How to Find Your True Path
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11/15/10 | Dianne Aigaki | 6 Comments

Dianne Aigaki 200
Dianne Aigaki, Writer/Social Activist/Artist/Philanthropist

From the time I was a little girl I was driven to help others. My three never-married aunts, who lived together their whole lives, guided and influenced me.  They were women who traveled the planet, built great friendships and had successful careers.  My aunts came out of the Great Depression with the attitude that you pull together as family, and with this united strength, you have love and resources to share with others. They taught me that one person can make a difference—and that person could be me.
In the beginning, my community was my elementary school and my role was defending the child being bullied at school or helping the kid who couldn’t read.  As I got older, my world expanded, and I became involved in advocating for universal health care and fund-raising for environmental causes. As a young woman, I dropped out of college and traveled to South America to live; I came back to the States a year later, driven to finish my education, so I could help people poorer and less fortunate than myself.  By the time I was an adult, I seemed to be unable to take a vacation, or make a painting without immediately projecting forward how I could use this initially self-motivated activity to help others.
Now, I live between three countries (India, Mexico and Tibet), working as a consultant to nonprofit organizations worldwide, helping them make their dream into a solid plan of action; documenting the rare and endangered flora of the Tibetan Plateau as a scientific botanical illustrator; writing a novel, and leading tours to Tibet as part of an ecotourism partnership with Tibetan villagers and nomads that sends 100 poor children to school, supports political prisoners, and provides health care for frail, elderly Tibetans.
Every one of these aspects of my life is rooted in the same values my aunts passed on to me when I was five—help others and have great adventures while doing it. I start and end every day with a statement of intention that reminds and refocuses me on what is truly important: “May everything that I think, do and say today help me end suffering in others.”  Every evening, I sift through my day to see if I have stayed true to my values and that intention.
My Life Strategies:

  1. Take time to reflect on and identify your core values. Define your core values and never do anything that does not reflect them. That way you are always acting with integrity, and even if you don't achieve your specific expectation of success, your life will be a true reflection of who you are.
  2. Know what makes you special and act on it. There is no one just like you and you are here for a unique reason.  Consider what that may be and act on it. Give yourself credit for the parts of your personality and approach to life that make you special.  Soar with your strengths.  Do the activities in life that come easiest to you, and seek help and support for those things that are not so easy.
  3. Create a Life List that magnetizes your goals to you. Write down the things in your life you would love to do (not what you think you should do—although they may be one and the same), that would make you feel exhilarated and optimistic about your future.  Write the list from your heart and become the person who can live it.
  4. Seek to inspire and mentor others. Become a person who can inspire others. Believe that living a life of integrity is an inspiration to those struggling to define themselves. Take the time to respond to a child, teen or adult who is looking for direction.  Consider that this time spent is one of your most valuable gifts —to yourself and to society.
  5. Believe that you can make a difference in the world. The world is made up of people who have accomplished great things through sheer force of will, passion and focused direction.  Once you have determined what you can do to make a difference, don’t give up.  Keep looking for people who share your vision and can become partners with you in making a difference.



Dianne Aigaki's documentation of endangered flora from the Tibetan Plateau
Dianne Aigaki's documentation of endangered flora from the Tibetan Plateau

Dianne Aigaki is a writer, social activist, artist and philanthropist. Besides being a consultant for nonprofit organizations and training over 4,000 people worldwide, she has been an artist for 35 years, working in acrylics, watercolor, stained glass, print making, and cyanotypes, a technique used in the 1700s to document rare plants. As a woman explorer, she is a member of both Wings World Quest and the Society of Women Geographers, the two premier women’s exploration organizations in the world. Her blog is; her website is

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  • Thank you! Can we see the aunts? Love your daily mission. Wanna B like U!

    Posted by cuwithrain, 26 November 2010.

  • Hola Dianne Aigaki: Thanks for giving us a clear plan for finding and walking our True Path. I've sent on your wisdom to the many solid and faltering altruists I know.

    You are a perpetual light in my house.

    Posted by PWALAH, 23 November 2010.

  • Hi Dianne,

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and values that your aunts passed down! I made sure to feature your post in the My Inspiration Lounge newsletter today to keep the inspiration going!

    Link to newsletter:

    Thank you for all you do!
    Misty Gibbs
    Founder of

    Posted by myinspirationlounge, 16 November 2010.

  • Dianne,
    You continue to go forward with compassion and wisdom, intellect and creativity, like few women I've ever known. Thank you for giving us something to aspire to.

    Posted by lenabartula, 16 November 2010.

  • Hey Di, Congrats on this clear, concise and very helpful sharing of life strategies. You are an inspiration and graceously offer support to friends, family and strangers without blinking. Now if we could just bottle some of that energy..........

    Posted by CatherynB, 15 November 2010.

  • Dianne, What a splendid appearance (meaning the setting, the writing and your life). I too had three maiden aunts who lived together and all I learned from them was to avoid being anything like them. They were NOT inspiring. Sorry not to have seen you in a long time--it does sound like you just go on making your mark with good deeds, which is very impressive. Love and xxx Carol Wheeler

    Posted by carolina1, 15 November 2010.