It is worth your time—everyone’s time—to watch and listen to a couple of videos on YouTube of Inky Johnson telling his life story. I won’t attempt to summarize it; it's much more compelling coming from his own mouth. It’s heartbreaking, uplifting, and motivating.
Inky has elevated his life despite (and because of) challenging environments and situations, using both a strong inner foundation (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically) and a purpose greater than just about himself.
Two videos to watch are listed at the bottom of this post. There is overlap in his stories, but his core themes and his motivating delivery are worth hearing repeatedly.
Some of his messages map nicely to LRN LAF LUV LIV and the Philosophy for LYF. He comes from his own perspective, and he covers only a portion of the framework, but his insights and experiences provide helpful examples for some of the philosophy’s concepts.
Let’s highlight a few of his words of wisdom in the context of LRN LAF LUV LIV.
LRN LAF LUV LIV, Briefly
As a reminder, LRN LAF LUV LIV provides a framework for bettering your life. It defines your core values (the way to live your life), strategy (how to live your life), mission (what to live your life for), and a vision (why to live your life this way). Goodness is the foundational core value. A successful pursuit elevates your life.
LRN LAF LUV and LIV are the four deeds of goodness on how you should live your life. There is both an inward focus (toward self) and an outward focus (toward others) to these deeds, and both are needed to elevate your life.
Inky's Own Words
Don’t pass up an opportunity to change someone’s life
“What they don't understand is I'm in the people business, not a speaker. I'm a servant. Anybody that has direct contact with people on a daily basis – that is an opportunity to change someone's life. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to be of encouragement to other people. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to inspire someone. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to empower someone. Don't ever pass up an opportunity to show someone love.”
Inky’s delivery, message, and specific words hit the nail on each LRN LAF LUV LIV deed of goodness performed outward toward others.
- “Empower someone” – empowering the goodness in others is LRN.
- “Be of encouragement to others” – uplifting the goodness in others is LAF.
- “Show someone love” – nurturing the goodness in others is LUV.
- “Inspire someone” – inspiring the goodness in others is LIV.
Inky’s message to us is we should never pass up the opportunity to LRN LAF LUV LIV outward toward others.
Know the true measure of wealth
"I'm not impressed with how much money you make. You know the true level of wealth? You know the true measure of wealth? Is if they took all your money what would you be worth then? I’m going to say it again so you could catch it. This is to everybody that's chasing that greenback, everybody that wants that dollar. If you got it, and they stripped you of it all, what would you still be worth? And if you don't have the things that the process creates you won't keep it anyway."
These words echo the definition of true wealth in the Philosophy for LYF. True wealth is the goodness of your true self, stripped of all monetary and material possessions you may have. It is the value you carry around within you. Your true wealth includes valuables such as your wisdom, your skills, your belief in yourself, and your joys.
Your true wealth comes from doing the four deeds of goodness that enrich yourself. It is your goodness and your good deeds that create and sustain true wealth.
Choose goodness for what you want to do with your life
“And so as a kid pretty quick I had to make a decision of what I wanted to do with my life because in that same house I had eight uncles, all eight of which are still going in and out of prison until this day because they sold drugs and they were in gangs. And so I looked at it as kind of like that quote that says learn from the mistakes of other people because you can't make them all yourself. And so I saw them selling drugs, but it also saw the outcome, and so I said I'm not selling drugs, I'm not joining a gang, because I see what that role leads to. Either I'm gonna end up dead or in prison.”
This snippet sheds some light on the negative environment Inky grew up in and rose out of, and it served as a catalyst for him in turning to goodness, when he could have easily gone down another path.
Inky doesn’t specifically use the word goodness, but if you listen to his talks, you can tell he is all about it. His messages are about doing positive things and not negative things. About helping others and not hurting others. About shining a light and not shading for darkness. About being constructive and not being destructive.
Be amazing to others
“But you know the most amazing thing happened? It wasn't that I went to college. I had three little cousins sleeping on that same floor that went to college. I saw friends in my community come off the corner from selling jobs and go to college. I saw friends of my community come out of gangs and go to college. All because I shifted my mindset, and it wasn't about me. I broke generational curses in my community because it wasn't just about me. I didn't care so much about me going to college. I wanted the ones coming behind me to get it.”
No one in Inky’s family had ever gone to college. The dropout rate of his high school was higher than the graduation rate. When Inky shifted his mindset from “me” to “we” and pursued personal excellence in whatever he did, he was inspirational and life changing to those who witnessed it.
In the Philosophy for LYF, we call this giving true worth. True worth is the goodness you give to others. It is what makes your life truly worthy. You give true worth by doing deeds of goodness (LRN LAF LUV LIV) to help others grow their own true wealth. Empowering others, uplifting others, nurturing others, and inspiring others all contribute to your true worth.
Inky gives true worth in many ways and to many people through his actions. He inspires others by being a role model and showing the way to goodness.