Ten Pieces of Inspiration #96

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. Simon Bailey on a miserable life
People do this far too often. They go to a job that makes them miserable, then come home and use what little energy and resources they have to simply blow off steam from that miserable job rather than building anything for the future.

“You work and live to meet your daily needs rather than to maximize your potential. You simply exist from day to day, without much passion or enthusiasm for life. Meanwhile, your talents remain untapped, buried somewhere deep inside. This is an awful way to live.” – Simon T. Bailey

If you don’t do something today that potentially leads to a better life, you’ll never have that better life.

2. Stephen Hawking on the unpredictable future
It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re heading steadily along a very certain path in life. It’s rarely true.

“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street.” – Stephen Hawking

Life comes along when we least expect it. Those who are prepared for it come out on top.

3. Soldiers playing chess, circa 1918
Part of what I love about playing a thoughtful game is the capacity it has to take your mind away from the struggles and challenges of the day while simultaneously engaging it in something else. Sometimes, the struggles of the game end up informing the struggles of life.

Be careful (the man on the left made this board and chessmen himself)

Thanks to the National Library of Scotland for this image.

4. Thomas Jefferson on convincing others
It’s very hard to convince someone to do anything that’s outside of their comfort zone, even if it’s something that will absolutely lead to a better life.

“It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.” – Thomas Jefferson

You have to be patient with the convincing. Change will come very slowly.

5. Beau Lotto and Amy O’Toole on the value of science for everyone
Science shouldn’t be something out of the reach of everyone. Every single person out there has the capacity to ask questions and seek out answers to them.

6. Augustine on the importance of the message
The truth is the truth, whether it comes from someone who’s well spoken or someone who’s not.

“Nothing is true merely because it is eloquently said, nor false because the signs coming from the lips make sounds deficient in a sense of style. … Wisdom and foolishness are like food that is nourishing or useless. Whether the words are ornate or not does not decide the issue.” — Augustine

You have to figure out for yourself what is true. Don’t just follow the words of someone who speaks well.

7. Peter Gabriel – Zaar
Peter Gabriel’s album Passion had a huge influence on me when I was a teenager. During the early 1990s, I listened to that album over and over again.

Something about this song still shakes me deep inside.

8. Theodore Roosevelt on the person that really matters
The person that really matters is the person who does something.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Even a failure is worth far more than doing nothing at all.

9. Mikhail Voskresensky plays Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp
This is an amazing performance of an amazing piece.

10. John Steinbeck on the beauty of truth
I take this quote very seriously. I try very hard to write about improving finances in a real way, a way that genuinely worked in my own life. Often, it’s not glamorous. It’s just reality. I think that’s why some people really value reading it.

“There is more beauty in truth, even if it is a dreadful beauty. The storytellers at the city gate twist life so that it looks sweet to the lazy and the stupid and the weak, and this only strengthens their infirmities and teaches nothing, cures nothing, nor does it let the heart soar.” – John Steinbeck

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