Updated on 08.09.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #30

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. Bertie Forbes on failure and triumph
If you try something you really want to achieve and you fail at it, what do you do next?

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” – Bertie C. Forbes

If you quit, you’ll never win. If you stop giving it your all, you’ll never win. The only thing you can do is to pick yourself up, figure out what went wrong, and charge forward again.

2. GetHuman
One of my biggest frustrations comes about when I have a problem with a product. I try to navigate the menu of a customer support line, but the problem I have isn’t on the menu. I hit buttons and try to reach someone, but I fail and give up.

The entire purpose of the GetHuman website is to tell you exactly how to reach a live person for whatever company you need. This has come in handy multiple times in the past week.

3. Team Work by Buddy Venturanza
A few days ago, my children and I saw two ants trying to carry a leaf. They were struggling with the challenge of cooperation, but eventually they managed to get the leaf going where they wanted to go. I tried to photograph it, but nothing quite captured the sense of teamwork that went into their effort.

Team Work

This wonderful photo gave me almost exactly the same feeling. Teamwork allows them to accomplish far more than they could alone.

4. Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel
Thanks to last week’s Pieces of Inspiration, I spent an awful lot of the past week listening to Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. This is perhaps my favorite song by Peter Gabriel.

5. Thoreau on desperation
I can still remember the first time I read this on a printed page. I was in that summer between high school and college and the quote made me shiver.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

There are so many people out there dealing with difficulties in life and doing it quietly. Yes, maybe some of it is self-inflicted. That doesn’t change the pain and the desperation.

6. Ronald Reagan on the Challenger disaster, January 28, 1986
I was seven years old at the time of this disaster. I was watching this in the auditorium at my grade school as the ship went up and then exploded in the air. We had spent weeks in our classroom learning about the Challenger mission and space exploration and the people on board the ship and it went up in a ball of flames.

Just over a month earlier, my grandfather had passed away. He had lived with us over the final several months of his life and I got to watch him slowly slip away from us.

That month is when I first realized my own mortality and how fragile life is. To this day, I still can’t watch any video of the Challenger without nearly breaking into tears. One big part of it that I remember, though, is President Reagan’s speech that evening, and particularly the close of it.

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Those words stick in my mind like few others. The last line, “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God,” quote an amazing poem by John Magee, High Flight.

These words inspire me, not because of the specific memories they hold, but simply because of how much emotion certain words can contain for a person when they tie into something they hold dear.

7. Please!
This is a short film that’s spoiled by saying much of anything about it. Be warned, there is some non-family friendly language.

8. Across the Street (1875) by Giovanni Boldini
For some reason, I absolutely cannot take my eyes off of the sidewalk in this painting.

Boldini, Giovanni (1845-1931) - 1875 Across the Street

The thing about great skill is that it looks effortless. It conveys something into your mind that seems so simple that you often disregard what it takes to achieve it. For some reason, I see that in the street stones of this painting.

9. Howard Nordberg on life as a trampoline
So often in life, we’re leaping through the air and it feels like we’ll keep on going forever. But, sometimes, we land.

“Life is a cement trampoline.” – Howard Nordberg

There are so many things that happen to us that are almost impossible to recover from. We get sick. We lose that perfect job – or that perfect relationship. Everything we loved ends.

10. This Woman’s Work by Kate Bush
Since I’m sharing a Peter Gabriel song above, I ought to share one by his duet partner, as well.

The R&B singer Maxwell sang a wonderful, but very different cover of this song that you might enjoy as well.

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  1. urmel says:

    As with the previous “ten pieces of inspiration”- posts (and as others have pointed out before)- there is something very wrong with the fonts which makes this impossible to read. Is this really impossible to fix??

  2. Melanie says:

    I know people have commented on the font issue before but I don’t have that problem.

  3. Misty says:

    …Holy giant fonts, batman.

  4. marta says:

    I don’t have a problem viewing this, but seriously — people have been complaining about this for several weeks. However, you haven’t even acknowledged the issue. That’s not very respectful of your readers, you know…

  5. Angie says:

    I love Pete and Kate and Genesis, too (Peter Gabriel was Genesis’ original lead vocalist for many years and many albums). My husband and I saw Pete in concert a few years ago, and his daughter toured with him and did Kate’s parts in the duets. She did a fantastic job!

    Just an interesting little tidbit :)

  6. Sonja says:

    I have the font-growing-larger-with-each-line problem when I view these posts on my desktop. On my laptop or on my phone the font is fine. My desktop and my laptop have the same OS and the same version of Internet Explorer, I don’t know why it happens but It IS annoying and I wish Trent would fix it.

  7. kristine says:

    For more Gabriel, in best Genesis form, I suggest Lamb Lies Down on Broadway- in entirety. Contemplative and well composed.

  8. kristine says:

    Ants are also petty ruthless, and will abandon, attack, or devour their weak and injured.

  9. Amy says:

    As a professional blogger you really need to fix the font issue with these posts. I don’t know why it is only 10 pieces of insipiration that has this problem, but there is clearly something wrong. If you don’t know how to fix it, you should consider hiring someone who does. When this is the lead post, it makes all of the posts below like it as well. For me at least.

  10. Amy says:

    And it makes me so agitated I can’t spell inspiration. Jeez.

  11. bacall says:

    Please try to fix the font problem! I really enjoy your inspiration posts, but the very large type makes it difficult to view more than 6-10 words at a time. Thank you!

  12. Cat says:

    Thank you for reminding me that I miss listening to my Peter Gabriel CDs and I should take them out of my drawer and put them in my car!

  13. valleycat1 says:

    Someone tweet Trent about this font issue (again) please, since he isn’t reading any of my emails or comments. Or maybe a friend of his reads & can let him know of the complaint? Someone in the first one that was like this (I think the 3rd or 4th Sat. in June) told him where the missing code is. I’ve emailed and commented every time to no avail. Obviously he isn’t seeing the issue.

  14. valleycat1 says:

    I FIXED MY VIEW! In Internet Tools, there’s a setting to ‘ignore font size set by site’ – on the accessibility selections in the general sections, not in the Font selection section.

  15. lurker carl says:

    Thank you, valleycat1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  16. almost there says:

    Thanks for the fix Valleycat1. Trent: As for Please! #7, I found it depressing not inspiring. If you want to be a writer what is inspiring about the writer being shot on the cusp of success? #8, sidewalk should be street in your sentence. Street stones as you write them are more commonly refered to as cobblestones. Do you still want to be a writer? Learn to edit. Quality over quantity as so many readers have pointed out time and time again.

  17. valleycat1 says:

    You’re welcome folks. I’m guessing that cell phones & possibly some computer browser set-ups default to the ignore font size.

  18. valleycat1 says:

    #9 is kind of depressing too, rather than inspiring. I’m sticking to “The 59th Street Bridge Song” & am feeling groovy!

  19. Sonja says:

    Thank you, valleycat1. You should get a prize.

  20. Julia says:

    Wow! Valleycat1, your sollution works on TSD, but it screws up Google Reader!

    Trent, please fix it.

  21. J.D. says:

    Okay, I think I see what the problem is, Trent. I don’t actually *see* the problem on my computer because Firefox and/or the Macintosh are catching the error so I never see it. But you have a span with a font-size=120% for every piece of inspiration, but you never close these spans. So, I’m guessing that each time you move to a new piece of inspiration, the font size is increasing 20%. You’ve created compound interest with fonts! You’re very rich in font size by the last piece of inspiration, I bet. :)

  22. lurker carl says:

    Rich beyond belief, but not in a good way. It’s compounding interest for comsumer debt rather than personal wealth.

    Be sure to uncheck that ‘ignore font’ box when you leave TSD, that feature isn’t so reader friendly at other websites.

  23. kc says:

    What does it take to get Trent to actually respond to reader comments?

    Makes me yearn for the $3 bathing suit post. At least at that point he was monitoring the comments.

  24. Bill says:

    The font problem is that Trent is using a strong tag to make each section title bold, then a span tag with a 125 percent font style. He then closes the strong but forgets the span tag. This is invalid HTML and some browsers will automatically close the span tag for him. Others keep applying the 125 percent style rule which makes it get progressively larger. This should be pretty easy to fix and any professional working on the web should use at least one of the many free validation tools and manually check your work in the more popular browsers.

  25. lurker carl says:

    Because this problem has persisted for around two months with reader complaints each time makes me wonder why this is still uncorrected. In my experience, anyone who runs a business on automatic pilot is doomed to have it crash.

  26. valleycat1 says:

    #20 Julia – I had realized this morning that ignoring the site’s font size will mess up other more complex website views, so I’ll be selecting the option just on Sat’s when I read Trent’s post, then deselecting it again until the next week…

    lurker carl – Trent is infamous for ignoring reader comments, and if he’s not seeing the issue on his computer, then he probably doesn’t think anything needs fixing. That’s why I keep hoping one of his twitter buds will contact him about it.

  27. Todd says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the fix on the enormous font sizes. Trying to figure this out was driving me crazy.

  28. Kai says:

    Running Google Chrome on Ubuntu, I have no font issues.

  29. Pamela says:

    Wow. #7 was very disturbing. Desperation, pain, and dysfunction, ending with more pain and trauma.

  30. Dan W. says:

    Thoreau’s line on desperation is a favorite. Reminds me of Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, there’s mediocrity underneath that quiet desperation.

  31. Johanna says:

    Well, in the $3 bathing suit thread, he was reading and responding to comments but still managed to miss the point entirely. So I’m not sure that’s all that much better.

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