Episode 6: Inspiration: How to Find It and Keep It

You know, the cousin to motivation is, as I call it, is going to be the word inspiration. You know, today I want to talk to you about inspiration, how do you find it and keep it, and how do you make sure that the motivation and inspiration you’re feeling is in the right direction you wish to take your life? I will say that I get inspired by many different things. You know, I get inspired by some of the most simple things in life, like a new born baby. I get inspired by books that I am reading, art pieces that I have seen and I experience a deep moving pleasure for the talent of the artist. I listen to music of all different types and genres. Some songs reach down deep into my heart and in my soul and make me feel empowered and make me think that I can do more and be more than what I am today. I love reading biographies. I get inspiration from the Holy Bible. I get inspiration from listening to individuals speak who have blazed trails much bigger than what I have. I hope today that I give you some opportunity to see something in this podcast that is going to inspire you and continue to motivate you to reach your highest heights of what you’re trying to achieve in life. Before we get started, though, I want to pose a few quotes to you that I like and keep in my list in my journal of inspiring quotes. If I’m feeling a little tired, the weekend has worn on me now, and I still haven’t had time to really rejuvenate and rest my mind, I refer back to these quotes of inspirational knowledge.

The first one is by a very very talented person that didn’t have a benefit in this world until she made her path. I’m speaking of Helen Keller, born both deaf and mute, she couldn’t speak or hear, but became one of the most inspirational leaders of her time. I’ve always dreamed of seeing her speak. Once, when she was standing on the stage, she made the comment, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” That is a powerful statement.

Aristotle, the great philosopher, always had a great quote that we could take with us, and I keep this one in my journal as well: “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Powerful comments such as this give us the opportunity to understand what the speaker, what the philosopher was trying to get into our mind. It goes back to that focus, what we spend our time on, our focusing of our energies is what comes about.

Here’s another great one. The great comedian, Milton Berle, when I was much younger, Milton Berle was at the height of his career. His fame was known throughout the entire world as a comedic genius. He had one comment that I always enjoyed, so I wrote it in my journal one day. I’ve had it now for many, many years, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” You’ve got to give it up for Milton Berle, to come up with a great philosophy statement such as that. So build a door. Build something that it can knock upon.

Norman Vincent Peale was known for his motivational books, and speaking on tapes all throughout the younger years in my career. I remember buying the cassette tapes in those days, which should tell you my age at this point. But those cassette tapes were things that I listened to and almost wore out in my car on my way to events or just traveling anywhere. And that was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Norman says this, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Very very powerful. Remember that we are what we think and dedicate our resources and mindset to. If you want to be a better person, think about pure and positive, powerful thoughts. Don’t be allowed to put your mind down in the dirt, in the grunge of the day.

My mentor, Jim Rohn, you’ve heard me speak of him before on this podcast, he had no formal education beyond perhaps one year of college. He thought as a young man at that time that he knew all he needed to know to go out and conquer the world. Admittedly, Jim will tell you that was one of his first mistakes in his life. The second one was not focusing on those important things until he got his philosophy changed by a mentor that hired him, and he went to work with him. Jim Rohn says, “The major value in life is not what you get, the major value in life is what you become”. And that’s what we’re talking about today on inspiration.

What are you becoming in your life. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish and who are you seeing in your mind to inspire you to greater heights? Where do you find inspiration for your life? And how do you maintain an inspired state of mind as you go throughout your day and throughout your week? And when are you least inspired, we need to recognize those moments, as I said earlier, when I’m really tired, I’m worn out, I need a day of rejuvenation, sometimes you just don’t have the opportunity to take that day as planned, and you need to find some inspiration to move you forward. Some of the resources I utilize to keep my inspiration level high are very simply found if you just look around. You need to be observant to things around you for inspiration purposes.

First and foremost, Success Magazine, it’s a great tool that I use to read every quarter, and they have inspirational podcasts that you can also subscribe to that give you the powerful words of Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Darren Hardy, and many more who have got the power to inspire you. To put their words in your mind and put your mind to work in search of your path for your goals. I also have mentors that are always giving me direction. Someone I can seek when I have a question, a quandary in life that I just don’t know how to tackle. Those mentors are very, very inspiring to me. I said earlier, in the introduction of this podcast that I seek a lot of inspiration from the written word. And there is not a more inspiring book, in my opinion, than the Holy Bible. There are other books for other religions, I understand, but I seek out the inspiration that I need in my day by my early morning Bible study. That quiet time, as I said earlier, between 5 and 5:30, there’s not even a noise in the home. You’ve already gotten out of the bed, with your feet on the ground and a smile on your face and your mind is open and fertile and ready to take on some positive news. That’s the time I read my Bible, and the time I seek out that time of quietness, to meditate and pray about the day. It sets a tone for sure. And then I love to get vigorous and stay healthy by going to Crossfit. Now I will tell you, this isn’t for everyone, but it could be. Too many people don’t understand that physical fitness has a great role in the reaching of your goals. How shameful would it be to have one of the most iconic minds of the day, but not have the body to carry out the commands of the mind. You see, it’s only when the total human being is utilized do we reach our full potential in life.

Books are another area of inspiration for me. I enjoy reading biographies of great people that have accomplished tremendous feats during their lifetime. I’m going to tell you a little bit about one of those people in just a few moments. History is another area which I focus my reading. You know, they say that those that don’t study and learn history, are doomed to repeat it. I certainly don’t want our country to go through the same issues of perhaps Germany in World War II, and I don’t want our country to reach austerity as they had in Greece during the 2000s. We as a country have so much for our future and we just need to all remember that we have so much more in common then we do in difference. You know, I enjoy reading fictional books as well, one of the greatest, greatest authors that I enjoy has never written a book that I didn’t enjoy. Matter of fact, I anxiously await them each year and my mother in law gives me a Christmas gift each year under the tree. And that Christmas gift is always one of his novels. The characters, the descriptions, the background, the protagonists, it’s always something that’s intriguing to me and very inspirational.

Then also I like to do another thing that perhaps you do as well. To find that peace of mind, while I’m also seeking inspiration, I generally enjoy going for walks in nature. I like to get out where it’s just the trees, the wind, the rustling of the leaves the birds chirping, animals making noises, squirrels throwing acorns around. This gives me an opportunity to feel even closer to my creator. It gives me a chance to see how inspiring it is that he can create such a wonderful environment for me to enjoy. Walking in nature is something I plan to do when I take any kind of trip. On my speaking engagements, especially when I’m in wooded areas on the east coast, I certainly enjoy planning part of my trip where I can have two to three hours of just venturing through the woods; going through a new park, or taking out a new running trail where I can try out the old tennis shoes, and slip through there with my heart racing but my eyes taking in the beautiful wonder.

One of the most inspiring areas of life though, to me, has been music. I’m talking about the real kind of music, you know, back from the 70s and early 80s when music was really music. I’m talking about guitar players. I’ve been a musician most of my life, not nearly as good as these gentlemen I’m going to mention to you, but they have been an inspiration to me. They move me with their use of melodic tones on the same instrument I hold in my hands. The issue is boiling down to, they’ve got the same notes, the same keys, the same strings, but if you look at what they do with that same instrument, it is inspiring. It is just awestriking to sit and listen to what has been accomplished by these outstanding musicians. First and foremost, Alex Lifeson of the group Rush. Now I know a lot of you don’t even know who Rush is, but I will tell you, it’s a power trio out of Canada that has changed the world of music for 40 years. Their very first album, simply titled their name, Rush, set the pace for me and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. His guitar playing, his approach to the instrument whether it be acoustic, nylon, electric guitar, six or twelve string, and the effects pedals that he uses, you can’t tell they are effects on the music. He blends them so melodically. Eric Clapton, Old Slow Hand as they called him. What an outstanding talent. Some of his early albums were just capturing to me as I listened to them. When I mean albums, I actually mean 8 tracks, back in the day they were just outstanding. Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin. This guy blazed a trail with a rhythm and blues approach to rock and roll that I just was captured on the first note. When you listen to “Stairway to Heaven”, you can understand real quickly that this artist knew how to write to capture the audience’s ear. What an inspiration to listen to. And then something happened in the late 70s that really turned all of this around for me. Instead of just good old rock and roll, this band and this man came out of Pasadena, CA with a new sound and a new approach to the guitar and turned the entire music scene on its ear. You bet, I’m talking about Eddie Van Halen. The first album came out and I listened to those songs on that album and was immediately transformed, into a new era of rock and roll.

Well Jimmy, you’re talking a lot about music and guitar players and I don’t play music and so forth. I will tell you, even if you’re not a musician, by listening to some of these recordings or any type of music would be a way that inspire your mind and open your mind to new adventures that you can create. I’m talking about how to find inspiration. This is something that you can easily do in your car. Pick up your iPhone or iPod, put on a headset, just setting somewhere in your home and listen to something that’s very inspiring. There are great musicians of all types. I actually enjoy some classical music as well. Bach, Beethoven, and so forth, I utilize those when I’m writing. To me, put the headset on, get in that quiet arena where there’s no one but me listening to that powerful music, that’s very very inspirational with my writing.

I love to visit art exhibits and museums, no matter where we go. One of the most inspiring to me was when we were in France. You know, I told you about my daughters 16th birthday, when we went to the Louvre and got to see some of those paintings and sculpted art of thousands of years, if not hundreds of years old. To me was just fascinating. And then, mostly the inspiring people I’m around. There’s three of them in my life that give me a ton of inspiration each day. Always uplifting, always positive, always on my team. And guess who I’m talking about? You bet, my wife and two daughters. They are the most inspirational in my life. I love them dearly and everyday I look forward to doing what I can enhance their lives even more. You know, one of the things that I do as well, is get chances to go and visit places that do provide me the background of inspiration.

Let me give you a little story about one of my favorite inspirational figures of life. This is a story of someone that was born in poverty, without a formal education, whose mother had died when he was only nine years of age. That alone could have set aside any hopes for bright future for a lot of us. There was no formal education, as I said, he actually had to teach himself to read. He won a state representative seat for his state, when he was a younger gentlemen, and then passed the bar and became a lawyer. He did run and got beat for a U.S. Senate seat. He cared deeply for those that he served as an attorney and those in his community. To simply see his photograph and look into those deep hollow eyes and read his writings that he left behind inspires me to seek greatness for my own profession, for my state, and for my country. The monument that enshrines his image has more than 6 million visitors each year. And I am always one of those visitors. I’ve seen his monument numerous times, and leave there again feeling very inspired. I’ve been fortunate to visit his summer home, just outside of Washington D.C., I’ve walked the grassy field of Gettysburg while reciting his simple yet powerful Gettysburg Address on dedication and country. I’ve stood at the doorway in Ford’s theatre where John Wilkes Booth fired the fatal shot that ended his life. And I’ve also stood in the bedroom of the Peterson House, while contemplating the scene and the attendees’ emotions as this great man lay there dying with a steel ball lodged in his skull. His short but fulfilling life. I am talking of Abraham Lincoln, who has inspired more than 15,000 books to be written about this larger than life human being. No other person in history, except for Jesus Christ, has accomplished this amazing feat.

So what are you doing in your daily life to maintain inspiration? What are you doing to continue reaching your highest potential? Are you feeding your mind with the good clean powerful information each day? Look for those around you that are being inspired by you. You may not realize the inspiration you are to others. And do this. Stop for just a short time today and find that spark of inspiration you need to live the life that you desire. You see, as always you are in control of you. Your dreams are only limited by the beliefs between your ears. You have the power to make this week the best week you’ve ever experienced.

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