Updated on 08.08.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #26

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. Thoreau on the purpose of actions
Having enough time seems to be a concern of most people today.

It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau

Do you have time for what’s important? Or do you leave it behind for whatever shiny thing is capturing your attention at the moment? Make time for the things that really matter and a pretty good life will follow.

2. Village of Frugality, by Matthew Hunt
This is apparently a real sign in Cambria County, Pennsylvania.


At some point in the future, I need to get my picture taken near this sign.

3. BugMeNot
I dislike websites that have some piece of really great content I want to read but demand that I log in first. I understand it for sites with privacy concerns, and it’s not so much the logging in that I mind – it’s the hassle of having to set up an account, check my email to retrieve the password and so on that makes the effort far more than the article is worth.

BugMeNot solves that problem. It just lists generic usernames and passwords for such sites so you can log in, read your article, and get on with your life. Really useful for voracious readers like me. In fact, I’ve often actually signed up for accounts on sites that I’ve discovered are actually useful.

4. Emerson on growth and friends
Very few of us retain a complete set of friends from early childhood to today. Sure, we retain a few people, but that group changes. But is that group always changing for the better?

A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are you surrounded today by at least as good of a group of people as you were ten years ago? I think I am.

5. The Scream (1893), by Edvard Munch
This is a very familiar painting that, for some reason, I saw in a completely different light this week. Look carefully at it.

edvard munch - the scream  1893

What if that person is shouting for joy? They’re stunned by the beauty of the sunset or by something else in their life?

The assumption for me has always been that he’s shouting in fear or some other negative emotion. The whole thing feels different if you take it as a positive emotion.

6. Dan Carlin’s podcasts
Dan Carlin is the host of two excellent podcasts, both of which I’ve been fervently listening to over the last month.

Common Sense is his current events and politics podcast. While I don’t agree with all of his stances (there are times when I feel like I disagree with most of them), he explains and argues his points well enough that they’re either going to make you consider his ideas carefully or rethink your own ideas.

The best one (in my eyes), though, is Hardcore History, which takes a deep look at various historical events from the perspective of how they affected the day-to-day lives of people who lived through them. He’s a powerful storyteller and the material just comes to life in his hands.

7. The Great Performers
This is a YouTube channel full of great classical musical performances of all stripes. The curator of this channel does a great job of selecting for quality rather than quantity, so it’s worth exploring.

A sample – Alexis Weissenberg playing Robert Schumann’s Arabesque:

8. Post-Graduate, by Dorothy Parker
A very short poem.

“Hope it was that tutored me,
And Love that taught me more;
And now I learn at Sorrow’s knee
The self-same lore.”

A great one, though. We learn something in both the ups and downs of life.

9. Jim Rohn on what creates success
Success is a natural outgrowth of pushing yourself.

Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become. – Jim Rohn

If you want to be a successful person, start by acting the part. Pay attention to what successful people actually do, not what the media portrays them as doing.

10. 11,000 floating lanterns
During a Polish celebration of the summer solstice, 11,000 floating lanterns were launched into the air, filling the sky with lights that looked almost mystical.

There is a scene in the animated movie Rapunzel that captures this, but there’s something amazing in seeing it really happening.

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  1. valleycat1 says:

    You have the coding issue again where the font grows from post to post making this impossible to read & almost impossible to find the comment option.

  2. David says:

    Shows up fine on Google Chrome, which is rather more forgiving of duff html than some browsers.

    The Master had the same view as Thoreau when he wrote:

    The ant has made himself illustrious
    Through constant industry industrious.
    So what? Would you be calm and placid
    If you were full of formic acid?

  3. momof4 says:

    Is it Tangled, rather than rapunzel?? ( which is of course based on Rapunzel)

  4. lurker carl says:

    “The Scream” is in frustration. Not of the sunset, however, but of the repeated absense of proof reading in regards to grammar, spelling and now with code. Very uninspiring.

    Appearance really does matter.

  5. TLS says:

    I had the coding issue last time too, but this time the text is fine.

  6. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the link to Hardcore History. I’m always looking for new podcasts, and that sounds like something I’ll really like!!

  7. Tracy says:

    Um, no on your interpretation of The Scream, no and absolutely not – it’s practically sociopathic in the inability to read/understand emotion to give it that interpretation.

  8. Julie says:

    I am with the first view. The font keeps growing and makes the page virtually impossible to read.

  9. Maureen says:

    I am surprised that you can interpret ‘The Scream’ as joyful. It seems to me that the poor sould in the painting is experiencing terror or horror.

    I found the following quote attributed to the artist:

    “I was walking along a path with two friends—the sun was setting—suddenly the sky turned blood red—I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence—there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city—my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety—and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

    So, not so joyful.

  10. kristine says:

    Art is open to interpretation, the artist gives up the ownership upon showing it to others- they will read it as they will. I found it an interesting mental exercise to try the suggestion, but ultimately, it felt false and forced.

    Artists of this period chose colors, composition and style of execution carefully to try and evoke unversal emotional responses. In Trent’s case, the artist’s intent is disregarded in favor of a new interpretation. That’s legit, but…

    That says more to me about the interpreter than the painting- that a universally accepted image of horror be re-cast as joy seems in line with someone hell-bent on seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, abounding with relentless positivity, and a dismissiveness of negative emotions, that I would find, frankly, exhausting to be around. At least that’s how I interpret it!

  11. lurker carl says:

    I was wondering if the text would get larger with each additional post. Alas, it does. Appearance coes matter. Five pages later, I can submit my post. It’s almost over day away from yesterday’s postings.

  12. Vanessa says:

    I’m on a Mac using Safari and I have never had an issue with the font size.

  13. valleycat1 says:

    I didn’t have trouble with last week’s post, but this one is ridiculous & even the comments are in about 80 point font.

    To me, most art is out there to evoke a visceral reaction. So don’t think too long & hard about what it’s representing & come up with something totally opposite your first response. Sometimes a scream is just a scream. Although, to me the little girl’s scream of joy in the Disney commercial with the flying elephants does look something like this.

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