Updated on 02.24.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #8

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. Vidal Sassoon on success and work
This is a great little quote.

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vidal Sassoon

Vidal Sassoon was an orphan who put an obsessive amount of work into building a hairdressing empire. I think I’ll take him at his word on this one.

2. Zeer
I’ve found myself using this tool a great deal lately. Zeer lets you see the Nutrition Facts label for almost any food product you can imagine. Using this in conjunction with grocery list planning has helped our family make some healthier purchases without skipping a beat.

3. Chrysanthemums (1898) by Paul Cezanne
For some reason, I’ve been attracted to paintings that depict flowers and springtime lately.

Cezanne: Chrysanthemums

I rotate my desktop wallpaper on my computer all the time, often using great paintings for the background. For the last week or so, it’s been Cezanne.

4. Thomas Edison on failure
A failure is not the end. It’s the beginning.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

You just have to be willing to pick yourself up off the floor and keep on moving.

5. Life and Music by Alan Watts
Lately, I’ve been really enjoying some of the audio recordings of Alan Watts, a British speaker and philosopher. This is a great little piece (the audio part, anyway).

If you don’t see the video above, you can watch it here.

6. Napoleon Hill on sacrifice
I know what he means here.

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. – Napoleon Hill

There is nothing in this world that comes easy. If you want success, expect many years of constant failure first.

7. Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech 2005
I’ve been watching a lot of commencement speeches lately (wonder why…) and this is the best one I’ve yet found.

I hope to someday deliver something a tenth as inspiring as that.

8. Dropbox
Dropbox is just incredibly, insanely useful. I use it for countless little things, from sharing documents between my desktop and laptop computers to sharing documents with collaborators halfway across the country. It’s just like a magic little folder on my computer that appears everywhere I’m at.

9. Alan Bond on luck
Again, touching on the “hard work” theme:

I’ve always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got. – Alan Bond

Luck is usually an outgrowth of a lot of hard work. Hard work sets the foundation for luck to grow on.

10. Kseniya Simonova’s “You are always nearby”
This is an amazing video showing a young Ukranian woman telling a heartwrenching story about a couple torn apart by World War II using nothing but sand, a lightbox, and music.

It’s just mesmerizing and brilliantly executed. Another work by her, about parents, is similarly compelling.

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  1. Adrienne says:

    Love the Steve Jobs video! I’m old enough to look back and connect the dots, but young enough to still have some new dots to create.
    I sent this to my daughter, who often questions her own unusual path. I hope this is inspiring to her to continue to forge her own way. Thanks for linking this!

  2. lurker carl says:

    “There is nothing in this world that comes easy. If you want success, expect many years of constant failure first.”

    Future success builds upon previous success; Henry Ford engineered, built and sold most of the alphabet before the Model T became a runaway hit. He would have never made it to T if models A through S were all failures.

    Few things come easily but many years of constant failure is a horrible expectation. Experimenting, tweeking and improving does not honestly catagorize any and all previous attempts as failures. Edison’s 10,000 “failed” lightbulbs were not as dismal as one would casually assume, it’s the research and development process required to go from good idea to marketable product to revolutionizing the world.

  3. Andrew says:

    More Cezanne, please!

  4. Nancy says:

    Thanks! I will be showing several videos to my high school calligraphy and drawing students.

  5. Johanna says:

    I agree with lurker carl. I definitely haven’t experienced “years of constant failure” at anything (except maybe my love life), and although I haven’t revolutionized the world the same way that Ford or Edison did, I consider myself pretty successful at at least a couple of things.

    Also, the idea that you need to expect years of constant failure before success ignores all the people who work hard for many years and never do “succeed,” either because they’ve chosen an unrealistic goal that doesn’t match their talents, or because their circumstances are such that it takes all the hard work they can muster just to survive.

    So, it’s great that you’re inspired by quotes about the merits of hard work, but the quotes aren’t proof that the world actually works that way.

  6. Cristina says:

    I absolutely loved this post. In my quest to discover the ever elusive inspirational graduation speech found your blog and I am glad I did. Count me in as a reader!
    Madison, WI

  7. Lise says:

    Unfortunately you’re going to have quite a wait if you’re wanting to see chrysanthemums in real life– they bloom in the fall. :-)

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