Updated on 08.17.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #33

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. Randy Pausch on time management
An awful lot of people have seen Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” but I actually found his talk on time management to be at least as compelling.

Every moment is a choice. Are you making a worthwhile choice with that moment?

2. Song of the Open Road (last section) by Walt Whitman
This is a rather long poem, so I’ll just quote the final section here.

Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe–I have tried it–my own feet have tried it well–be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the
court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourselp. will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

What’s holding you back from taking that journey?

3. Romance isn’t just for teenagers… taken by Ed Yourdon
I love watching old couples. Quite often, you’re seeing two people who have spent the vast majority of their lives together. They rely on each other in so many little ways that just come so naturally to the two of them.

Romance isn't just for teenagers...

I see Sarah and I slowly slipping into this pattern. We anticipate each other more and more as time goes on. I’ve learned to just do little things automatically because it will make her path easier, and she does those things for me.

4. Henryk Szeryng plays Brahms Violin Concerto (3rd Mov.)
This is just brilliant.

When I find videos like this on YouTube, I don’t even watch. I usually just close my eyes and listen.

5. Steve Jobs on life direction
This is from his wonderful 2005 Stanford commencement address:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

This way of thinking led me to make an awful lot of hard choices. If I go more than seven days or so without saying “yes,” then I know something needs to change in my life.

6. Agesilaus on liberty and frugality
This quote made me think quite a lot about the connections between freedom and frugality.

“By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.” – Agesilaus

If we are frugal, then we accumulate the resources we need to be free. Free of managers, free of want, free of time constraints. We build these freedoms through being frugal.

7. Ric Elias talks about surviving a plane crash
This is a really thoughtful look at a life-or-death moment, told with a healthy bit of humor, too.

I would like to think I wouldn’t lock up in such a situation.

8. Sliderocket
If your job or business or career path requires you to make presentations, you might want to give Sliderocket a shot.

This tool solves many of the issues that traditional PowerPoint slides have when it comes to the new era of online sharing. It makes sharing slides really really easy and it also makes it easy for people to comment on your slides, too.

I find it an invaluable tool for presenting today.

9. Aristotle on greatness and habits
The great people practice the things that make them great until they become natural.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

What do you want to be? Practice doing that every day and you’ll eventually be there.

10. Tim Minchin’s Storm
This is an animated YouTube video about a thought-provoking dinner conversation. Be aware that there is some adult language involved.

This video was passed back and forth among a circle of my friends all week and resulted in one of the most civil discussions about faith and religion that I’ve yet seen. Hopefully, it’ll inspire the same type of talk with your friends.

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  1. Brian Carr says:

    I absolutely agree with you – watching “old couples” is absolutely heartwarming. It takes a lot of hard work to stay together for so long and you really, REALLY have to love someone to be able to do that.

    I can’t help but look at old couples and smile and hope that one day my wife and I are the old couple everyone’s smiling at.

  2. NMPatricia says:

    In the YouTube segment with Ric Elias, he says all he wants to be is a the best parent he can. Although I don’t have kids at home anymore, I still am a mom occasionally. And my relationship with my kids is VERY important. However, I was interested and I guess a bit shocked that he didn’t say he wanted to be the best husband he could be. You have talked wonderfully about Sarah. Would being the best parent take precedence over being the best husband that you could be?

  3. Cass314 says:

    I love that youtube video (Storm). The middle part of the man’s monologue is pretty much exactly what I’m thinking when roped into events/dinners with certain members of my family ranging from Evangelical and Catholic to new age pagan hippie, but I never actually say it. Too many members of my family consider any profession of disbelief to be shrill and aggressive no matter how passive it is, and I’d rather just finish my dinner and then go spend more time with the people I *choose* to than have people I’d frankly rather not be talking to try to rope me into an argument just so they can tell me afterward that they think I’m rude.

    I sometimes wonder whether it’s selfish of me not to say anything–that is, to subjugate what I think is a logical and well-supported viewpoint for my own convenience when I could be making the point that there is in fact a sizable number of people who think what I do and they’re not more likely to be murderers and brigands than anyone else–but frankly, given the people I’m dealing with, I don’t think it’s worth the headache or the heartache.

    Still, the false equivalency people tend to draw between spiritual feelings, important as they can be to many people’s lives, and factual evidence always frustrates me when it leaks out of the personal domain and into the public and governmental.

  4. kristine says:

    @ Cass314

    So eloquently stated that I wish you were MY dinner guest! Beautifully said, and dead on accurate. It is rare that I feel in such complete agreement. Been there, so many times, and wish I could have said it so well!

    My favorite kind of “faith” is that expressed through the kind and gentle actions of believers that need never be announced. My husband is a Quaker, and you would never know it unless you asked him specifically. But you would definitely notice his uncommon integrity, careful contemplations, and sense of duty to his fellow man. To me, that is true grace: service without proselytizing, tolerance without imposition. And I do not see the necessity for dogma or persuasion to live with such grace. Nor does my husband. I am an atheist, and we coexist happily, with mutual respect for each other’s carefully considered points of view.

  5. kristine says:

    PS- since these are not matters of science, it is entirely acceptable, and indeed healthy, for intelligent people to consider the same observations and arrive at different conclusions. We all filter evidence through our amassed life experiences.

    If we all thought the same thing, then I would suspect a lack of mental stimulation, conformative resignation, or emotional coercion. That human beings do not agree on matters of religion, or the heart, is indeed what makes uniquely human. It is fine to tell others your views, but in a “this is what I think” way, not with persuasion as the goal. Let others consider weigh for themselves. And in turn, consider other’s alternatives with an open mind, not preconceived conclusions. If you really want to win someone over, actions will be more convincing than any verbal argument or “spiritually” motivated legislation.

  6. rebecca says:

    @#2 NMP My husb and I have discovered the hard way that putting your kids first and your marriage second leads to marriage counseling and almost divorce. I think the best thing you can do for your kids is keep your marriage healthy and strong. Kids in solid 2 parent homes are more secure and happy in childhood and in adulthood, and have healthy examples of what a solid relationship is and takes to keep it going.

    I am by no means suggesting neglecting your children, but you need to keep your marriage strong in order to be the best parent you can be.

  7. K Ann says:

    #3 For anyone who appreciates portraits of older couples who obviously have the kind of history together that words alone can’t convey, I would suggest a book by Keri Pickett entitled “Love in the Nineties”. It’s fabulous!

  8. K Ann says:

    #3 Quick correction – I rechecked my book cover – it’s “Love in the 90s”.

  9. kristine says:

    rebecca- I concur. The kids must come from the marriage, never let it turn the other way around. It destabilizes the family. It is so important to remain affectionate, and loving, and keep the primary relationship of the family the top priority. However you and you spouse relate, is what your children will have as the model for their own marriages.

  10. Elaine says:

    Randy Pausch was the most wonderful person. If anyone hasn’t seen the Last Lecture, they should-even if it’s the ten minute Oprah version. Best blueprint for leading a meaningful life.

  11. Brittany says:

    Give kids some credit–most of of know better than to model our adult relationships on what we’ve seen from our parents. (Of the handful of friend I have whose parents are still together, I’d only describe one of these marriages as “good.”)

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