Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
As a kid, I was always searching for meaning. I was suspicious about the norms of society because I saw people who didn’t inspire me, whose lives I wouldn’t be satisfied living. I wanted something juicier and more meaningful on a deeper level. That’s why I became a monk.
The day I graduated from university, I went to work for Self-Realization Fellowship in Hollywood. I was trying to figure out how meditation, yoga, and a life of more discipline, structure, and consciousness might help me go deeper into the subject of meaning.
I was a monk for 35 years. I had it in my head that the purpose of my life was to find and be in tune with God. I look back now and see that as an externally-referenced search. As I matured, slowly and painfully, I became more intuitively convinced that I had to figure out something more meaningful to me personally than just being in tune with this God thing.
I went through a process of looking back though my whole life at the experiences that had made me blissful and put me in touch with my core. Then I looked at the experiences that had really bugged me, and I found the flip side of the same issues. One set of experiences fulfilled meaning and the other violated that same meaning.
I concluded that my life is all about encouraging myself and anyone who’s receptive to get clear on what means the most to them, and to manifest it. Anything but that is secondary.
Because we live in this realm of duality, each of us has a positive and a negative pole. The positive pole is our potential for unique contribution. The world is waiting for us to stand up and manifest that. On the flip side are our blind spots, the places we can’t see into. Therefore, we need to be receptive to other people’s visions and life purposes, to learn from them and be healed by them. People are becoming clearer about their potential, and yet open to collaboration. That’s what’s going to heal the world.
When I’m angry, I don’t ask myself what I’m angry about, because anger is a phase of fear. I ask myself, What are you afraid of, dude? I can always answer that question. When I start down that path of inquiry, I always go deeper, and when I’m deep, I’m okay. Then I start laughing.
– Craig Marshall
Explore More Meaning
appreciative son. moment cogitator. lesson learner.
Jeff Semigran is a senior at UC Berkeley studying environmental and civil engineering. He is an alumnus of the Teen Insight Seminars and Leadership series. This piece is part of the Insight University and Life By Me week of giving back. www.givingtuesday.org/insight-university