Updated on 03.09.12

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #63

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.

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.


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.


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.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. Kathryn says:

    Your 3rd image of the terraced Mammoth of Yellowstone is white and grey because it has died. One of the realities about hot springs is that they do tend to move.

    When i was a child we lived near Yellowstone and went there often. Those terraces all had hot water flowing over them and they were vivid with the colors of different bacteria growing. But the water doesn’t flow there any more, and the grey and white terraces created by the minerals are what is left after the water stopped flowing.

    I love Yellowstone. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Steven says:

    Is this a hint that you’re going to Yellowstone? I hope so.

  3. Steven says:

    D’oh! I should read the introduction instead of skipping straight to the pictures! Good for you Trent! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  4. deRuiter says:

    “I’ve found TripIt to be incredibly useful for doing this.” Golly dang! Here’s another mundane thing the author finds incredible! Sadly what the author intends to say is “very useful” but thinks that isn’t fancy enough, or he really is a rube because every handy device or mundane event is incredible to him. You’ve got to get out more son, and learn that “incredible” means the Grand Canyon, the heroism of our brave soldiers in the face of death, the bravery of a soldier home from war whose house burns and he goes into the burning house attempting to rescue his two daughters and he and the children perish because he can not reach them, the bravery of a mother animal defending her young with her life, a person who donates a kidney so another may live. Those are “incredible” things. That a computer device or system works is very useful but hardly incredible.
    You’d think a person with a “passion” for writing would learn to use words correctly.

  5. Joan says:

    #4 deRuiter I am probably much older than you, because I can remember seeing pictures of a computer taking up a room. So these handy devices or (to you) mundane things are incredible to me. I sometimes wonder what incredible items will be invented for my grandchildren, who are all computer literate at a very young age. I thing the greatest invention to date is the cell phone (It is incredible)(and incredibly useful).

  6. deRuiter says:

    Joan #5, We can agree to disagree! To me a machine, one of millions, all which perform the same mechanical task, is mundane. “Incredible: too extraordinary and improbable to be believed” is how the online dictionary defines “incredible.” Triplt, Mapquest, these sort of things are not incredible. They’re useful tools. Using the word “incredible” instead of the word “very” is poor writing, and it dilutes the meaning of the word, it demeans those things which really are “incredible.” Being precise in one’s use of words seems like what a person with a “passion” for writing would strive to do. Yes, of course, the cell phone is very useful. If you are equally wowed by a cell phone or Triplt and a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to sacrifice his life to save his comrades, well, that’s you. To me the cell phone is a useful gadget, the sacrifice of the soldier is incredible, and incredibly brave. To you they are equally incredible, fine.

  7. Nick says:

    @ deRuiter I hate to say it, but when you said, “a machine, one of millions, all which perform the same mechanical task”… that could just as easily be applied to a soldier as a computer and that task is, of course, protecting and killing.

    In my eyes, I probably couldn’t be a soldier or build a computer, so they are both incredible to me even if there are a lot of them.

  8. Lisa says:

    We camped (in a tent) for two weeks in Yellowstone last August. It was an incredibly affordable vacation and the most rewarding trip we have ever taken. We definitely want to go back and see everything we didn’t have time for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *