I find inspiration in stupid places. Before you read further, let me say again: stupid places. Sure, I’ll quote Einstein and Emerson and Franklin from time to time. Even guys like Napoleon Hill have a little bit of non-dumb cred. But if you tell people you get inspiration from someone like Donald Trump or Adam Carolla, you’ll get a look or two. It took me years to realize that if I enjoy metal music and get inspiration from it, I don’t need to feel bad about hating opera.
I’d like to think I’m a cultured guy. I am, by many standards. I’ve studied four languages and still speak two of them. I have read philosophy, poetry and prose til I’m blue in the face. I play the flute and tuba, and back in the day could hold my own on the bass guitar. I knew BASIC and Pascal. I like country music (Hank Williams, Sr. era) and drink cheap beer. I love dumb sitcoms and heavy metal. I’m all over the place in terms of culture.
You may think of yourself as the kind of person who needs inspiration from wonderful sources, but you don’t. Warren Buffet is a good guy to listen to, but let’s face it – if you get inspiration from Trump, there are bits and pieces to admire about his life, too. People will tell you you’re a fool to draw inspiration from the dross – from Wayne Dyer or Kiyosaki – but there is something to be found in Seneca, and in the Secret; in Plato and in Oprah.
I spend more time than I should trying to find inspiration instead of acting on the inspiration I already have. It’s a failing of mine, and I imagine many people do the same. How many self-help books suffice? 1? 10? 100? I think if you read one and don’t act on it, two self-help books are too many, and by that standard I’m over the limit.
But find your inspiration where you can. I find it in movies and in books and even in music. The point is not where you find inspiration – the point is whether you act on the inspiration you DO find.