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

 

resilience

Queena Lee-Chua Queena Lee-Chua empowering prof. student advisor. community inspirer.

Queena Lee-Chua is a professor of math and psychology at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, and a daily newspaper columnist. She also works with government and civic groups to improve math, science, and education in the country.

I witness miracles. A blind girl, through sheer guts and family love, graduates as a valedictorian, with a degree in math – she can see the abstractions in her mind’s eye better than her sighted peers. A sophomore interweaves medical research and a passion for justice in a science essay – on his first try, he wins the nation’s most prestigious writing contest, beating seasoned writers. A scholar who used to trek to school in slippers aces his exams – then proceeds to help other poor but hardworking students attend college.

These are all my students. I taught statistics to the blind girl, creative writing to the essayist, and algebra to the scholar. All of them started out as underdogs, but neither disability nor poverty could stop them. Through grit and resilience, through the support of families who’ve sacrificed much, they’ve overcome challenges that would daunt most of us.

Sadly, most of my other students don’t possess such strength or courage. Several from well-off backgrounds (multiple tutors, nannies, cars, gadgets) break down when romances fizzle out, school demands pile up, or parents have affairs. Those students have more than most of life’s luxuries, but aren’t used to confronting life’s problems. They become depressed and even suicidal, hurting themselves and others.

In my first ten years as a math professor, students would ask me about math problems. What strategy is best? Why does this theorem and not another work? How can probability be applied to business? Those questions are easy to answer.

But in the last ten years I’ve also studied psychology, and just in time. Now students come to me not with math problems, but with life issues. How can they not cheat, when it’s so easy to cut and paste? How can they survive heartbreak? Why do people who promise to cherish betray one another instead?

Those questions don’t have easy answers – if, indeed, answers exist at all. My answer is to help my students equip themselves with mind-sets and attitudes for facing life. I help them harness the strength to complain less and act more, to blame others less and take responsibility more, to dwell less on misfortunes and more on blessings, to learn from failure and not be defeated by it.

Hopefully, they’ll learn to look beyond the concerns of self and family. They’ll inspire others and reach out to a community desperately in need of their care.

Queena Lee-Chua

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