If you ask me the single greatest practice to cultivating a more beautiful life–the one thing that can and will make a tremendous difference in your life–my answer is simple. No spiritual rocket science here. It’s thanksgiving.
Giving thanks, practicing gratefulness, saying “Thank You” and living a life of appreciation radically changes your outlook on life. Even in tough times, thankful people are resilient people. I know it’s hard to be thankful when you’re being body-slammed and crushed in a BlackFriday dog-pile for a deeply-discounted big-screen TV. But cultivating thankfulness on a daily basis has incredible health benefits in many ways…
Kindness has an undeniable and solid architecture.
My daughter Ellie is studying architecture in Copenhagen this year. Though we miss her smile and easy-going personality, she’s having the time of her life traveling Europe, taking in all of its architectural wonders and sending us photos of her watercolor paintings of Copenhagen. Architecture major. Art Minor.
Yesterday, my wife and I skyped with Ellie. She led us through a photographic journey of her recent trip to the World Expo in Milan, Italy. Advancing from photo to photo from each country’s incredible architectural and design installations, Ellie gave us a personal tour of all her curated photos. She then told us a beautiful little story about her new haircut.
If you want to take a journey to extraordinary, take a moment to watch this inspiring video about the generosity of one person impacting the life of double-amputee Ironman triathlete, Scott Rigsby. The power of generosity and the amazing stories that flow from it can truly lead you on a journey to extraordinary. How? There is something about generosity that causes a seismic shift in people and the difficult circumstances they face. Generosity inspires hope, courage, and perseverance.
Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.
Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.
I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
If you’re facing trouble, relationship conflicts, struggles and pain that could deepen your character, let me ask you a simple question: Are you backing down from trouble? Are you afraid to show trouble who you really are? Have you, somehow, bought into the lie that creating a beautiful life would be easy? That you would never be opposed? That conflict would never involve hard work to reach for creative solutions?
A friend of mine recently shared Hello Trouble, a great Gerber knife video with me and as you go into this weekend… (more…)
One of my goals is to be a life-long learner, which is why I really enjoyed this TEDx video on creativity, kids and hackschooling. As the parents of four children, Krista and I have tried hard to figure out the “secret sauce” for what makes each one of our kids tick. And without naming names, our four kids love school, hate school, like school and tolerate school.
But school does not always equal learning, creativity or education, which is why I hope you’ll be inspired by 13 year old Logan LaPlante and his creative approach to learning in this TEDx talk. If you have children, especially teenagers, this is a great video to watch as a family and discuss. If you have a creative team, build into their lives by having a conversation about the importance of lifelong learning. Click here to leave a comment now.
No matter how much you eat this Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is good for your health. I’m not talking about massive amounts of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes or a second helping of pumpkin pie.
I want to invite you to a much more satisfying meal that’s good for your health: a Thanksgiving of the heart. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1) A steady diet and exercise of Thanksgiving does wonders for your heart, mind and body. And thanksgiving is essential for cultivating a beautiful life. Here’s why… Read on.
Two weeks ago, I had to keep telling myself to stay focused on my finish line. I was slugging it out in the half-marathon portion of the 70.3 Ironman triathlon event in Augusta, Georgia. Earlier that morning, I swam 1.2 miles and rode 56 miles through the South Carolina and Georgia countryside, but now my legs were saying, “Enough!” At least I had two legs to run on. (Don’t mock the tights…I get enough from my eighth grader!)
Whether you are in a race or not, when you’re struggling, perspective is everything, which is why you need to stay focused on your finish line. There are people in your life who are looking to you for inspiration and who need you to persevere. Read on…
Last Saturday, I had the incredible honor of becoming “The Father of the Bride.” What is there not to love about being the Father of the Bride? My oldest daughter, Janae, married the love of her life, a fine young gentleman (the whole O’Connor family loves) named Jonathan Kirchner. For all of you, my Art, Life & Faith friends, you know one of my deepest desires is to help you cultivate a beautiful life. Today is my privilege to share one of the most beautiful days of my life. Read on…
Do you ever feel like you don’t know how to pray? Or what to pray? If I was sitting in church or a classroom, I hope I wouldn’t be the only guy to raise my hand. I try to make it a regular practice to get up early in the morning, make my first cup of coffee and sit in the leather chair in my office to pray and read. It’s my first step into sanity for the day because I know how easy it is for me to get derailed throughout the day. But that’s just me…
Honestly, there are so many days when I’ve got so much on my mind that all that seems to pour out of my heart to God is, “Blaaa–eeech!” I wonder if my prayers look like me swinging a thin little broomstick at all chest-beating gorillas in my mind? If there are days when you don’t know how or what to pray, I have a beautiful prayer I want to share with you. It comes from Brennan Manning, one of my favorite authors. Read on…