Updated on 04.20.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #16

Trent Hamm

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. Picasso’s skills
I read this little story in Michael Masterson’s The Pledge and it stuck with me all week.

A French woman, upon seeing Picasso in a Parisian restaurant, approached the great master and insisted that he put down his coffee and make a quick sketch of her. Graciously, Picasso obliged. When he was done, she took the drawing, put it in her handbag, and then pulled out her billfold.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked.

“$5,000,” was Picasso’s reply.

“$5,000? But it took you only three minutes!” she exclaimed.

“No,” Picasso answered. “It took me all my life.”

A truly skilled person invests a lot of time building that skill, and that time is largely uncompensated. Doesn’t a truly skilled person deserve strong compensation when they put their honed skill to work?

2. Jessa Gamble on our natural sleep cycle
One thing that’s been on my mind lately is the nature of sleep. Am I getting enough for peak performance during my days? This talk by Jessa Gamble made me think deeply about my own sleep.

Are you getting adequate sleep to do what you need to do?

3. Cozi
Although I’ve been using Google Calendar for my own calendaring use for quite a while, the tool can be fairly complicated to use. I’ve long looked for a very simple online calendaring tool for family things, like soccer practices and sack lunches and trips, that my wife would also use.

Enter Cozi, which several readers tipped me off to about a week ago. Cozi does exactly that, as well as providing simple tools for things like grocery lists. We’ve started using it like mad over the past week.

I love it when a tool seems custom designed to solve a specific problem in your life.

4. Fresh grass
The grass is finally sprouting in our yard.


The best thing is that when I open the window in my office, I can smell the grass. It smells like spring and wakes me up.

Many thanks to Dominic Alves for the pic.

5. Oliver Goldsmith and mentors
People ask why I read so much. This is why. This is also why I find such value in having mentors.

“People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.” – Oliver Goldsmith

Goldsmith states the value of learning from others so eloquently here that his words have stuck in my head.

6. Where’s My Cell Phone?
This seems so simple, but it’s been a life saver for me more than once.

Earlier this week, I spent about half an hour looking for my cell phone. I used this tool and I could faintly hear the ring. I chased it down.

My phone was under my daughter’s bed.

My guess is that she found it somewhere and took it under there. Her crawlspace under her bed is one of her favorite places to hide out.

7. Camille Pissarro’s Festival at L’Hermitage (1876)
One of my favorite parts of the spring and summer is community festivals. I love going to towns, watching the locals meet and greet each other on the street, taste a bit of the local flavor, and get a sense that community really does live on.

Camille Pissarro - Festival at L'Hermitage 1876

Pissarro captures that feeling here, at least for me. Thanks to Tony Hisgett for the image.

8. Benjamin Zander on music and enthusiasm
I wish every music teacher on earth would watch this video.

Zander captures exactly why I love to listen to classical music and why I dream of being able to play.

9. Thomas Sprat on self-reflection
What do you dislike in other people?

“What you dislike in another take care to correct in yourself.” – Thomas Sprat

There’s a good likelihood that if you see some trait in others that you don’t like and yet you exhibit it yourself, others might not like that trait in you.

The behavior of others can be a great source for improving yourself.

10. Soup
This video made me want to give my grandma a very long hug. It brought tears to my eyes. Just watch.

I felt as if the woman was trying to regain a memory of something wonderful in her past, something elicited by the soup. She didn’t mind that she was spilling it. It just gave her the chance, just for a moment, to feel something that she once felt.

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  1. par717 says:

    Re: #6
    I can’t speak to the site you linked to since I didn’t read their privacy policies and I have no prior experience with them, however, other sites that have the same service are often ways for people to get your cell number to use for marketing calls and texts.

    I am very careful where I put my number and who I give it out to but I used one of these sites once and now I keep getting text marketing which, no matter what they say, will never take you off their list.

    Keep that in mind.

  2. kjc says:

    “A truly skilled person invests a lot of time building that skill, and that time is largely uncompensated.”

    Isn’t this true of many pursuits? A doctor isn’t as highly compensated when she’s a resident as she is when she’s a practicing physician. The same is true for plumbers, or accountants, or teachers.

    “Doesn’t a truly skilled person deserve strong compensation when they put their honed skill to work?”

    Certainly not in every case. It would depend upon what his or her skill is, and how rare it is.

  3. Mari says:

    Thank you for this series. I love reading it every Saturday. The classical music video was just tremendous (as was “soup”).

  4. Kenney says:

    These are my favorite series of posts you do now, Trent. Do keep them coming. I find them more helpful than almost anything else you feature on the site, which is saying something since there is so much in the way of good information shared here.

  5. kjc says:

    The Zander piece is incredible, by the way; thanks.

  6. Mel says:

    This may be an obvious question, but why involve a 3rd party website in finding your phone? If you have a landline, another mobile or even Skype with even a small amount of credit in the house, why not use that?

    It’s what I do – probably far too regularly! :)

  7. Heather says:

    The Benjamin Zander piece is aMAzing! And worth every bit of the twenty minutes it takes to watch.

  8. Nicole says:

    Re: Picasso: Yes. Spot on. Thank you.
    (@kjc — that’s fine, but then don’t ever ask me to play at the wedding of your daughter whom I have never met and would not know from Eve, etc. The reason I get upset is that some people seem to think they can have it both ways.)

    Re: Zander: I assure you, they are watching — that video has been making wide rounds among my friends & colleagues.

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