Ten Pieces of Inspiration #23

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. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
I re-read Emerson’s wonderful classic essay Self-Reliance again this week, and again I found it digging deep into my soul.

Money360 is as much about self-reliance as it is about personal finance. In fact, managing your money is just one particular flavor of self-reliance, and being self-reliant in other areas makes managing your money easier.

Many of the quotes you’ll find in this week’s pieces of inspiration are straight from this essay.

We must always learn to walk before we can ever learn to run, and we must learn to stand on our own two feet before we can begin to walk.

2. Ann-Marie Thomas on teaching children in interesting ways
This type of thing is hugely inspiring to me as a parent who tinkers and loves teaching his children about science and technology.

Yes, my three year old daughter made an electrical circuit. I wish I had a picture of it.

You can read tons of details about squishy circuits on the squishy circuits project page.

3. Emerson on nonconformity
Why be like anyone else?

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself and you shall have the sufferage of the world. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. In the end, all the influences of the outside world don’t matter because, in the end, you’re left with nothing but your own thoughts. If you fill your life with being what others want you to be, what are you left with in the end?

4. Frank Sinatra singing Fly Me to the Moon
He’s one of my favorite singers ever, and this is a very good performance.

Why do I like him so much? He makes something very difficult look incredibly easy, as if he just strolled out there, grabbed a microphone, and just made it happen. It’s resting on a stupendous amount of practice and vocal training. His phrasing and his ability to make you understand every syllable along the way while making it all feel completely at ease and natural is just stunning.

5. Emerson on making up your own mind
It is very easy to be influenced by and often completely drawn into the ideas and opinions of those around you. It’s not the best route, though.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude after own own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Seek out your own answers. Read from and listen to many different sources. Don’t just copy what everyone else thinks to get along.

6. Kurosawa’s Crows (1990)
Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed a film in 1990 called Dreams. One segment of this film, Crows, depicts a person becoming lost inside of a van Gogh painting.

Amazing. Thanks to the multiple readers who have shared this with me over the past few weeks.

7. Emerson on trusting yourself
If it seems wrong, it probably is.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

I know that when I do something wrong, I either feel nothing or I sense that it’s wrong. When I do something right, though, I feel it all over. I get pinpricks on my cheeks and a warm feeling in my belly.

8. RescueTime
If you’ve ever worked at a job with significant computer time and wondered where all of your time went, RescueTime is pretty much a must-have.

It shows you exactly how much time you’re wasting at your desk (identifying time-wasting websites and tracking how long you spend on them) and has other tools that help you block out distractions.

I’ve started using it and it’s helped tremendously with productivity during the day.

9. Emerson on living for yourself
What are you living for?

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, then that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If you want a lower stress life, start making choices that lead to a lower stress life. If you want a life with abundance, stop making choices that squeeze all of the time and money you have. If you want something, don’t constantly make choices that counteract that something.

10. Asimov on self-education
All education boils down to self-education.

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. – Isaac Asimov

If a student does not care and does not wish to learn for themselves, no teacher in the world will stuff ideas into that mind. Education works if the student is willing and it does not if the student is not willing. Are you willing to learn? If you’re a parent, are you creating an environment where your children are willing to learn?

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