Ten Pieces of Inspiration #7

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. The Office on careers
A reader (thanks, Jamie!) pointed me towards a wonderful quote from the original British version of the television series, The Office.

[I]t is better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb then half way up one you don’t.
– Dawn, The Office [UK], Season 1, Ep. 6

You’re better off taking a low-level job that excites you than a mid-level job that drains your will to live. I essentially did that with my own writing career and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I might have lost income, but I gained the joy of being a more involved father and husband.

2. Blind painter
If this guy can figure out how to express himself through painting, it makes my obstacles to my own goals seem pretty small.

How did he do it? “I needed to find a way of drawing that left a raised? line that could be felt with the fingertips rather than being seen with the eyes. After much experimenting and failure I found that by using a matte fabric paint I could draw fine lines that were permanently raised and that dried very quickly – almost instantly when hit with a heat gun. The method is very straight forward, but does require patience.” That’s from his website.

If you can’t see the embed above, here’s a link to YouTube.

3. Desktop Tower Defense
I’d love to be able to create a game that was this elegant and addictive. I find myself playing this almost daily even now, and I discovered it first in circa 2004.

4. Tony Dungy on effort
Tony Dungy, the former NFL coach, had a great line about success in his book Quiet Strength:

“The truth is that most people have a better chance to be uncommon (successful) by effort than by natural gifts. Anyone could give that effort in his or her chosen endeavor, but the typical person doesn’t, choosing to do only enough to get by.” – Tony Dungy

The thing that separates the great from the average isn’t God-given talent most of the time. It’s effort. I like to think of it this way: if Michael Jordan’s basketball talents were handed to him on a silver platter, why did he get cut from his eighth grade basketball team?

(Thanks, Sherri, for pointing me towards this quote and the book!)

5. Cosmos
Over the last few weeks, I’ve re-watched the wonderful television series Cosmos. Here’s the intro:

You can watch the entire series on Netflix streaming (which is how I watched it). I remember vividly watching this as a child, and I enjoyed it at least as much now as I did then. Sagan has an incredible way of explaining the wonder of the natural world.

6. Warm weather
This past week, the temperature rose above 60 F two different days. I spent a good deal of both of those days outside, soaking up a lot of fresh air and a bit of indirect sunshine. It felt really, really good and made me yearn for summer.

Sunshine, a warm day, and fresh air really are wonderful things.

7. Francis Bacon on goals and focus
“A person who aims at nothing is sure to hit it.” – Francis Bacon

If you don’t have any goals, it’s pretty impossible to reacn your goals, isn’t it? Instead, you wander aimlessly, hoping to stumble in some sort of positive direction. When you strive for nothing, you’re sure to accomplish it!

8. Friendship
I have three friends that bring more value into my life than I can ever express. I don’t often mention them directly on The Simple Dollar and I don’t mention them by name in order to help with their privacy, but you three – J., M., and R. – add more to my life than you’ll probably ever know. Thank you so much.

9. The Last Lecture redux
An old friend of mine sent me an email this week in which he said “I just watched that Randy Pausch Last Lecture video again. Made me think about how I’ve spent the last few years.”

So, I decided to watch it again, too. Still powerful. Still inspiring. Well worth watching and reflecting where your life has recently gone and where it’s going.

10. Thoreau on goodness
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you want to always have good things in your life, treat others well without fail. Be respectful of them by keeping yourself clean and your language polite. Be kind when you can, particularly when you can easily do so. The more you do this, the more positive the world around you will become, every single time.

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  1. Maureen says:

    I got so excited to see that Cosmos was on Netflix. Unfortunately it is NOT available in Canada. I’m so disappointed! It was a fantastic series.

  2. Kathleen says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the BBC Office! Ricky Gervais rocks my world.

  3. Michele says:

    Wayne Gretzky paraphrased Francis Bacon and I’ve taken it for my own motto, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

  4. Bill says:

    Desktop Tower is great, but Pro version has been out for at least a year and it was much easier to beat than the 100 level challenge of the 1.5 version. Not even close, 1.5version 100 wave challenged was hard.

  5. deRuiter says:

    “…a bit of indirect sunshine.” If you are outdoors why is the sunshine “indirect”?

  6. gharkness says:

    Sagan rocked my world when Cosmos first came out. Today, he did again. Thank you.

  7. MD says:

    Loved Quiet Strength. I’m only a casual football fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed that book and gained a respect for Tony Dungy as person.

  8. Todd says:

    Trent, I love the inspiration series. Keep it up!

    A general question for discussion: Why is an online game being addictive usually considered a selling point, but if you substitute tobacco or alchohol, it’s not? I’ve seen ads for “the most addictive game on Facebook” and have had friends say, “You should play this game. It’s so addictive!” But you would never see, “Try the most addictive cigarettes on the market!” This is not a judgment on those who love online games. Believe me, I love Desktop Tower Defense as well. This is just something I’ve wondered about.

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