Ten Pieces of Inspiration #30

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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