Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well.
1. Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing
Why do we make the choices we make? If we’re trustworthy decision makers, why do we often second guess our choices? If we’re not trustworthy decision makers, how can we become one?
This short speech made me think a lot this week – and also made me start seeking out her book on the same topic, The Art of Choosing.
2. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
I had to memorize this in high school. The words still stick with me.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
3. Benjamin Franklin on the way to wealth
Frugality alone isn’t enough to become rich. Neither is hard work. You need them both to really succeed.
“The way to wealth depends on just two words, industry and frugality.” – Benjamin Franklin
Whenever I hear some personal finance speaker say that frugality doesn’t work or that all you need is frugality, I scoff. You need both sides of the coin to win.
4. Derek Redmond and his father at the 1992 Summer Olympics
Derek was favored to win a medal in the 400 meters at the 1992 Olympics. Instead, he found something else.
I hope to be this kind of parent.
I know a lot of people who would like a simple and elegant website for themselves when people Google their name. This is pretty much the simplest way I’ve found to make that happen.
You can create a website for yourself, heavily identify it with your name, and it will soon appear at the top of a Google search result for your name. In other words, you can have some real input into what people find out about you (because they will inevitably search).
6. Elise Boulding on the happiness of not having things
Most of the truly happy moments in my life involved no material possessions at all.
“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.” – Elise Boulding
There is so much joy in life that doesn’t revolve around having things or having better things than the guy down the street.
7. Chip Conley on measuring what makes life worthwhile
In the end, it’s really just people and experiences. Stuff really just exists to connect you with people and provide experiences. So, how do you measure that kind of self-actualization?
In other words, what makes your life worthwhile?
8. Children playing chess
Early this week, I tried very hard to get a great picture of my son playing chess. I took a whole bunch of shots, but never found one that captured the element of a young mind at work and of discovery that I wanted.
I took to the internet, though, and found a picture that comes really close. Thanks to hugrakka for the image.
9. Henry David Thoreau on riches and wants
The secret to frugal success isn’t about doing without. It’s about simply not wanting it to begin with.
“We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.” – Henry David Thoreau
It’s not about deprivation. It’s about simply lacking the want.
10. Sing Sing Sing by Louis Prima
Prima’s music has such warmth and happiness that I can’t help but smile when I hear it.