Ten Pieces of Inspiration #40

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.

I spent a lot of time looking at photos of autumn to help my kids with an art project. Several of them deeply impressed me with their artistry and capture of the season, so this edition is a bit heavy with those photographs.

1. Autumn dawn
This picture captures the essence of what dawn looked like in the fall in the area where I grew up.

Autumn dawn

The season is changing, but the world is alive. Thanks to James Jordan for this wonderful picture.

2. John Quincy Adams on leadership
What makes a leader? I don’t think that leadership is simply the nominal head of an organization. Instead, the leader is the person that makes an impact on others.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

The best leader I was ever around never formally headed up an organization in his life, yet he pushed a lot of people to be better than they were and he could have organized a lot of people to do something at a moment’s notice. Titles aren’t leadership.

3. PrintFriendly
I’ll admit that I often print off documents for reading in situations that aren’t conducive to electronic devices, plus there are times when I want to hand-annotate articles. PrintFriendly makes a wonderful printer-friendly version of any article you’ll find online. Just type in the URL and you’re good to go.

I love simple tools like this that just do one thing and do it well.

4. Ruins
When I was a child, there was an old abandoned boxcar on my parents land. It was fun to explore it as it was often full of weird old treasures, not altogether different than the type of thing you’d see on American Pickers. It was in a mostly wooded area, with a trail leading back to it.


Something about this picture put me strongly in mind of the old box car. Thanks to Nicholas T. for the evocative image.

5. Vince Lombardi on practice
You can practice a lot at something and still never get very good at it. What makes the difference is how you practice.

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi

You can spend years “practicing” anything and still be awful at it. The question is whether or not you constantly look to improve your performance with every bit of practice. Blind repetition is not enough.

6. Graham Hill on how having less stuff leads to more happiness
This is a correlation I’ve experienced in my own life, but Graham Hill spells it out wonderfully here.

I’d be perfectly happy with about a third of the stuff I have. The problem is that getting rid of a lot of it is a significant task in and of itself.

7. Wandering the pumpkin patch
This picture made me remember going out into a pumpkin patch when I was young and picking out that perfect pumpkin to carve up. There’d be a bit of chill in the air, meaning that when we got the pumpkin home and began to clean it out, the insides would be cold to the touch.

Duaflex: Alber Orchard

Many thanks to Matt Callow for another memory-stirring image.

8. Ramakhrisna on religion
I’ve reached a point where I don’t listen too much to people who say that religion forbids this or religion mandates that. It’s easy to talk a good game about religion. What separates people is whether they actually do it.

It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it. – Ramakrishna

So often, the words of the most outspoken followers of religion seem to have little to do with the actual teachings of that religion. I’d rather study the actual teachings, put them into practice in my own life, and generally keep quiet about it. Actions speak louder than words.

9. Branka Parlic playing Philip Glass’s Metamorphosis 1
I’ve been listening to some of the compositions of Philip Glass lately. This is a great example of his work.

It’s one of those pieces of music that just takes you to another place.

10. The leaf jump
Again, a childhood remembrance: I used to love taking giant leaps into piles of leaves.

Hurricane Matthew

This wonderful picture by Andrew Gillespie perfectly captures the childhood energy and nostalgia in this vintage photo. You can almost smell the Kodachrome.

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