I’ve always worn rose-colored glasses. When I was younger, people said, “When you grow up, you’ll realize it isn’t really that way.” I’m grateful to know that, actually, it is if you just see it as such.

We now know that optimism is not only contagious, it’s a scientifically valid way of being healthy.

I’m all about clean eating, but there were times when I didn’t allow myself to live that truth because I cared more about what other people would think than about how I would feel. Like when I’d go to a party, I’d eat what they were serving even though it was something I didn’t want to eat. I knew when I was doing it that I was acquiescing, living outside-in rather than inside-out. Every day holds an opportunity to own your truth. I do my best to be present and stand in my truth and not allow things, people and experiences to take me away from what I know to be true…its not always popular but it does bring me peace.

If I could meet anyone and ask him one question, I’d ask American writer Joseph Campbell how we can bring the archetype of the hero into today. I watched Bill Moyers interview him when I was a little kid. He made it look like every human being had a chance and a responsibility to be a hero.

Being awesome is inconvenient. There’s no shortcut or diet. It’s a daily practice of choosing to courageously show up, love yourself and be of service to others—simple, not convenient.

People have lost the art of playing when it comes to food. We put ourselves in silos: the no-carb silo, the paleo silo, whatever. Food has become so utilitarian, so sterile. When the act of eating becomes about ‘you can’t have that,’ and ‘you have to do it like this,’ all of a sudden you’re in a box, and you can’t play anymore.

Dr. James Rouse received his doctorate in naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine. He inspires others through public speaking, personal coaching, mentoring and his books, including his most recent: Think Eat Move Thrive: The Practice for an Awesome Life. He is the founder of and resident expert for Optimum Wellness. Get to know more about Dr. James at drjamesrouse.com.