Man’s Search For Meaning by Cody Deal

I was an average kid on so many levels. Overweight and obsessively body-conscious. My teeth looked like I starred in a horror film. I was born crossed-eyed and still to this day can’t literally read out of my left eye. We were poor. My point is, if an average, overweight, single-parent poor kid from a town of 1,000 in Kansas has an ability to tap into this multi-potential, than anyone has that ability. It’s yours to wield.


This blog is titled exactly as the 1946 book by Viktor Frankl “chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome,” for a reason. (Wikipedia)

This idea of the mind; the ability to harness it and use it to reach our greatest potential, is truly what my life’s work is about. If there is one thing my physical body represents, it’s the power of the mind. We all have an ability – regardless of birthplace, regardless of social hierarchy – to tap into a force that allows us to manifest outcomes in our life. This power is given freely. We wield it whether we are conscious or unconscious of it. Most of us aren’t conscious of it, so we use our gift to create to create a poisonous lifestyle. We blame life or others, when really, it is ourselves. Those who are conscious use it for their potential, rather than using their thoughts and imagination to create unconscious, poor and chaotic outcomes. They stay in this cycle because they don’t realize they have the power to stop it because they have removed any level of personal responsibility for their life. In short, if you feel like it’s not you, and it’s life to blame, you’ll never change your life. Ever.

Religious people experience miracles all the time because they have the belief to tap into this power, simply because they believe it exists. Some call it the Holy Spirit, God, Allah, Yewah, or Kami. There are many words that point to this source of power that you are directly connected to. Those who don’t believe in it simply do not have its might. It all sounds supernatural, doesn’t it? But, why are superhero movies to tv shows so utterly popular!? Maybe it’s because, deep down, there is much more to life than what meets our simple five human senses! Just because we don’t see it, taste it, smell it, or touch it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We don’t see gravity; we don’t see air, but we know they exist because we have science to back it. But science is catching up to acknowledging we are much more than our bodies and we literally have an ability to effect reality.

Let’s make this simple and factual, and not based on philosophies or science. Have you ever had a deep burning desire to want something in your life? Maybe it’s a possession, maybe it’s an accomplishment, or maybe it’s a skill you wanted to acquire. Deep down, whatever this thing was for you, it embodied hope, desire, want, and passion. When you saw this in your imagination, you literally felt as if your were already it. It was as if you had already accomplished it, obtained it, or learned it. You saw yourself on a grand stage, or in a grand moment, and you literally created something from nothing. No matter what came your way during this time, your vision (your imagination) was in full force and nothing or no one could trip you up. A hurdle was simply a road block you had to navigate to get around, and you did. You didn’t curl up in the fetal position and start sucking your thumb because you failed once (like most of us do when we don’t have a strong enough vision(/imagination). I believe we are most like God when we use our imagination because we create something from nothing.

I have seen this in my lifetime for several major events in my life, but, for simplicity, I’lll keep it to one example. I was an A, B, and C student all through elementary, but at the start of 7th-grade I decided I would get all A’s from that point on. This was a decision only. I didn’t go out and get more tutoring, or have my mom help me. I just decided that I wanted to be smart. Logically, this makes no sense, since most people believe intelligence is fixed.

Through that one decision of thinking my mind was greater than what I was born with, I manifested a dream outcome of becoming the Valedictorian of my high school, get all A’s from 7th-grade – 12th grade. The Valedictorian to me was the Presidency of the United States of America. It was an unobtainable and unbelievable dream, but my vivid imagination didn’t judge the reality of it; it just had so much joy seeing myself delivering the valedictory speech in front of the whole town. It was the boost I needed to show I was important since I lacked a father-figure in my life, having dad after dad leave or go. I had never seen a grander stage or moment than when the valedictorian would deliver his speech. We are talking about a tiny town of 1,000 people in Kansas; this was not a TED talk that would be seen by millions of people. It was maybe 300-400 people crammed into the high school gymnasium. But, it truly was the equivalent of winning an Oscar.

I was an average kid on so many levels. Overweight and obsessively body-conscious. My teeth looked like I starred in a horror film. I was born crossed-eyed and still to this day can’t literally read out of my left eye. We were poor. My point is, if an average, overweight, single-parent poor kid from a town in Kansas has an ability to tap into this multi-potential, than anyone has that ability. It’s yours to wield.

Whether we realize it or not, we have held ourselves back from so much opportunity. It is my mission to help you see that, and simply start correcting it so that you can lead a much more fulfilled and (more importantly) connected (and, in turn, meaningful) life! For the more you feel on purpose, the more you will educate, encourage, and be there for others who are finding their way.

How does this correlate back to my physicality? I am socially incredibly defined by my physical stature of 6 feet 4 inches and 255 pounds encased in a muscular frame. Being physically fit isn’t just a social accolade. It is much bigger than that, but most use their physicality as a badge of narcissism. There is only utmost respect for anyone who truly values who they are physically and mentally; there is absolutely nothing wrong with owning everything you are physically; to bask and bathe in your hard work and accomplishment. Even a person who is 80 pounds over weight suddenly drops 20 pounds is going to gawk at him/herself in the mirror. This is natural and normal and not to be frowned upon.

The problem with most fit muscular men and women is they believe they are actually better than other people. It stems from insecurity and fear, using their physical body to mask their weaknesses, and many succeed, but in the long wrong, do not, simply because they treat other people with cruel and rude behaviors. Anyone who is an asshole has just been terribly wounded through an accumulation of life experiences, and instead of taking the time to dissect this, they want to cause other people the same pain they feel. If you see an asshole, it’s not your job to heal them, but don’t match their asshole energy. Don’t entertain their shenanigans. Take the high road. You can handle the insults; don’t be weak and insult back.

A powerful physical body should be a direct reflection of a powerful spiritual body (or mind), equipped with sharpness, attentiveness, and the best biological framework and makeup life can give you, because if you are ill, overweight, or not hydrated, you will not be on the same vibrational frequency of attracting things into your life, or being the best version of yourself to other people. You won’t have the motivation or inertia to do what is required every day.

I sometimes dislike exercises, but this is an easy one. Go back to remembering that time you thought about wanting to become something, obtain something, or learn something, and in your mind, you must remember that you were fully it already: You knew what it felt like, tasted like, and smelt like. You became it.

Next, think about what you did after that. You probably had a huge amount of energy, right? You felt unstoppable? You probably even researched and took instant action steps towards your goal. This is what we do when we feel inspired (in-spirited). This is the vibrational frequency I’m talking about. This is where you are running on all 12 cylinders, and if you are not sleeping, eating right, or not exercising, you’ll be less likely to hit these places.

Please don’t think I’m superhuman and I’m always running on 12 cylinders. But when you make it your purpose and mission and identity with being connected to ‘the life force’ haha, you really do allow much of life’s little travesties to roll off your back. You are more in control of your life because of your faith. Faith has nothing to do with religion. Religion is about faith, but faith is not about religion; please don’t think you have to subscribe to some system. Only if you want to and it resonates with who you are right now. With faith, you have a whole different perspective on life, and it literally changes everything about it and you.

It is time that we all become proud of both our physical and spiritual bodies simultaneously. I would say 99% of of us hide from one or the other area. 

When I hypothesis 99% of all people, I am not saying all spiritual people are fat nor am I saying all physically fit people are shallow. Common social misconstrued thoughts are that if we’re too physically fit, we are too vain, and if you we are religious, our physical bodies have nothing to do with our spiritual bodies. But that makes absolutely zero sense! Why can’t we be in our utmost peak-physical shape and our utmost peak-spiritual shape!? Doesn’t it make sense that they go together!?

Just because my biological dad can’t read or write very well doesn’t make him somehow “unintelligent.” He just never learned, and has been conditioned to believe he can’t. How many of us have been conditioned that we can’t star in a movie, learn a foreign language, become a great singer, or play in the NFL? But I am not talking about going after extremes like I do. I’m just built that way. I’m talking about making little, but powerful improvements that will change the course of your future. If you want to create a mega-outcome, then do it! Nothing is stopping you!

If this sounds all foreign to you, or not realistic, or a little ‘hokey pokey,” you are not doomed, my friend. All of us have oftentimes made poor decision after poor decision that has compiled to make us believe we are failures, miserable, stuck, and never going to be able to pull ourselves out. But you are simply stuck in a rut.

Life is interesting. It plays no favorites and only gives you want you want. You can either believe in a power you can tap into, and use control and use it to your benefit, or you can create a self-imposed hell simply through your ignorance. We aren’t born evolved. We evolve through knowledge and understanding. If you haven’t taken a sincere interest in your own well-being, and your own growth, you my friend, are going to life in a world that is very unharmonious, and that can be catastrophic. You can pretty  much (in a nutshell) sum up your life upon what you on-goingly contemplate. Are you thinking about how bad life has been; are you thinking about how weak you are? Do you know where all of that stems from?


Fear is a powerful force in most of our lives. I’ll give you a personal story to help you maybe discover something of your own. When one of my step dads almost killed my mother by strangling her to death next to me at 6-years-old, I was helpless to stop him.

My step dad was truly an amazing man who I had a hard time understanding why he wasn’t my real dad. My mom quickly re-married to Tom, and Tom became “Dad,” and our real biological father, Rodney, became, “Real Dad.” He was in the picture every few months or so up until I was 12. We’d go visit “real dad” 3 or 4 times a year.

But Tom was my real father. He allowed me to hug him, be held by him, and these are the only memories I have as a child of being comforted by a father-figure in this regard. I remember reaching up and touching his whiskers from the back seat while he was driving one time. It really is the only real memory I have left of having a loving father. I do remember the love he had for all three of us (my two brothers and I). But sometimes when Tom got drunk, he became a different person. And it was this night that made him go away forever.

I had fallen asleep early downstairs as we stayed the night with a friend of my parents, while mom and Tom went out for the night. I awoke very late hearing my mom on the porch. My two brothers were asleep upstairs. The front door was open, but the screen door was closed. I walked up to the screen door hearing my mom and Tom arguing. A light lit up both their faces and my mom’s back was to me. I saw her beautiful hair. Tom was very loud, but I didn’t understand why, and suddenly he slapped my mother across the face. I gasped. It spun her around to me and I saw my mom’s eyes. They locked in on me with complete calm, and said, “Go get your brothers.” I thought she would whimper or cry, but somehow her strength gave me strength, and I ran upstairs as fast as my little legs could carry me. I yelled, “Get up, get up, get up! We have to go!”

My brothers were confused but there wasn’t time for explanation and they ran downstairs with me. By this time Tom, mom, and the other couple were off the porch and in the front lawn. My parents friends were trying to get Tom off of mom. Mom yelled for us to run to the car, and then half way there, she yells for us to run back inside. So we turn around and almost immediately she screams to get to the car. I felt so out of control.

Finally we get to the car and I hop in the front seat. At this time in the early 90’s, our car was a bench seat upfront, so their was no console in the middle; you could actually sit three people up there (well, maybe two kids) with a fold-down arm rest.

Mom finally made it to the car and she hopped in, but Tom was pulling at her trying to yank her out of the car while Mark, my parent’s friend, tried hitting him off of her. But Tom somehow managed to jump on top of mom as she laid on her back in the front seat. Now Tom’s hand is vehemently wrapped around her throat, and my mom’s blonde hair touched my thigh. I’m on my knees looking down into her eyes, and then I yell at Tom to get off of her!!!!!!!! I never thought I could actually use my hands to hit him or gouge his eyes; I felt so weak and literally just stared and watched as my mom’s life was being taken from her.

I remember this like it was yesterday. My mom tried hitting him in the arm, tried pulling his hand off her throat; she even tried clawing his face, but nothing worked. She stopped flailing… and she made eye contact with me. Her eyes were watery and glowing, but there wasn’t fear in her eyes. I saw happiness for me. I saw a, “I will always be here for you.”

Finally, and no joke, at the last second, Mark hits Tom in the back of the head and pulls him out of the car by his feet. My mother collects herself shuts the door, and we reverse out of there. The cops show up by the time Tom gets to our house and they arrest him through a loud fight, while my mom, two brothers, and I are curled up next to each other in bed fearing the worst.

I ask myself, why, after 25 years or so, I still remember this event like it was yesterday. But, not only that, but why do I have so much ‘real’ emotion from it even to this day.

I understand we all most grieve and we have all endured great suffering, but I don’t consider my tears writing this as positive. Of course I love my mother with all my heart, and wonder how dramatically my life would have been different if a few more seconds would have gone by that night, and my mom’s life was ripped away from her, and my step-father was sentenced to life in prison.

I have used fear to draw lines in the sand to not consume alcohol or drugs. And after 31.5 years, I hold this rule true. I never want to alter my state to possibly lose control. Before acting on something, I always way the pro’s verse the con’s of a decision. I have always been this way. From 10-18 years-old I stopped cussing… completely. I simply weighed the pro’s and con’s at the time, and decided that a clean mouth was more respectable to my family, community, and peers. 

Now, did I deserve to witness my “perfect” step-father almost killing my mom? I think that is a very unfair question because I have learned something… From great suffering comes great awareness and great outcomes.

Because of my lack of a father figure, I became the world’s biggest over-achiever. I excelled in both sports and academics, and was pretty much the President of every student-body organization in my high school (which was against the rules, but I somehow did it anyway). I reached milestones in little Sedan I never dreamt were possible.

Nearly 10 fully years ago, I moved from the protective borders of Kansas to try to make something bigger of myself. My 20’s were filled with missteps, misguidance, and losing my faith in myself because “out here” was so much bigger and everyone was talented. In Hollywood, you were competing with everyone in the world, and it took me a very, very, very, very long time to realize how fortunate I was to be from where I was, and the fostered environment I grew up in, rather than using the lack of money and status, and being from Bumfuck, Nowhere as powerful insecurities. I realized these blessings are truly my greatest strengths. It’s is why, as I get older, I am okay with the outcome of not drinking or doing drugs. The con’s outweigh the pro’s. I am happy Tom did what he did. I am happy our biological father didn’t’ want anything to do with us in our youth. And I am happy for all the hard tragedies that have come into my life, because although they break you, they re-build you stronger. Every great travesty has truly, in the end, empowered me to greater heights.

My point is, life has set itself up perfectly for you. Our lives can be astonishingly different if we take the opportunity to recognize that we have a bigger ability to shape reality than we can imagine, and these horrible events will inevitably indemnify us.

My whole point sharing splices of my life is to identity that we all can become afraid, we all can become lost, but it does nothing to stay there. I have learned that fear is not real. Past pain is not real. It exists only in the mind. And trepidation (being afraid of something in the future) is simply having your focus out of whack. You must believe that it all is working to your benefit, and the sooner you can comprehend that, the sooner your mind will come back into balance.

This is why faith in something bigger than you is so important. Even if you think it’s “The Force,” from STAR WARS or “The Speed Force,” from THE FLASH. There is something protecting you, and helping you along your path. It is so quintessential to my existence to know this. 

We all have had a handful of very painful life experiences, but deep down, they are no longer here. But we carry the weight until our deaths. I am sure people who have fought in a war, seen a loved one murdered, or anything in between has suffered great tragedy…

Yet, I will never compare suffering, as if one person has endured more than others, as when we are young, even losing a friend from a fight can create monumental suffering. Our feelings are real, yes, but it isn’t strength to have them effect us forever. You have to take the value in it (because there will be great value). You have to forgive the person who did you wrong. You have to fully understand they were suffering, and although it doesn’t make what they did right, you forgave, because you are strong enough to do so.

When I was 18, a man approached me at the local gas station in town just a month before I was to graduate high school. He said, “Your Tom Fish’s boy.” What a last name, right? Thankfully my biological father aka “Real Dad” had a much better surname, LOL. Anyway, Tom hadn’t been my father since I was 6-years-old, but I still beamed at the sound of his name because I loved Tom very much. I had contemplated trying to find him and reach out to him as I wanted to let him know all the things I had done, where I was going to go to college, and to see how he was. The Internet was there, of course, but searching for someone back then was still really hard, as Facebook was just getting started (I didn’t yet have it) and not everyone had an email address, and he wasn’t in any of the phone books.

I didn’t recognize the man, but I replied, “Yes, sir!” He said, “Thought so…” I thought maybe he might no where Tom ended up as I heard he moved out of town years ago. I asked him if he knew where he was these days. He replied, “Last I heard is he shot himself.”

I remember even thinking in that moment, “Why would anyone ever tell an 18-year-old kid that?” But he must have been a straight-shooter for a lack of a better term.

My point is, we all have sad things happen to us that are out of our control. Out of the technically four fathers I had, Tom is the only one I truly, truly loved. To hear he killed himself really put a hole inside my heart. “If only I would have reached out sooner! If only I would have showed him how much I really loved him!” I was filled with regret.

Our imaginations are the single-greatest tool we have to create happy and fulfilled lives. Part of being a child is using ‘make-believe’ to fill in holes and to create wonderful lives. We have an ability to visualize doing and becoming anything want, but how many of us actually use it to such heightened experiences? Our minds can literally change the cells of our bodies, produce and release chemicals, all based on our thoughts. Yet, we live in a society that considers having a mind that incessantly thinks and is consistently cloudy and out of our control is normal.

To tap into this power to create our lives, we have to reignite the use of our imagination. You can use it for anything and everything. But to be at our peak mentally, we must be at our peak physically. My physical body will always be a direction reflection of my internal body. And I hope, as we move forward as a society, we somehow connect these dots, and I think it’s a bit of my purpose here in life to do just that.

Cody Deal