Even When Your Life Is Coming Apart, There Is Hope

Banksy is a British street artist who has been active for decades. He has spray painted his artist expressions on streets, bridges and walls all around the world.

Three years ago today, Sotheby’s auctioned Girl with Red Balloon, a Banksy painting in a thick wooden frame. The winning bid came in at $1.37 million. As the auctioneer lowered the gavel to end the auction, the audience applauded, and then a beeping sound began ringing out from the painting. 

The audience turned and saw the painting scrolling down into the frame, emerging from the bottom, shredded into vertical strips. Unbeknownst to anyone, Banksy had installed a shredder in the frame twelve years earlier, intending to shred the painting should it ever go to auction as a statement against art capitalism.

Sometimes life doesn’t go as we hope it will. Things we value fall apart, they unexpectedly shred before our eyes. A relationship ends or we lose a job. People we trusted let us down. Life isn’t what we expected. 

Next week, on October 14th, the shredded Banksy painting, which was renamed Love is in the Bin, will hit the auction block again. This time it’s expected to sell for somewhere between $5M to $8M. 

It’s a healthy reminder. Sometimes the things that fall apart and seem terrible in the moment turn out to be blessings in disguise. The events in life we thought destroyed something we loved, end up leading to a season better than before. As Sonny, the Hotel Manager in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel said, “Everything will be alright in the end. So if it is not alright, it is not the end.” 

Stop judging your story when it’s not done being written. Focus instead on writing well for the rest of your story. Life is full of unexpected events, and some, even the devastating ones, will turn out to be amazing. 

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To Live an Extraordinary Life You Must Avoid the Perils of Perfection

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”


You will never have a perfect life. And that’s good news.

We should all aspire to an extraordinary life, dream big dreams and live the life we’ve imagined. But some confuse extraordinary with perfect, and pursuing a perfect life will probably end far from perfection. 

Harvard Business Review published an article, The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism, According to Research. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 95 studies on perfectionism to see the benefits and detriments. 

While there were some useful traits present in the perfectionists, like higher levels of motivation and conscientiousness, they also found that perfectionists had higher levels of stress, anxiety, burnout and depression. They also found that perfectionists weren’t better or worse performers on the job than non-perfectionists.  

There was one distinction worth noting. They found two different varieties of perfectionist, the excellence-seeking perfectionist and the failure-avoiding perfectionist. The excellence-seeking population had high standards for themselves and others, while the failure-avoiding people worried they weren’t good enough, or they would lose the respect of their peers if their work wasn’t perfect. 

High standards and excellence differ from perfection. Excellence is a component of an extraordinary life, pursuing new and wonderful experiences. But fear of failure is limiting and detrimental to living life to the fullest. We avoid the unknown, afraid we won’t be good enough. We miss out on all life offers for fear of failure.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”

Michael J. Fox

There is no perfect you or perfect life. There is better. A better you, and a better life. There are many acceptable versions of the life you could live. Our goal isn’t a perfect life, it’s a life better than the one you are currently experiencing.

Live an extraordinary life. It will include mistakes and flaws, but that should never diminish the experience, so long as we keep perfection at bay and a healthy perspective on what makes life extraordinary. 

Perspectives to Ponder on Perfection

“Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting.”

Anne Lamott

“The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Perfectionism rarely begets perfection, or satisfaction – only disappointment.”

Ryan Holiday

“Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard Cohen

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Celebrating the gift of a lifetime – 13 extra years of living

On May 3, thirteen years ago, I was in a coma. My body was failing fast and doctors said I had about 24 hours left to live. But a decade and three years later, I’m still here, and I’m so grateful things turned out better than anyone expected.

My family added me to the organ transplant registry. Many people languish for years on the list, waiting for a transplant, but I went to the top of the list right away. Someone in Arizona died. They had decided to be an organ donor and I was a perfect match.

Twelve hours of surgery later, my body began to function normally again, thanks to the gift of an organ transplant. My family and I celebrate May 3 every year, grateful for the gift of another year. But I’m always mindful, as we are celebrating life, a family in Arizona is remembering the life of someone they lost.

“The gift of life is so precious that we should feel an obligation to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive.”

Ray Bradbury

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”


Every day is precious, but sometimes it takes reminders like my transplant anniversary to bring it all into proper perspective. Sometimes we’re so busy with life, we forget to live. 

James 4:4 says, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Life is short. It’s fragile. It’s unpredictable and precious. Seize the opportunity to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive. Give yourself the gift of living well. 

I invite you to join me in celebrating another day of life. Live well, be grateful, and dare to live the life you’ve imagined. 

This post was originally posted on my author site, kevinjohndelaney.com.

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What Seems To Be the Wrong Way Can Sometimes Be the Right Way After All — Kevin John Delaney

We dream and we scheme and we plan for what we want. And when our plans are disrupted? We throw a temper tantrum (at least we’re tempted to) and we question the intelligence of anyone whose actions stymied our progress and prevented us from reaching our desired destination. “Remember that not getting what you want […]

What Seems To Be the Wrong Way Can Sometimes Be the Right Way After All — Kevin John Delaney

A Life Worth Living—Finding Your Purpose and Daring to Live the Life You’ve Imagined

Eleven years, nine months, and twenty-three days ago doctors said I had twenty-four hours to live. I wasn’t listening because I was in a coma, my body failing fast. The doctors were talking with my family, and everyone had more questions than answers.

Several days earlier, I had asked my doctor if I was going to die, and he told me the chances were high that I would not survive. All I could think about were the many things in life I still wanted to do. First on the list was seeing my three kids grow up.

This is my story, and the beginning of my new book, A Life Worth Living—Finding Your Purpose and Living the Life You’ve Imagined. It’s a book about purpose and meaning and how to create a life you’d be excited to live. It’s a book about how to live an extraordinary life.

The book is now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Worth-Living-Finding-Imagined/dp/1735405205/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1602362788&sr=1-1-a14f3e51-9e3d-4cb5-bc68-d89d95c82244

For more information, please visit my website: kevinjohndelaney.com

What Do You See When You Look at Your Life?

Are you happy with the life you are currently living? A change in perspective can help us see that things are better than we thought they were.  A new point of view might help you realize your life is better than you imagined.  Depending on how you choose to interpret your circumstances, your life may be seen as an adventure or an ordeal. 

“It’s not what you look at that matters it’s what you see.” 

Henry David Thoreau

If you choose to see only what’s wrong with your life, you are guaranteed to live a miserable existence.  But without changing a single aspect of your life, you can choose to look deeper than the surface and see an entirely different point of view and realize how good you already have it.  If life isn’t everything you want it to be, begin by choosing a new point of view.  

Only 11 More Months Until You Improve Your Life

Have you given up yet? If so, you’re not alone. While millions of people set their mind to improve their lives at the beginning of each new year, studies show that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. And Research conducted by Strava shows that most people are likely to have given up on their goals by January 19, also knows as Quitters Day.

We set goals because we want to improve life. By and large, the goals we set are to make us healthier and wealthier, or at least less in debt. Peter Economy, a writer for Inc., lists the top 10 resolutions made by people. They are:

  1. Eat healthier or diet
  2. Exercise more
  3. Lose weight
  4. Save more money and spend less
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Read more
  8. Find another job
  9. Drink less alcohol
  10. Spend more time with family and friends

These are all worthwhile goals, pursuits to improve life. They are worth pursuing. But the data shows an alarming regularity of abandoning our New Year’s resolutions. If most people have already given up on this year’s goals, it means they will likely wait another 11 months before they venture back into the arena of goal-setting with next year’s New Year’s resolutions.

Forget the New Year’s resolutions. Set a smaller time frame. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, set New Month’s resolutions. That way, if you give up on your goals just 19 days in, you’ll only have to wait about two weeks before it’s time to set the next set of monthly goals.

Getting healthier and improving ourselves is a good idea. Maybe we would have more success if we created more opportunities to start again. So, what are your New February resolutions going to be? Maybe read a book? Go to the library, or get your order into Amazon. It’s almost time for you to get started. Good luck.

The Beauty and Curse of the Familiar

There is something comforting and easy about the familiar. We know where to go, what to do, what to expect. We know who we can trust, when we can be ourselves, unguarded.

But familiarity also brings complacency. We allow the familiar to rob us of the appreciation and wonder of the beautiful things right in front of us. The people. The places. Life.

“Admiration and familiarity are strangers.”

George Sand

Every person you know, even those you know very well, have thoughts, feelings and experiences you know nothing about. Take a few minutes to bring some newness to the familiar. Ask new questions, explore. Find something new about the people you know, and appreciate all over again your friends, despite the familiarity.

“Sweets grown common lose their dear delight.”

William Shakespeare

What will you do today to restore the wonder to that which has become too familiar? Photo albums are a great place to start, a place where great moments are stored. Grab an album, flip through the photos and remember some favorite moments. Be reminded of happy memories with special people. Maybe call or text someone to say hello. Send them the picture and remind them of the moment you shared together. Bring some wonder back to the people we too easily take for granted.

Enjoy the comfort of the familiar. But never let the familiar people and places in your life become ordinary and unappreciated.

Finding Your Purpose

This week I had a speaking engagement where I was asked to spend 90 minutes on the topic, Finding Your Purpose. A lot of people have said a lot of things on the subject. If you do a quick search of books on Amazon you’ll find scores of books promising you insight on purpose. Finding your purpose, leading with purpose, parenting with purpose, purposing with purpose. It’s daunting. But it does speak to the hunger people have to understand the deeper issues of life, Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life?

Webster defines purpose as: The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. But over time that definition has evolved and changed. Long ago it meant single-mindedness in aim or goal, then shifted to mean by design or intentional. Later, practicality entered the equation and its meaning morphed to focus on something’s function or use, and finally, it took on the meaning of doing something with determination and resolve.

I think there’s something to apply from each of these definitions. We need to be intentional about our purpose, with a clear goal on what we’re hoping to achieve with the days we get to live. And when we figure out that purpose, hopefully we will be determined and resolved in that pursuit.

Sadly, I don’t think we’re always doing that so well. Henry David Thoreau observed,

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

I think this is true, at least in part, because people are waiting to have an epiphany, a profound moment of clarity where their purpose in life is revealed. Unfortunately, until we have that aha moment, we put purpose on hold. Or we get stuck in analysis paralysis, afraid to choose our purpose for fear we choose the wrong one.

I would offer one suggestion. Rather than approaching life from a perspective that you have one, ultimate purpose, recognize that your life may have many purposes. Some may be big, some small, but by recognizing life has many purposes, it allows us to pick something and pursue it, knowing that if we discover a greater, grander purpose tomorrow, that’s okay. We can change direction and pursue this new, greater purpose without guilt or regret.

With this in mind, why wait any longer? Pick a purpose and pursue it. Maybe your purpose is to be kind to strangers, maybe it’s to visit the sick and the lonely , or perhaps your purpose is to bring meals to the homeless. Just pick one. Who knows, you may just stumble onto something that truly becomes your life’s passion and purpose, but you’ll never know unless you do something. One thing that is certain, purpose requires action. So think about the possibilities for a little while, but not too long. Then go do something about it.