“Chicken Soup for the Soul” Author, Jack Canfield, Encourages You to Do a ‘Joy Review’ to Determine If You’re Living Your Best Life


Jack Canfield, the self-help guru and co-author of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, started out as a high school teacher and, trained to be a lawyer, until he discovered that his passion was helping people find their own true passion in life. It all starts with what he calls a “Joy Review.”

Canfield, now aiming his message at entrepreneurs, explained to me and Kathy Korman Frey, who runs a global database of women entrepreneurs called The Hot Mammas Project.

Q: You speak and coach people all around the world. How many would you say are following their true passion in life?

A: I tell people, ‘If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, you’re off course.’ A lot of people are off course. A lot of people chase the money. They chase the power. They chase the status. You see guys totally stressed out, overdrinking at the end of the day, and not really happy.

Percentage wise, I’d say about 50 percent of Americans never find their true purpose.

Q: How do you advise people to do that?

A: I tell them to do a Joy Review. The idea is, look back over your life and ask yourself, ‘When did I experience the most joy?’ I have a paper and pencil exercise, asking people, ‘What are the two qualities I most want to express in life?’

You’ll know you’re on the right course when you feel joy. I’m not talking about being ecstatically happy every minute of the day, but do you feel joyful?

Q: But so many people feel so busy, how do we make the time to do that, without feeling like, ‘Oh great, another thing on my To Do list?’

Canfield: It would take 30 minutes to do that little exercise – the time it takes to watch another episode of “House of Cards.” And what’s more important?

The average American watches four to six hours of TV a day. The reality is, people can find the time if they choose to.

Q: If you’re working all the time, is that such a good thing?

Canfield: I’m a big believer in the power of rest. It’s when you’re not working that the subconscious allows creative ideas to bubble up, you start seeing new possibilities and breakthrough ideas occur. But taking a walk, sitting on a back porch daydreaming, playing golf, is really valuable.

I like to divide my days between:

Focus Days: Where 65 to 80 percent of my day is spent on bottom line activity

Buffer Days: For all the stuff you have to do, but don’t produce bottom-line results – learning, travel, teaching staff new skills, going to the supermarket – and I try to delegate more and more of that out, and

Free Days: I say a Free Day should be like a Barefoot Cruise – no cell phone, no Internet. Time just for you. But most people haven’t had a free day in years.

I tell people they’ve got to create a rhythmic schedule.

Q: Do you have a rhythmic schedule?

Canfield: I have days in the office, days in the training room, days in the studio recording, days out on the road.

And the other thing I do is what I call the Rule of Five – the five high priority things I know I need to do that day.

For so many people, the To Do list gets in the way. People tend to do the easiest thing first. I try to schedule my day the night before, so when I come into the office, I waste no time trying to decide what to do, I just start with the most important thing. That’s the best time, when you’re most awake.

If you do your most important thing first and get it over with, it gives you a great sense of momentum for the rest of the day.

I also have an accountability partner I call every morning before I start the day – that’s something I encourage entrepreneurs to do. We spend the day going over the Rule of Five, then the next day, we start with which things we accomplished and what we’re committing to that day.

Kathy Korman Frey: So everything is about making choices and choosing how to spend your time everyday?

Canfield: Everything is a choice. But if we slow down enough, we have time to think, and ask, ‘Is this the life I want to be living?’


I start every day with what I call an Hour of Power. I eat a really healthy breakfast drink with protein and blueberries. I take 41 vitamins and minerals. I’m 71 and most people think I’m 55.

▪ Twenty minutes of meditation – sometimes I focus on the sensation of breathing, and if I find myself thinking, I imagine I’m in a boat. So I get out of the boat, get back on the side of the river, and watch the boat go by. The last three minutes, I try to visualize all my goals as complete.

▪ The second 20 minutes, I exercise.

▪ The final 20 minutes, I read for inspiration and motivation.

▪ Then I do a three-minute gratitude exercise. I look around and go on a rampage of appreciation – I’ll thank Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the phone. I’ll thank the guys at Apple for my computer. I’ll appreciate the carpeting on the floor, because half the world is living on dirt. My view is, the more you appreciate, the more you get to appreciate.

SOURCE: The Washington Post – Brigid Schulte

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