Ten Pieces of Inspiration #156

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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. Thoreau on thinking

“To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was a 19th century American writer and philosopher whose work I deeply respect. He’s onto something here, too. As I wrote about last week, neuroplasticity enables us to actually alter how our mind works based upon our thinking.

2. A short holiday concert by The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree is perhaps best described as a pop choir. I like to turn them up loud and just let the music rush over me.

3. Haruki Murakami on overcoming adversity

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.” – Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer and one of my favorite novelists of all time. His work – and this quote – display a deep understanding of how the events of our life can transform us.

4. Mohamed Ali on the link between unemployment and terrorism

I think the same idea applies to crime and negligent activities and many other things in life. The vast majority of people want to be productive and when those people have many of the possibilities of productivity swept away from them, they feel angry and find new channels for their energy. Often, those channels aren’t productive.

5. Cus D’Amato on heroism and fear

“What’s the difference between a hero and a coward? There ain’t no difference. Inside they’re both exactly alike. Both scared of dying or getting hurt. But it’s what the hero does that makes him a hero. What the other guy doesn’t do that makes him a coward.” – “Cus” D’Amato

D’Amato was a legendary boxing trainer who discovered Floyd Patterson and Mike Tyson, among others. It takes guts to stand up and face intense challenge. Those that are willing to try and fail earn my respect.

6. Lao Tzu on letting go

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and the author of the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching is filled with many powerful personal insights like this quote.

7. Peter, Paul, and Mary – 500 Miles

Peter, Paul, and Mary always make me think of my father, who used to listen to their old records all the time.

8. Longfellow on seeing others differently

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow was an amazing American poet with many, many great works to his name. I am often amazed how the words of someone who lived centuries ago can transform how I see someone when I’m walking down the street today.

9. David Steindl-Rast on the link between gratitude and happiness

I find that spending a bit of time each evening reflecting on the things that I’m grateful for in my life tends to make me feel a lot better about my own life’s struggles.

10. Arthur C. Clarke on the value of lifelong education

“We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 – and half the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20?” – Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke was one of the great science fiction writers of the 20th century. He makes a profound point here about spending your whole life learning, which is why I try to read as much deep nonfiction as I possibly can.

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