Updated on 03.03.12

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #62

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. Walter Elliott on perseverance
The hardest challenges in life seem like incredibly long slogs through difficult terrain. However, almost all things can be conquered if you focus on nothing more than today.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliott

Accomplish what you need to accomplish today. Don’t let the fear of what tomorrow might hold keep you from doing it.

2. Terry Fox
Although this may border on an insult to Canadians, I had never heard of Terry Fox until very recently. His story is amazing.

This is just incredibly inspirational.

3. Derrick Jensen on hope and effort
It’s easy to feel trapped by circumstance and locked into the rut of our day to day life.

“When we realize the degree of agency we actually do have, we no longer have to “hope” at all. We simply do the work.” – Derrick Jensen

In so many ways, though, we’re free to follow whatever path we want. We just have to be willing to work hard for it.

4. IndieGoGo
I’ve been unabashed in my love of Kickstarter, which is an amazing tool for entrepreneurs and lovers of interesting ideas alike. My only problem with it has been that it restricts itself to U.S.-only projects.

Enter IndieGoGo, which takes the Kickstarter idea and opens it to the world. While I like the interface of Kickstarter much better, IndieGoGo offers a lot of intriguing products from outside the United States.

I love sites that facilitate small-scale entrepreneurship, from Etsy to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. They just inspire me.

5. Roger Daltrey singing Love Reign O’er Me
This is one of my favorite vocal performances ever.

Don’t bother with the video. Just listen to the voice.

6. Ken Olson on the uselessness of computers
It’s pretty easy to take a quote from the past and use it to make someone look foolish. What you always have to remember is the time they lived in.

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” – Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corporation

In 1977, there was no reason for people to have a computer at home. Today, they’re nearly ubiquitous and incredibly useful. Perspectives change, and the views of the past aren’t always correct for today.

7. Picasso’s Woman in White (1923)
Whenever I see portraits of people, they somehow feel inaccessible to me. There’s something about this portrait, though, that seems natural. For some reason – and I can’t quite put my finger on it – I feel as though I would have a pleasant conversation with this person. There’s something inherently real about her to me.

Picasso Woman in White (detail), 1923

Thanks to Sharon Mollerus for the image.

8. Carl Sagan on looking at reality
We all have ideas of how the world should work. But that’s not how the world does work.

“Whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.” – Carl Sagan

It takes strength of mind and strength of character to distinguish between the two.

9. Susan Cain on the power of introverts
Being an introvert myself, I know how challenging it can be to live in a world where communication is so vital. However, being an introvert has certain rewards, too.

I’m pretty happy being an introvert.

10. Hegel on good and great
To toss aside something good because it is not perfect is a mistake.

“Perfection is the enemy of the good.” (“Le plus grand ennemi du bon, c’est le mieux.”) – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Our lives are filled with good things. Never overlook them.

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  1. Steven says:

    Perseverence is about never giving up despite facing huge challenges. It’s about overcoming those challenges to ultimately succeed. I’m not sure it’s really the same as focusing on today without fear of tomorrow…but I understand your point.

    That said, I do agree that it’s important to focus on what you can accomplish today instead of worrying about what tomorrow might bring. As a matter of fact, I’m in a situation where I could be shipped halfway around the world for the next two years at any moment. But it’s not guaranteed. So the question I have to ask myself is do I continue to plan my life under the assumption that I will be going, or under the assumption that I won’t. Mostly I have to look at my life today and figure out what’s best for both scenarios. If I only focused on what could happen tomorrow, my entire life would be on hold.

    I’m not sure that’s perseverence, but it’s surely an example of focusing on today.

  2. Kristine says:

    Hi Trent,
    I am not insulted that you did not know Terry Fox, and you are right, his story is an inspiration. In Canada all the public schools hold a Terry Fox run, every September, to raise money for cancer research and to learn about his journey. My daughter was so inspired by him she wanted to BE him last year and she tookme on many runs through the neighborhood. It is worth showing this video to your children.

  3. David says:

    Hegel did not actually come up with the idea that “Le plus grand ennemi du bon, c’est le mieux”. He quoted the French proverb in one of his works, but he did not believe it himself. The thought is more closely associated with Voltaire, who wrote:

    Dans ses écrits un sage Italien
    Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

  4. Joan says:

    Thank you for the video on Terry Fox. It was a real inspiration. He also has an amazing family to incourage him to do what he wanted to do.

  5. Kai says:

    If you were old enough to be aware when he was running, I’m surprised you’d never heard of him. But for the younger crowd, living in the States where there isn’t that much mention of him, it’s not surprising at all. But it is a good story.

  6. Kai says:

    Interesting thought on Terry Fox. I don’t think I ever before realized how *young* he was. I learned about him as a child, but I would have been young enough that all adults seemed impossibly old. I guess I’ve never really looked back at the story since I grew up, but wow is he ever young…

    It’s too bad that short didn’t mention the big rest of the story that came after he died.

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