Life IS Good! And John Jacobs is Going to Tell You Why

“Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. But, life is good” concluded John Jacobs, of the Life is Good company, in his keynote address at the CJ Affiliate Conference in Santa Barbara, CA.

Jacobs roused outbursts of laughter, a welling up of tears, and enthusiastic, unifying applause from all in attendance. Which, by no coincidence, reflected the very embodiment of the Life is Good philosophy–to take life in-stride for all that it is: heartbreaking and difficult at times, hilarious and joyous at others, and all the while shared alongside a community of people who ultimately share in the same human experience.

John shared stories about his and his brother Bert’s childhood, their mother, the founding story of Life is Good, and finally the stories of some very wise and courageous young people who have gone through great adversity. All of these experiences have inspired the organization and shaped the depth of their mission or, as John calls it, their “positive purpose”: to spread the power of optimism.

Most fittingly, optimism was also the central theme in this keynote. John offered several small but powerful ways we can shift our perspective of the world around us from negativity to pragmatic positivity. One of these ways is so simple as changing your vocabulary.

We often, and without giving much thought to it, say things like, “I have to go to work today”, or “I have to pay my bills”. The phrase “have to” has the negative connotation that you are being forced into doing something you may not entirely want to do. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, the negative connotations of that phrase are still registered by your subconscious and permeate into your perception of them.

Instead, John recommends using the phrase “get to”. You get to go to work because you are employed. You get to pay your bills because you have electricity and running water and a roof over your head. Small changes like this in your daily lexicon are powerful enough to shift your perspective from seeing life as full of obstacles to seeing life as full of opportunities.

Composed equally of parts both heavy and light, John’s message left all in attendance feeling just a little more grounded, a little more compassionate, and a lot more grateful. The Life is Good directive, “Tell me something good that happened today”, is sure to find its way into the office, conference room, and living room of all who hear John’s message.

Finally, life is good, assures John Jacobs, not because of what we have, but because we believe in ourselves and each other, and we focus on seeing opportunities instead of obstacles.


Tasha Harris is the Content Associate at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau. She holds a degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a certificate in Publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. Contact at