Where does true optimism come from? How do we choose to gravitate toward hope when there is so much pain in the world? These are questions that John Jacobs, co-founder and CCO (Chief Creative Optimist) of Life is Good, has been resiliently living out the answer to ever since his early childhood. 1989 marked the beginning of his passion for three main things: spreading optimism, helping children in need, and making rad and iconic t-shirts.
In this conversation Branden chats with John about trading blind positivity for meaningful optimism.
The Shine Project began when Ashley Lemieux’s heart was taken by the inner-city youth of Phoenix, AZ. What began as a small project has now resulted in over 40 scholarships being given to help kids go to college since 2011. Ashley’s life’s work has been a testament to the love she pours out amidst a story that has been embedded with so much pain.
In this heartfelt conversation, Ashley shares about how a call one Sunday morning asking both she and her husband to become permanent guardians to two kids overnight changed their lives forever — and how it took a dark turn 3 years later with a letter from the court in the mail.
This is the first time she publicly shares her story.
Zim Ugochukwu believes that everything about travel comes from a spark of curiosity. She’s currently the founder and CEO of Travel Noire, an award-winning boutique travel company and is a passionate advocate for personal transformational. Her background consists of everything from cloning genes at 19, to running a national anti-tobacco campaign, working on the Obama campaign, becoming a precinct judge while in college, and travelling through 90% of Asia.
In this conversation, Branden and Zim unpacked the importance of seeking to call out the beauty in ‘otherness’ in the people around you while asking the questions that take you places.
“Who are you? Are you you?” British visual artist Shantell Martin has originated her work upon the foundation of these two questions and is now an unconventional truth-teller in her field. After moving to New York from Tokyo, she became best known for creating stream-of-consciousness drawings and light projects with childlike wonder and joy. Her artwork (mainly lines and stick figures) has appeared in the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Bata Show Museum, as well as many other well-known art venues in New York.
In this conversation, Branden and Shantell discuss how understanding who you are and asking unconventional questions are keys to keeping the wonder alive in your work.
You've probably seen @jonnysun's "weird Twitter" tweets of his life as a lonely alien experiencing earth. What you might not know is that Jonny Sun, the Asian Canadian playwright, artist, architect and comedian has a master's degree from Yale, is a PhD candidate at MIT, and is a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center.
In this episode, Branden talked to Jonny about navigating the world of happiness in art and academia while wrestling with depression and anxiety. They also giggled through a conversation about Jonny’s news book, ‘Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too’.