Perhaps it is a “sign of the times” but people nowadays appear to be experiencing some kind of existential angst, in spite of obvious advances in our way and quality of life. In chasing “the good life”, many sacrifice relationships, health, and sanity, but at the end of the day, we still find ourselves with lives and work that bring us little fulfillment.

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Inspired by the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophy and traditional village values, and backed by years of research, Alex Pattakos’ and Elaine Dundon’s The OPA! Way: Finding Joy and Meaning in Everyday Life and Work provides a breakthrough approach and practical tools to renew our outlook and rejuvenate our life.

… over the years, especially early on, we even had Greeks telling us “don’t use the word ‘OPA!’” The reason some of the Greeks didn’t like it when we first started using the word “OPA!” was because … they were afraid that the word “OPA!” sounded too much as if Greeks didn’t do anything but dance, drink…,explains Alex Pattakos.

Yet, “OPA!” is much more than simply a word, per se. From its ancient roots, the Greek word “OPA!” can be viewed as two sides of the same coin: One side (ΌΠΑ) refers to the uplifting, inspiring, enthusiastic expression that is often heard during some kind of celebration (a manifestation of “kefi” or spirit).  The other side (ΏΠΑ) refers to the more serious human need to remain alert, warn ourselves and others, look out for any possible “danger” in one’s path, and be more awake to life’s potential, unlimited opportunities.  Like the holistic concept of the yin and yang in Chinese philosophy, both sides of the Greek concept of “OPA!” are interdependent and are needed to achieve our highest potential.

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Greek philosophers, such as Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, talked about the human quest for meaning and living the “good life.”  The authors have built upon the ancient roots of this meaning-focused concept, along with their intimate and broad-based experience in Greece both before and during the country’s crisis, to form an acronym “OPA!”: “connect meaningfully with Others”; “engage with deeper Purpose”; “embrace life with Attitude.”  Others, Purpose, Attitude! O+P+A = “OPA!”

Pattakos and Dundon evade any promotion of superficial (e.g. New Age) optimism, instead encouraging a brave exploration of discovering personal meaning in life. Yet, personal meaning is discussed within the context of relationships to others and to community. The authors focus on the interconnectedness of life in the traditional Greek village, exploring the notions of hospitality, honor, knowing oneself, ‘arête’, ‘evdemonia’, fullness of life, ‘aphobia’, wellbeing, and other critical aspects of life.   Knowing oneself, knowing others, and knowing one’s world are all basic elements needed to engage authentically with the deeper purpose of our personal and work lives, and ultimately, to live a better, more fulfilled, and more meaningful life.  

The idea is to get this OPA! message out in the world. This is such an inspirational, message of meaning, based on the philosophical influence of Ancient Greece, the wisdom of the traditional villagers, the contemporary Greek culture, and importantly, the resilience of the Greek people when faced with crisis”. Together, the ancient philosophers and the village elders teach how to change one’s own actions and perspectives to discover that inner voice demanding to be heard to live a more meaningful purposeful life.

 The OPA! Way is the winner of numerous awards, including the Beverly Hills Book Awards; it was named finalist for several other awards, including 2014 USA Best Book Awards (Self-Help: Motivational) and has been honored as an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2016 International Book Awards (Self-Help: Motivational). The Greek edition of The OPA! Way (“ΗΟΠΑ! ΜΕΘΟΔΟΣ”) was published by Hestia Publishers & Booksellers in June 2.

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Alex Pattakos, is the founder of the Global Meaning Institute, and author of the international best-selling book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work, inspired by his mentor, the world-renown psychiatrist, Dr. Viktor Frankl. Pattakos is a former therapist and mental health administrator, political campaign organizer, and full-time professor of public and business administration.

Elaine Dundon is the author of an international best-selling book, The Seeds of Innovation. She’s as advised some of the world’s leading organizations on how to inspire employee-driven innovation as well as build a new model of leadership and organizational culture based on innovation and meaning.