others transform adversity into opportunity.

Ken is a nationally sought after master facilitator, executive coach and organizational and family consultant. He is the go-to- person globally when horrific issues like the Sandy Hook school massacre or an airline disaster occur. He is also the go to guy for resiliency-period… Ken currently has a national program running on Resiliency on KPBS and is the author of “The Real Rules of Life”. Here is an article op/ed Ken co-wrote from earlier this year…

How Civil is America’s Finest City?

Yitzhak is a pioneer/peacemaker who founded the Parent’s Circle in 1995 to forge peace in the Middle East.  This was Yitzhak’s way of honoring his son, Arik, who had been kidnapped and killed by Hamas in 1994. Yitzhak led a small army of bereaved Israelis in reaching out to bereaved Palestinian families who also sought peace as the way to honor their loved ones. Yitzhak has met with virtually every Israeli President of the modern age, is tenacious in his approach and might well be on to an effective way to systemically and permanently address the middle east conflict:


“I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”
— Og Mandino

A Pre-Eminent Psychiatrist Who Survived The Holocaust Explains Why Meaningfulness Matters More Than Happiness:

“the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

A Lesson About Happiness From A Holocaust Survivor

Failure is a Nearly Inevitable Part of our Work:

Rightly understood, there is no failure, only feedback so stay the course or as my reflexology friends say, “press on regardless!”

Master Resiliency with Martin Seligman director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Penn

On the lighter side…

 Shop Italian Style:

This will bring joy to your heart and a kick to your step…

Let me take you out with some Jumping Jive:

Cab Calloway and the Nichols brothers will blow your mind & light your fuse!

Thanks this week go to Larry H, Ken D, Yitzhak F, & Vince R & Givers of Self in Service to Others!

Invest it Forward!



“You are the only person on earth

who can use your ability.”

— Zig Ziglar

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