Ten Pieces of Inspiration #63

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 some time this week planning a family trip this summer to Yellowstone. In order to get my children excited about it, I searched online for public domain photos of Yellowstone so I could show them something of what it would be like. Naturally, some of these photos leaked into my inspirations for the week.

1. Geothermal
One of the aspects of Yellowstone that has always fascinated me are the geothermal aspects. Hot springs, steam coming from cracks in the rocks, and other such elements are an impressive indication of how the earth is so alive deep inside. It’s moving and heating up and the moving parts are crashing into each other.

Yellowstone

Thanks to Kevin Saff for the image.

2. TripIt
I’m planning (or helping to plan) three different trips in the near future, and I’ve found TripIt to be incredibly useful for doing this.

All you have to do is sign up, get a TripIt email address, and forward emails related to the trip to that account. It does a really good job of extracting the necessary data and creating a neat little trip itinerary for you that’s easy to print off or take with you on a mobile device.

It’s just a great idea, and it works really well.

3. Rivers cutting through mountains
I live in Iowa, where the land is quite flat except for the rolling hills in the northern part of the state. When I saw this picture, I couldn’t help but enjoy how radically different the geography is just a few states away. Nothing in Iowa looks anything like this.

Yellowstone River

Thanks to Bill Bouton for the picture.

4. Carlo Goldoni on traveling near home
There are so many amazing sights to see in the United States that I’ll never have time to see all of them. There are enough sights within two states of where I live that I could fill up summer trips with them until our children have children of their own.

“A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni

The United States is a varied and beautiful place, well worth exploring.

5. Rock formations
Many of the rock formations at Yellowstone look almost otherworldly, like this one. It took an amazing confluence of natural events to cause such stunning and strange beauty.

Yellowstone National Park

Thanks to Pascal for the image.

6. Frank Crane on trust
I have been burned by trusting people too much in the past. On the whole, I don’t regret it.

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough.” – Frank Crane

Some of the best experiences in my life have resulted from trusting people, sometimes even a bit against my better judgment.

7. Colorful bacterial pools
One feature that’s particularly amazing about natural springs is that they often build up bacteria and algae that can resist very high temperatures. These oddities of nature often take on very unusual patterns and colors, like this one at the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Colorful shore of the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Thanks to Frank Kovalchek for the image.

8. John Dalberg-Acton on what makes a society free
I’ve really never found a better description of a free society than this one.

“The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.” – John Dalberg-Acton

The less free a society is, the less power someone who is in a minority (whether of opinion, race, creed, or anything else) has to speak out or to operate as an equal member of society.

9. Wolf couple
One of the great things about our national park system is that it affords people the opportunity to observe many different animals and plants in something very close to their natural habitat. This gives us the chance to see that, in a lot of ways, animals aren’t that different than us. This is a wolf couple exhibiting pair behavior, for example.

Monogamy

Thanks to Steve Jurvetson for the image.

10. Warren Beatty on success
On a good day, this is exactly how I feel when I’m working.

“You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” – Warren Beatty

I think that’s a fine measurement of professional success.