Ten Pieces of Inspiration #48

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. Kathryn Schulz on being wrong
Being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Being wrong is just as important as being right. Being wrong is the ultimate feedback on the things that we’re not doing as well as we ought to be doing, and if we use that appropriately, it can mean far more for improving ourselves than being right.

2. Thomas Edison on serving others
The key to becoming successful is to figure out what others need, then fulfilling that need incredibly well.

“I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.” – Thomas Edison

If you spend some time thinking about all of the innovations that mankind has seen over its history, almost all of them directly resulted from someone identifying a need or a strong desire and figuring out a way to fulfill it. It’s all about serving others.

3. Mary Cassatt’s Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child (1880)
When I saw this picture, I was strongly reminded of moments with my wife where she was about to give one of our infant children a sponge bath just as they were getting quite tired.

Mother About to Wash Her Sleepy Child

It reminds me of how timeless and beautiful many of our human experiences are.

4. John Wooden on character and reputation
If you have good character, reputation follows.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden

If you work hard on yourself to develop a good character, then your reputation will naturally be a good one, too.

5. Take on Me by a-ha
This song gets stuck in my head every time I hear it, but it’s the video that made me spend a large chunk of my teen years dreaming of being a comic book artist. It still makes me want to pick up a pencil and create another world.

I suppose that’s what I do when I write words.

6. William Henry Channing on life
William Henry Channing was a 19th century Unitarian pastor and writer. I stumbled across this quote from him where he describes the life he wants to life.

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.” – William Henry Channing

That’s a beautiful way of expressing a beautiful life.

7. League of Legends
A big “thank you” to Simple Dollar reader Dave who got me hooked on this game. It operates on a “freemium” methology, which means that you can play as much as you want for free, but you have to pay for certain extra features.

It’s a fairly complicated game where you play on teams of five trying to conquer all of the area on a map. Each player has different abilities, which means that you have to work together to succeed. It’s quite fun and rather addictive, particularly if you used to play Warcraft II like I did in college. You can’t argue with the price, either.

I’m inspired by it, though, because it’s a clear demonstration that the “freemium” model really can work for something deep and compelling.

8. The road
After our Thanksgiving meal, I went on a long walk along some country roads. At one point, I came to a turnoff that meandered off into nowhere. I wanted badly to take that road and just wander for a long time.

The road to nowhere

I tried to take some pictures using my cameraphone, but none came close to capturing what it was that I saw, but this picture by Lida Rose hits upon the same theme beautifully.

9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
I’ve witnessed a lot of people, as they grow older, seem to give up. I’ve watched the spark of life slowly go out in too many people that I’ve loved.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I’d far rather remember the opinionated and fiercely independent woman that my grandmother was ten years or so before her passing than the ill state she found herself in during her final few years. Wonderful people deserve the dignity of remembering them at their best.

10. Frank Lloyd Wright on simplicity
We often have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be, usually to our detriment. We take on busywork and become focused on the needlessly urgent and the nonessential.

“‘Think simple’ as my old master used to say. Reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principle.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Whenever we discard these things, we reveal the strength and beauty of what we’re really working on. The less we put between ourselves and our actual work, the better off we are.

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