Ten Pieces of Inspiration #22

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. Des Moines Family Music Festival
This past weekend, the five of us went to Every Family Rocks in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a concert of various children’s music acts, accompanied by a wide variety of art projects and similar fun things for families.

Face painting

Both of our children were really into the event, particularly my oldest son (the girl was getting very tired by the end of it). His enthusiasm for the entire event was infectious, particularly when the headlining act took the stage…

2. They Might Be Giants
The show was headlined by They Might Be Giants. An example of a song they played:

My son (who loves the four children’s albums the band has done) and my wife (who loved the band’s earlier music during her teen years) were having an incredible amount of fun. The enthusiasm for music was infectious.

(What was I doing? I was in the back holding one sleeping child and one exhausted and nearly-sleeping child.)

3. Ann Radcliffe on what money can’t buy
Our opinions are formed without money. Our love occurs without money. The people we look up to have nothing to do with money.

Poverty cannot deprive us of many consolations. It cannot rob us of the affection we have for each other, or degrade us in our own opinion, of in that of any person, whose opinion we ought to value. – Ann Radcliffe

So many of the things we value in life have almost nothing to do with money.

4. Sand castle building
This is one of my favorite art forms, seriously. You can do amazing things with sand, but in a moment, your hard work returns to the beach with scarcely a sign that you’ve done anything at all.

This video shows some of the highlights of a national sand sculpting competition. I spent about twelve hours on a sand castle once, using putty knives and other materials, and it was a drop in the bucket compared to these.

5. Plato on wealth and poverty
Discontent comes from both wealth and poverty?

Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent. – Plato

I tend to think that discontent comes from neither wealth nor poverty. Instead, discontent comes from the person who is discontented, the person who cannot find happiness in what they have.

6. Henri Matisse – Fruit and Coffeepot (1898)
My children and I have been looking at a lot of impressionist and post-impressionist art, going so far as to look at brushstrokes and the like. We’ve all found that we really like the work of Henri Matisse, and this is a great example of it.

Henri Matisse - Fruit and Coffeepot [c.1898]

This feels like a memory of a pleasant morning.

7. Henry Taylor on standard of living
If you want to live well, you already have the solution.

The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means. – Sir Henry Taylor

Live on less than what you bring in. If you do that consistently, your life will go much easier than it will if you ignore it.

8. Amazing violin performance
A reader who is studying the violin in school sent this to me, stating flatly that this is beyond her skill level. I was just stunned by this.

Stunning performance. I don’t care that the person playing is twelve or fifty, that’s impressive.

9. Themistocles on rich people and trustworthy people
Would you rather have a rich person near you or a reliable person near you?

I choose the likely man in preference to the rich man; I want a man without money rather than money without a man. – Themistocles

I tend to think that a reliable person will eventually become rich, whereas a rich person has no guarantee of being reliable in any way. I’ll take the person with characteristics I value over the person with a wallet full of money.

10. The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale
I heard this short speech on a radio station a long time ago. I really liked it, but I was never able to find it again. Until this week.

A reader sent this along to me and I thought I should share it with you. This really isn’t much of a video – just start playing it and just listen.

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14 thoughts on “Ten Pieces of Inspiration #22

  1. Alice says:

    I really like this series. I was never one for looking at video recordings online, but I did start checking out Trent’s video link postings as they were short in time and I had Trent’s short descriptor to tell me what it’s about. I’ve really found some of them very thought provoking. Thank you, Trent, for opening up a new genre to me.

  2. Amy says:

    Your kids are adorable. And your wife and son have excellent musical taste – They Might be Giants are one of my favorites. The old stuff and the new, even though my daughter is much too young to appreciate it yet.

  3. Michelle says:

    Did you really call your daughter “the girl”?

  4. SwingCheese says:

    I am jealous! I love They Might Be Giants, and I would have loved for my son to have the opportunity to see them. However, we’d just gone to the DSM area a couple of weeks ago, and we’re leaving tomorrow for the Twin Cities (about a 6 hour drive), and we thought it would be too much car time for a 2 year old. I’m hoping they come back again in the upcoming years. :)

  5. Looby says:

    + 1 to Michelle’s query. My oldest son and “the girl”??

  6. Michelle says:

    I find #9 kind of weird. I could throw any two entities together and ask which you’d rather have standing next to you…what does it even matter? Would you rather have a rich guy to ask for money or a clown? Would you rather have a reliable guy standing next to you or a dinosaur? I don’t see the value in pitting a rich man against a reliable man…what’s the point? What am I missing here?
    And why reduce a person to “rich” or “reliable”. People are not just one thing. So there’s a rich man next to me, am I allowed to ask him a few questions about himself or is that all he is, rich? Does the reliable guy have a car? Because I need a ride, and if he had a car, he’d drive me, he’s so reliable, but with no car…what good is he?

  7. lurker carl says:

    I choose the likely man in preference to the rich man; I want a man without money rather than money without a man. – Themistocles

    Imelda Marcos would not be an appropriate person to quote regarding frugality without a bit of investigation. Themistocles is no different. Quotations taken out of context is not an invitation to apply new interpretations. The same idea applies to national holidays as well.

  8. valleycat1 says:

    re #3 – not only ‘the girl’ but ‘our two children’, not two of our children (the baby apparently was there but slept most of the time per Trent’s later comment).

    Maybe Trent needs to follow blogger tradition & make up names or use initials for his family members so he doesn’t stumble over what to call them every time.

  9. Johanna says:

    Well, he’s mentioned the (presumably real) names of all three of his children in the past, so I’m not sure why he doesn’t just keep using those. Initials would work too.

  10. Lance says:

    Trent,
    Love the Earl Nightingale speech – really great to listen to!

    And the picture of your kids – awesome!

  11. kristine says:

    @valleycat- “My daughter” would do. No names/initials necessary. There are warmer and fuzzier identity occluding pronouns than “the girl”. “The girl” presents an appearance of detachment, and the reduction of a family member to gender label only, that clearly makes some readers uneasy. Surely unintentional, but it pops up time and again.

  12. Joan says:

    I loved the picture of your children and hearing about what they are doing. In my opinion the years between 6 months and five years are so much fun watching how very much the children are changing and learning. The terrific twos were my favorite years of my children. Everything was so exciting to them. Looking at life through a child’s eyes makes the ho hum interesting again. #8 He was talking about the children who were enjoying the show. His younger son is really not old enough to enjoy the show.

  13. M E 2 says:

    5. Plato on wealth and poverty
    Discontent comes from both wealth and poverty?

    Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent. – Plato

    I tend to think that discontent comes from neither wealth nor poverty. Instead, discontent comes from the person who is discontented, the person who cannot find happiness in what they have.

    Ummmm, that’s what Plato (already) said.

  14. NP says:

    My kids are also fans of TMBG. When I read that they would be in Des Moines, I wondered if you would go, whether it would be something worth the monetary expenditure for the Hamm family. I contemplated seeing them last year when they came through FL–an adult show was easy to get to, but the family show was more than 3 hours away. We didn’t go, but DID make it to Weird Al, who is just as appealing to our kids. Hope we get another opportunity for TMBG one of these years.

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