Live Your Own Life

Many think they have a financial crisis, 

when it’s most often a crisis of meaning

We’re exploring principle number six in Innate Ability Development™ which states: Know your Innate Abilities and utilize them to fulfill your unique purpose in the world.

We furthermore discussed the awareness, courage and perseverance it takes to first realize what your innate genius is; and then to pursue it in the world. Remember, the fact that you are a genius is backed up by Howard Gardner from Harvard as well as many others.

Finally we suggested that your traditional schooling was not very life-functional unless you decided to be a professor in math or science. Technology might possibly be added to the list in today’s climate.

Isn’t it a fact that your traditional schooling did little to prepare you for the rigors, as well as the opportunities, of life?

There are two major problems in our fundamental understanding as I see it. Please remember principle number one: Principle must precede practice.

When fundamental principles are not in operation… our practice is often futile if not downright dysfunctional. This is extremely prevalent in many social systems worldwide… not the least of which our traditional education system.

First problem: we’ve been conditioned that certain things are to be valued and others have little to no value. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

Everything in this universe has value. 

Anything that does not provide value has become extinct.

Please ponder that one long and hard.

I recall being asked to mentor a young lady years ago (reference mentor with James) who had been labeled A.D.D. in her school system at a very young age. Needless to say this made a tremendous negative impact on her young self-image.

Let me just take a tangent here for a moment if I may…

A.D.D. is bullshit! There’s no such thing!

Is that emphatic enough?

No one has an “attention deficit.”

Everyone is paying attention to something!

In fact you hold your entire personal world together with your attention (that’s a topic all its own for a later date).

The very same people that are labeled A.D.D. can often sit for hours and play video games, create art, or something else that they enjoy. Think about it… doesn’t that chosen activity take an extreme focus of attention?

Again, everyone is paying attention to something!

The people who are branded with the heinous label as having a “deficit” of attention are just not paying attention to what we want them to pay attention to; and more often than not… for good reason!

Not the least of which is that it’s damn boring! Particularly traditional school.

Because we don’t see the value in all things, we take no time whatsoever to diagnose the individual uniqueness and find ways to strengthen, develop and leverage that uniqueness (more on this in a moment).

As a result, we’re unable to teach students about the things they’re individually here to accomplish with their unique genius and gifts (Innate Abilities); and in the way they need to be taught. Different individuals learn in different ways. Please ponder that one long and hard… particularly if you’ve been labeled or possibly have a child that’s been labeled A.D.D.


All of my live events used to consist of 2-5 days. And all of them were 16 hour days! Complete immersion is learning and transformation at its finest.

While I’d invariably lose one or two in a room of 500-2,000… this was the exception. Not by any means the rule.

In fact, more often than not, people would come up to me at the end of the day and say something to the effect of, “Man, I can’t believe what time it is! That went so fast!”


Because I’ve studied accelerated learning techniques as well as adult learning models for years; and I specifically designed every single detail to ensure not only engagement… but enthusiasm and awakening. If you’ve ever attended one of my events you know exactly what I mean and I think you’ll have to agree.

The young lady mentioned previously I was asked to mentor, who had been labeled A.D.D., was an absolute genius in training horses and communicating with them. If there ever was a “horse whisperer,” it was her. To watch her in action was inspiring. And she could do this for days upon end with total attention, enthusiasm, and inspiration.

This is a great example of one of the intelligences Gardner’s research calls “body/kinesthetic” (reference Living a Meaningful Life). But of course our traditional school system has very little knowledge or value for this type of intelligence… unless it’s to have a winning football squad.

And even then, schools most often don’t know why they’re valuing a football squad… beyond the desire to be in competition with other schools.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” 

~ Albert Einstein

When I explained to her that her label was a problem of the system versus her own shortcomings; and I furthermore pointed out that she was an absolute genius; and that by utilizing her own Innate Abilities she could fulfill her unique purpose… I saw the transformation occur right before my eyes.

Will she ever make a million dollars or build a mega business with her Innate Ability? I don’t know; and ultimately I don’t care; and by the way neither does she. Her life is filled with meaning and she’s doing what she is here to do and loves doing.

Life is not about money. It’s about meaning. 
While they’re not mutually exclusive.
Please, let your money follow your meaning.
For this is a life well lived.

What are you truly committed to? What’s your story? Do you even know?

Second problem: because we only tend to highly value certain things we’ve been conditioned to value in society… many (if not most) find themselves spending a bulk of their time, and often spinning their wheels, attempting to strengthen their weaknesses versus developing and leveraging their strengths. Man this is extremely powerful and profound (if I must say so myself).

As you may be aware, I was blessed to build and lead a team that in 2009 was awarded the prestigious Inc. 500 designation. One of the fastest growing and most successful privately held companies in the United States (Inc. 500 list).

When interviewed by Inc. they asked me, “How did you do this?” To which I promptly replied, “I didn’t. My team did it.”

You see I was aware enough to know that as a leader all I had done was find my own Innate Abilities, what I’ll call my “A” game; and then find other individuals who had Innate Abilities (their A game) that were in the areas that were my “B” and “C” game. Do you follow?

For example, I’m really good at three things: research, development and delivery. These are the three areas where I’m fully developing and utilizing my Innate Ability.

On the other hand… I really suck (technical term) at accounting, details, administration, management and a whole host of other things that must be done; and done correctly.

I’m gifted in the ability to lead, educate, mentor and inspire. (I mean gifted literally—these abilities were given to me, I came in with them, they’re not a “developed skill”—even though they definitely have been developed and I’ve worked incredibly hard on them—and still do). reference IA D17.

This leadership/mentoring ability is a very different beast than management… which I can do… but it’s a stretch for me. Management (similar to coaching) is definitely my “B” game I typically don’t have the patience for it; and accounting and other similar things are my “C” game. Do you follow?

Just because you’re good at something…

doesn’t mean that it moves your soul.

But I was wise enough in my last venture to attract and recruit and inspire those individuals to my team that had an “A” game which was my “B” and “C.”

This enabled me to focus on playing my “A” game; while simultaneously give them free rein to play their own “A” game. Do you follow?

If you understand this concept then you’re at least beginning to understand Innate Ability Development™

Build and live your life; and then build your livelihood around it.

I’ve done a large amount of consulting with business leaders over the years. Both with entrepreneurial companies as well as the Fortune 500; and this brings us to back to our second problem mentioned above…

A major percentage of people and businesses are giving a tremendous amount of energy to developing their “B” and “C” game whereas if they will take the same amount of energy, money and time… and focus on first fully understanding, and then developing and leveraging, each persons’ “A” game, their productivity and results will go through the ceiling!

Not to even mention the level of personal inspiration, meaning and fulfillment!

Build your living around your life; not your life around your living. 

Big difference

But of course that would make too much sense now wouldn’t it?

Play your “A” game. Develop your “A” game.

Now let’s please be clear that this is not some romantic admonition to say that you’ll never do things that you don’t like doing.

That you’ll never be involved in “B” and “C” activities.

Of course you will… particularly in the early days of any business or new life adventure.

Me too.

But what I am encouraging is that you live! Really live! And true life is only lived when you understand who you are, your Innate Abilities, and how to utilize them to fulfill your unique purpose in the world.

Furthermore, if you have a business (which I believe you must in today’s world; and I can help you—entrepreneurs change the world. Reference mentor with James) then you must commit to continually moving toward playing your “A” game (using your Innate Abilities) and offloading and outsourcing your “B” and “C” game to others. Build powerful partnerships.

When you do this, not only are you improving your own personal world, and living a meaningful life… but you’re literally changing and improving the entire world! (reference Living a Meaningful Life)

By helping others play their “A” game, you’re facilitating the ability of others to live their purpose as you both live and fulfill your own. You can’t get much more noble or exciting than that.

And that my friend… is a life well lived!

And the journey continues…

Stay Awake, Love Life and Be Epic,

james arthur ray



Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!



11 Responses

  1. Ok James, so I have concluded from this that I need a team too – as I write well, speak well, research well, and am very, very good at working with, teaching, and inspiring people. And I am a gifted (like you said – not from me, but through me) Card Reader/ Psychic/ Medium. So that must be my “A” game. Like you, I am NOT good with numbers or accounting. Kind of turns my stomach, actually. And, I’m obviously not good at management or I’d probably have a thousand (ten thousand?) clients and followers by now. Just figured how to turn that following thing on, actually. lol And then I’d be rich and could do whatever the Hell I wanted to, which I can’t right now – like go to Phoenix for your February event, for example. Or have shrimp with spinach for dinner whenever I like. Or go see the Egyptian Pyramids. Let’s go do that OK? Seriously…

    So, the next question becomes: How do I get a team? It seems that I am blocked from fully fulfilling my innate ability ( a sin really in every way) because I cannot figure out the B, and C of it all. I guess that’s what drew me to the question I asked you in the phone conference recently: How do I build my business? How do I make it take off? To which you answered, among other things, go where the people are. Good advice.

    The answer to this: “How do I get my business to take off?” (which should interest others too), is that I need to find others to manage it, since I am not good at promoting, scheduling, bookkeeping, computers, technology, or any of that type of business stuff. I’m a creative person, not a business oriented one. But while I can sneak some time (working) reading, writing researching, in the midnight hours (which I learned from you), I am not sure how to acquire my team without that mullah that keeps getting in the way of things. So…hmm… I guess I need to figure out how to do that. How to acquire a team with little money. Or…I could try to develop those other (B and C) skills. Hm…. Lots of Hm… Sigh… I AM looking for more, and better paying work. Maybe if I did that I would have some money to invest in a team. But until that happens I am not so sure what to do. I guess I’ll think on it. But I think I’ll go write now – since that is where my interest and true innate ability lies. Oh…and send some resumes out. That part I’m not crazy about. Hm….

    PS Can I add a Maid to that team of mine, because I really have no interest in cleaning… Cooking (A game), cleaning (not so much). I’d rather be doing all those A list things. Just saying,

    1. Lori, If you were to mentor me you’d quickly find that my job is not to make you feel better, but to make you BE better. For this reason I’m very direct in the input that I give. Take it or leave it. I have seen you constantly complain and deride your current job on social media. If you’re not grateful for what the Universe has gifted you then how can you expect it to give you more? You may say you are grateful. Then give 100% to your current job; and never utter another single word about how it’s a “waste of your time” or say it’s a “stupid job.” Outgrow your current position. You don’t “need a team.” You need to become the kind of person who people want to team with. If you’re TRULY so committed to doing something more, DO MORE with what you have. Read the blog again. I clearly said that it was not some romantic admonishment that you’ll never do your B and C game. Quite the contrary. I did my own accounting for at least 4 years when I started my own business. As well as marketing. Studying. Teaching. Writing. Taking mail to the Post Office. Everything! Sleep less work more! And I didn’t have a maid. Maybe if you spent a little less time fantasizing and socializing on social media; and more time working at your current job first and foremost and then secondly working on your new calling you’d be light years ahead. I hope this helps. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t waste the time. I do care. I care enough to tell you the truth. Get busy and Be Epic. ~ JAR

  2. All right… I reread the blog (twice) (I’ll read it again later) and your comments as well James, and as my goal (as I think you know) is to BE BETTER, not to FEEL BETTER, I will take your words to heart. I know that the Universe has sent you to teach me, and I you, and I know that learning and growing is not always pleasant and that pain resistance, and pushing past the resistance are necessary for growth.

    And looking over it again, I do see what you mean. In my current frustration I seem to have missed the point. As you know I have been very irritated by all the “money vs meaning” talk, as I am struggling to grow and become more, and have just recently “woken up” if you will, and want so very much to do my work, rather than spending time in retail (That’s all I’m saying). There’s no doubt that I have cut myself short by being there, but then again I guess that is what has been necessary for my own growth – for whatever reason. I do do the best I can at my current job, and you are right, I shouldn’t complain about it (I really haven’t until recently with all this money vs meaning talk). And I won’t complain any more.

    As far as the A, B, and C game, I do do all of those things, as I have a business, which includes no one else at this time. I do find it difficult to navigate through the B and C’s of it…even the D’s, but I do try. And will continue to try.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean about me fantasizing on social media, but you are absolutely right that I have been spending way too much time socializing, a bad habit I have recently picked up and intend to correct. Starting today. But I do need to network. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as serious as you, but I can try.

    And you are right. While I am serious about my work(and often stay up at night working on it), I do too often waste time playing and socializing. Way too much lately. I need to become much more serious if I am going to make my mark, the one I intend to make.

    And… I guess for now I guess I will be my own team, and grow and develop quietly and solitary until the time I outgrow it and find others who mutually want to work as a team, until, like you said, I’ll “become the kind of person that people want to team with.” Ouch, you certainly don’t paint a pretty picture of me. But ok… I will DO MORE with what I have. So that I can BE MORE. Because I am TRULY committed, and

    It’s clear now that I have not been serious enough – about anything! I am grateful for my job, for you, and for all the other things that I have in my life. I will expand and become what the Universe intends me to be. Thanks for caring enough to be truthful, That’s all I ask James. Much love ~ Lori

  3. “Many think they have a financial crisis, when it’s most often a crisis of meaning” – JAR

    I have been saying to myself daily for seven plus years, ‘Do what you do best and learn to delegate the rest.’ However, what others have discovered I do best has not always been my answer.

    I have a knack for music and played a number of instruments ‘first chair’ as well as most people. I have no interest in playing instruments. People enjoy my voice singing and speaking. I am not a performer in front of the room. I take tests well. I perform at a very high-level, school wise. I am adept at all four styles of learning equally. This is a gift and I have no interest in teaching as a profession. I learned how to operate, disassemble and reassemble a nuclear power plant and earned the highest possible marks for a decade in that field. There is no sparkle for me engineering.

    The world according to current western education is learn to do it all yourself so you don’t need anyone. The Superman, Batman, Lone Ranger models are well over 50 years old and counting! The trap here is I am a one-person mastermind [INTJ]. I really enjoy connecting the dots and creating a space for others to get their dots connected. I am the person in the room who when called on moves the action forward with a question or a share. It is a gift I enjoy using. It somehow resonates every cell into a smile. I am not the person in the front of the room however. I am the person who creates the space for the room to occur powerfully. I am a ‘room captain’ who enjoys someone else catch the glory. I’ll keep the blame and let it wash away at the end of the day or sooner.

    C items for me are the mundane things that if left undone will fill your life with wet cement. Haircuts, laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping and the list is long are all C items. Have fun with them or find a way to delegate them. It works however to know how to do C items so you know what and how you want it done.

    B items in the beginning must be learned but seldom resonate as easy. I do know how to change a tire, fix dozens of household problems. Having a phone number that brings someone over to get it done by someone who has an A game for it is much more pleasurable for him or her and me. Learning to be present with what you are doing is the only way I know to find peace however. Finding joy in cleaning the kitchen after the mess made by a ‘party’ from initial sweeping to the final placement of the last clean dish on the shelf is fun for me doing it by myself. It is more of a learning experience doing it with others. I have been stuck in too many B items that for others are their A and I may actually be better at it than they may be now. They get ‘juice’ from it and I do not. Allowing someone else to perform a task she or he will certainly become better at than I could ever hope to accomplish is accepting their performance today knowing they will do far better in the future than I. It has taken time for me to allow others to do for me what I did for myself believing no one should have to do it for me. Especially in the beginning, I had to spend extra time explaining how I wanted it done or I had to show them or do it over to have it done ‘my way’… What a time that was.

    Discovering my A game attributes were there even as a child. I would read certain kinds of books; invest time into projects as a child for hours that felt like seconds. Other information put me to sleep in seconds. The schooling system pushed the sleeping items for the most part and denigrated what kept me awake at night that I absorbed effortlessly. Having enough knacks to keep the wolves from the door has been a double-edged sword. My most recent week contained huge amounts of aha and insights combined with under the radar breakthroughs making the coming months more exciting than I can currently share. Living from my A strengths for more time than the others daily is now an attained possibility instead of a wonderful dream to live into. Perhaps every cell in my body had to experience complete failure first with no memory of success left before I could have it all come together. The moment just after a roaring thunderstorm ends with the sun shining is exhilarating beyond words.

    “Just because you’re good at something…doesn’t mean that it moves your soul.” – JAR

    Finding what ‘moves your soul’ may be what we are here for in total. Once found everything seems to make sense. You may have to find it again tomorrow more than once or ten times again.

    1. Michael… you may be right about finding it more than once from a process standpoint. My experience tells me that Principle however never changes. I once thought I wanted to be a professional musician and pursued that for a time. Then I wanted to be an actor and played with that one. Even did some modeling in my early years. What I came to realize was that I was meant to be “on stage” either literally or metaphorically as a teacher. In that moment of awareness it all came together beautifully and made total sense… the Principle and the process had merged into a magical Purpose; and when you find your purpose Life truly begins once again. Stay Awake and Love Life my friend, I’m excited for you. ~ JAR

  4. Thank you James for creating a space for so many others and me to play, grow and experiment with their soul.

  5. Thanks once again dear James, you are direct and to the point, even if that hurts sometimes!

    The big problem I have said so many times is that the first thing parents say to their children when they have to chose a career is: “Choose the better paid profession”. Instead of asking them what is what they love the most, they immediately send their attention to becoming an employee who is well paid, even if that means sacrifice your happiness and purpose for a few more dollars.

    Finding a team is sometimes difficult indeed, most time I meet people who likes to do my A game as well, maybe because we are vibrating in the same frequency.(?). But I am enjoying now learning to play B, C and even D games 🙂

    As Lori said, I guess we all need to re-read this lesson since I feel this resonates with most of us.

    Thanks James for being so direct and sincere about this aspects we tend to leave aside.

    Your friend always,

    1. My pleasure Hector, and yes I completely agree with the comment about the parents. As I told Lori you’ll get a team when it’s time to get a team. First you must decide what your Innate Abilities are. Second, you must commit to living them and utilizing them. Third, you must set a vision to move in that direction (not over night by the way–stay tuned for next weeks blog). I didn’t have a team for the first 4 years of building my first business. But I had defined who they needed to be and created and “organizational chart” long before I had them in physical form. By the time I was ready to have someone I knew EXACTLY who I needed first and what they were going to do (my C game). Up to that point I was doing it all. Hope this helps. Live Big! ~ JAR

      1. Wow, love the idea of creating your team even before you need it!! Excellent idea James thanks once more!

  6. The purpose of business is to create jobs and wealth for others.
    Share your vision of a great business that serves the community in some way and you will attract others. Not there yet, join an active community group in your spare time and you will meet loads of people who will need your services. That’s how you start a business and build a team. No need for advertising. Word of mouth via your presence in your community is all that is required to get started. Then understand the financials. Once people know you are building an “investment” company – for the good of the community and can demonstrate you understand how investors will get great financial returns, teams will come running..

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