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Inspiration Archives - Page 4 of 8 - The Meaning Movement

Category "Inspiration"

Tribute to Scott Dinsmore: One Month Later

- - Inspiration

I started this blog a few years ago. I had a good idea of what I wanted it to be, and I’ve figured the rest out as I’ve gone.

There was a short list of people who I found to be most inspiring in the blogosphere. Some were entrepreneurs, some worked in the realm of meaning and purpose, and some wrote in ways that made you pay attention.

Scott Dinsmore was at the top of all of those lists. He was the kind of person who everyone in the online space seemed to know, and his work had so many similarities to my own that it made me burn with jealousy.

Jealousy tells you that you want something someone else has.

Scott was too good to be true. And it took me a while to get over how much success he had and how much everyone loved him.

He was a golden boy, and I couldn’t take it for a long time. I wanted what he had. I wanted to accomplish the kind of things that he accomplished.

As time passed, I gradually opened myself to his work. And the more I did, the more I found myself feeling a growing respect for him.

He wasn’t loved just because he was lucky or because he could put on a nice front. He was loved because he loved people. Truly. Deeply. And wholeheartedly. Continue Reading

An Agile Approach to Life and Career Planning

You can’t plan your whole life out. It’s just not possible.

In his book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert makes the point again and again that humans are consistently bad at predicting what will make us happy.

Isn’t that funny? We’re simply bad at anticipating in the present what we’ll want and what will make us happy in the future.

So even if you could plan out your entire life without any unexpected twists and turns, you’d have created a stagnant map to a moving target.

This is something I keep coming back to when it when it comes to career planning and your life’s work. For most people, your life’s work doesn’t change very much, but what will change is how you go about making that impact. You can say that your work is about helping people in a certain way, but you can’t necessarily be sure how you’ll go about doing that work 10 years from now.

Some of the difficulty in predicting and career planning is that at this moment you only know what’s possible at this very moment. Possibilities open and close in sets. What’s available and even imaginable to you right now is based on where you are and what you’ve been exposed to.

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The Psychological Necessity of Breaking the Rules

“We see you as an artist,” he said. His hair was long, thick, and wavy. His face thin and defined. His gaze intense and gentle.

Sixteen of us sat around a big solid wooden table, eating a meal together. We were all part of an Artist Residency at the graduate school I attended.

Somehow I ended up among them.

I didn’t think of myself as an artist. Though I studied music composition in undergrad, I always felt a bit like I was faking it— everyone else had a much greater mastery of their instruments and musical concepts.

I thought my main focus for the week of the Artist Residency was going to be writing music. It turns out it was something much deeper.

His words to me around that table were part of shift in how I thought of myself. It may seem small from the outside, but on the inside it was big. And risky.

I didn’t spend time around artists in my younger years. My family didn’t have a category for them. None of us were artists. In fact, I don’t know that I could find a single artist in my family tree.

We’d go to art events, but there was always a sense that those people weren’t our people. They were misunderstood and called “artsy-fartsy”.

Artists may make pretty things, but they didn’t seem to belong in our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I began to embrace the fact that I really am a creative at heart, and that making is a big part of who I am.
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The Microphone

Picture this with me: You’re escorted from a posh waiting room down a few nondescript halls to a curtain. Behind it is a dark stage holding only a microphone on a stand in the circle of light cast by spotlights.

Peeking through the curtain— your eyes fighting against the spotlight— you catch a faint glimpse of faces in the crowd. Light reflecting off of someone’s glasses. Small movements here and there.

You pause to listen and hear the gentle murmur and rustle of this audience waiting in anticipation.

How many many people are there? I’m not sure. 400? 5,000? 28,000? The number matters less than their intent, which is to hear what you have to teach them. To learn what you have to say.

They’ve come to hear a short program, only a few sentences in length.

The stagehand escorting you tells you you’re on in 1 minute as the host steps up to the microphone. You hear her begin your introduction.

And now it’s your turn.

You walk bravely and confidently to the mic to say your piece. To speak your truth.
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Something is Better Than Nothing

When it comes to pursuing our goals, finding a deeper sense of purpose, or mastering a skill, doing something and taking some action is always better than doing nothing.

That is until we set a goal that is too far out of reach or our ideals gets in the way. Then our pursuit of continued action is replaced by the realization of how far we have to go to get to where we want to be.

It’s then that nothing instead of something seems justifiable.

Let me give you an example: let’s say you set the goal of practicing your art every day for a month. Three days in, you have extra meetings before and after work, and then a friend needs help moving. Before you know it, you’re waking up the next day and realizing that you won’t meet your goal this month because you missed a day.

What do you do next? Most people would quit. Why bother fighting for a goal that’s already gone?

The month passes and you only practiced a total of two times.

It’s easy to idealize an all or nothing mindset, when something is usually better than nothing.

Or let’s say you have a side business you work on daily. You hope to create a good income that you can eventually scale up and go full time. Today you only have 15 minutes instead of your usual two hours. What do you do? It’s easy to skip it because it’s not long enough to get any real work done.

But something is better than nothing.

Let’s say you want to go back to school but need to take the GRE before you apply. You set the goal of spending some time studying every day for three month until the test, but then you have a busy first week. It’s easy to postpone the test and tell yourself you need more time. But you’ve already done that twice.

Your fear of not scoring well keeps you from taking the test at all. But the truth is that a pretty good test score is better than no test score. Continue Reading