Living Your Best Life: Three Simple Steps to Create an Extraordinary Second Half

Craig Stanland
5 min readMay 30

The weather was outstanding in the Northeast last week, and I decided to take full advantage by going to the beach.

Thankfully, it’s only a 5-minute drive.

There’s nothing like sitting on the beach in CT in the middle of April.

I sat at the edge of the beach right before the amazing beach homes start.

To my left was an outcropping of rocks ranging from a foot high to about 4 feet tall. I didn’t count them, but there were probably 30–40 of them.

Two little kids, probably 6 to 7, were playing on them and having the time of their lives.

Their mother walked over and asked what they were up to, and this was the response.

“We’re two white tigers, and this is our home. This is the kitchen, that’s the bathroom, here’s our kitchen table, and that’s the refrigerator. The bedrooms are over there.”

Bear in mind they were pointing at rocks.

“And you’re the mommy white tiger, and you’re going to go hunt food for us to cook.”

When we’re children, our lives are rooted in creativity.

Everything is possible, and we cast no judgments on our creation.

It never crosses our mind that a rock can’t be a refrigerator.

In fact, if an adult or older child were to come along and say, “It’s not a refrigerator; it’s a rock,” the little kid would look at them like they’re the crazy person in this equation.

Our world is one of creation, authenticity, and joy.

As we age, our creativity becomes silly, not practical, unrealistic, and “you don’t understand how things work.”

We’re told we have to “buckle down.”

It becomes unsafe to create, which is a massive component of our authenticity.

When our creativity is slowly wrung out of us, so is our willingness to be authentic.

We develop the belief that it’s not safe to be who we are and that we have to become who we believe we have to be so we can be safe.

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.