Better Thoughts Better Life


p={color:#404040;}. Praise for Better Thoughts Better Life

Better Thoughts Better Life is a much-needed guidebook to understanding the relationship between your mind and your wellbeing. It is a treasure chest of insights.”

Jo Levi, The Reviewer

“Jonathan Kis-Lev’s expansive, far-reaching, and unrestrained perspective guides the reader with an actionable plan that will immediately help you alleviate much of the unneeded stress in your life.”

Jane Silva, author and columnist

“This book is truly a treasure, combining elements of modern brain chemistry with intuitional insight and affirmations that can help to rewire and restore brain function. I highly recommend it!”

John Vitals, Ph.D.

“[_Better Thoughts Better Life _]offers a wonderful, integrative approach for anyone who wants to use the power of their spirit to better their brain.”

Nadia Joels, bookreview.com

“Kis-Lev lays out a road map in a profoundly powerful and simple way on how to heal your life: first with your mind, and subsequently in all areas of your life. Anyone who takes the journey in reading this marvelous book and applies the practical day to day practice of affirmations will surely transform themselves and their life.”

Tova Hansel, author and speaker

Better Thoughts Better Life is the manual for anyone who’s on the path to wholeness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”

John Vista

“This book is witty and easy to read and understand. I encourage you to allow Jonathan Kis-Lev to be your partner in your quest for falling in love with yourself.”

Laila Hoja

“This book focuses on alternative healing via affirmations. It offers a form of therapy through cognitive behavioral repetition, resulting in greater self-love and self-acceptance. It also covers the brain and thought patterns, teaching you how to better train your mind to serve you, rather than control you. I have many other books on this subject, but I purchased this because it is unique, and filled with valuable intuitive and useful statements to ponder. Loved it!”

Joan Kelvin

“This book offers an exploration of the mind-body-spirit connection. It focuses on the most common negative thoughts and offers instead powerful positive thoughts to replace them with. The author explains how trying to fight the negative thoughts is a futile battle, and instead directs us to hold on to new thoughts again and again, in ways that create new neural pathways in our brain. Powerful and useful.”

Daniel J. Okla

“Above all, more than anything, I liked the design of the book. Each affirmation is given an illustration, taken from the world of botanical art. These illustrations are magnificent. I can look at them for hours. This, in combination with powerful sentences, is one of the best gifts I ever bought myself.”

Katie Shvoljann

“What gives this book a unique edge, especially for those well familiar with this type of affirmation work, is the conversational tone; Jonathan talks with the reader naturally and at times wittily as he relates his own personal journey. He recommends to post some of the affirmations around your house, which I did, and I am excited to each time “bump” into yet another wonderful affirmation, whether on the fridge or by my bed. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!”

Alison  Kahn

“I appreciate the wisdom, insight, and depth of this book and the author. I believe every word written in it. Get this book!!!”

Aven K. Lint

“Jonathan has helped me to see my life from a whole new perspective – one of love, as opposed to my old self-judgment. I immediately felt a “lift” within me from the very beginning of this book.”

Joseline Hanks

Better Thoughts Better life is a mixed blessing. It’s good, entertaining, and thought provoking. Yet it also requires from you to DO the work, which is more challenging. All this said, I found much to like in this book. I took notes and compiled a list of many useful affirmations.”

Noah Spielman

“This book is a simple way of showing us how easy it is to change ourselves. Do the work that it outlines to make some shifts in your life, little shifts lead to big shifts and that is what it is all about. This book really helped me turn some of my thinking and some health issues around!! Highly recommended!!!”

Miriam Cohen

“This book is a pure joy to read and learn from this surprisingly frank author. It speaks of the power of affirmations, forgiveness, and self-love. Some of the concrete suggestions, such as placing affirmations around your home and office, are creative and helpful. All in all, a great read with some sound advice.”

Jeremias Clint










Better Thoughts
Better Life


Super Powerful Affirmations to
Snap You Out of the Funk
in 2 Minutes or Less





Text copyright © 2016 Jonathan Kis-Lev

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Please refer all pertinent questions to the publisher.

Published in the United States by
Amazon Publishing House LLC.

Editor: Tania von-Ljeshk
Cover photograph: Scott Durham
Cover design: Slava “Inkjet” Noh











This book is dedicated to all of us,
wishing to improve our thoughts to make our lives better. May we keep up growing!



“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

John Milton

Affirmations? Really?

Let me start with a confession. For years I distrusted affirmations. It looked to me so… silly. Really. I thought it was quite pathetic – people telling themselves things, hoping it will somehow change their reality.

My mom had these Louise Hay books at home, with funny title such as “You Can Heal Your Life” and “Heal Your Body”.

I thought it was silly. Even stupid.

I saw my mom writing in her notebook the same sentence over and over again.

I thought it was pathetic.

Well, I was a teenager. I thought most things were pathetic.

I thought that I don’t need this kind of self-help stuff. I thought it was for weak-minded.

I felt secure in my abilities to self-help myself without self-help books.

But then came… LIFE.

In my early twenties I decided to become a professional artist: to sell my paintings, be successful, make a living, make a name for myself.

Yet the art world was particularly cruel. I was a nobody. I was too young. Inexperienced. And no doors were opening for me.

That’s when I began reading (reluctantly) motivational books. All kinds of classics found their way to my hands. Books about how you can “think” and grow rich, develop habits of highly successful people, and find out about the supposed “science” of getting rich.

To my alarm, these books were actually… good.

They gave me food for thought.

And they slowly began to shift my mind around. I began looking for people who thought and spoke the same way as the authors of these books did.

Needless to say, most people didn’t think that way. Most of my artist friends were negative and cynical. Just like I was.

And yet, with time, I found few artists that thought, spoke, and behave the way the books recommended. These were people who had high morals, perseverance, and who always thought positively.

These few people became my mentors.

I listened to their advice.

Meantime, I kept reading and reading. I realized that I liked this genre of success books.

I differentiated these kinds of books, in my mind, from the other self-help books which had to do with soul, and inner bullshit. Didn’t like those books at all.

With time, as I was applying the principles in the success books, I saw positive changes in my life. I persevered. I followed up. I dared to ask. I survived many rejections. I set goals. I gave more than I was paid for. I created relationships, not clients. I saw importance in my work.

And it all began paying back. I began showing my paintings in several galleries. First, in Israel, were I was born and where I live. Then, abroad: in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

I began having collectors who collected my art. Articles in newspapers. Prints, calendars.

Things went well.

I was still not into the new age books. I disliked them and could recognize them from a first glance. They were the woo-woo hippie stuff. I couldn’t stand them.

Yet overtime I discovered that many of the success leaders I was following and admiring, had a big spiritual part to them.

I read how Jack Canfield, the author of “The Success Principles” – a guy who I liked and admired – was practicing Vipassana meditation.

I read how Stephen Covey – the dude behind of “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” – was conversing with God.

And how Rhonda Byrne – the chick behind “The Secret” – was doing gratitude daily.

Through these people I was slowly willing to open up. I still refused to do what was said in these woo-woo book, books that reminded me all too well of Louise Hay’s stuff my mom used to read.

But I began opening up.

I even went to a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat, to see what all the fuss was about.

My body ached from all the sitting, and my mouth longed to converse to someone in those long silent days.

And yet… I began to like it…

Me. Jonathan. The guy who mocked these spiritual guru books as if they were some plague.

Began. To like them.

The more I gave this new realm of thought a chance, the more I found there was something to it.

Low and behold, I even was willing to listen to some interviews with Louise Hay. Herself.

And… I liked her.


Over time, in the last few years, I’ve read and practiced many books that had to do with spiritual teachings. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a skeptic. I’m willing to give something a try, yes, but if it doesn’t work, I throw it out of the window.

Many things I read about did not work for me. Some things were too ethereal and spiritual for me. I let go of anything that did not work.

When I kept reading in many books that you should do the “Mirror Exercise” I thought it was pathetic. And weird. You were supposed to speak to yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself.

It wasn’t for me.

Then, in 2011 I flew all the way to the United States to participate in a week long workshop with this Jack Canfield guy. Man, it was because of him I went to a Vipassana meditation retreat for ten days. Twice. So I figured he had something to teach me.

In that first day of the workshop I liked most of what Jack taught. I even knew much of it myself from his books. I kept nodding and approving.

Until he gave us that dreadful mission.

“Tonight,” he said, “before you go to sleep, I want you to stand in front of the mirror, and tell yourself all the good things you did today. Acknowledge how good you were. Then, tell yourself you love yourself. And be willing to stay there for a moment.”


That sounded so… annoying.

So… stupid!

I figured I’d skip this one.

And yet… I flew all the freaking way from Israel. It’s freakin’ half the planet. Paid with my best money. What if Jack was… right? What if this exercise could be… good for me?

At night, just before going to bed, in my hotel room, I got up and faced the mirror.

“Jonathan,” I said.

I couldn’t look at myself. Was this silly or WHAT?

“I want to acknowledge you,” I said, squeezing the words out, “for what you did today. You fully participated in the workshop, and now you are going to sleep at a good time, it’s not too late. Good job.”

I sighed. “And I love you.”

Then I ran to bed and hid in it.

This was not for me.

To my great relief the next morning I found out that I wasn’t the only one who found this exercise uncomfortable. Many did.

Jack nevertheless insisted that we’ll continue.

The second night was easier.

So was the third.

By the end of the week Jack asked us to continue doing this exercise.

So I continued. For many months. The months became years.

And I slowly grew more comfortable with telling myself that I… love myself.

The changes appeared in my life. I broke up an unhealthy romantic relationship, in which I was somewhat abused (more on that in another book). I began expressing what I want and what I don’t want. I found a girl who liked me, for who I am. Who accepted me. Who even… celebrated me.

I began feeling more comfortable with who I am. I began laughing more. I began being more of myself.

The mirror exercise had a big part in it. But there was something else. More important.

Though I didn’t tell anyone, I began experimenting with affirmations.

In the beginning, these were sentences that had to do with clear, practical goals. For example, I wanted to sell a painting in a public auction, something I never did before. My affirmation stated: “I am happily selling my painting in a public auction, excited to share my art with its new buyers.”

I kept repeating these sort of affirmations. And low and behold, many of them did manifest into reality.

From about 2011 to 2014 I did many of these affirmations. I became an affirmation junky. These were affirmations that were connected to specific goals. I enjoyed them. I created a vision board to go with them. I was diligent.

And yet, as the years progressed, I found that the outer goals, while nice, were not exactly what I was looking for.

I found that even if I sell a painting at a public auction, even if I achieve that financial goal, or put my body through that training program I set for myself to complete – even then, it didn’t make me fully… happy.

You see, the goals – they were nice. I enjoyed working for them. And yet they didn’t fill me up.

What began filling me up were indeed the books I always dreaded. It was then, some two years ago, that I became more willing to try them out.

And these spiritual books began filling me up.

Not all of them, in fact, only a few. Many books still to this day, do not resonate with me. I still fear woo-woo spiritual stuff.

And yet, some words pierced me straight in my heart. And these words spoke to my soul. And so, I began listening to guided meditations, I began reading books with affirmation, and I began memorizing some affirmations that worked for me.

I picked up the best affirmations that were relevant for me. Many did not work. Many needed to be rewritten for me. Many needed to be simplified.

And yet, through working and developing my own affirmations, my quality of life continued to improve.

I realized that if I speak words of love to myself, throughout the day, the better I feel. I realized that much of my automatic thoughts were disgustingly negative. I began replacing them with more positive ones. And it made me feel so much better.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I would still say that most of my thoughts throughout the day are negative. Research shows that most people are that way. I still worry a lot, I think about the future with concerns, I imagine bad things, I can’t see how things could possibly work out, etc.

So I’m still a work in progress.

But, I can happily admit that my inner chatter have become a more positive one. I would say that some ten percent of it improved for the better.

That’s huge. For me, that’s huge.

And that’s what I wish for you as well, that’s why I sat down to write this book. For you.

part one: How to use this book

Affirmations are just a fancy name for thoughts. Thoughts that you repeat in your mind to yourself become your affirmations. They, over time, become your beliefs.

Someone smart once told me that “beliefs are simply thoughts thought over and over again.”

I liked that definition.

If I was told, as a child, that “It’s not manly to cry!” and in turn I repeated that thought over and over in my mind: “Jonathan, it’s not manly to cry!” – then, over time, this thought, this affirmation, became my belief.

I think that most of our beliefs are quite negative, if to be honest with you. Most of our beliefs about ourselves, or our beliefs about the world – tend to be negative ones.

Whether we want it or not, we usually take on the beliefs from those who raised us: our parents, our siblings, our teachers… If there are areas that we excel in in our lives, it means that we had a good role model in that area, or that we have dedicated much time to teach ourselves positive thoughts about our abilities in that specific area.

Our beliefs about a specific field are what we were taught to believe. Unless we have taken the time to consciously replace these negative beliefs, we remain with the old ones.

And it reflects in our life. Clearly.

If a girl was told early on that “Women in our family are not good with money” she most likely repeated that affirmation in her mind over and over again during the years. She most likely internalized these thoughts, and low and behold – they manifested in her life.

Unless the grown up woman does the conscious work of substituting that belief that “Women in our family are not good with money” with something more empowering, she is going to have difficulties with money.

If, instead, she replaces it with one of the affirmations in this book, such as “Money comes to me easily and frequently”, over time this new affirmation will create a new belief in her life. And this new belief will change her relationship with money.

It’s that simple.

but it feels like lying!

Any affirmation that is valuable for you to affirm to yourself, will feel like lying.

Let me repeat it again. If it’s a worthwhile affirmation, your whole body will resist it. It will feel like lying.

Say that you are looking for romance in your life. You feel lonely, you feel unloved. When you read the affirmation “I’m totally loved, I am being admired and appreciated just for who I am” – you will feel like ‘This is bullshit!’

Your mind will resist it, and so will your body.

And yet, this strong reaction means that this affirmation is relevant for you.

Another example. Say you are in big financial debts, and feel like your financial life is in ruins. Reading, “Money comes to me easily and effortlessly” will feel to you like crap!

In the movie “The Secret” Loral Langemeier, a financial strategist and coach, said:

I grew up on, “You have to work hard for money.”

So I replaced that with, “Money comes easily and frequently.” Now in the beginning it feels like a lie, right?

There is a part of your brain that will say, “Oh you liar, it’s hard.”

You have to know it’s this little tennis match that will go on for a while.

Loral Langemeier is right.

When I wanted to sell my paintings in the beginning of my career as an artist, I made up the affirmation: “People constantly buy my paintings and are happy to pay for them.”

At the time no one was buying my paintings. This felt like… a lie. It felt… stupid, to say it to myself over and over again.

Yet I persevered. The fact that it felt unnatural and wrong didn’t matter.

And I was fortunate to, eventually, prove this statement right. People did began buying my paintings, and were happy to pay for them – they didn’t even haggle over the prices, as I was afraid they’d do.

So if it feels unnatural, if it feels like a lie, if you react negatively to it – these are all indications that this affirmation is relevant for you. Big time.

Now for another example. Say you are a really relaxed person. The kind of person it’s hard to shake. And you find the affirmation in this book which states “I am a calm person, serenity is my natural state” – you will feel a different reaction. “Uh”.

You might think something along, “That’s a silly affirmation” or even, “That’s a waste of affirmation”.

That means that you are fully comfortable with that affirmation. No need to come back to it again and again. You already embed that quality. Good on you.

Yet I tried, in this book, to include affirmations that could help everyone. I included affirmations in many realms of life: prosperity, self-love, relationships, health and fitness, actualization, work, etc.

I believe that for you most of the affirmations will feel unnatural. Most of them feel unnatural for me.

Take the notion of time, for example. A constant saying I hear around me, and often repeat myself, is that “I don’t have enough time…” or “there just isn’t enough time…”

I replaced that statement with “I always have plenty of time for what is important to me. To me, time is abundant.”

Now, this is a nice affirmation. But it still feels unnatural to me.

Nevertheless, natural or unnatural, it made me think of time differently. It made me realize that time is just is. It’s what it is. I don’t think animals experience the feeling that there is not enough time.

I think it’s a little like air. There is plenty of good air for me to breath. It’s only when I’m running frantically, that I need to gasp for some air, feeling like there isn’t enough. When I’m not running, I realize that there is just plenty of air around me.

When I kept telling to myself that I do have “plenty” of time for what is “important”, it began shifting things in my mind. It made me ask, subconsciously, “Is that thing important?” and if it was, I found time for it. I must also admit here that I found that most things are not as important as they appear to be…

My message here is that it does not have to feel natural. Even with it feeling unnatural, you can still benefit from it. I still repeat this affirmation for myself, telling myself that I do have plenty of time for what is important to me. I hope that one day I will truly believe it. Ask me that, when we meet. Hopefully by then I’d have mastered this one :)

So, bottom line is: if it feels like lying, if it feels unnatural – that’s great. It’s an indication that you need to develop and work on that.

you’re the boss

While I say that you ought to challenge yourself with affirming those affirmations that you strongly disagree with, I want to also offer a disclaimer.

This book is for you. If some affirmations totally don’t work for you, and you don’t feel like wishing to improve or change anything in that specific realm with which the affirmation deals, then… don’t.

If you feel a sense of disinterest or whatever that makes you feel an aversion – feel free to ignore my previous advice telling you to intentionally work on the affirmations that you feel strongly opposed to.

You’re the boss. Do whatever works for you.

I have included several affirmations about sexuality, feeling comfortable with your body and desires. If by chance it upsets you, then leave those ones alone. I want you to listen to your own wishes. That’s a part of what we are trying to strengthen with this whole book – your inner intuition. So, if something does not resonate with you and upsets you – you choose whether to stay in it and examine it, or to go away. I want you to do whatever works for you. Deal?

How to use the affirmations

Over the years I found that each person uses affirmations differently. Some people say them out loud. Some people just read them. Some people open up the book randomly and believe that that random page has a message for them for that given moment. Some people write the affirmations down in a notebook. Some speak it to themselves in front of the mirror.

Some people do affirmations in the morning, some in the evening, some in both. Some people repeat a specific affirmation many times before they move on to the other. Some people skip through the affirmations like a butterfly.

Some people do this, and some do that.

I found, even in my own experience, how some times I would do one thing over a long period of time, and it would work for me great. Then, all of a sudden, something that worked for months, no longer feels like it’s working for me, and I change into another habit or another way.

Sometimes I leave the affirmations all together, and let what I learnt simmer and percolate and become absorbed into my being.

Whichever thing you do, whichever method you pick, whichever thing you choose – it’s ALL good.

The last thing I want is for this book to become a chore. Do you hear me? I’m speaking to you, specifically. The last thing I want is for this book to become yet another to do on your to-do list. The last thing I want is for you to associate this book with the feeling that you are not good enough, and if only you would do this book like you’re supposed, you will become “good enough”.

It’s all crap. It’s all old mental conditioning.

This book is just a fun little tool for you to use. It’s just a pet book, ready to give you love whenever you want some. Happily. Without judgment. Without conditions.

When you open this book after a long period of not reading in it, you won’t hear the book saying, “Well it’s about time you’d open me!”

You won’t hear the book saying, “If you only stuck to me and persevered your life would have looked different by now!”

This is NOT what the book will say.

The book will treat you like an older person, an older, wise, loving person. Possibly like the person that you would one day be.

This older version of you will only tell you, “Sweetie, you want some love? Here, come here…”

Whenever you open this book it will give you just that. No judgment, no expectations. This book values you for who you are. It values you for having been born. For having survived, for having lived through all of your experiences.

This book in infused with HUGE amount of love.

I literally poured love and blessed each and every affirmation in it.

I worked for hours and hours on finding the best illustrations to correspond with the messages. I worked on refining each affirmation so that there won’t be any word that does not have to be there.

I poured my heart into this book. I gave it my whole self. It has so much love in it.

This love will not be willing to tolerate any dis you may do on yourself; this book will not entertain you “shoulding” on yourself; the words in this book will wash away any self-criticism or self-loathing.

This book is all about love.

It is about you loving yourself.

About you accepting yourself as you are.

And so, simply put, I ask you not to come up with grandiose plans. Many of you have already began to make plans, “Oh, I’ll read through it every morning for few minutes with my coffee”, or “I’ll practice it daily on my ride to work” or “I’ll memorize the sentences that I must change…”

I’m asking you, hold your horses. Please don’t promise anything of that sorts. I’ve been there, done that, and I felt lousy whenever I would skip a day, or when in time I would neglect the habit altogether.

None of that, then, please.

Let’s agree that you’ll read through this book when you want to. When you feel like. When you wish.

This book will always love you. It will never criticize you. Even after years of “neglect”, it will smile back at you like in the very first time you met.

This book embeds the word love. It is about true love. Unconditional, always loving, forgiving, accepting. It’s the kind of love I always longed for, personally. And I poured this kind of love into this book.

Boy, was it fun to do. Thinking of you, the reader, yes, you, made me so filled with joy.

I envisioned you liking some affirmations. Being appalled by some affirmations. Being disinterested in some affirmations. Being moved by some. Touched by some. Changed by some.

I envisioned this book working for you.

And so I invite you to just let this love in. Don’t “try” to do anything with this book. There is nothing to do, nothing to try, nothing to commit to, nothing to change.

This book is here to offer you love.

Most of you will feel uncomfortable with these expressions of love. At least at first. But over time, this book will become your companion. Whether you open it often or not, it will always be there for you, ready to share wisdom, guide, give love unconditionally.


I felt guided to write this book. For me. For you. I felt a nudge within directing me to which affirmations to write, which ones to re-edit, which ones to omit. I looked into many affirmations written by many other authors. When something felt right, I looked into adding it. I often changed and shortened affirmations by others. I felt that short and concise is the best.

You may find that some of the affirmations are repetitive. Especially those about self love. That’s true. Many are sort of repetitive. And yet, there is an intention behind it all.

When we were kids we were affirmed specific beliefs again and again. The adults in our life kept repeating the same statements to us over and over again.

It takes much repetition to replace some beliefs with others. It’s through repetition that new beliefs are created. Remember, beliefs are simply thoughts that were thought over and over again.

I used to believe that it was a responsible thing to watch or read the news daily. As a kid I saw my dad do it, daily. As a young adult, in the army, all of us soldiers gathered in the cafeteria each evening to watch the news on TV. It felt responsible. It felt mature.

Yet over the years I began entertaining the thought that possibly, just possibly, the news were not good for me. I had some experience in writing articles, in editing, etc. and it all taught me that the main drive for the editors and content managers is to create a sensational feeling. A feeling of urgency.

But this feeling of urgency, this sensation-oriented broadcasting system – made me feel sick.

I began entertaining the thought that maybe the news weren’t good for me.

After abstaining from reading the news for quite some time, I began thinking that possibly watching the news or reading the news was an irresponsible thing to do.

At least for me.

It’s not like I wasn’t informed. Believe me, in Israel, you will be informed whether you want to or not. The news will be played at the kiosk, at the taxi, in the bus, everywhere. People will mention the news whether you want it or not. So I was informed of the main pieces of news.

But shifting away from daily consumption of the news made me feel better. I also began reading the other news. The news I could not find in the newspapers. In my Facebook feed I would see many peace projects. Many community projects. Many exciting things that made me proud and inspired.

The more the years passed (it’s been quite a few years of me being on a news diet), the more I began thinking that consuming the news was the irresponsible, even immature thing to do. It’s more responsible to find out what works and to encourage it by taking an active stand, than merely being “informed” of what doesn’t work, and by that perpetuating that notion.

It was through first entertaining that thought (that news may very well be irresponsible to consume), and over time pondering it, looking at it, thinking of it… – that over time a new belief was created in my mind.

Whether you agree with me on the news part or not, that’s not what’s important. I wish you great enjoyment if you are a news junky like many of my best friends. The point I’m making here is that changes in our belief systems happen over time. It takes time.

Let’s look into that, for a moment. We’ll do that, and then I’ll send you off for the main part of the book, the affirmation part. It’s just that there is this really good metaphor I must share with you. It’s a metaphor that helps me understand how our minds work, and how we can change our thoughts in the long run, and by that change our lives. It’s super powerful.

The dams and the canals

We’ve said that our beliefs are simply thoughts that were thought in our minds over and over again. Now let’s look into that using a metaphor of canals and dams.

When we first think a thought, it’s like us taking a shovel and gently passing it on the ground. It moves some dirt, a little like when you create a gentle row to plant seeds in in a vegetable garden. It’s just a gentle mark in the soil, that’s all. That’s a thought.

When we rethink that thought, we take the shovel and do the same movement again. This time it creates a little bit of a deeper line in the ground. Nothing too big, but it’s deeper than before.

Whenever we think about that thought over and over again, each time we think it we deepen that mark in the ground.

When one thought is associated with another thought, the are often placed one after the other in the ground – creating a longer line.

When a chain of thoughts is thought of over and over again, a deeper line is created in the ground.

That, my friends, is our brain.

Over the years we have created many such marks in the ground. All of our thoughts, both positive and negative, have created a topography, many deep etchings in the ground. Over the years these become very deep.

They are so deep that when it rains, water naturally move into these deep crevices in the ground.

Bear with me, as we take a moment to understand a little what the water is.

The water metaphor

Our mind most often works on an auto-pilot. It’s on an automated flow, from one thought to another.

Often we don’t notice what thought made us feel better or what thought made us feel worse. We notice our feelings, yes, but we often can’t recall the thought we must have been thinking that made you now feel a certain way.

The term many brain researchers use is a “flow of consciousness” – that’s how our mind moves from one thought to another.

The word “flow” comes from the world of water.

Now, in our brain, in this unique land topography which we have created over the years, it always rains.

This is to mean that our thoughts are always flowing. We think thousands of thought a day, in fact, 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute.

That’s a lot of thoughts.

The rain pours.

How our thoughts are created is very similar to the flow of the water through the land of our brain. The water comes in huge amounts, and naturally goes into the crevices that were already there. It creates creeks and rivers.

Example. I notice that my books aren’t being sold. The rain pours into the huge crevice I created over the years, saying, “Well, perhaps the books aren’t good enough.” The water continue gushing down that crevice when they flow into another deep and familiar crevice, “Perhaps it’s because I’m not good enough.”

The water gush down that crevice when they shift into a rather new crevice. This crevice, though only from the recent years, is very deep, as it’s a thought I’ve been thinking over and over rather obsessively, “Who said you even know how to write, Jonathan? You’re not an author!”

The water run down that crevice, leading to another new crevice, “Your friend Mimi said she bought the book online, and you haven’t heard from her since, that must means she didn’t like the book and is afraid to tell me that…”

One thought leads into another, the water runs from one crevice into another, from one creek to another.

If we leave the ground for a moment, and soar up to the sky, we could clearly see the topography of our mind. From way up we can see the main deep crevices in the forms of big rivers. We can also see some small new crevices, that over time can become bigger.

We see how the water clearly move into specific areas of our land, and does not run into other areas. The water clearly goes into where the deep crevices are. It’s simple.

Now, let me tell you a secret about you. Most of your thoughts are negative. Most of the crevices of your mind, through which the flow of thoughts move through, are just negative.

How do I know that? Because that’s how it is for most of us.

This is what researchers call “negativity dominance”. Now, this is not some woo-woo stuff. This is science. Dr. Raj Raghunathan conducted a research among business school students, and concluded in an article in Psychology Today:

“ Our findings revealed that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the average students’ spontaneously occurring thoughts are negative. This is in sharp contrast to what they expected going into the exercise: they expected 60 – 75% of their thoughts to be positive.” ^^1^^

So it’s not only you. It’s all of us.

Our thoughts, like water, move to very specific, repetitive routes or crevices.

When we look at it from above, from a bird-eye view, and we see that the creeks and rivers of our thoughts are mostly in the negative areas of the land of our brain, we may feel frustrated.

I surely did.

I looked at my brain in this imaginary exercise, and kept saying, why do all the creeks and rivers of my thoughts always lead to this area on the left…? Why can’t they go into this area here, on the right?

This are on the “right” in my imagination was the positive area. The empowering area. And yet, in this area, the crevices were kind of shallow, not deep enough. Whenever it pours, the water automatically went into the crevices which were the deepest, to those thoughts which were most often thought about.

We won’t go into the science of it all, but let’s just mention here that what I’m talking about, scientifically, is neuroscience’s understanding that the cells that fire together, wire together. See the endnotes if you want to read more about that.^^2^^

So… what did we have thus far? We had thoughts that leave a gentle mark in the ground when they are first thought of. Then, when they are thought of over and over again, the mark becomes deeper, like a crevice. Thoughts that are thought of one after another, create crevices that lead one into the other.

Now, as more water passes through these deep crevices, the deeper they become. This is how science explains the fact that most of our thoughts are the same each day. Dr. Joe Dispenza said about that that:

“If you repeatedly think and act in identical ways on a daily basis, your brain will become molded into a specific hardwired pattern that will support the same level of mind.”^^3^^

OK. Thank you for bearing with me thus far. Now we’ll look into why does this matter to you.


When we become aware of our negative thoughts it’s a huge step forward. Most people aren’t even aware of the fact that most of their thoughts are negative. The fact you are reading these lines means that you are a part of the few people who understand that. This a huge step forward toward a better life. Now we can change our thoughts, and change our lives.

When I first understood this principle I began trying to create dams in my brain. What do I mean by that? I looked at how the flow of my thoughts, the water, moved from one negative thought into the other rapidly, flowing into the next deep crevice, down the river of negative thoughts.

I figured I’d better create dams, to stop the water from continuing down that negative route. I tried to reprimand myself for thinking the negative thought, I tried to stop myself, I tried to stop the thought, I tried all kinds of things.

None of them worked.

It was like silly little dams that I created. As the water kept gushing in the dams broke, or the water just passed from the sides, and back into the familiar crevice.

I felt helpless.

I felt like something was wrong with me. Like I couldn’t take control over my own thoughts.

You may know this feeling.

It’s not particularly empowering…

Not only have I tried to create dams, I also tried to somehow erase the negative crevices. I figured if these crevices were filled up somehow, the flow of thoughts won’t go through there.

It was another futile, silly effort.

It didn’t work, and I felt helpless as I noticed how my thoughts kept flowing yet again in that negative familiar route.

I kept trying to fight against the crevices. I was amazed at how deep some of them were. I couldn’t believe that they had actually once been just a thought, thought of once, leaving just a gentle mark in the ground. I couldn’t believe that they were ever small, shallow, insignificant. I kept wanting to erase them, stop the water from flowing threw them. I kept fighting.

Yet eventually it dawned on me. Rather then fighting them, I can create alternative routes. I can create new crevices, alternative ones.

The word “alternative” comes from the Latin alter, meaning “the other”. I could create the “other” route instead.

I was somewhat hopeful. But I was also intimidated.

These deep crevices were created over years and years of fearing and self-criticizing. Can the new thoughts ever become as deep of crevices? I knew that unless these new crevices were as deep as the old negative ones, the flow of water will choose the deeper crevices, and that nothing will change in my thinking.

Yet I was also hopeful. It was me that created these deep negative crevices in the first place. I could create new ones, that over time will become even deeper. Then the flow of thoughts will go to the deeper, new crevices.

Scientifically speaking, the new neurological connections will become so strong, that they will rewire the movement of neural electricity, to choose these new pathways instead of the old ones, which prove to be not as strong as the new ones.

I was hopeful. I set to work.

I figured that what created these deep crevices in the first place was repetition. I realized that some thoughts were thought of thousands and thousands of times.

Yet I was optimistic because the old crevices were created unintentionally. With intention, I hoped to be able to repeat thoughts in my mind over and over, and in time to create new crevices for the water of thoughts to gush through.

I also looked at things that I was indeed able to change. I looked at past successes of re-directing the flow of thoughts, of re-wiring my brain.

This was when I thought of the example I shared earlier, of shifting from the belief that “It is responsible and mature of me to watch the news” to “It is irresponsible and immature of me to watch the news.”

I realized that this shift happened due to me constantly being appalled whenever I heard the news in passing. I would shake my head in disagreement, and cherish the fact that instead of listening to a collection of news curated for me by some ratings-driven editor, I can instead curate my own news, and become proactive about the society I live in.

I realized that each time I read about some good news – a peace project, a decrease in car accidents, an act of kindness in the community – the more I read about these good news, the deeper the new crevice had become in my brain. The more I thought that the responsible thing to do was to NOT watch the news but instead curate a positive news broadcast for myself, the more the new crevice deepened.

I celebrated the fact that unknowingly, I changed a pattern in my brain. I redirected the flow of thoughts. I rewired my brain: in the past I would feel guilty about not watching the news. These days I felt triumphant about not watching the news.

This may seem to you like a small change. But it was a change nevertheless. It was a change that I created in my thinking.

Though I was taught by my father and by society that news watching was the right thing to do, I was able to not only teach myself otherwise, but also to develop a deep conviction. This conviction changed my actual emotion: from guilt to feeling good. That’s a huge thing.

‘What if,’ I thought, ‘I could also succeed doing that with other teachings that I was taught?’

That’s when I began taking this affirmation thing to heart. I began really believing in affirmations.

Affirmations began shifting in my mind from this woo-woo California hippie stuff, to actual smart scientific proven practical tool to rewire my brain.

Seeing affirmations in this new light was something hugely powerful for me. I began hearing affirmations everywhere. Most of them were negative. I began noticing how people around me were basically reaffirming to themselves their negative affirmations.

These were subtle things. Someone would say, “Oh, it’s hard for me to explain.”

I would then hurry to write down an affirmation for myself: “It’s easy for me to articulate myself and to convey my thoughts and ideas. I’m a verbal genius.”

Or someone would say, “Well, you need money to make money.”

And I will replace it in my head with “Money comes to me easily and frequently.”

Some single friend of mine would say, “It’s just that all the good men are taken.”

And I would suggest her instead to contemplate “I’m totally loved, I am being admired and appreciated just for who I am.”

Needless to say, most people did not think what I was doing was quite as brilliant as I thought. Most people thought it was just wishful thinking, silly self-help stuff.

But for me, it was different. Envisioning the “land” of my brain, with the deep crevices, I felt like each time I was thinking a positive thought, I was deepening the new crevice.

I recalled a time in 2011 when I sat at that workshop with Jack Canfield, and he admitted that once he was so negative on himself. “I don’t do it anymore,” he said, “that negative self-talk rarely takes hold of me.”

Back in 2011 I was all into negative self-talk. That was the vast majority of my self-talk. The research I quoted earlier showed that “between 60 and 70 percent of the thoughts are negative.” Well, I felt like some 90 percent of my thoughts were negative back then.

Recalling Jack’s words, I became optimistic about my ability to actually change the patterns of my thinking. If Jack was honest, and I did believe he was, then… it meant that I could do it too.

And so I began on this journey. It’s a journey I’m still on. I think I’ll be on this journey till my last day on earth.

Focusing on positive affirmations shifted my life. Some changes are subtle. Some changes are more noticeable. But there are changes. Positive changes.

It’s a journey

I want to disillusion you: it’s not a magic trick. It’s not fast. It’s not easy.

It’s simple. But it’s not easy.

Your mind will resist. Your old patterns, those old crevices, will rule the game. You will rethink what you already thought before. Your mind will constantly look for information which will affirm what it already learnt.

Yet I do think that if you are patient, and if you are willing to do this over time, then you will see positive change in your thinking.

Now, remember what I said in the very beginning. This should not be a chore. If you don’t feel like doing these affirmations, simply don’t. Reading these affirmations, skimming through the book, should be a joyous experience.

When it doesn’t feel fun, leave it and go do something else.

Now I’ll share with you some of the thoughts behind the design of this book.

Celebrating nature

Each page of affirmation has a drawing in it. The drawings are all of nature: most of them are flowers and plants. Once in a while you’ll see a tree, a bird, a fruit (strawberries!), a butterfly. But mostly, you’ll see plants.

We often forget that we are a living organism. That we are a part of nature. Now, I’m not talking about giving you a green reprimand (Reuse! Recycle!) – nope. That’s not what I’m at. I’m trying to remind us that in us is the same thing that there is in nature.

If I were to try and sum up what nature is about in one word, I would say: “GROWTH”.

It may sound simplistic. But it’s actually very profound. In nature, every little thing wants to expand and grow. Every plant want to have more sun, more water, more fertile ground. Every animal wants more food, more security. Even moss, I learnt in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things”, wants to grow and expand.

We are like moss. We wish to expand to.

We often reprimand ourselves for wanting more money, wanting to improve our relationships, wanting to be more fit, happier. We often say, “Why can’t I just be satisfied with what I have?!”

But when we say that, when we reprimand ourselves that way, we forget our nature. We forget that our nature is to be a part of nature. We always want to grow. We want better things, we want to become better, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for that.

I’m not saying that life should be about accumulation of physical stuff. Nope. But I’m also not saying that physical stuff is the source of all evil.

I’m actually enjoying typing these words right now in a rather expensive neat laptop that I love. I enjoy it.

I enjoy my nature, wanting to do more, have more, be more. It’s my nature. I don’t want to go against my nature. It’s not fun, and it sure isn’t going to work in the long run.

I’ve always been a rather feminine, girly kind of boy. For years I tried to hide it and go against my nature. This led to a lot of suffering and unhappiness, trying to be someone who I’m not.

I’ve decided to let it go. Damn it! Life’s too short. If I was made to be girly and feminine so be it.

Similarly, I think we should all embrace our nature as human beings. We all naturally want to grow. We naturally want to expand, improve, develop.

This is why I chose drawings primarily of plants. This is to remind us of our nature. Grow. Grow. Grow. It’s all good.

botanical art

So we understand the reasoning behind my choice of plants and images depicting nature’s growth quality.

But why did I choose botanical illustrations?

Well, the first reason is that I love them.

The second, more educated answer, will be that there is something about botanical illustrations that I admire. This field of study, as antiquated as at may seem to us in the era of photography, is a field that I find as uniquely intriguing.

You see, botanical illustrations must both be scientifically accurate but also have an artistic component. They are made with much love, as their creation requires a huge understanding of plant morphology and specimens.

Many ancient cultures painted plants and wild life. One may argue that the first cavemen drawings were celebrating just that: wild life. The earliest surviving illustrated botanical work is the Vienna Dioscurides, which I recommend you to Google. It’s over 1500 years old, and it includes beautiful drawings of plants. It’s unbeliveable to me that it survived so many centuries.

The development of photography has not made illustration obsolete. Even today, a botanical illustrator is able to create something which a photograph can never will: an idealized image, which human hand movement in each line, thick or thin.

This is why I decided to have botanical illustrations under each affirmation. Each illustration shows of growth. Each illustration also shows deep love to the profession, a love portrayed by an artist’s hands.

In recent years a renaissance has been occurring in botanical art. Organizations devoted to furthering the art form are found everywhere, such as the American Society of Botanical Artists. Even today, with computers making things easier, many artists are drawn to the more traditional figurative work. I hope you will be inspired by the many beautiful illustrations.

My recommendation

I told you I will not tell you what to do. I will not tell you when to read these affirmations, whether twice a day or once a week. I will not tell you whether to read them silently or out loud. I will not tell you anything, as I well know that over time we all find our own ways to do what we do. I said also that this book will give you love after a long period of not opening it. So don’t feel like you have to do anything. You figure out what works best for you. This book is a gift to you, and you find out for yourself how you’d like to use it.

I do, however, have one recommendation.

It’s only one. One recommendation.

And yet, to many of you it will sound radical.

But bare with me, OK?

The many affirmations in this book want to be there for you. They want to be a smiling reminders as to how to live.

We all need these reminders. I know that even after all the years of personal growth I’ve done, I still fall to negative thoughts, several times a day. I have a lot of growth to still do. And I will probably continue growing until my last day.

So I, like you, need these gentle reminders.

Each page of the book was designed to become its own gentle reminder.

What I’m getting at is that I’d like to invite you to do something radical. I’d like to invite you to cut out of this book the pages that you liked.

Yes. Cut out of this book the pages that you liked.

Then, I want to invite you to hang them around the house.

Just imagine, you open the closet door to reveal your full length mirror, when you see the following words, with a flower drawn under them: “I choose to see the beauty in me. I am beautiful.”

Then you go to fetch the milk out of the fridge, and you see, “Regardless of what I eat, the food nourishes me, and supplies me with everything my body needs.”

You leave the house, and you see next to the door, “I am always safe and sound. All is well. I am grateful for life.”

You arrive at your office and next to the pictures of your beloved ones, on the desk, you see, “Whereas in the past I brushed compliments off, I now receive them graciously.”

As you come back home you see near the hallway, “I now choose to experience the sweetness of today. I rejoice in this moment right now.”

When you go to bed at night you see, “Each night I let go with love of today’s events. I am grateful for having lived another day.”

Just imagine.

Now I can hear you thinking.

“But…” you may think, “hanging it everywhere… that’s a little… too much, and when I have visitors… an in my office??”

Look, I am not telling you to do anything uncomfortable. If anything, this book wants you to always be comfortable in your own skin, and in this world. I’m just offering you to think out of the box, for a short while.

The world is changing. In the past we, as humanity, were mostly struggling. It was important to struggle, as life was tough. We had to work hard to get food on our table.

Now we still have to work. But not necessarily hard.

And we don’t necessarily have to struggle.

Yet, due to many reasons, our minds are still wired for struggle and stress and h-a-r-d work.

And we need to do whatever we can in order to explain to our minds that there is no need to fear so much. That our basic needs are fulfilled.

Abraham Maslow spoke of it over 70 years ago. Let’s look into the hierarchy of needs, which you probably know well. Then, we’ll come back to my recommendation. But Maslow had some important ideas that I want to share with you, as the last bit of information before we begin the affirmation part.

Maslow’s Wisdom

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that we, humans, generally move through.

Maslow studied the lives of people such as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, the American activist and philosopher Jane Addams, and the African-American social reformer Frederick Douglass. What Maslow found then is still taught and considered super-relevant today.

Maslow asked a simple question, “What motivates us as humans?”

His answer was portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom. Let’s walk over together from the bottom up. For all of you psychology students this will be a fun test to see what you remember!

The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs”. If these “deficiency needs” are not met the individual will feel anxious and tense.

The most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire the secondary or higher level needs.

The bottom of the pyramid is our Physiological needs – the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first. We need food. We need water. We also need things we might forget that we need, such as air to breathe. We also need clothing and shelter to provide necessary protection from the elements.

Then, above the physiological needs, there are our safety needs – in the absence of physical safety – due to war, natural disaster, family violence, childhood abuse, etc. We must feel safe. That’s why when you feel financially at struggle, it catches you deep, at the level of deep childhood fears. I know it does that to me whenever I’m stressed financially.

The next level up is called love and belonging. After our physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, our next need is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. We long for friendship, intimacy, a sense that we are needed… many of us often need that so much, that we find ourselves in unhealthy relationships. We prefer toxic relationships which nevertheless make us feel and express love, over the feeling of loneliness. I know, personally, that many of the ways I used to fill my time, running around and pleasing others, was to satisfy this rather primal need to feel loved and like I belong… I used to be addicted to this “But they need me!” feeling. Glad I grew out of that (sort of, at least!).

Now, the next levels up are more blurry to most people. The following need is still described by Maslow as a deficiency need, one which easily overrides higher needs if not fulfilled. That fourth need is our esteem.

All humans have a need to feel respected. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others.

Most people have a need for stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs: a “lower” version and a “higher” version. The “lower” version of esteem is the need for respect from others. This may include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The “higher” version manifests itself as the need for (are you ready?) self-respect.

I think that that’s where most people are stuck. Surely I think that’s where I still have some work to do… (hence my books about this subject!)

Now, the next two stages are not anymore the “deficiency needs”. After we went through the physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem, we arrive at these two, at the top of the pyramid.

The first is called self-actualization. Maslow put it simply, “What a man can be, he must be.”^^4^^ This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential.

That’s heavy stuff.

Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. This is very different for each person. One person may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in art, social work, entrepreneurism or whatever.

We’ll come back to it in a second.

Now, the final level in the pyramid is self-transcendence. I get a little stressed out just hearing this name (makes me feel like I’m NOT there!).

Maslow actually added this level later on in his life. He criticized his own focus on self-actualization being at the top of the needs. Maslow realized that the self only finds its full actualization in giving itself to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality.

Now, Maslow said that we often flow through these stages, and I will add that sometimes I do feel a little transcendence. But then I get hungry and go all the way down to the bottom of the pyramid, hiding in my fridge.

We all yearn to climb up the pyramid. In every society, both Western and not, we long for our basic needs to be met, to feel security, love and belonging, and appreciated (esteem). When these are met we delve into self-actualization and self-transcendence.

Where I think most of us get stuck, though, is in the third and fourth levels, i.e. the love and belonging, and the esteem level.

I mentioned my past tendency to look for love and belonging in toxic relationships, or in feeling “needed” by all too many people and organizations. Many of us get stuck there. Maslow did a good service for us when he divided the “esteem” level into two parts, the lower and the higher. Most of us (me included) often fuss about the lower esteem, that coming from the outside. Most of us don’t fully experience that higher esteem, coming from the inside.

We long for status, recognition, prestige, and attention. I know I long for more “likes” on Facebook. It’s fine. We shouldn’t struggle with it. It’s a freaking need of ours. But we are invited, according to Maslow, to experience the “higher” level. Inner-strength, self-confidence, independence, self-love and freedom. This “higher” version takes precedence over the “lower” version because it relies on an inner feeling of deservability.

That subject is so important. Really.

Unless we learn to love ourselves, we cannot actualize. Let me repeat that (this is a special announcement, please do listen:) Unless we learn to love OURSELVES we cannot actualize.

We cannot hope for actualization when we don’t hold ourselves in high esteem. We cannot wish for transcendence when we act in a supposedly “altruistic” levels, but are sooooo dependent on other people’s approval of our help and kindness.

Does that strike a chord?

It surely does for me.

Now, this is where our affirmations come into play. Let’s thank Maslow and go back to what we were about.

My recommendation (part two :)

So we looked into Maslow’s hierarchy, and understood that unless there is a “higher” esteem in our lives, that is, our OWN esteem to ourselves, there is a difficulty climbing up the pyramid. If we have high esteem of ourselves, we can go into actualization and transcendence.

It’s also true with our other “deficiency” needs. If we can explain the child that we have inside that we are actually safe, that we are actually loved, that we do belong, that we are important and valuable – then we’ll shift from seeking other people’s approval of us, and move into fulfilling our potential.

Now, this all sounds good. But how do we bring it into reality?

Earlier, we spoke of the dams and canals. We want to think new, better thoughts, so that we can slowly create new canals. Through these canals the flow of thought will eventually flow, once they will become deeper than our previous crevices of negative thoughts.

It’s all easier said than done. But here’s where this simple book begins to become a remarkable one.

Basically, you and I just need to do whatever we can in order to think better thoughts. That’s the title of our book, “Better Thoughts, Better Life.” We want to live better. Of course. We are like any other organism on the planet, wishing to grow and unfold. But to do so, we have to begin with our thoughts.

We have to shift our thoughts from the negative ounces to the more positive ones. And we need to use whatever we can in order to do so.

One of my goals is to eventually sit down in a studio and record an audio version of these affirmations, so that you can have them with you as you drive, commute, walk, wash the dishes, etc. That way your subconscious mind will change its patterns.

The reason I want to have the audio version is to help me permeate my mind, and by that permeate my LIFE, with positive thoughts.

Now. Here’s the trick.

I just mentioned an audio version of the book.

What about a “visual” version of the book?

I’m not talking about the printed book. I’m talking about your life being inundated with positive messages that you deliberately put in place.

Yes. I’m back to recommending you to simply cut out as many pages as you wish from this book, and hang them wherever you find fit.

For many of you it brings up a feeling of awkwardness. “But if people visit my house, what will they think?”

Well, I understand the fear. I once went to a workshop in which we were to express in a short phrase to ourselves that we deserve to receive love. It was super powerful. Some people’s phrase was “I’m worthy” and some was “I’m wonderful” and some others’ was “I’m great.”

Mine was “I’m wonderful”. I loved the joy that it brought to me, which was gained after several days of the most intense workshop, in which I also cried a lot…

At the last day we were to write the phrase on a big sheet of paper, and encouraged to hang it in our homes.

I hung it above my bed, on the very ceiling, so that I would see it every morning when I woke up.

I loved it. It was a good reminder.

But then some older friend came to visit me. He was a teacher of mine in university, and I held him in high regard. He and his wife visited my home, and for some reason I showed them my bedroom.

“What’s that?” he pointed at the ceiling.

“Oh it’s an affirmation from a workshop I did.

He read it out loud, “‘I’m wonderful.’” He then smiled at his wife, “it’s one of these self-help workshops?”

“Yes…” I said, and didn’t know what to say. Then we all left the room.

Now, years later, I think that had it happened today I would have responded differently. I might have tried to explain to him what I’ve done in the workshop. Or I would have challenged his preconceived stigma about ‘self-help’ workshops. Whatever I would have done, I would have stand up for myself.

Now, I don’t think I took the sheet of paper down. But I do think that this comment tainted the emotions I associated with it…

Isn’t that sad?

It is. And it also isn’t. I am very thankful for this and for other experiences that taught me to actually form my very own opinion. Trying to seek this teacher’s approval was a lousy way for me to feel self-esteem.

This experience, and many like it, proved to me that people are well rounded. Some sides I can learn from, and some I can disagree with. This teacher was a brilliant teacher. But his attitude about personal development was obviously primitive, in my eyes.

So, what I’m trying to say is, that I understand why you may feel awkward with hanging affirmations around. It’s difficult, especially when you live with roommates, or unsupportive spouses, or are afraid of friends’ reactions.

In that case, let me invite you to just start small. Hang one in your closet, so that when you reach for a shirt, you’ll see it pasted on the closet’s inside door.

Hang it on the mirror, if you feel comfortable.

Put it in your drawer, next to your bed. Any personal drawer will do.

Put two of your favorite affirmations inside your personal journal.

Then, over time, you will feel the positive effect of these affirmations being visually a part of your life.

Then you may hang some more. And you might feel more comfortable to deal with cynicism from friends when they see them. Here’s an exemplary conversation you might have. Notice, as you read, how the character of you is a rather a cool one:

conversation about affirmations

Friend: Hey, what’s that?

You: What?

Friend: That thing here, ‘I’m so grateful for…’ you believe in that stuff?

You: Oh like the ‘mind’ thing? The self-help ‘think positive’ bullshit?

Friend: Oh good, I thought you were one of ‘them’.

You: Oh no, nothing pisses me off more than these books telling you it’s all in your mind. Well, if you’re broke and you were abused and all, who are these authors to tell you to ‘think positively’?

Friend: Oh yeah, and they also make their fortune on our innate feeling of inadequacy, like ‘are you tired of feeling lousy? Do this twice a day and…’ and then those infomercial type folks drive these fancy cars and tell you to be satisfied with your own lousy car!

You: Totally!

Friend: Wait, so, why do you have it there, this thing?

You: Oh I read this book, and this dude was quite honest, telling about his own many inadequacies, and said to hang these things everywhere or something. I didn’t want to hang it everywhere, imagine! So I figured I’d hang a couple and see.

Friend: Oh my god, you fell for it too. I bet you that that guy became rich because of you buying that crap. Like, does that make you feel ‘more grateful’…?

You: Are you seriously asking?

Friend: Yeah.

You: Well, it actually does. It’s awkward, I won’t tell you it isn’t, but seeing this forces me to think of something I’m grateful for.

Friend: Uh.

You: You know how there are commercials everywhere around us? We see on average some 3000 advertisement messages a day.

Friend: What? That’s way too much.

You: No, they’ve done these studies about the messages we hear and see, like commercials, logos, brand logos in your pantry, your toothpaste, think of all the ads you just drive by…—

Friend: Wait is this something you also read in that book…?

You: No, it’s general knowledge. Now, how many of these are positive? None, really. They all make you feel bad, like, buy these jeans and then you’ll find the love of your life…

Friend: And…?

You: And so what I’m doing is positive advertisement for me. You see?

Friend: Yeah, but hanging it here? And I also see you have one there! C’mon!

You: Well, you know what art started from? Like, the earliest art forms?

Friend: Like, cave paintings?

You: Exactly! You know what they were for?

Friend: Like, to leave a mark? To write the history, like we haunted this big buffalo, so now we paint it?

You: No! It’s hunting magic.

Friend: What?! What’s that?

You: It’s not to celebrate the hunting that took place, but to wish for a better hunting. There’s this guy who researched this, I forget his name, I think it’s Breuil?

Friend: So what you are doing is hunting magic? Have you gone off the rails completely?

You: Well, yeah. It’s been around for some 40 thousand years, people decorating their environment to describe what they want. Think of the earliest Christians, putting a cross in their every room, to make them remember Christ.

Friend: Uh.

You: Listen, I doubted it too. But go figure, it does make me some 2 percent happier or something. So to me it’s worth it.

Friend: What’s the name of the book you say?


Ha ha! I enjoyed writing that dialogue. I hope you enjoyed reading it. The bottom line is that it’s all about your attitude. Franklin was considered crazy when he installed that tall iron lightning rod in his home.

Yet a century later lightening rod became a decorating motif, embellished with ornamental glass balls for everyone to see. It was after people saw that it worked in preventing lighting, that almost every house got a lightning rod.

You, my friend, are a little Franklin. You’ve realized that positive affirmations help you avoid the negative affects of a mental “lightning” of negative thoughts. So you took a step to make sure that this “danger” of negative thoughts be minimized, by “installing” these affirmations all around you, like a lightning rod, to protect you from lightning.

Some may think that you, little Franklin, are weird. That’s fine. You nevertheless see many folks around you smoking from their own negative lightnings. You prefer being considered “weird” and have lightning skip your house, than being “normal” and have the catastrophic outcomes of daily negative thoughts.

You see, life has already began changing in front of our eyes. The mere utter of words like “workshop” and “self-help” were considered odd, and are now more acceptable. Twenty years ago it was considered a blasphemy to say “I love myself”, but more and more people are willing to say it these days, even post it on their Facebook page.

Thirty years ago a man would have been embarrassed to walk with a kitchen apron his kids bought him, with the words “GREATEST DAD” on it. Nowadays every man wants his children to get him such an apron.

Just few years ago coffee mugs with a statement printed on them, saying, “What a great day!” were considered unique. Nowadays everyone wants to have one.

You see, it’s no accident that more mugs, and cups, and calendars hang in our homes with positive messages. That’s where we are headed. Think of the doormats. When the first doormat with the word “Welcome” on it appeared, people thought it was cute, but rather funny. To walk on it? To clean your feet on such a pretty writing?

But nowadays so many doormats say “Welcome”.

Why do they?

Perhaps because we like to feel welcomed.

Radical, isn’t it?

I foresee a future in which we’ll have plenty of home decoration with plenty of affirmations. I see magnets on our fridge, I see cellphone covers, I see all kinds of wall ornaments, I see positive and loving affirmations everywhere.

It’s already happening. You can join this revolution too. And don’t think it’s limited to a small sect in society. As part of being an artist, I was in contact with several companies over the years. Companies these days look into creating a more supportive workplace. The gifts they buy their employees resemble that more and more. Check out the Zappos company. There’s a great book by the founder, called, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose too.” It speaks exactly of that revolution, happening nowadays in workplaces around the world.

But ‘rip the page out’? Seriously?

I am seriously asking you to take scissors and cut as many pages as you’d like out. Then, take some blu-tack or glue-dots and hang them around your house. Just as they are.

Listen, I’m the author of this book. If I’m asking you to do it, then you are allowed.

More than allowed, asked to.

I spent a long time writing and designing this book. I don’t want for these affirmations to be locked all inside the binding. I want them to roam freely. C’mon, they are my babies, don’t shove them all into this tiny book. Let them hang around you.

Seriously, literally, let them hang around you.

You don’t have to frame them. You don’t have to photocopy and then hang them. My experience showed me that all this kind of “perfectionism” eventually leads to “procrastination (“Oh I’ll drive by the framing shop tomorrow). I don’t want you to do anything fancy.

Begin with doing the basics. If in due time you want to frame some, go ahead. If you want to paint some of the botanical art under each one, go ahead and do it later. But begin with the simple act of cutting some pages and hanging or placing them where you can see them.

That’s my last wish to you before we part…

Do consider cooperating with me! Then, send me some photos to make me happy. I’m at [email protected] or at kislevtv on social media. I’d love to see :)

Alright. We’re almost done. We’ve been together for quite a few pages. Now comes the main part. As you read, you’ll find that some feel totally uncomfortable for you. Know that they are important for you to ponder, even more than the others.

Remember that I don’t want you to promise anything to yourself. You are loved and appreciated just the way you are. You want to do it daily for few days, go ahead. You want to read them every morning, go ahead. You want to just skim though the book and open it again sometime later, whenever, if at all – go ahead.

There is nothing you need to do. This book will always show love to you. Whenever. It was written with love. Don’t hang anything if you don’t want to. This book doesn’t ask you anything. It only wishes to be your companion, whenever you are interested.

Off we go.

Love you, excited for you.

As we wish each other in this part of the world, the Middle East, may peace be unto you.

Jonathan Kis-Lev

November 4th 2016

Part 2: The Affirmations

I am the architect of my life. I design my life the way I want to.

Today I am brimming with positive energy and overflowing with joy.

My soul is loving. My body is healthy. My mind is brilliant.

I have been given endless talents for which I am so grateful.

I forgave those who harmed me. I thank for the valuable lessons they taught me, and let them go with love.

I am overflowing with a river of compassion for myself, for those around me, and for the entire world.

I am guided in my every step by my intuition. I am so grateful for my intuition.

My relationships are becoming stronger, deeper, and more supportive each day.

Money comes to me easily and effortlessly.

I get paid well for my time, my efforts, my talents and my ideas. I am grateful for how well paid I am.

I am courageous. I stand up for myself. I express my wishes.

Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired, and I accept the love I receive with grace and gratitude.

I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.

I become more and more confident each day. I recognize my genius, my light, and my power.

Everything that happens to me and around me happens only for my ultimate good.

I find the lesson and opportunity in each circumstance and bless for it.

I look forward to my future, thank for my past, and bless for this moment right now.

My efforts are being matched by the universe; my dreams manifest into reality before my eyes.

I love myself first, and give the world the best example as to how to love me.

I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.

I’m in love with myself, the same way I was when I was a toddler, looking at the wonder I was in the mirror.

I receive all the love I feel toward me. I love myself.

My life is just beginning.

I feel the love of those around me, and of those who are no longer around me. I bless for all the love I feel now.

I love and approve of myself today more than I ever did.

I trust myself.

I trust my inner wisdom, passed to me by generations of wisdom. I am a link in a wonderful chain of wisdom.

I breathe in calmness and love, for myself and for others.

Wonderful things unfold before my eyes.

I forgive myself for all the mistakes I have made. I love myself unconditionally.

I may not see the good in every situation, but I know it is there. This understanding calms me and leaves a smile on my face.

I love those around me, even when they do not understand me completely.

I have compassion and love to everyone around me.

I choose to see my hurts, traumas and pain –as gifts. They made me more sensitive, compassionate, and loving than I would have otherwise been.

I choose friends who approve of me and love me unconditionally.

I surround myself with people who treat me well, care for me, and surprise me with their love.

I choose to see the beauty in me. I am beautiful.

I choose to see the beauty in my current stage in life. I am beautiful.

I have always been beautiful, and I will always be beautiful. I will love myself at any stage of life.

Regardless of what I eat, the food nourishes me, and supplies me with everything my body needs.

I love and accept all the features in my body I once perceived as flaws. I love myself the way I am.

Life supports me. Abundantly so.

I am safe. I always was safe. I will always be protected.

My work impacts the world positively, even when I do not know how. I rejoice in my work.

I know that more good comes to me when I’m grateful for what I have.

My sleep becomes easier and more peaceful each day.

I do silly and fun things that make each day worth remembering.

I am grateful for all the money that comes into my life. I’m grateful for all the money I have already been given.

I love my house, I love where I live. I know that better things will only come when I appreciate what is. I love my home.

I fill my day with hope and face it with joy.

I fully participate in my life.

My life was given to me for me to enjoy.

I enjoy a prosperous and a loving life.

I accept everyone as they are. I accept myself as I am.

I am always safe and sound. All is well. I am grateful for life.

I am surprised by all the good that happens to me and around me. I constantly find more things to be grateful for.

I treat my body with love and care. I love my body. I respect my body. I cherish my body.

I thank for my body. I love my body more than I ever did.

I am more patient and content than I ever was. I am willing to let life happen in life’s ordained pace.

I breathe in. I am grateful for my patience, my ease, my contentment.

All situations come to make me more compassionate, calm, developed, and patient. I am willing to grow.

I smile at the little things that used to irritate me and choose to embrace them with gratitude.

I bless others and thank for their achievements. What in the past used to make me jealous, now makes me inspired.

I celebrate other people’s success as if it was my own.

I choose to recognize the light that I bring to this world. I acknowledge my contribution.

Whereas in the past I brushed compliments off, I now receive them graciously.

I am happy in my own skin. I know I was meant to have this body and appearance. I bless my body and my appearance.

I shift my attention from the few things in my body that have troubled me, to the many things in my body that function so well. I celebrate my body.

I enjoy my trip in life in this amazing vehicle called my body. I treat it well and thank it for carrying me with love.

I see myself as a gift to those around me, to my community, and to this world. I am a gift.

I have adopted the habit of praising myself. I acknowledge my beauty and recognize my greatness.

I see the perfection in all of my supposed flaws. I am perfect just the way I am. I love myself.

I fully approve and accept myself just the way I am.

I believe in my path, and I have energy and determination to bring my dreams to life.

All that I need comes to me at the right time and at the right place.

No moment was ever lost in my life. Nothing was wasted. It all prepared me for this blessed moment right now.

Happiness is my birthright. I embrace happiness as my natural state of being.

I feel joy and contentment in this moment right now. I love my life right now.

By allowing myself to be happy, I inspire others to be happy as well.

I have fun in all of my endeavors, even the most mundane. I find miracles in everything around me.

I have an active sense of humor and love to share laughter with others.

I respect and admire myself. I choose to see the best in me.

I respect and admire those around me and choose to see the best in them.

I share emotional intimacy with my dear ones. I allow myself to be vulnerable and authentic.

In relationships, I know that true love comes from being authentically myself.

I set healthy boundaries with those around me. I find it easy and effortless to say ‘no’ when I wish.

I am able to be my true self and completely authentic in all of my relationships.

I am successful in of my endeavors. Everything I touch becomes gold.

I find solutions to challenges and roadblocks easily. I often even enjoy them.

I cherish my supposed “mistakes” as I learn so much from them.

I feel successful with my life right now, even as I work toward future success. I am already successful.

I appreciate what I have already accomplished in my life. I am amazed at my accomplishments.

Fear is an indication that I’m headed somewhere exciting. I take fear with me as I conquer new grounds.

I feel lively, powerful, capable, confident, energetic, and on top of the world.

I live in the present and I am confident of the future. I trust it will all turn out well.

I refuse to worry. I choose to fully trust in the universe. Life has always worked out well for me at the end.

Life is my playground.

I’m outgoing and bold. My personality exudes confidence.

Being powerful is my natural state.

I always know when to be out there, and when to take time on my own to rejuvenate.

I have a tendency to always attract the best of circumstances and the most positive people into my life.

I’m so good with money that it amazes me. I was born to create opportunities and provide amazing value for others.

I bless for all the good people who are in my life. I was blessed to have great relationships.

Money comes to me easily and frequently.

Money is energy. I enjoy using it, and bless for having plenty of money in my life.

I always focus on solutions and find the best one. I am a problem solver.

I love change. I embrace change. I easily adjust myself to new situations.

I love new innovations and technology. I allow myself to experiment with new things as I did when I was a child.

I am comfortable with trial and error. I love the process of learning.

And I enjoy all the gifts modernity has to give.

My outer self is matched by my inner well being. I am beautiful. I am gorgeous.

I approve of myself and love myself deeply and completely.

I am unique. I celebrate my uniqueness. I love being me.

Each day I become more of who I am. I become more like myself. I allow my authentic self to blossom.

I accept and approve of myself just the way I am. I try to appease and please no one but myself.

I allow the child in me to come out. I welcome the child in me. It’s safe to be here, with me.

I fully accept myself. I am worthy of great things in life. I thank for all the great things that I have in my life.

I choose to be proud of myself. Constantly. I am proud of myself right now.

Inner peace is always easy for me to achieve. I achieve it now, just like that. It’s as easy for me as breathing is.

I am at peace. Right now. Peace is my birthright, and I enjoy it constantly.

I fill my mind with positive and nourishing thoughts. I love my mind.

My mind is a garden, and I tend to it lovingly.

My immune system is strong and can deal with anything. I am healthy.

I am healthy and exude healing and positive energy.

Every cell in my body vibrates with energy and health.

I nourish my body constantly. Full health is my natural state.

I treat my body with love, and my body always returns love to me.

I am grateful for all of my body systems functioning perfectly. I love all of my body.

My body constantly heals itself from any dis-ease. I admire my body.

I enjoy my body, my strength and my flexibility. I enjoy my body.

I send love and healing to every organ of my body.

Each night I sleep soundly and peacefully. I am grateful for my sound sleep.

Each morning I wake up feeling rested and energetic. I am grateful for waking up each morning.

The world is a peaceful, loving, and joy-filled place to live in. I love this world.

I know that this era I was born into is the best period to have been alive in. I cherish the times.

I sow the seeds of peace wherever I go. I sow kindness, love, and care with my very thoughts.

My home is a peaceful sanctuary where I feel safe and happy. I love my home.

I am grateful for my home. I am grateful for all of the things I have. I am grateful for having so much.

I am grateful for my work. I am grateful for being able to contribute to this world.

I easily focus and engage in any task. I am a powerful doer. I am proud of all of my accomplishments.

All is well right now.

I am grateful for this very moment and find joy in it. In this very moment I am grateful.

I allow myself to observe my thoughts and actions without judging them. I love myself unconditionally.

I am perfect just the way I am.

I cherish this moment right now. I know that life is happening in this very moment. I cherish it with love and appreciation.

Calmness washes over me with every breath I take. I am peace. I am tranquility. I am pure love.

I am one with mother earth.

Even when there is chaos around me, I remain calm and centered. All is well.

When I fall into stress, I still forgive myself, and re-center. I am human.

I am always able to transcend stress. I live in peace. Peace and love is the home to which I always return.

I have moved away from poverty thinking to prosperity thinking. I am grateful for all that I have.

My finances reflect my love and appreciation for money. The more I love and appreciate the money I have, the more I receive.

I am grateful for all the good that comes into my life.

I delight in the financial security in my life. I have received so much.

I am open and receptive to all the wealth in the world. I am grateful for all the good that has already came into my life.

I allow life to flow through me. The past is constantly replaced with the new and fresh.

I am grateful for life’s flowing energy.

I live in the ever-joyous now. My life is a joy. I am thankful for my joy.

I accept life and I am always safe . I trust the world. I know the universe has my back.

I accept my own power. My power comes from the greater, infinite source. I am grateful for my greatness.

I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. I allow peace into my life.

Beautiful harmony is within me and all around me.

Wherever I am, I am always at home. I am safe, secure and welcomed everywhere.

I am completely open to life and to joy. I am grateful for life’s many joys and beauties.

I am deeply centered and at peace with life. I know it is safe for me to be joyous and to be myself.

I am love. I choose to love and approve of myself. I am love.

I am loved and nourished. I easily receive the love and care from those around me.

I let joy into my life. Joy is my birthright.

I am grateful for all the love in my life.

I am strong and capable. I love the fact I can do anything I set my mind to.

In my world, I am the only authority. I know what’s good for me and I listen to myself constantly.

I always easily communicate my needs. It’s no big deal to ask for what I want.

I am surrounded by love. I am always protected.

Loved ones who passed away are always with me. I am surrounded by their love.

I enjoy having new experiences, and taking new directions. I love growing and experimenting.

I embrace change lovingly. The universe constantly evolves and so do I.

I choose to see my self-worth. I love and approve of myself more than I ever did before. I love and approve of myself right now.

I love and accept myself at every age. Each moment in life is perfect.

My outer appearance reflects my inner joy and love.

I have let go of past guilt and shame – I love myself just the way I am, with all of my experiences.

I love myself. I am kind and gentle with myself.

I hold myself like a newborn baby child. I love myself endlessly.

I lovingly forgive and release the past. I live in the moment, right now.

I lovingly take care of my body, my mind, and my spirit.

I easily make the right decisions. I trust my gut feeling.

I am always flexible. I can always change my mind if I so wish.

I have moved beyond old limitations and allow myself to express myself freely and creatively.

I allow my sexuality to flow and express with ease and with joy. I am protected. I am safe.

I embrace my sexual nature. I love my body. I approve of my thoughts, wishes and preferences.

I love my body, and allow others to love my body as well.

I accept with love both my feminine and masculine sides. I love who I am, fully.

I easily release, relax and let go. Life is safe. All is well.

I relax into the flow of life and let life provide me with all that I need. Life is so good to me.

I am blessed to be a witness.

Joyous new ideas are circulating freely in me. I am grateful for my creativity.

My body have let go of past hurts, choosing to love all that is. I love my body for teaching me how to forgive.

The child I was is wanted and welcomed in my life today. I deeply love myself, now and forever.

I now choose to experience the sweetness of today. I rejoice in this moment right now.

I am a calm person, serenity is my natural state.

I’m totally loved, I am being admired and appreciated just for who I am.

I always have plenty of time for what is important to me. For me, time is abundant.

Each night I let go with love of today’s events. I am grateful for having lived another day.

No matter what I do, no matter how I supposedly fail, I still love myself fully. Unconditionally. Wholly. I love myself right now.

Today I choose to love myself more than I did yesterday.

I am grateful in this very moment. I count my blessings.

My own affirmation:

I speak up for myself freely and easily. I am always safe. It’s safe for me to express myself.

My own affirmation:

I’m so happy that I have claimed my power. I love how powerful I am.

My own affirmation:

It is my birthright to live fully and freely. I love myself wholeheartedly.

My own affirmation:

I am worth loving. I love myself so much.

My own affirmation:

All is well.

The End

The Beginning



I would like to express my appreciation to all the botanical artists of whom work we shared in this book. All images used were labeled for reuse. If you wish for your name to be included in future editions, please let us know, as we value your art. Most art, to the best of our knowledge, was found in botanical books of over 100 years old. Please notify us if you found a copyrighted image.

I would like to express my gratitude to the many people who saw me through this book; to all those who provided support, talked things over, read, wrote, offered comments, allowed me to quote their remarks and assisted in the editing, proofreading and design. Tania von-Ljeshk for the editing and the support; Doug Ellis Photography for making me look good (; Slava “Inkjet” Noh for the cover design; Susan Leibtag for the encouragement; Marie-Noëlle Bélanger-Lévesque for the support. This book could have not come to life without you.

I would like to thank my parents, Betty and Isaac, for their love and constant encouragement over the years. This book is a tribute to the education you have given me.

I would like to thank my family: Steve, for believing in me; Romi for your love; Yoav, for your praise; Moria, for your wisdom; Elinoy, for your encouragement; Yanush, for your brotherhood in all times; Ilana and Shlomo Harel who were like second parents to me; Rachel and Michael Cherkis and the whole loving Cherkis family. Tal, Shirya and Moshe Bar-Ness; Samantha Silverman and Cyndi Silverman – I am blessed to call you all family.

I would like to thank my teachers: Geoffrey and Lilian Tindyebwa for countless of hours of listening and support; Peter and Alison Gardner for believing in me and encouraging me along the way. Louise Guenther for whispering courage to my ear. To all of those who left their mark of love on my soul: Edna Ziv-Av, Rachel Abramovitch, Rina Baruch, Cynthia Mackenzie, Daniela Kraemer; Sherry and Bryan Crowther, Gita Baikovitz, Michal Pinkwasser, Shifra Milshtein, and Arthur Kogan.

I would like to thank my mentors: Jack Canfield, for showing me a new kind of manhood; Shuli Ziv, for always telling the truth; Carol Kline, for your unconditional love; Ilan Hasson for bringing light in dark times; Avi Ben-Simhon for believing in me early on; Dudu Gerstein for encouraging me along the way with a knowing smile; Uvik Pundak, for always being there for me. To all of the inspiring figures in my life: Dr. Deb Sandella, Dr. Khursheed Sethna, Dr. Holly King, Alissa Bickar, Bryan Mannion, Gloria Belendez Ramirez, Lotte Vesterli, Ather Alibahi, Rina Hafiz and Amy Cady

I would like to thank my heroes inspiring me from afar: Iyanla Vanzant for finding peace from broken pieces; Oprah Winfrey for always sharing what you know for sure; Joel Osteen for the inspiration; Les Brown for shooting for the moon; T. D. Jakes for showing perseverance; Elizabeth Gilbert for never ceasing; Glennon Doyle Melton for being a true warrior; Lizzie Velásquez for your beauty; Nick Vujicic for your devotion; Tyler Oakley for your authenticity; Sidney Poitier for teaching me to say ‘no’; Neil Strauss for constantly seeking the Truth; and Whitney Thore for standing against shaming and also for doing it whichever way (;

To my inspiring peace warriors: Jean and Dr. Reed Holmes for adopting me into your nest while I was still a little chick; Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe for the great inspiration and for bringing sunlight into my life!; Ian Knowles for teaching me how to walk my talk; Andrea Kross and the Kross family; Sarah Stooß and the Stooß family; Dina and Oded Gilad; Debbie Rimon Ansbacher; Lee Rimon and Yitshak De Lange, Riman Barakat, Cara Bereck, Michelle Gordon, Atheer Elobadi, Karym Barhum, Tom and Hind, Max Budovitch, Micah Hendler, Eliyahu Mcclean, Mark Gopin, Amer and Asmaa Merza, Tarek Kandakji, Adi Yekutieli, Adaya Utnik, Alisa Rubin Peled, Peter Berkowitz, Elliot Jager, Chaya Esther Pomeranz, David Keller, Anita Haviv-Horiner, Oded Rose, Idrees Mawassi, Dalia Bassa, Rutie Atzmon, Ronny Edry, Anat Marnin, Muhammad Elbou, Dana Wegman, Omer Golan, Vardi Kahana, Rakefet Enoch, Avi Deul, Robi Damelin, Khalil Bader, Eyal Naveh, Uri Ayalon, Yael Ben-Horin Naot, Yosef Avi Yair Engel, Noa Karmon, Sivan Shani and Anchinalo Salomon and all the members of the President Young Leaders’ Forum – you inspire me!

To all of my Pearson friends and UWC friends – I feel honored to call you my family.

To all of my Esperanto family – to mia E-o familio! Mi amas vin!

To my friends: Sharona Kramer and the Kramer family, Daniel Prag and the Prag family, Hila Bakman and the Bakman family, Netta Granit-Ohayon and the Granit family, Edna Zamir, Hani Oren June Moore, Judy Martorelli, Salah Assanoussi, Mimi Green, Divya Lalchandani, Tara Sirianni, Michelle Tessaro, Julia Darmon Abikzer, Pat Newman, Aleta and Faith Kelly, Ileana and Andrea Tarkan, Sari Cortes, Vanessa VandeNes-Parrish, Lisa Purcell-Rorick, Michael Mann, Jennifer Zorrilla, Yinon Tsarum, Judith and Stephan Beiner, Clifton McCracken, Bobbi and Yaki Vendriger, Gaby and Dr. Jacob Reiss, Abigail and Dan Chill, Ileana Bejarano, Saba Misaghian, Jana Morehouse, Carmen Braden, Amanda Leigh, Samuel Thrope, Amir Djalovski, Dvir Pariente, Chen Arad, Natan Voitenkov, Niki Kotsenko, Itai Froumin, Gadi BenMark, Uri Shafir, Kay Wilson, Daniel Beaudoin, Your constant encouragement is water to my inner garden. Thank you!

Last and not least: I beg forgiveness of all those who have been with me over the course of the years and whose names I have failed to mention.

Above all I want to thank my wife, Hallel, who supported and encouraged me in this magical journey. I love you!

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by the author:


“I hate Arabs!” I thought to myself.

Of course. Who wouldn’t? Because of these “Arabs” I am crammed here, into this small room, forced to wear this stinky rubber-smelling scary black gas mask. My older sister, who is like a mother to me, seems anxious and terrified. Even my older brother seems distressed. My two young sisters are crying. My mother is trying to console my baby sister, but to no avail. My father is nervously playing with the radio, wanting to make sure that we are on the “Silent Wave” radio station. I was told that if we are on the Silent Wave station we will hear where the missiles landed and who are the casualties. That is, if we are lucky enough to be those reported to, rather than those reported about.

I am five years old.


This is how Jonathan Kis-Lev describes the first time he realized who “Arabs” were. From there to becoming a peace activists was “quite a journey”. The author brings a very frank, genuine and authentic voice, representing a new generation of peacemakers in the Middle East.

Success Secrets from
my jewish upbringing

6 years old. Lighting the Hanukkah candles. “We should be light unto the nations.”

13 years old. Getting ready for my Bar Mitzvah ceremony. My grandpa: “If you screw up, don’t stop. Just keep going. Nobody will notice!”

15 years old. Leading the Passover meal. “And this is why we must all harbor feelings of gratitude. Guys, who can tell me what is gratitude for them?”


In his deeply revealing memoir, Jonathan Kis-Lev takes us into his unique upbringing. “I was taught to have Chutzpah from an early age,” he explains, “it helped me tremendously.”

Yet this is not a personal memoir, but rather a collective one: a memoir of the Jewish People. Covering 3000 years of history, Jonathan carefully extracts key “success secrets” from Abraham’s courage to follow his calling, through women leadership under Queen Salome Alexandra, all the way to the establishment of the State of Israel. This is an opportunity to discover how come a small group of people, accounting for less than one percent of the world’s population, receives 20 percent of the world’s Nobel Prizes – and to hear it from the inside.


The author can be reached via e-mail at

[[email protected]

Or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as:


about the author

Jonathan Kis-Lev is an Israeli peace activist, artist and television personality.

Jonathan first appeared on Israeli national television at the age of nine. By age 13 he was playing in Israel’s National Theatre. His acting career included lead roles in TV series, dramas, short films, dubbing and narrating.

In his twenties Jonathan shifted his attention from the dramatic arts to visual arts. He established a name for himself as a promising young artist, and began showing his art in galleries throughout Israel.

By age 25 Jonathan had his paintings showing and selling in galleries in Boca Raton, Florida, Toronto, Montreal and Berlin. His unique “Naïve” style won him recognition and he participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions.

His art projects included shows and installations around the world. Soon Jonathan began sharing and teaching other artists his secrets: what made him succeed in the art scene as well as in the theatre and TV scene. This book, MASTERWORK, is the result of these teachings.

Jonathan lives in Israel’s Galilee, with his wife Hallel and their daughter Sarah. This is his third book.

1 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201310/how-negative-is-your-mental-chatter

2 See Nathan Spreng’s studies. Spreng is a neuroscientist at Cornell University

3 http://www.drjoedispenza.com/index.php?page_id=creating_greatest_ideal

4 Maslow, A (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper. P. 91 


Better Thoughts Better Life

“Better Thoughts Better Life is a much-needed guidebook to understanding the relationship between your mind and your wellbeing. It is a treasure chest of insights.” — Jo Levi, The Reviewer “Jonathan Kis-Lev’s expansive, far-reaching, and unrestrained perspective guides the reader with an actionable plan that will immediately help you alleviate much of the unneeded stress in your life.” — Jane Silva, author and columnist “This book is truly a treasure, combining elements of modern brain chemistry with intuitional insight and affirmations that can help to rewire and restore brain function. I highly recommend it!” — John Vitals, Ph.D “Better Thoughts Better Life offers a wonderful, integrative approach for anyone who wants to use the power of their spirit to better their brain.” — Nadia Joels, bookreview.com “Kis-Lev lays out a road map in a profoundly powerful and simple way on how to heal your life: first with your mind, and subsequently in all areas of your life. Anyone who takes the journey in reading this marvelous book and applies the practical day to day practice of affirmations will surely transform themselves and their life.” — Tova Hansel, author and speaker “Better Thoughts Better Life is the manual for anyone who’s on the path to wholeness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.” — John Vista “This book is witty and easy to read and understand. I encourage you to allow Jonathan Kis-Lev to be your partner in your quest for falling in love with yourself.” — Laila Hoja “This book focuses on alternative healing via affirmations. It offers a form of therapy through cognitive behavioral repetition, resulting in greater self-love and self-acceptance. It also covers the brain and thought patterns, teaching you how to better train your mind to serve you, rather than control you. I have many other books on this subject, but I purchased this because it is unique, and filled with valuable intuitive and useful statements to ponder. Loved it!” — Joan Kelvin “This book offers an exploration of the mind-body-spirit connection. It focuses on the most common negative thoughts and offers instead powerful positive thoughts to replace them with. The author explains how trying to fight the negative thoughts is a futile battle, and instead directs us to hold on to new thoughts again and again, in ways that create new neural pathways in our brain. Powerful and useful.” — Daniel J. Okla “Above all, more than anything, I liked the design of the book. Each affirmation is given an illustration, taken from the world of botanical art. These illustrations are magnificent. I can look at them for hours. This, in combination with powerful sentences, is one of the best gifts I ever bought myself.” — Katie Shvoljann “What gives this book a unique edge, especially for those well familiar with this type of affirmation work, is the conversational tone; Jonathan talks with the reader naturally and at times wittily as he relates his own personal journey. He recommends to post some of the affirmations around your house, which I did, and I am excited to each time “bump” into yet another wonderful affirmation, whether on the fridge or by my bed. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” — Alison Kahn “I appreciate the wisdom, insight, and depth of this book and the author. I believe every word written in it. Get this book!!!” — Aven K. Lint “Jonathan has helped me to see my life from a whole new perspective - one of love, as opposed to my old self-judgment. I immediately felt a "lift" within me from the very beginning of this book.” — Joseline Hanks

  • Author: Jonathan Kis-Lev
  • Published: 2016-11-07 10:52:09
  • Words: 18305
Better Thoughts Better Life Better Thoughts Better Life