My New Guru: Ashton Kutcher

Posted On Sep 24, 2013 By Jennifer Galardi


I try very hard to limit my time on the Internet, especially lately when I find myself ripe with the desire to be distracted.

However, after several recommendations and urgings from people I respect, I finally decided to view the Teen Choice Awards video of Ashton Kutcher's award acceptance speech.

We all know I'm far from the age of child consideration, but apparently Ashton Kutcher has become the newest dispenser of wisdom not only to a gaggle of screaming girls, but also adults who have lived much more life than he.

What can I say? I'm impressed. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet:

There are so many things I love about this speech. Here are a few highlights.

Acknowledging he has no career without his fans. Most actors' success and high salaries depend solely on their popularity. And this guy's popular.

"Opportunities look a lot like work." Amen. I was recently lamenting how much I sounded like my mother when I commented that today's younger generation seems to feel very entitled. And lazy.

I see this more and more in the health and fitness industry as well. There are more diets and workout routines focused on quick results instead of educating people on how to make better decisions resulting in healthy lifelong habits.

You want something? Go put in the effort. Be dedicated. Be determined. Be efficient and be effective.

This tenet of hard work came at a particularly appropriate time, as I feel I'm at a crossroads in my life, both professionally and personally. I don't feel completely clear on my direction, and that is frustrating. However, I must have faith that if I keep putting in the effort, show up every day, be true to myself and my audience and share messages I believe in to my core, then the right opportunities will present themselves.

It's about momentum. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and before you know it you'll be running. I've always said that work begets work. I'd like to modify that saying. Effort begets opportunity.

"The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, being thoughtful and being generous. Everything else is crap people will try to sell you to make you feel like less." Wow. Those are fighting words. Especially when his paycheck comes from the very industry that promotes the crap that makes so many of us, myself included, feel less than. Less than pretty. Less than strong enough. Less than thin enough.

I've actually limited my magazine reading to the few seconds at the checkout stand while in line at the grocery store. Even then, in mere moments, I notice my self-esteem diminish as I flip through articles seeing other trainers and yogis give advice (Why wasn't I considered for that?) and photos of women who look happier and more put together than I. Truth be told, this one brought a tear to my eye. And that only happens when something rings true.

My strategy? Notice when these thoughts appear. Realize they are false and give someone a compliment or write a note to a friend just to say hi.

"Build a life. Don't live one." I'm not sure if Ashton has been doing his yoga or what, but this is not the "normal" person's view of the world. Often times, I've been criticized for not living in the "real world" and I wear rose-colored glasses.

Believe me, I am painfully aware of the hardships, travesties and devastation that happens globally and to each of us personally. I do my best to not ignore things, but rather face them, no matter how uncomfortable. Then I choose to see them in a different light and choose a different course of action and response. I do believe that all humans are inherently good and that every struggle, adversity and small injustice experienced is meant to teach and inspire us to grow and evolve.

My teacher once said something that will stick with me forever. There are two responses we can have when the sting of criticism or the pain of loss or sadness strikes us. "Ouch. F you." Or "Ouch. Thank you." I choose the latter. And am committed to building a life that guides me to live and learn with passion, with purpose and with joy. What life do you choose to build?