Ten Pieces of Inspiration #20

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. Flying a kite
Our family spent a long afternoon at the park this past week just flying kites. We’d toss them up in the air, let the wind catch them, and let the string roll off of our spools.

IMG_0449

So often, the simplest things can just be incredibly fun.

2. Online filter bubbles
One of the most dangerous things about the mixing of online filtering (think of Facebook and how the friends you interact with most tend to be the ones that appear at the top when you log on) and marking our preferences everywhere is that we eventually find ourselves only seeing the things we agree with. We’re no longer challenged if everything we don’t agree with or don’t understand is just filtered away.

This video explains this idea very, very well. It’s something that worries me – and has given me a lot to think about lately.

3. Albert Einstein on intellectual growth
Learning is a lifelong experience.

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. – Albert Einstein

It helps you to understand what’s going on in the world around you. It creates a broader skill set for you so you can earn more or have a greater impact on the world. Learning is something that always pays off, whether you’re 5 years old or 50.

4. Quora
Quora is a giant question-and-answer session. You can ask a question and get answers, and you can provide answers to others. Unlike other such services like Yahoo! Answers, Quora does a great job of filtering the answers based on user reputation and voting on the various answers that questions receive. It’s like a “smart” Yahoo! Answers.

I’ve been dabbling in it a lot off and on over the past month or so. If you’re interested, you can follow me on Quora.

5. Howard Thurman on doing what makes you alive
Howard Thurman is a theologian who eloquently summarizes what everyone ought to do with their life.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

How do you make money doing that? If you find what makes you alive and pour enough hours into it (fueled by the joy it gives you), you’ll eventually reach a skill level that others will pay you for – often handsomely.

6. Victory over art
After about twenty minutes of painting with (non-toxic) finger paints, our one year old son decided that his masterpiece was finished. He grabbed the piece in hand and raised his arms in victory.

IMG_0445

Enthusiasm, joy, and pride, all wrapped up in one.

7. Poetry read by Tom O’Bedlam
This is some of the best reading of poetry I’ve ever heard. It’s not flashy at all, just the beauty of the words as stripped down as possible. I turn on some of these selections and just listen with my eyes closed, letting the words paint a world for me.

His reading of All Lovely Things by Conrad Aiken is a sweet and short example.

8. Do schools kill creativity?
This is a very thought-provoking perspective on public education.

It inspires me because it challenges me to do something different for my own children to make sure they’re encouraged to be creative.

9. Elise Boulding on the joy of frugality
Elise Boulding was a Quaker sociologist and author.

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. – Elise Boulding

There is joy in not having everything because it affords you the opportunity to truly appreciate some of the things.

10. Georges Lemmen’s Beach at Heist (1891)
This makes me want to wander along a beach at sunset.

Geroges Lemmen, Plage à Heist [Beach at Heist], 1891