Updated on 10.21.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #43

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. Walt Whitman on living
If you manage to do these things, you’ll live a very great life.

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people…
reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

– Walt Whitman, excerpt from the preface to Leaves of Grass

The thing I find fascinating is that many of the tenets of a better life are consistent no matter what your philosophy or religion is. They’re constantly repeated because they’re so true.

2. Dick and Rick Hoyt
Rick Hoyt is Dick Hoyt’s son. Rick was born with cerebral palsy. Yet, the two of them have competed in Ironman triathlons as a team.

It’s just an amazing story.

3. Thomas Jefferson on attitude
I often write that you can’t make someone adopt better behaviors if they don’t want to. On the other hand, people who want something can often go to amazing lengths to achieve it.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. – Thomas Jefferson

The right attitude can lead to almost anything. The wrong attitude can lead to almost nothing.

4. Pamela Meyer on how to spot a liar
This is a really fascinating look into the science behind lying.

This video made me think quite a lot over the past week.

5. Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes (1872) by Camille Pissarro
Ever since our family’s trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, I’ve been adding a lot of Pissarro’s art to my desktop background folder. This is just another great example of it.

Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro

Great landscapes make me want to be there, and this easily achieves that.

6. Thoreau on character
Good character is built one small action at a time, one small difficult decision at a time. It’s much easier to be of bad character.

You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. – Henry David Thoreau

Have you ever noticed that I quote Thoreau a lot in these articles (and Ralph Waldo Emerson, too)? I can’t tell you how much of an impact Thoreau and Emerson’s writings have had on me over the course of my life.

7. Failure doesn’t write your story
If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.

Failure is often the forge for better things. It’s a chance to learn what doesn’t work so that next time you can discard those mistakes.

8. CometDocs
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a document from a friend in a format that’s basically unusable to me. This is the easiest tool I’ve yet found for solving this problem in a general way.

CometDocs does nothing more than convert documents from one format to another about as easily as possible. That’s a tool that’s got a permanent place in my bookmarks now.

9. Aldous Huxley on ceilings and floors
Often, when people achieve success, it becomes their new standard. Successful people often repeat that success.

Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right. – Aldous Huxley

Why is that? It’s something I’ve observed, but it’s something I can’t quite quantify.

10. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, and Judy Christy performing How High the Moon
I would love to hear a great recording of this. The scratchiness of this recording adds some charm, though.

I love old jazz standards lately.

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  1. Kate says:

    I always look forward to your lists. This one was especially wonderful. Thanks!

  2. Bill in NC says:

    So, when an employee steals our equipment to resell (sadly all too common), when we’re asking them about how it disappeared all they have to remember to do is act more and more indignant so I’ll think they’re telling the truth?

    It doesn’t seem that it would be that hard to channel hostility against an employer (often how they justified the theft to themselves) to increasing hostility when questioned specifically how it happened.

  3. Bill says:

    I enjoyed the TED talk,

    as for:’Have you ever noticed that I quote Thoreau a lot in these articles (and Ralph Waldo Emerson, too)? I can’t tell you how much of an impact Thoreau and Emerson’s writings have had on me over the course of my life.’

    You also quote Walt Whitman and Thomas Jefferson, you might learn a different perspective if you read more of their works.

  4. Rockledge says:

    On the failure video: I agree. Once when I was an environmental education director at a park,I let my second-in-command organize a small event she was excited about. I gave her advice, but I let it be her event. She worked hard at it but attendance was very low and my staff was discouraged at this “failure.”

    I pointed out to these young interns that if you didn’t fail once in a while, you weren’t pushing yourself hard enough. If you already knew how to do it, it wouldn’t be learning. And that in the end, if you succeed every time, you will never know your boundaries and never know what you are truly capable of.

    Not that you want that type of thing to happen too often, I told them, and you don’t want to do something disastrous, but it was a small enough of an event that it wasn’t the end of the world. I felt that the organizer had learned a valuable lesson about outreach and publicity and wouldn’t make that mistake again.

    To my surprise, most of the interns didn’t agree. They thought failure was failure and if you worked hard enough, you would always succeed. I wasn’t really sure what to make of that.

    I still say that you can learn from failure, either by figuring out your mistakes or by finding out what your boundaries are–but maybe I’m just experiencing a failure in logic!

  5. Georgia says:

    Trent – with the jazz, have you heard the two albums Brent Spiner made? Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back is one. I wish he had made a lot more. His voice and delivery is excellent. “Data is stupendous!!!

  6. almost there says:

    I didn’t realize younger people listened to records anymore. I thought it was a dead technology only used by the soon to die. I got rid of my records 20 years ago. Wish I had waited until the record to cd or digital conversion outfits had become available. ebay has loads of old jazz records for sale for between two and three bucks per listing. I am trying to sell my dad’s old records for my mom under a different ebay name and will relist the mel torme albums that did not sell the first time a month from now. You never know what you will find there. It isn’t so much as trying to make money on the records but to keep them out of the landfill and get them into hands of people that will appreciate them.

  7. Georgia says:

    I have just found out that they have say that the old records will last much longer and play better than cd’s. I have a 3-4 ft. high stack of old 33 1/3’s and they still play marvelously, unless scratched. These have been stacked on each other, left in the cold, the heat, etc.

    I collected records by people you did not normally think of as singers – Tony Perkins (remember Psycho?), Vince Edwards (Dr. Ben Casey), the 4 Bonanza stars, Johnny Crawford (the Rifleman’s son), George Maharis (Route 66), and many more.

    When I found out these were still very much useful, I went out and bought myself a Christmas present 2 years ago – a radio that plays audio tapes, cd’s, and records (45’s, 33 1/3’s, and 78’s). I’ve got Nat “King” Cole, Mel Torme too. Many happy memories to replay.

  8. Georgia says:

    Oh, and most of these are 40-50 years old.

  9. almost there says:

    Georgia, my father too had records by actors. I had one listed with Peter Sellers (The pink Panther) actor singing beatles songs. I wish I had not gotten rid of my Wolfman Jack (the DJ) album, he could carry a tune in his gravely voice.

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