Make Your Life Your Masterpiece: Begin by Defining What Inspires You

Do you perceive that you’re living in the shadows of others? Or that you’re so busy trying to live the life that you think you “should” or “ought to” be living that you haven’t really thought about living a life that truly inspires you? Read on as I share more on how you can create a life that is your masterpiece—a one-of-a-kind, never to be duplicated or repeated life that is truly inspiring and meaningful to you while leaving an indelible mark on the world.

We’re not here to live in the shadows of others.

I had the opportunity to meet with a gentleman who’s a world-renowned painter who I commissioned to do a painting for me. It was a real honor to watch him at work and quite fascinating, too, because he would enter into a zone where I don’t think he was anywhere but in the painting. He was so present, clear and certain about what he was painting because he could already see the finished product in his mind’s eye. What he created was nothing short of a masterpiece.

I had another opportunity to see a true master at work many years ago in Mexico when my students and I came across a place where the famous black pottery had been made by the Rosa family for nearly a century. I will never forget watching Mr. Rosa create the most exceptional pottery from mud that he had scraped off the ground, adding water to it until it was the perfect consistency, spinning it on reversed coconut shells and imprinting designs with his fingernails—all while keeping his eyes closed. I remember having tears in my eyes as I realized that I was in the presence of a master who was creating a masterpiece—a master who saw a vision of the end product so clearly in his mind’s eye and then let his body create it.

Your forebrain versus your hindbrain.

I love studying the brain and find it inspiring to see how different areas of the brain react. Two key portions of the brain include the hindbrain and the forebrain.

Your hindbrain coordinates functions that are fundamental to survival—respiratory rhythm, motor activity, wakefulness, reaction, hindsight and impulsive and instinctual behavior. The hindbrain is extrinsic; it responds to external sources.

Your forebrain (the cerebrum, in particular) is where most of the important brain functions happen—thinking, planning, reasoning and language processing. This is the part of the brain that has advanced foresight capacity. It enables an individual to see something in their mind’s eye ahead of time and create it as a masterpiece. The forebrain is intrinsic; it is driven from within.

If you would love to make your life a masterpiece, you will learn to manage your emotions.

Warren Buffet once said, “Until you can control your emotions, don’t expect to manage your money.” Robert Greene, in “48 Laws of Power,” shares his view that the single greatest barrier to power or leadership is not knowing how to overrule and govern your emotions. So, until you are able to transcend, govern and neutralize your emotions so that they no longer dominate your life, don’t expect to live masterfully.

How does this apply to creating a life that is your masterpiece?

The executive area of the brain, the forebrain, is known for a number of capacities. It has connections to many different areas of the brain. This means that you have access to a potentially infinite supply of possibilities in your brain, instead of being limited to what you are seeing with the receptors of your eyes. So, instead of just receiving and perceiving what is in front of you, you can close your eyes and you can associate anything to it. The area of the brain that is activated as a result is where you have original and creative thinking.

In other words, you have the capacity to have the greatest inspired vision when you are functioning from your forebrain, which occurs when you live in accordance with your highest values or live by priority.

I’ve been teaching the “Breakthrough Experience,” one of my signature seminar programs, for 32 years now. What is interesting is that whenever I see somebody asking the right questions, transcending emotions, balancing out their perceptions and watching their executive center come online, all of a sudden they get a tear in their eye and they look up and you can see them seeing a new possibility. They suddenly receive an unborrowed vision.

It happens once their forebrain comes online.

The moment you are consciously living according to your true highest values, living congruently, living by priority, and living objectively, centered and present, your executive center lights up and you will tend to have inspired vision.

It is certainly wise to determine what your true and unique highest values are. Please go to to do the FREE Demartini Value Determination Process, if you haven’t done so already.

I was blessed when I was 17 years old to have learned from a great teacher. The night I met this man I had one of those epiphany moments and I saw a vision of what I wanted to do, which was (and still is) to learn, travel and teach. It was so lucid and so clear that I later had it painted by a famous painter and it now sits in my office as a reminder of my primary mission and vision.

Once you have that clarity and keep your mind focused on your vision, it will allow you to incrementally refine your actions and build incremental momentum in the achievement of that vision.

That is how you make your life a masterpiece—by clearly defining what inspires you.

Every year, I teach a program called “Master Planning for Life.” The whole purpose of this program is to start designing your own unique master plan—almost like an architect’s blueprint.

It’s astounding to me that people will plan a trip or plan a house renovation but will very rarely plan their life. As a result, many people end up living by duty, by what they think they “should be” doing, “ought to be” doing, or are “supposed to be” doing, according to an external source and not an internal one. They will often tend to conform and subordinate to the world around them in an attempt to fit into the herd and not feel banished or abolished.

However, the master is not the one that is the follower.

The master is the unborrowed visionary—one who comes up with an original creation drawn from his or her own experiences and associations. That is the vision they follow—an intrinsic and not extrinsic vision, one that is generated in their forebrain and not by their hindbrain.

Your vitality in life is directly proportional to the vividness of that vision.

By prioritizing your life, staying focused on your highest priorities and delegating lower priority actions, you are more able to delegate and release yourself from things that self-depreciate you, scatter you and distract you. These reactions put you straight into the amygdala part of the hindbrain, which is impulsive and instinctual.

“Impulsive” means seeking things for pleasure and “instinctual” means avoiding pain, which are the two forms of distractions that divert your mind from being present and certain as a masterpiece creator.

However, the moment you prioritize and stay focused and centered on a clear vision, the strategic planning center in your forebrain is able to discern what it needs to create what it envisions.

I love sharing details of how the pulvinar nuclei in the thalamus (forebrain) act as a filtering and gating mechanism that filters all the various possibilities and allows you to extract the highest priority observations and sensations that allow you to create the wisest decisions. In other words, you have the highest level of awareness and potential when you live by your highest values and filter out all the extraneous things that distract you from achieving your vision. In doing so, you are more likely to refine your vision, look at the consequences that various decisions might have, mitigate any potential risks and develop a clear plan of action.

This will enable you to design a master plan to create the masterpiece that is your life.

Another key aspect of the executive center is spontaneous action. When you live by your highest value, you tend to spontaneously act towards doing it. For example, I spontaneously do my research every day. I don’t have to be reminded to do it.

If you need to be reminded to do what you say is important, what you say is important isn’t important.

In other words, you will tend not to sit and wonder about it or doubt it. Instead, you will tend to just take action because you can see it so clearly in your mind’s eye.

In the “Breakthrough Experience,” I help people create a “Love List” where they get to write down what they would love to create in their life. What is interesting to observe is that when people are really in the executive center of their forebrain, their writing becomes almost automatic where they don’t need to think about it or edit it—they just write fluently.

The degree of fluency you have in your life is based on the congruency you have.

When you set a goal that is congruent with your highest values, you are most likely to have fluency of expression, fluency of thought, fluency of action and fluency of speech.

The moment you write a “Love List” of what is truly inspiring and that represents your highest value that you see clearly in your forebrain, you are likely to not be able to write fast enough because it will flow so quickly. You may also have tears of inspiration and gratitude because you finally have clarity about what you would love to do. And when you do it, you will tend to spontaneously act because you can’t wait to get started on it.

When you are in your forebrain and acting on your vision and mission, time is transcended and has a new meaning.

I’m certain that you have those days where time seems to disappear because you have been so present and focused. When you extract out space and time from your mind and become present in an inspired focus and clear vision, and you can articulate in your mind’s eye what you are seeing, that is when you are most likely to be on your highest value and masterpiece path.

It’s almost impossible to be in that state without creating a masterpiece out of your life.

Why? Because you tend to expand your space and time horizons and create goals that are beyond your life. This is when you are most likely to create legacies.

It’s also almost impossible for the people around you not to notice you, because you exemplify what is possible. So, whoever walks the path of the master, lives congruently, and is willing to go after a vision that is unborrowed, will automatically give permission for other people in a chain reaction to do the same.

The key to creating your own masterpiece is giving yourself permission to be the authentic you, and not distracting yourself about how you “should be,” “ought to be,” “supposed to be,” “got to be,” “have to be,” “need to be” and “must be,” according to those living in mediocrity.


  • You are not here to live in the shadows of anyone.
  • You are here to stand on the shoulders of all giants who have demonstrated the exemplary status of positioning themselves in the zone where they are in tune, on target and on track with what is really, truly inspiring and meaningful to them.
  • You deserve to live an inspired life.
  • You deserve to have a life that is a masterpiece.
  • You deserve to have a meaningful, inspirational and fulfilling life.
  • It would be wise to allow yourself to be first at being you.
  • You are here to make your life a masterpiece.

Dr. John Demartini is a human behavior specialist, a polymath, philosopher, international speaker and published author. He has recently received the IAOTP Top Human Behavior Specialist of the Year award as well as the IAOTP Lifetime Achievement Award. His work is a summation of over 299 different disciplines synthesized from the greatest minds in most fields of study today. His extensive curriculum focuses on helping purpose-driven individuals master their lives so that they are able to more extensively serve humanity with their inspired vision and mission.

About The Author

Dr. John Demartini, one of the world's leading authorities and educators on human behavior and leadership development, is the founder of the Demartini Institute, which offers an extensive curriculum of more than 76 courses on self-development, life mastery and leadership. Demartini's knowledge is the culmination of 46-plus years of cross-disciplinary research, and he travels internationally full time, addressing audiences in media, seminars and consultations. He is the author of more than 40 self-development books, including the bestseller The Breakthrough Experience, and he has produced numerous audio CDs, DVDs and online programs discussing financial and business mastery, relationship development, health and healing, the art of communication and inspiring education and leadership. Demartini has been featured in film documentaries such as “The Secret,” “The Opus,” and “Oh My God” alongside Ringo Starr, Seal and Hugh Jackman. He has also shared the stage with influential educators Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Steve Wosniak, Tony Fernandez and Donald Trump. He has appeared on “Larry King Live,” “The Early Show” and “Wall Street,” as well as in the publications Shape, Leadership, Success, Prestige, Entrepreneur and O. For editorial consideration, please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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