Ten Pieces of Inspiration #97

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. Lao Tzu on past, present, and future
The only worthwhile way to think of the past and the future is to think of them in terms of how they influence what you’re doing right now.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

Both the past and the future can be powerful things, but they’re also traps if you focus too much on them.

2. Cold snap
The weather suddenly turned cold here this week. Ice had collected on our garden, and it looked something like this.

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If I only had the artistry to capture it. Thanks to Mark Tighe for the picture.

3. Bill Cosby on the key to failure
If you ever try to write or perform or participate in any kind of art or do anything in a public setting, you quickly learn that some people just don’t like what you’re doing or who you are. That’s life.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

You need to accept that you’re not going to please everyone and instead focus on doing what you do well that pleases some of the people quite a lot. There are always going to be people who say you’re terrible.

4. Wunderlist
This is the first list-making program that’s come close to competing with Remember the Milk for me. It’s simpler than Remember the Milk, yet it’s still incredibly effective at making a series of to-do lists and helping you manage them. It has such a beautiful and simple design that just fits the task so well.

Without to-do lists, I would be completely lost. I think if I had started with Wunderkind, it’s the program I would be using. Plus, it’s free.

5. Haruki Murakami on how journeys change you
Whenever you take on a big task, the progress you’ve made on it can’t be undone. Sure, you can gain the weight back or take down the thing you’ve built.

“Even if we could turn back, we’d probably never end up where we started.” – Haruki Murakami

The thing is, you’ve learned things about yourself along the way, and that changes you. If you’re in it with others, you’ve learned things about them, and that changes your relationship. You can’t ever undo that.

6. Voltaire on the chains of choice
It is almost impossible to convince someone else to change a bad habit if they’re not committed to that change from within.

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” – Voltaire

Interventions only work if you tap into someone who is already on the verge of making that change.

7. Malcolm Gladwell on how priming affects your performance
The things you think about when you’re not doing something drastically impacts how you perform when you are doing something.

In other words, if you’re told you’re going to succeed before doing something, you’re more likely to succeed. That’s the most obvious version of priming, but it works very effectively even in more subtle situations. It’s something to think about, for sure.

8. Jack Kerouac on popular opinion
This is similar to the Voltaire quote above. The people who do amazing things don’t change what they do based on what others think of them. They do it because they know it’s good.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Jack Kerouac

Of course, this is why we wind up with mediocre politicians. They have to yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.

9. Sinead O’Connor singing Nothing Compares 2 U
You don’t need a lot of over-the-top production to make a great song, a great vocal performance, or a great video.

Simple often just works.

10. Isaac Newton on people
Ever felt frustrated by other people who seem to be crazy?

“I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” – Isaac Newton

I think Newton has felt that way, too.

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