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Living a Life Inspired by Purpose

Joseph Rodarick Law interviews Jack Canfield, No.1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series®

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How would you define genuine success?

I think genuine success comes from discovering what you love to do and finding a way to do it so that it serves yourself and others at the same time. Every one of us was born with a set of unique talents and abilities. We have inborn preferences and natural styles that we need to honor. Some of us are natural leaders; others are happier in support roles. Some are natural salespeople; others are born to be creative in the arts. The trick is to pursue your greatest interests. When you discover your true purpose and develop a vehicle through which you can express it, you will experience a great sense of success. And if you can find a way to make money doing it at the same time, then all the better.

What is the true meaning of ‘living on purpose?’

I think we are all born with a deep and meaningful purpose that we have to discover. Your purpose is not something you need to make up; it’s already there. You just have to uncover it. You can begin to discover your purpose by exploring two things: 1) What do you love to do? What makes you happy? and 2) What comes easy to you? Of course, it takes work to develop your talents — even the most gifted musician still has to practice — but it should feel natural, like rowing downstream rather than upstream.

What do you believe to be the secret of true happiness?

I believe there are several secrets to true happiness. The first is to truly love and accept yourself just the way you are. Most of us have to relearn how to do that. Teaching people how to develop self-esteem has been a huge focus in my work. The next step is to trust yourself: trust your feelings; trust your preferences; trust your intuition. Finally, you have to learn to trust the universe and to have faith that everything is unfolding as it should.

Another major key to happiness is learning to take 100 percent responsibility for everything that happens in your life. That means giving up all blaming and complaining about how the world is. It’s coming to grips with the idea that you are indeed the one who is creating your reality by the thoughts you think, the images you hold in your mind, the feelings you feel, the choices you make and the actions you do or don’t take. Once you truly get this, you can begin to create the life you want through intentionally using the power of your mind.

Along these same lines, we have to be willing to let go of our judgements about how other people should be. Most of our pain comes from trying to control things we have no control over and from believing that other people and conditions should be different than they are. When you give up judging and trying to control others, and focus instead on creating what you want for yourself, you find an inner peace from which you can more effortlessly create your life as you’d like it to be.

How would you define genuine success?

I think genuine success comes from discovering what you love to do and finding a way to do it so that it serves yourself and others at the same time. Every one of us was born with a set of unique talents and abilities. We have inborn preferences and natural styles that we need to honor. Some of us are natural leaders; others are happier in support roles. Some are natural sales people; others are born to be creative in the arts. The trick is to pursue your greatest interests. When you discover your true purpose and develop a vehicle through which you can express it, you will experience a great sense of success. And if you can find a way to make money doing it at the same time, then all the better.

For me, success is having the ability to create the conditions that allow me to do all of the things I love in every area of my life. I have created a staff, colleagues, offices, the infrastructure, the financial resources, and the time I need to pursue my professional interests and make a huge difference in the world. I have created the family structure and the friends I need to enjoy loving and fulfilling relationships. I have created the time and the resources I need to keep my body nourished, healthy, and fit. I have created the resources I need to surround myself with beautiful art, furniture, and music. I have created the resources and contacts I need to travel comfortably to any place in the world that I want to visit. I have the time and the money to pursue any educational and personal development experience that I want to explore.


Many people would like to make a difference in the world. Where can they begin?

My advice is to start right where you are. One of my all-time favorite quotes speaks directly to this point:

‘To reject fear and to respond with inspiration, strength, hope, and imagination… the work remains in essence what it has always been; to love, to connect, to serve, to care, and to stand for and create wholeness in every way we can.’ — David Spangler

The above article is based upon Authentic Power and Greatness, published by New Holland Publishers.

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