Master Life as Art


Years ago, I realized that while I was writing slogans, vision statements, and mission statements for companies all over the world, I didn’t have my own. I do now. My personal slogan sits at the top of my page: Love life. Perfect life. Beautify life. It is your art.

Every moment can be a work of moving art if we bring mindfulness to it, and mindfulness is the engine that drives mastery. Without this mindfulness, we find ourselves managing our lives rather than living them.

Mindfulness brings depth and fullness to life and challenges us to uncover why we’re doing what we do rather than following the lemmings off any of life’s many cliffs.

When we know our reasons, what and how we do things naturally fall into place. It’s this why that writes our own meta-narrative, inspiring us to live with more passion, work with sharper focus, and lead with greater influence.

Whether we work at Evil Corp., Bob’s Café, or our own startup, we should be working for our life's purpose—not for the paycheck, the promotion, or the many reasons people give for getting up early, braving a long commute, and sitting next to some sulking curmudgeon for eight precious hours of the day. Grow, explore, and have a plan. It’s better than being part of someone else’s.

Knowing what we value helps us make decisions, navigate crises, find meaning or make meaning where we can’t find it. That meaning generates the often-elusive why.

I’ve defined my values to find my why. I look at what I most want. I’ve been doing it for years, so I see patterns. Every year I have a few key elements in my goals and objectives:

Meditate daily

Train daily

Read and write daily

Spend time with my family

Have fun and make a lot of money

These goals are part of every goal list I have made for the past twelve years. I’ve distilled them to the following values:

Success

Equanimity

Compassion

Strength (Physical, Mental, and Emotional)

Intelligence

Because what we most value doesn’t always come easy, it’s important to look at what we fear too, which can be seen in my anti-values:

Poverty

Scatterbrainedness (Not really a good word but the best I could do)

Selfishness

Illness

Weakness

Stupidity

The values drive my decisions and bring me comfort, but most of all they infuse my life with mindfulness, demanding that I make decisions with them in mind. The anti-values remind me who I don’t want to be—more mindfulness. Each speaks to a facet of my life that I hope to grow and beautify or harness and subdue.

We are Warrior Kings and Queens. Each battle we ride into with mindfulness tempers the steel we use to forge our character. Mindfully living with an authentic value compass can change our personal stories and the stories of the ones we hold dear.

Jack Woodyard, Tokyo Japan


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