Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

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 Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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 Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

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 Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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 Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

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]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

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 Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

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]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

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 Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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 Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

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]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

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 Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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 Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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 Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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

 

blessings

Jeff Semigran Jeff Semigran 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

feff_semigran_feature

When I reflect on the happiest moments of my life, they’re almost always of shared experiences. The loving people I’ve been surrounded with throughout my life have shaped a lot of who I am today. Each one has taught me something that I’ve either consciously taken as a lesson or subconsciously, looking back, used for my growth.

While I was young, I took my relationships, especially with my family, for granted. When I left for college and got a clearer picture of the person I was becoming, I realized I had my parents to thank because they were great role models.

Every so often I come across someone or something that reminds me of all that I have been blessed with. It reignites my gratefulness. A couple of years ago, I visited an orphanage in Tanzania through Insight. After playing with the wonderful children for a while, sadness came over me. I felt bad, thinking how unfortunate it was that they had “nothing.” They had lost their parents and had only a couple of possessions. As I stood there thinking this, I looked around and saw these kids as happy as could be, laughing and playing. That was my wake-up call, reminding me of what really matters. These kids had each other, and for a short period of time they had us too. That seemed to be enough. Whenever I get caught up with materialism or become really stressed by life, I recall this lesson.

Sometimes we are blocked from leading a gratitude-filled life by misplacement of value. We get a picture in our mind of what success looks like in terms of money, job, or relationship status. When things aren’t exactly that way, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of “I haven’t reached my idea of success, so what do I have to be grateful for?”

I recommend that everyone take the time to think back over the happiest moments of their life and ask themselves, “What about those moments gave me a sense of joy?” Those are moments to be grateful for. Make a list of the qualities you like about yourself. This brings the greatness in each of us to our attention and gives us more to be grateful for. Then look at the people or experiences that have helped shape those qualities – be grateful for them as well.

– Jeff Semigran

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