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
Meaning is what my mind plays with when my body has nothing to do. I find I can add meaning and significance to anything and then just as quickly subtract it!
Each time it’s a naming game in my mind. And in no case is any “true” meaning established for me beyond the naming game.
So, how to stay engaged? Friedrich Nietzsche once observed that “Man is the only animal who has to be encouraged to live.” I’ve needed that encouragement myself in past days and suicidal nights gone by.
And one day I no longer needed it. Those days and nights were gone for good and the blue was back in the sky. The long dreary linear life was over and I saw how short this vertical uprising called living could be! I mean it was already over! Who needs to be encouraged to sustain something that’s already over?
And in that same spirit, were I to find myself needing “help to stay engaged” in this life I would know it’s time to call the hotline once again.
It’s only when my mind is contaminated with beliefs that I try to add meaning to things. But that activity is always (as the Zen masters say) like adding legs to a snake. Like painting a rose with red paint.
The great mythologist Joseph Campbell was once asked by an up and coming writer what Campbell would recommend as a cure for writer’s block. “Cut off your head” said Campbell.
In other words, write from the heart, live from the heart. We are always and already totally engaged. We breathe in from life and breathe out to life and this mutual giving keeps us engaged.
Charlie Manson thought there was secret meaning in the Beatles’ White Album, especially in the song “Helter Skelter.” People have insisted to me that when Jesus says, in the Bible, that some men, if they behave certain ways, are better off at the bottom of the ocean with a millstone around their necks, there is a subtle symbolic “meaning” there that I might be missing. Something more spiritually elegant than “I’d like to drown those mofos.”
Only the mind that believes the darkest of superstitions can talk the body into feeling disengaged from this whirling life. So if I believe I need a method that helps me to stay engaged, I am like Nietzsche’s man who needs to be encouraged to stay alive.
That’s not for me anymore.
I like staying alive in the same way the Bee Gees like stayin’ alive. With the same level of meaning.
- Steve Chandler
- When things around you get hairy, what’s a new habit you could develop to re-center, recharge, regroup?
- What are some more possible habits to keep you engaged? (Our list: dance, laugh, ask for a compliment, nap…)
- How can you make it easy to remember your new habits? (A reminder on your keychain or your fridge door…)
Explore More Meaning
genius finder. de-compartmentalizer. mind-heart mixer.
Gina Rudan is an author, thought leader, and the president of Genuine Insights Inc., a contemporary professional development and training practice with the mission of leveraging the genius within every individual and organization. [www.genuineinsights.com]