The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

I hadn’t read Joseph Campbell in awhile.  When I came across this essay last week, I got sucked in.  This is inspiration.  Please share.

The Hero’s Journey (On Living in the World) by Joseph Campbell

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
What you have to do, you do with play.
Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior’s approach is to say “yes” to life: “Yea” to it all.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
When we talk about settling the world’s problems, We’re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Mike Krzyzewski Talks about Associating with Good People

Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski

I had the immense opportunity to interview Mike Krzyzewski at the Milken Conference earlier this year.  Coach K is one of the most successful coaches in any sport on any level. However, Mike is probably even more respected today for his role as a leadership expert, a motivational speaker and a philanthropist.

You can view the VIDEO of our interview with Coach Krzyzewski HERE.

Within the video there are index tags so you can navigate per your preferences.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts of the interview:

–  Self dialogue practice (”Being in tune with yourself” section)

–  Follow the people you can learn from, not the money.  (”Associating yourself with good people” section)

–  Getting outside, solitude. (”On spending time in nature” section)

I belive when people think of Mike Krzyzewski, they think of a high integrity person who aspires to be a successful human being rather than simply a successful professional.  That is what they respect and it’s also what leads to his quality of life.

Gary Vaynerchuk Shares His Views on Quality of Life

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

I’m sure you have heard of Gary by now. He is a gutsy, charismatic, hard working, gifted entrepreneur who owns the wine category online through his site WineLibrary.TV.  He is best known as one of the world’s experts in social media and online marketing.  However, as he continues to draw audiences, he is now just as appreciated by his talent as a motivational speaker.

He’s also hilarious and totally authentic.

The highlight of the video is Gary’s emphasis on the importance of being yourself.

“Not being yourself is exhausting.” How great a line is that?

In our 20’s and early 30’s, we start to realize the importance of being yourself for happiness and personal satisfaction reasons.  And then halfway through our careers, we start to realize that being yourself is also the greatest competitive advantage you could have for professional success.

Be yourself. There can’t be a better life tip than that, and Gary Vaynerchuk is making the world a better place by spreading this message.

At 2:48 into this video, Gary shares a best practice on how he deals with bad days.  It’s a great lesson about the importance of mindset; but it’s also completely hilarious.  I love that he gave us such a specific, quirky example.  That’s what it’s all about.

Click on the below to watch the video.   Let us know what you think.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Eric Bibb Talks About Gratitude

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As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the musician Eric Bibb.  He is one of the great performers living today. He is a Grammy-nominated blues musician who despite his accomplishments may still be one of the best-kept secrets in music.

Eric’s guitar work and lyrics are incredible; however it’s something about his calm demeanor and uplifting spirit that makes him so successful connecting with audiences. Some of his best-known songs include “I Heard the Angels Singing” and “Shingle by Shingle.”

I had an opportunity to interview Eric over lunch in Japantown in San Francisco not too long ago.  [Later than night some friends and I saw Eric and Ruthie Foster play together at Yoshi’s and it was unreal.]

I knew before we met that he was a person with a inspiring and positive approach to life; you can tell just by the way he carries himself that behind the scenes he’s got some perspectives and practices that contribute to his quality of life.

My favorite part of our conversation was when Eric talked about gratitude:

“For me quality of life comes down to whether I am feeling peaceful, unanxious and grateful for the gift of life. Gratitude is the key to happiness I think. The ability to think, to be creative, to have senses that function, to be able to walk, to have freedom of movement. Those are tremendous blessings and sources of joy. Having enough to eat, having shelter, having companionship, having loving people around you; that’s paradise. Clean water, nutritious food, health, mobility; that’s paradise. I don’t think it’s so much a question of being happy or unhappy because each is part of the flow of life.”

Here are some of the other interesting perspectives and practices Eric shared that you might find interesting:

Mind:  Daily prayer

Perspective:  Realizing our connectedness with others

Health:  Yoga practice

Relationships:  Those that want to trip you up

Perspective:  Discovering your own path

Mind:  Thoughts matter

If you haven’t seen Eric Bibb perform, trust me it’s a great show…

Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Gil Gerstein

fQuality of life to me is living and loving consciously, embracing life’s experiences, making small yet attainable goals and enjoying all the little moments that life brings.

1.  Think Positive
I believe that people are inherently good, things are always getting better and all challenges can be turned into accomplishments. By embracing struggle as a learning experience, all events can be positive.

2.  Honor Thy Sleep
I take sleeping very seriously. I get about eight hours every night and much more on the weekends. It is so vital for our health and happiness yet so overlooked. It heals the mind, soul and the body. It keeps you young and happy. Respect pillow time and you will feel the difference.

3.  Find Your Soulmate

Being with the right partner is the best feeling in the world. I waited to find my true soul mate and she only came when I was ready and felt truly deserving. She enriches my life, gives me purpose and fills my days with serenity and love.

4.  Verbalize Gratitude

Being grateful is a wonderful quality but verbalizing gratitude has a much more powerful effect. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy and when you express your gratitude towards others they often strive to attain even higher levels of the qualities you admire.

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The Wisdom of Dichotomies: The World is a Mess and Life Optimism Reconciled

Photograph by eNil via Flickr

Photograph by eNil via Flickr

I was talking with our housekeeper Fany this morning about an earthquake that hit Honduras the day before.

In non-negative way, she was saying how this is just another example of all that is happening in the world today.  I made a joke, something to the effect of “El fin del mundo esta muy cerca!”  She sort of shrugged and mentioned that she does think the end of the world may be not too far out.

The next thing she said was what struck me.  She said this belief makes it easier for her to live each day to the fullest.  The feeling that the world is a crazy, unstable place meant for her a greater sense of calm and day-to-day optimism.

While I don’t agree about a pending cataclysmic event, it does make sense why these two seeming opposite mindsets actually interplay so well.    I can see how a doomsday philosophy could simultaneously someone a more passionate, optimistic person.

This exchange is also a perfect illustration of the power of an optimistic mindset.  A negative person would let a doomsday belief translate to apathy and cynicism, while an optimistic person works off of the belief to introduce more passion into each day.

All of this (both the “world is in constant flux” theme and the dichotomy concept) reminds me of a Joseph Cambell quote:

“When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree.  The world is perfect.  It’s a mess.  It has always been a mess.  We are not going to change it.  Our job is to straighten out our own lives.”


The more I experience life the more I come across the wisdom of dichotomies.


Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Avil Beckford

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Quality of life for me is doing the things that bring joy. Over the past five years I have learned a lot about what does not work for me and I have turned over a new leaf.

1.  Reading

I am an avid reader, and reading is one of the simple pleasures in my life. I go through phases where I will focus on one genre until I am ready for a change. Right now, I am reading books across genres, and one of the unique things is that I have the ability to make connections among disparate pieces of information. I am an active reader so I get emotionally caught up with the words on the pages as I interact with them.

2.  Meditation

Twice a day I meditate, which helps to bring peace to my life. I retreat to the quiet place within, where I listen to hear what my inner voice is trying to tell me. This practice helps me to become the person I was meant to be.

3.  Raja Yoga

I recently discovered Raja Yoga, the highest form of yoga and it has made such a difference in my life. I have received tools to help me to achieve self-mastery. I see simple yet profound changes in myself. Things that used to bother me no longer do, and I view difficult people as my “Tests.”

4.  Flourishing

I have been in many situations, both personal and professional where I felt a piece of me wither and die each day. Now I know how to quickly identify situations where I flourish and blossom. This allows me to be my best self, which contributes to contentment and happiness.

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Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Cynthia Chin

rWe live in a time when more and more people realize that life is not just about existing but absolutely be about living to the fullest. Most of us perceive ourselves to be stuck in whatever rut that we cannot possibly get out of at the moment, for whatever reasons. I’d like to think otherwise. Quality of life is something that I experience, pursue and maintain at all costs because I believe that if we don’t love, enjoy and LIVE life, than our short time on earth will be sadly wasted.

So, what drives me? These are 10 contributors to what I especially love about my life, in no particular order. I’m working on all of them. Doesn’t mean I don’t fall off the wagon. But as with all things, we need to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and jump on again. Enjoy!

1. Discovering and Rediscovering Passions

When I was 14, all I wanted to do was to study abroad, get a degree in something wildlife or environmental related, and save the world. I did that (not the save the world bit, but I’m still in the wildlife conservation industry). I’m 36 and I’ve realized it’s time for me to discover, rediscover and pursue other passions in my life. I’m in the process of doing this, and I’m excited about it. I thrive on the process of discovery. I have a lot of things I can be passionate about. I just haven’t found one I want to pursue just yet.

2. Exercise and Keeping Healthy

I don’t look super fit. I’m not in great physical shape and I certainly am not drop-dead gorgeous Miss Athlete. But I tell ya, I looove working out, I loooove getting out in the jungle and trekking around, I loooove swimming, and I loooove sharing these activities with my friends. Exercise and activity keep me focused; eating well (as much as possible, anyway) makes me feel good about myself. I come to a place of quiet and inner reflection during a trek in the forest, on the treadmill, with every stroke of my swim. My focus is always on the exercise and fitness. Whether I lose weight or anything else is never the goal. I believe that’s the key philosophy on exercise.

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Top Ten Quality of Life Contributors by Paul Mallory

Hi Everyone, this is the first of many future submittals.  This one comes from Paul Mallory, a fan of the site for some time.   We were introduced through Arvind Devalia a few months back and Paul is now doing some volunteer work for Quality of Life Project as well.  We will be publishing submittals from friends of the organization every two weeks going forward.  If you haven’t sent yours yet, we would love to receive it.

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By Paul Mallory

People often talk about work/life balance. I realized one day (in middle age) that my work life is a huge percentage of my time on earth, and that I wanted my life to be as meaningful, contributory and joyful as I could make it. The key for me is to have work that feels like I am using my gifts to the full, and making a difference. That’s when I formed my company, Soul Work, to coach people on finding more fulfillment at work.

Children

I have four beautiful, bright, happy and hilarious children, ranging from a school leaver to a middle-school starter. These are my favorite people in the world, and they are the people who bring joy to my weekends and through their aspirations and achievements, some huge, some tiny. They come before everything else for me, but I also realized that to support, mentor and make them happy, I needed to be happy in myself and that I therefore needed to feel good about myself and find fulfilment in my work.

Mission

I am happiest when I feel ‘on-purpose’, i.e. that my daily work is me being who I authentically am, at my core, and using my unique strengths for the benefit of others. When we’re lost in our work, we are ‘in flow’, and that’s a great feeling. I formed my company ‘Soul Work’ to research the question of how we can increase our fulfilment at work, by either changing our mindset around our current role, or by finding a new role that allows the possibility of alignment to our life purpose.

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Quality of Life Perspectives: Ariane de Bonvoisin Talks about the Little Things

Ariane de Bonvoisin

Ariane de Bonvoisin

I had the opportunity to interview Ariane de Bonvoisin this summer.  We met last year and I have quickly become a fan of her endeavors.

Ariane is the author of First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier and has built a media company around her desire to help people enjoy life more.  Ariane embodies this Quality of Life Project purpose:

–  Contributing to the growing worldwide movement in which individuals are increasingly measuring success based on quality of life over other pursuits and are increasingly drawn to authenticity over pretense.

Ariane’s independent approach to life is truly inspiring. She lives like an explorer constantly finding new and interesting experiences to enrich her life. And her path through life is a great indicator. She grew up living in six countries, was an internationally competitive swimmer and graduated London School of Economics at 19 and Stanford Business School at 24. She went on to leadership positions in the venture capital world, at one time overseeing Time Warner’s venture fund. But she felt out of synch and saw how her personal life was suffering through by not being in tune with her true inner voice. She was always a spiritual person but felt she needed to regroup. Ariane ended up taking a new path. In 2005, she decided to become a media entrepreneur, which led to her First 30 Days book and the launching of www.first30days.com and soon www.arianestudio.com.

You can view the VIDEO of our interview with Ariane HERE.

Within the video there are index tags so you can navigate per your preferences.

There are some outstanding takes on big picture life perspectives that have helped Ariane enjoy her life.  You should not miss out on these.  But the best part of the interview in my opinion are the little things we unearthed that any of us can immediately try out.

–  Trampoline in office (“What brings you joy” section)

–  Five year journal.  (“What brings you joy” section)

–  Wheatgrass (“Diet or health practices” section)

I hope you enjoy the video!  Ariane is doing great work so if you like her book, definitely help get the word out…