The Experts Up Close
Jack Canfield is the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a peak performance coach.
Wayne Dyer is the author of more than 30 books and has created many audio programs. His latest book is Excuses Begone! and he recently released a movie titled The Shift.
Amanda Gore is a professional speaker and author of four books, including You Can Be Happy. She has a background in psychology and stress management.
Q. I’d like to make a difference with my life and create a lasting, positive impact on the world, but I am not famous. Can ordinary people create a legacy? Jack Canfield: You do not need to be Madonna, Bono or George Clooney to make a difference in the world. As the compiler and editor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, I have read and published hundreds of stories of “ordinary” people who have left extraordinary legacies.
One such person is Chad Pregracke, a non-college graduate blue-collar worker, who at the age of 21 set out on a one-man mission to clean up all of the trash that had been thrown into the Mississippi River. He started with a 20-foot boat and his own two hands. Since he started in 1997, he’s cleared more than 1,000 miles of the Mississippi and another 435 miles of the Illinois River, pulling more than a million tons of debris from the riverbanks. Once he realized he couldn’t do it alone, he raised more than $2,500,000 in donations and enlisted more than 4,000 people to help him in his crusade. Chad was just a normal kid living along the river in Iowa who committed himself to a vision of making a difference. Now he is a national hero who has received numerous awards and honors.
Just pick an area where you want to make a difference and start. Chad started with the 250 feet in front of his house and ended up cleaning up the whole river. You can do the same.
Q. I enjoy my work, but I don’t think I am living my passion with my professional choices. What steps should I take to get closer to my dream business and out of the professional doldrums?
Amanda Gore: First, find clarity about what is your passion; then you can create the opportunities to pursue it more specifically. Once you are clear about what inspires you, enthuses you, makes you feel creative and that you are contributing in a meaningful way or that you are making a difference, then you can decide if you need to change jobs, change your perception of your job, create your own company or volunteer more! Often we expect our professional lives to feed all of our needs, but our perception of a job is faulty! We can make a job our work. Work is a much bigger concept. It refers to what we were put on Earth to do. A job can be work if we perceive it correctly.
Any job we have needs to be viewed from the aspect of service: Who are we serving and how are we serving them? Doing our job with the right spirit, with the right heart, transforms it into our work. When we are busy focusing on serving others, our passion ignites, our enthusiasm fires others up. We are more likely to be acknowledged and appreciated, our confidence and energy levels increase and we are fired up to start our own business, if that’s what emerges out of our search for clarity.
Jack Canfield: The key is to start by just leaning into it. When I realized I wanted to do more writing and less traveling around the world teaching live seminars, I decided to write the first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book. I knew I wanted to have 100 stories in the book, so I wrote or edited two stories a week for a year. The majority of that work took place from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. after my wife had gone to bed and on the weekends. I couldn’t afford to quit my “day job,” so I just knuckled under and did it when I could.
The most important thing is to get started in some way today. If you have the capital to jump ship now, go for it. If not, work up to it. But the key is to start doing something, however small, today.
Q. I want to be happier but I am always so stressed about money I think it’s getting in the way. How can I be happy while I work to get on top of my finances?
Amanda Gore: Being stressed about money—or more specifically, the lack of it—doesn’t help save it. If you see a reason for concern—you can’t pay bills or don’t have food and shelter—then seek help.
Many of us don’t need half the things we buy. We want them but do we really need designer clothes or several TVs, or fancy cars, shoes or bags? We can be happy under any circumstance if we so choose. Sometimes it’s not easy, but we can find joy in small things and small moments. Those moments rarely require money.
I was at my stepdaughter’s wedding yesterday and one of the most touching moments of the whole day came from the groom’s family. His father spoke a heartfelt few words and then said he would like his family (Max is one of 12 children) to sing to show their joy. It cost nothing and moved many people to tears and we all joined in.
So work hard. Earn your salary. Watch your finances carefully rather than just worry about them. Actively curb unnecessary spending until you are on top of your finances and along the way learn to appreciate the thousands of joyful moments that are free. Sunrises, sunsets, the ability to exercise, to sleep well, to sing, to have family and friends, to be able to laugh, to smile, to give joy to others, to help others, to be kind, to be compassionate, to serve. This is the stuff of life, not money.
https://www.success.com/articles/1578—Legends:-“>Jack CanfieldJack Canfield
: True happiness is not the result of some external condition like having lots of money. We all know people who are rich and unhappy. The key to happiness is to stop focusing on what you don’t have, and focus more on what you do have. The fastest way to do that is to do a daily gratitude exercise. I suggest you do it in the morning before you begin or leave for work. Take five minutes and write a list of what you already have that you are grateful for—good weather, your car, a roof over your head, a loving wife, good health, your cat, your best friend, worldwide telephone service, the Internet, your television and stereo system, your iPod, a comfortable bed, and so on. There is always so much more to be grateful for in life than there is to be upset about.
Also, remember this: the law of attraction works by bringing into your life more of what you focus on. If you focus on your lack of money, you will attract more lack into your life. What you think about comes about. So ultimately, worrying is simply negative goal-setting. So work diligently to make more money while focusing on what you already have to be grateful for. If you do this every day for 30 days, your attitude will dramatically change.
Wayne Dyer: There really is no stress in the world. If I told you to go bring me a bucket of stress so I could examine it, your bucket would be empty. You couldn’t bring back anything. There are only people thinking stressful thoughts. It manifests from fear. I have a friend who says: the belief that you must have something that you don’t is insanity. There is an overabundant supply of money. You shouldn’t have a scarcity consciousness. The more you think about abundance, the more it will come to you. There is nothing out there that you can’t do. You can travel around the world.
Q. I know it’s healthy to emulate successful people, but when does comparing myself to others become unhealthy and impact my happiness?
Amanda Gore: When you think “I will be happy when I am like so and so.” Be happy with who you are now, even if you are not who you want to be yet. And if you want to learn and grow and be different, then find the right people with whom to study and model—people with good values and sincere hearts doing the right things.
Be clear on how you define success. It’s not just about money. It’s been my experience that doing what you love and are meant to be doing and making a worthwhile contribution, serving others, often bring us all the money, success and joy we need.
Strive to be more compassionate, loving, forgiving, enthusiastic, peaceful and serving. The more I try, the happier I become.
Jack Canfield: I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even. Nine times out of ten we compare ourselves to people who are somehow better than us and end up feeling more inadequate. And anytime you come out on the bottom, it has the potential to erode your self-confidence and inhibit you from taking the actions you need to take.
On the other hand, I have found it extremely useful to study the lives and behaviors of people who have achieved greatness in the areas that matter to me. There have been many people whom I have admired, emulated and even modeled parts of my life after. I study how they do things and then I go through a period of “trying on” those same thinking patterns and behaviors. After awhile, what is not essentially me falls away while the useful parts remain. If I hadn’t spent many years trying to be as compassionate as Mother Teresa, as positive a thinker as W. Clement Stone, as prolific a writer as Stephen King, and as good a speaker as many of the legends I have studied, I would not be as successful as I am today.
Wayne Dyer: It becomes unhealthy every time you do it. You are unique in the world. Comparing is the work of the ego. It’s the false self. The ego believes that who I am is what I have and what other people think of me, or who I am is separate from God. But you are a divine perfect creation.