Inspirational Living: Life Lessons for Success & Happiness
Foundation Stones (Pt. 2): True Actions and Speech

Foundation Stones (Pt. 2): True Actions and Speech

May 23, 2019

Listen to episode 373 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Foundation Stones: True Speech & Actions. Edited and adapted from Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success by James Allen.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you enjoy our podcast, please help us spread the word by sharing your favorite episodes on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success, by James Allen, published in 1913.

Following the Right Principles and Methods come True Actions. One who is striving to grasp true principles, and work with sound methods, will soon come to see that the details of conduct cannot be overlooked — that, indeed, those details are fundamentally distinctive or creative, according to their nature. They are, therefore, of deep significance and importance.

As you acquire this insight, your progress will become more rapid, your pathway in life more sure, your days more serene and peaceful. In all things, you will go the true and direct way, untroubled by the external forces that play about you. Not that you will be indifferent to the welfare and happiness of those around you; that is quite another thing. But you will be indifferent to their opinions, to their ignorance, to their ungoverned passions.

True actions may easily be distinguished from false by all who wish to do so. As in the material world, we distinguish things by their form, color, size, etc. — choosing those things which we require, and putting aside those things which are not useful to us. So, in the spiritual world of deeds, we can distinguish between those that are bad and those that are good by their nature, their aim, and their effect — and can choose and adopt those that are good, and ignore those that are bad.

In all forms of progress, avoidance of the bad always precedes acceptance and knowledge of the good — just as a child at school learns to do their lessons correctly by having repeatedly pointed out to them how they have done them wrong.

Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success

Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success

May 21, 2019

Listen to episode 372 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success by James Allen. Edited and adapted from a book by the same name by James Allen.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Last week I introduced you to our new sponsor Carbona, who has been helping people live a life unstained for more than a century. One of their stain-removal products that I’ve been particularly impressed with is their 2 in 1 pet stain and odor remover.

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success, by James Allen, published in 1913.

It is wise to know what comes first, and what to do first. To begin anything in the middle or at the end is to make a muddle of it. The athlete who begins by breaking the tape would not receive the prize. They must begin by facing the starter and toeing the mark — and even then a good start is important if they are to win.

The young student does not begin with algebra and literature, but with counting and ABC. So in life – the business people who begin at the bottom achieve the more enduring success; and the religious people who reach the highest heights of spiritual knowledge and wisdom are they who have stooped to serve a patient apprenticeship to the humbler tasks, and have not scorned the common experiences of humanity, or overlooked the lessons to be learned from them.

The first things in a sound life (and therefore in a truly happy and successful life) are right principles. Without right principles to begin with, there will be wrong practices to follow with, and a bungled and wretched life to end with.

All the infinite variety of calculations which tabulate the commerce and science of the world, come out of the ten numerals; all the hundreds of thousands of books which constitute the literature of the world (and perpetuate its thought and genius) are built up from the twenty-six letters.

Motivation for Ambition, Determination & Success

Motivation for Ambition, Determination & Success

May 16, 2019

Listen to episode 371 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Motivation for Ambition, Determination & Accomplishment. Edited and adapted from Stepping Stones to Success by Horace D. Hitchcock.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. You know, life is full of problems, big and small. I often provide you with the inspiration for solving the larger problems in your life, but there are many daily, more mundane, problems that need solutions too. For example, stains: carpet stains — stains on shirts, pants, and other clothing. That is where our new sponsor Carbona comes in. They have been helping people live a “Life Unstained” for more than a century.

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Stepping Stones to Success by Horace D. Hitchcock, published in 1916.

There can be no accomplishment in life without ambition. It's the great and all-powerful incentive to succeed. Ambition is the dynamo of human energy. It comes from within and is confined to the soul's own limitations.

You have ambition and so has everyone— to some degree. It is that something deep down in your own nature that says: "Go you, and do it."

Ambition and determination are playmates. Success itself comes surely and quickly to those who have ambition backed by an unwavering determination. Your aim in life is to accomplish something, and that something must be the combination of your opportunity and ambition.

Your aim is to do something well; and to do it well you must have force behind every stroke. If you put a stone into the ground, it will obey the law of gravitation and remain there forever. When you bury an acorn it will accede to a higher law and grow up by a vital force enclosed in its tiny walls.

Nature has whispered into the ears of all life: "Grow up!" Your ambition seed is securely planted within you, and its development can be promoted through a combination of physical and mental qualities — the physical to produce energy that is physical, and the mental to guide all in the proper channels.

The Dignity & Power of Honest Work | Noble Living

The Dignity & Power of Honest Work | Noble Living

May 14, 2019

Listen to episode 370 of the Inspirational Living Podcast: The Dignity & Power of Honest Work. Edited and adapted from The Royal Path of Life by T.L. Haines and L.W. Yaggy.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Learn how you can transform your personal and professional life in 30 days with our Majesty Meditation program. Go to LivingHour.org/majesty. And use the coupon code INSPIRATION for 30% off the $11.99 purchase price.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Royal Path of Life by T. L. Haines and L. W. Yaggy, published in 1882.

There is dignity in labor — in toil of the hand as well as toil of the head — in toil to provide for the bodily wants of an individual life, as well as in toil to promote some enterprise of world-wide fame. All labor that tends to supply our wants, to increase our happiness, to elevate our nature (in a word, all labor that is honest) is honorable too.

Labor clears the forest, and drains the swamp, and makes "the wilderness rejoice and blossom as a rose." Labor drives the plow, scatters the seeds, reaps the harvest, grinds the corn, and converts it into bread, the staff of life.

Labor provides daily sustenance to the thousand millions of the human family. Labor gathers the gossamer web of the caterpillar, the cotton from the field, and the fleece from the flock, and weaves it into raiment soft, warm, and beautiful —the purple robe of royalty and the gray gown of the peasant being alike in its handiwork.

Labor molds the brick, splits the slate, quarries the stone, shapes the column, and rears not only the humble cottage, but the gorgeous palace, the tapering spire, and the stately dome. Labor (diving deep into the solid earth) brings up its long-hidden stores of coal to feed ten thousand furnaces, and power the electricity of millions of homes.

Labor explores the rich veins of deeply-buried rocks, extracting the gold and silver, the copper and tin. Labor smelts the iron, and molds it into a thousand shapes for use and ornament — from the massive pillar to the tiniest needle, from the ponderous anchor to the wire gauze, from the mighty fly-wheel of the steam-engine to the polished ring on the finger.

Imagination Rules the World | Overcoming Fear

Imagination Rules the World | Overcoming Fear

May 9, 2019

Listen to episode 369 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Imagination Rules the World | Habits of Mind. Edited and adapted from Stepping Stones to Success by Horace D. Hitchcock.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Coming up this weekend on Our Sunday Talks, I’ll be reading from Chapter 3 of my book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life, where I examine the meaning of the phrase “Thy Kingdom Come”.  To learn how you can gain access to the Our Sunday Talks series, please visit LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Stepping-Stones to Success by Horace D. Hitchcock, published in 1916.

"Imagination rules the world,” said Napoleon, and it is true that this quality of mind has been a notable factor in the success of all great men and women. Each one of us possesses the quality in some degree, and it should be cultivated.

A common understanding of imagination implies its relation to something fanciful, unreal, impossible — as in the case of the imagination of a novelist. But all imagination is based on actualities. Exaggerated imaginations often produce improbabilities, but they are never wholly lacking in possibilities.

The faculty of imagination should not be considered as a part of the mental equipment needed only by artists, musicians, poets, and writers. It is utilized in everyday life, in all fields of endeavor. It often forms the the root of happiness and prosperity for many who realize its possibilities.

Great happiness comes often through a well-developed imagination. Through it, we can overlook the commonplace — and color the dull, uninteresting things of life into things of beauty and delight. It then becomes a great power for contentment and joy — and who is there who is not always seeking contentment?

The Joys of Living Here & Now | How to Be Happy

The Joys of Living Here & Now | How to Be Happy

May 7, 2019

Listen to episode 368 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Joys of Living Now | How to be Happy. Edited and adapted from The Joys of Living by Orison Swett Marden.

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Motivational Podcast Excerpt: If an alien from some other planet were to visit Earth, they would probably think that our people were all en route to something beyond, some other destination, and that where they happen to be living now is merely a way station, a place to unpack only so much luggage as they need for a temporary stay.

The visitor would find that very few people actually live in the here and now — that most people's gaze is fixed upon something beyond, something to come.

So many of us today are not really settled, do not really live in the now, but we are sure we WILL live tomorrow, or next year, when business is better, our fortunes greater: when we move into our new house, get our new furnishings, our new car, get rid of things that annoy us, and have everything around us to make us comfortable. THEN we will be happy.

But we are not really enjoying ourselves today. Our eyes are so focused upon the future, upon some goal in the beyond, that we do not see the beauties and the glories all about us. Our eyes are not focused upon the things near us, but those far away. We get so accustomed to living in our imagination, and anticipation, that we lose much of our power of enjoying the here and the now.

We are living for tomorrow, and yet, "When tomorrow comes it will still be tomorrow!" We are like children chasing a rainbow. We spend our lives trading in "futures," building air-castles. We never believe that we have yet reached the years of our finest living, but we always feel sure that that ideal time of life is coming.

The Art of Clear Thinking | Positive vs. Negative Thoughts

The Art of Clear Thinking | Positive vs. Negative Thoughts

May 2, 2019

Listen to episode 367 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Art of Clear Thinking. Edited and adapted from Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. You can now support our podcast by purchasing our new official podcast t-shirt. Check out the new design by visiting LivingHour.org/clothing. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.

You have heard me say in the past that you are what you think. But what DO you think? How orderly are your thought processes? How straight is your thinking? And how clean are your thoughts? There are certain mental cobwebs that clutter up the thinking of almost everyone, even the most brilliant minds. Negative feelings, emotions, passions — habits, beliefs and prejudices. Our thoughts become entangled in these webs.

Sometimes we have undesirable habits and we want to correct them. And there are times when we are strongly tempted to do wrong. Then, like an insect caught in a spider's web, we struggle to get free. Our conscious will is in conflict with our imagination and the will of our subconscious mind. The more we struggle, the more we become entrapped.

However, we can avoid mental cobwebs. We can clear them. And we can sweep them away as they begin to develop. We can free ourselves when once enmeshed. And we can remain free by thinking accurately with a positive mental attitude.

Accurate thinking is a critical success principle. To think accurately we must use reason. The science of reasoning or accurate thinking is called logic. One can learn it from books written specifically on this subject, such as: The Art of Clear Thinking, by Rudolf Flesch; Your Most Enchanted Listener by Wendell Johnson; Introduction to Logic by Irving Copi; and The Art of Straight Thinking by Edwin Leavitt Clarke.

These books can be of immense practical help. But we don't act from reason alone. And action based on common sense is the result of more than just reason. It depends upon habits of thought and action, intuitions, experiences, and other influences such as tendencies and environment.

Forget the Past | Go Forward Boldly | Motivation

Forget the Past | Go Forward Boldly | Motivation

April 30, 2019

Listen to episode 366 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Forget the Past | Go forward Boldly. Edited and adapted from Go Forward by J.R. Miller.

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Go Forward by J.R. Miller, published in 1909.

We are constantly being told to remember, and urgently counselled not to forget. “It is perilous to forget the sins of the past,” people say. But there is a sense also in which our only hope is in forgetting. We never can get on to higher things if we insist on clinging to our past and carrying it with us. We can make progress only by forgetting. We can go forward only by leaving behind what is past.

For instance, we must forget our mistakes. And there are many of them. We think of them in our serious moods, at the close of a year, when we are forced to review our past, or when some deep personal experience sets our life before us in retrospection. We sigh, " Oh, if I had not made that foolish decision; if I had not let that wrong person into my life; if I had not gone into that wretched business; if I had not blundered so in managing my affairs; if I had not taken that bad advice; how much better my life would have been!"

Some people stew regretfully over last year’s mistakes the entire following year. They do little but fret over their errors all the months which they ought to make bright with better things, nobler achievements, loftier attainments. But what good comes of it? Worry undoes no folly, corrects no mistakes, brings back nothing we have lost. A year of fretting sets us no farther forward.

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April 29, 2019

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"If I could give you but one word of advice, it would be that which Michelangelo wrote under a diminutive figure on a canvas in Raphael’s studio, when he called on the artist and found him out: “Amplius” (which is the Latin word for “larger”). Raphael needed no more advice. This one word meant volumes to him. I advise every one of you to frame this motto, hang it up in your room, in your store, in your office, in the factory where you work, where it will stare at you in the face. Constant contemplation of it will make your life broader and deeper." - Orison Swett Marden, 1919

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Lifelong Ambitions | Success & The Spirit to Keep Growing

Lifelong Ambitions | Success & The Spirit to Keep Growing

April 25, 2019

Listen to episode 365 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Lifelong Ambitions | The Spirit to Keep Growing. Edited and adapted from Ambition and Success by Orison Swett Marden.

Motivational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Ambition and Success, by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1919.

One of the saddest things in life is to see people who started out with high hopes and proud ambitions settle down in mediocre positions, half satisfied just merely to get a living, to plod along indifferently. What tragedy there is in being content with mediocrity, in getting into a state where one is indifferent to the larger, better things of life!

When you are satisfied with the life you are living, with the work you are doing, with the thought you are thinking, with the dreams you are dreaming — satisfied with the character you are building, with your ideals — you may be sure that you are already beginning to deteriorate.

There is little hope for the person who feels satisfied with themselves, who does not know, “the noble discontent that stirs the acorn to become an oak.” It is our ambition to improve something somewhere every day, to get a little further on and a little higher up than we were the day before — an insatiable passion for bettering things all along the line — that is the secret of human progress.

Self-Respect & Living Up to Our Better Selves

Self-Respect & Living Up to Our Better Selves

April 23, 2019

Listen to episode 364 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Self Respect & Living Up to Our Better Selves. Edited and adapted from Work by Hugh Black.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you would like to support our podcast with a one-time donation, you can do so by visiting LivingHour.org/donate. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the book entitled Work by Hugh Black, published in 1903.

Life is more than money and trade, more than business and cash transactions. If there were not more than this in our lives (nobler thoughts and larger endeavors), society could not have existed for so long.

No individual can be wholly paid in money for their work, if it be true work. We cannot buy love, nor pay for it — and without love in all its grades and forms, our social life, and even our business life, are failures. Faithful dealing between people cannot be bought and sold. Such work is a spiritual thing (as well as a material), and money has no currency in such trafficking.

We need an ideal to save our lives from deadly dullness. We need the light of the ideal to inspire us and to ennoble our activities. Otherwise, what poor petty drudgery it all is, a meaningless bending of the neck to the yoke.

We must make all our occupations truly spiritual, inspired by spiritual motives. To spiritual beings like you and I there is no detail of life which doesn’t have spiritual significance. And the failure of our days is due to our neglect of the unseen in dealing with the seen, our forgetfulness to live every common hour in the power of an endless life.

Viewed practically, and put into simple language, the ideal of work is faithfulness — work done according to a high standard which we ourselves set up. The problem is that we have such easy and elastic consciences, and such low selfish standards! What will get by, what will do the turn, is often all that we aim at. We do not put our conscience into our work.

Henry Ward Beecher | Wisdom, Quotes & Inspiration

Henry Ward Beecher | Wisdom, Quotes & Inspiration

April 18, 2019

Listen to episode 363 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Henry Ward Beecher | Wisdom & Quotes. Edited from the works of Henry Ward Beecher.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. A special thanks to our newest patron Sharmaine Jennings. Coming up this Sunday, I’ll be starting again the series Our Sunday Talks, exclusively for patrons like Sharmaine. The first 13 episodes will be a complete reading of my book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life, a thought-provoking and non-dogmatic meditation of this beloved prayer. Learn how you can become our patron at: LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the writings of Henry Ward Beecher.

 “‎Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard taskmaster to yourself — and be lenient to everybody else.”

“No person can tell whether they are rich or poor by turning to their bank book. It is in the heart that riches lie. You are rich according to what you are, not according to what he have.”

“If you harbor any sort of fear, it percolates through all your thinking, damages your personality, makes you landlord to a ghost.”

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”

“Never forget what someone says to you when they are angry — for that reveals their hidden feelings.”

“Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house…A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a person's history. It is our duty to have books. A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life…..Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows.”

The Strenuous Life | Great Speeches, Essays & Addresses

The Strenuous Life | Great Speeches, Essays & Addresses

April 16, 2019

Listen to episode 362 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Strenuous Life | Great Speeches, Essays, and Addresses. Edited from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you have been inspired by our podcast, you can help us spread the word by sharing your favorite episodes on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Thank you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from a speech delivered by Theodore Roosevelt in 1899.

Today I would like to talk with you about the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes to the individual who shrinks not from danger, from hardship, nor from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.

A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack of desire (or power to strive after great things) is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I ask only that what every self-respecting citizen demands from themselves and their children shall be demanded of the country as a whole.

Who among us would teach their children that the easy life is to be the first consideration in their eyes, to be the ultimate goal after which they strive? If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your children that though they may have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness — for wisely-used leisure means merely that those who possess it (being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood) are all the more bound to carry on some kind of noble work in the sciences, the arts, in exploration of some kind — work of the type the world most needs, and the successful carrying out of which reflects great honor upon themselves and helps or inspires others.

We do not admire the person of timid peace. We admire the individual who embodies victorious effort; the one who never wrongs their neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those vigorous qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

Road Signs on the Road to Happiness | Life Lessons

Road Signs on the Road to Happiness | Life Lessons

April 11, 2019

Listen to episode 361 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Road Signs on The Road to Happiness. Edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Visit our website BookofZen.com for inspirational t-shirts and gifts – all featuring my own original sayings inside a classic zen enso circle. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Working with God by Gardner Hunting, published in 1934.

Did you ever start out on a road trip of a hundred miles or more, from a height which gave you a view of the whole road you had to travel, from beginning to end? It would be a high mountain indeed that would give you such a view.

There are doubtless places in the Rockies from which we can see the country for long distances, sometimes perhaps for fifty miles, maybe much more. Sometimes the air is so clear that distant things seem much closer than they actually are. Sometimes we can actually see the road itself, its twists and turns, its straight stretches, its climbs and descents, its bridges, the towns along the way, even the detours, so far ahead that we can anticipate nearly all the conditions we shall have to meet on the way to where we plan to go.

But usually the road ahead of us is not so clear. Usually we get out a road map and study it, and lay out our route by what somebody else (the mapmaker) tells us is the most practical, the most direct, the easiest way. Then we get reports from some website as to the condition of rods, shortcuts, points of interest, places to find food and shelter, the safe, comfortable highways to follow — all based on 1st-hand experience in driving over the route we intend to follow.

The Secret of Doing Really Great Things | Success Habits

The Secret of Doing Really Great Things | Success Habits

April 9, 2019

Listen to episode 360 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Secret of Doing Really Great Things. Edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. You know, I like reading all kinds of books, but lately I’ve been reading biographies of people who have achieved great things, whether it be in the arts, sciences, or business. If you don’t have the time to read the full autobiographies of great women and men, well, you don’t have to. Instead, you can check out Blinkist, the knowledge-boosting app that takes the best key takeaways, the need-to-know information, from thousands of nonfiction books and condenses them down into just 15 minutes of reading or listening time.

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Working with God by Gardner Hunting, published in 1934.

It is almost funny sometimes how we get ourselves all primed with good intentions to love and trust, to give out what we want to get back, to do unto others what we want them to do unto us, and then the minute we find some "trouble" bobbing up in an unexpected way, we get all upset, and confused, and scared, and grasp at the first thing that suggests itself for getting even, for getting our own way, for avoiding humiliation, for "saving face." It would be funny if it weren't so tragic! How we do despair at our failures, when we ought to laugh at ourselves.

It seems sometimes that when troubles face us, our first impulse is to fight, resist, snarl, scratch, bite, strike, crush. We find it hard to understand why things have turned out the way they have. We grow desperate with a sense of our own uncontrollable emotions, our ingrained weaknesses, our wretched inconsistencies.

If you are like me — or rather if I am like you (which I am inclined to believe I am) — we both often wish that we could find some idea to cling to, some phrase that we could repeat, some reminder of our principles that we could use on all occasions when "trouble" appears and that would start us off just right in dealing with it — some formula or recipe for immediate "first aid" that we might act upon until we had time to think, until we could bring up our reserves of experience and conviction and seasoned wisdom. Sometimes I think that that is what everybody wants most: a formula (a brief rule) for first aid when facing life’s problems.

What is a Life Worthwhile? | Finding Purpose

What is a Life Worthwhile? | Finding Purpose

April 4, 2019

Listen to episode 359 of the Inspirational Living podcast: What is a Life Worthwhile? | Finding Purpose. Edited and adapted from The Art of Being Alive by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. A special thanks to our newest patron Norman Grills. For those thinking about becoming a patron, you might be interested to know that I am going to be resuming the exclusive patron series Our Sunday Talks on Easter, April 21st. And the first episodes of the new series are going to be a complete reading of my book The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life, which was published in 2008 and I am currently re-editing.

You can gain access to the Our Sunday Talks series, as well as full transcripts to our entire podcast archive, for as little as $3 a month. Learn more by visiting LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the book entitled The Art of Being Alive by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, published in 1914.

"The Life Worthwhile" differs in the minds of individuals. That which seems worthwhile to one person may seem unendurable to another; and so any analysis of the subject must be made from a purely personal standpoint, and must not be considered an effort to lay down arbitrary laws for all people to follow.

The scientist in the laboratory, the painter in the studio, the preacher in the pulpit, the lawyer in the courtroom, the teacher in the classroom, the carpenter on the building site, all feel that they are living a life worthwhile. And indeed so long as there is deep interest, enthusiasm, and pleasure in the life we are living that life is worthwhile.

The world is made interesting by its variety of inhabitants, with their varying ideas and occupations. People it with one kind of human being, all bent on the same object and doing the same kind of work, or following the same kind of pleasure, and earth would become intolerably monotonous. Even the frivolous things, the mistaken things, and the wrong things which people do, are sometimes worthwhile because they lead those who are engaged in them to knowledge of their worthlessness.

How Successful People Think, Grow, and Win

How Successful People Think, Grow, and Win

April 2, 2019

Listen to episode 358 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How Successful People Think, Grow, and Win. Edited and adapted from How to Win Success by B.F. Austin.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: If that statement of the Bible is correct that says the individual who rules their own spirit is greater than one who takes a city, who shall say that the possession and retention of faith, hope, patience and love amidst life's trying scenes, is not as great an achievement as the building of the lofty pyramid. May there not be a majestic structure of character as well as of bricks and granite?

Let us all then note the true standard of success. Let us seek especially the growth and development of our own powers — not despising great achievements (not unduly valuing achievements which the world calls great), but looking on them as no more, at best, than proofs of that spiritual unfoldment in which life's true success must always be found.

How is Success Won? One great secret of success is found in Concentration. This consists in centering our thoughts upon a single object and holding this object in the mind's eye persistently. The thoughts, purposes, will power, effort and resources of every life should be united in some single great object.

A life unified, united, concentrated, dominated by one great purpose, becomes mighty, while a life with a thousand diverging purposes must necessarily be weak. Gunpowder exploded in the open air is comparatively ineffective and harmless because the energy let loose takes a thousand different directions. So with the inherent energies of any life. Divide them and you weaken them. Unite them into one purpose, as the energy of gunpowder is united in the rifle barrel, and the effect is mighty.

Motivation for Initiative, Success & Concentration

Motivation for Initiative, Success & Concentration

March 28, 2019

Listen to episode 357 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Motivation for Initiative, Success & Concentration. Edited and adapted from Making the Grade by C.V. Mosby.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Now is your last chance to get all 3 of our inspirational eBooks, featuring the best of our podcast, totaling 150 life lessons, for just 10 dollars. To take advantage of this special ebook sale visit LivingHour.org/ten. The sale ends on Sunday.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Making the Grade by C.V. Mosby, published in 1917.

Resistance gives way to superior force continuously applied upon a given point. This is a law of physics and also a law of life. Concentrate your energy and you burn a way through opposition. One of the chief difficulties in life consists of not being able to concentrate. Few people when they work throw their entire energy into the task.

Go into a store or a factory and take note of the employees. You will find most of them working in a lackadaisical manner, doing just enough to keep up a semblance of being busy and thereby escape a reprimand from the manager. The clock is watched assiduously and as soon as closing time arrives, nothing can keep them one minute longer than is necessary to put their stocks in order and get away.

Lack of concentration is one of the great contributing factors among those who cannot make the grade. Concentration is no easy task. It demands the most carefully trained will and a powerful determination. Thinking must always precede the act.

If we act with concentration, we must think in the same way. And let it be said here that well-trained, concentrated thinking comes only after much effort has been expended upon it. To think correctly is hard work. If you do not believe me, try to concentrate your mind on a given object for five minutes; exclude all extraneous matter and think upon that one subject continuously. Try this for a time and you will be astounded at the magnitude of the task. 

Inspiration for Generosity, Contentment & Companionship

Inspiration for Generosity, Contentment & Companionship

March 26, 2019

Listen to episode 356 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Generosity, Contentment & Companionship. Edited and adapted from Our Sunday Talks by James J. Owen.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you by the generous financial support of listeners like you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Our Sunday Talks by James J. Owen, published in 1883.

REAL, downright unselfish, generous natures ought to be more numerous than they are — that is, natures who can feel an unselfish joy in the prosperity of others, even though their own lot may be a hard one.

Some people are so constituted that they are happy only in proportion as others are miserable. In other words, though they may possess a reasonable measure of wealth and those material things that are supposed by many to be wholly essential to happiness, their joy is dimmed in the presence of someone who possesses a larger measure of those same material goods.

They must possess more than their neighbor, or else the mean little cross-eyed demon of envy nestles in their bosoms and robs them of their peace of mind.

It requires no great amount of magnanimity of character to be generous to the downtrodden; but it does really take a large nature to be charitable and unselfishly generous towards the ostentatious and purse-proud — those people whose only merit is in the husk and not the kernel.

We can all be generous towards the dead. Even those who in life we cared the least for (and who were least worthy of our respect) call forth a heart-throb of sympathy now that they are gone. It is only then that we think of their virtues, and even chide ourselves for not being more generous to their imperfections when living.

What the world most needs is a spirit of humanity that can anticipate death in the exercise of nobler sympathy and charity — one that does not wait till the pale specter sets its seal upon the heart of a fellow being to send forth an impulse of sympathy on their behalf.

Rejuvenate Yourself | The Power of Silence

Rejuvenate Yourself | The Power of Silence

March 21, 2019

Listen to episode 355 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Rejuvenate Yourself | The Power of Silence. Edited and adapted from Growth in Silence, the Undertone of Life by Susanna Cocroft.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. I’d like to start today with a special announcement. Thanks to the generosity of our patrons, my daily video series 30 Seconds to a Beautiful Life is being made available to everyone on our YouTube Channel.

This series was previously only for our patrons, but the feedback from them has been that it should be made available to everyone. So to view this daily motivational video series, subscribe to our YouTube Channel at LivingHour.org/youtube. To become a patron yourself, visit LivingHour.org/patron.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Growth in Silence, the Undertone of Life by Susanna Cocroft, published in 1917.

What a breeze of pure exhilaration there is when we open the eastern windows of the morning to the new day! The new day! Its surface is unruffled! Yesterday has gone into the west — only the thoughts of that day which make for eternity have been traced upon its pages. The mantle of rest and silence has tenderly covered it, while the night has borne it hours away! The soft night wind has lulled it to dreamless, lasting sleep.

Leave it in peace — today, tomorrow are before us. With the dew of morning, all vegetation drinks in new life, new growth. The buds fill the air with fragrance. The birds nigh burst their throats in the ecstasy of a new song. Life is swelling, pulsing, from every crack and crevice. Mental forces adjust themselves under the cover of the night, and thoughts (that in the evening were confused) by morning are clear and unruffled, ready for a fresh beginning.

Do not stir up the contention of yesterday — carve the future on the clear surface of today. Have you awoken solitary and downcast, heavy hearted, with drooping shoulders, clouded face, and careworn brow — a discordant note, out of harmony with the song of the universe? Well, then lift your chest, head, and eyes — fill the lungs to overflowing with pure fresh air. Then be passive — listen.

The Art of Happiness | Contentment & Joy

The Art of Happiness | Contentment & Joy

March 19, 2019

Listen to episode 354 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Art of Happiness. Edited and adapted from the book Happiness by Hugh Black.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. The topic of today’s reading is the art of happiness. To explore additional advice (beyond our podcast) on how to achieve lasting happiness in your life, check out Blinkist, the knowledge-boosting app that takes the best key takeaways, the need-to-know information, from thousands of nonfiction books and condenses them down into just 15 minutes of reading or listening time.

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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the book “Happiness” by Hugh Black, published in 1911.

There is an art of happiness, which is like the art of living. No list of rules can cover all the ground — for life does not go in straight lines, and never runs exactly according to schedule. There is also the personal equation, the peculiar angle from which each person looks at life.

Now, it’s true that no art can be taught beyond certain broad principles and general rules. The rest has to come through constant practice and through the enrichment of the mind, aided by inspiration and example and a little counsel. It’s also true that some get more from teaching than others — though all can get something, if only through the opportunity to reconsider methods and examine results.

Everyone will probably acknowledge that they have not completely mastered the art of happiness, and that they might have made more of their lives if they had known better. So, with that in mind, there are some general rules I’d like to lay down, each of which will apply to many people, though (of course) not to all.

Guardian Angels, Fairies & A Love That Lifts Us Up

Guardian Angels, Fairies & A Love That Lifts Us Up

March 12, 2019

Listen to episode 352 of the Inspirational Living Podcast: Guardian Angels, Fairies & A Love That Lifts All. Edited and adapted from Little Builders by Dorothy Grenside.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. A special thanks to our newest patrons Mariama Alice Sheriff and Elaine Estenson. If you would like to give back to this podcast and financially support the work I do, please visit LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Little Builders by Dorothy Grenside, published in 1916.

When those we love have laid aside their earthly coats and are what the world calls "dead," we speak of them as Angels, yet they were Angels just as much before. It was only that we could not see the shining of their Spirits, because an earthly coat lay in between.

I want you always to remember to look inside the coat until you see the Angel's Light within, for an angel is only someone who is learning to bring God's message to others. Each Angel, in turn, is helped by others who are nearer to God, and they as well are guided by a Greater One above.

There is no one, however frail or full of failure (no one however strong and pure of heart) who has no Guardian Angel to shelter them with wings of love. I think that if two people love, it is because their Angels have seen and loved each other first, and that a picture of their love reflects within the hearts of the children whom they guard. So, if you quarrel with the one you love, I fear you raise a veil of mist between these two Angels' faces. Mist: grey mist of quarreling and hate! Blow it away with a tender breath of Love and let the Sunlight of the Angels’ Joy be yours.

Just as an Angel guards each one of us with loving, watchful care, so I think that a little spirit watches over every flower and tree — one who grieves when the flower is trampled on, or when the tree is rooted from the ground. I fancy that these little guardians paint each petal of a rose; perhaps they lays their color in the heart at eventide, and leave it through the summer night, until the tender dew washes the rosy stain throughout the opened petals.

Thoroughness: The Key to Success in Business & Life

Thoroughness: The Key to Success in Business & Life

March 7, 2019

Listen to episode 351 of the Inspirational Living Podcast: Thoroughness: The Key to Success in Life. Edited and adapted from The Mastery of Destiny by James Allen.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. To celebrate the approach of Springtime, the season of rebirth, I have partnered up with Fiverr.com to offer a special deal on our inspirational e-books. That includes Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons, Everest: 50 Motivational Life Lessons, and Evermore: 50 Life Lessons for Spiritual Growth.

Right now you can get all three of these e-books together in one package for only $10. And for an extra $5 you can also get our MAJESTY meditation program.

To take advantage of this special deal, go to LivingHour.org/ten. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the Mastery of Destiny by James Allen, published in 1909.

THOROUGHNESS consists in doing little things as though they were the greatest things in the world. That the little things of life are of primary importance, is a truth not generally understood. And the thought that little things can be neglected and thrown aside is at the root of that lack of thoroughness which is so common and results in imperfect work and unhappy lives.

When you understand that the great things of the world, and of life, consist of a combination of small things, and that without this aggregation of small things the great things would be nonexistent, then you begin to pay careful attention to those things which you formerly regarded as insignificant. You thus acquire the quality of thoroughness, and become a person of usefulness and influence — for the possession or non-possession of this one quality may mean all the difference between a life of peace and power, and one of misery and weakness.

Every employer knows how comparatively rare this quality is — how difficult it is to find people who will put thought and energy into their work, and do it completely and satisfactorily. Bad workmanship abounds. Skill and excellence are acquired by few. Thoughtlessness, carelessness, and laziness are such common vices that it shouldn’t appear strange that, in spite of "social reform," the ranks of the unemployed continue to swell — for those who skirt their work today will, another day (in an hour of deep necessity) look and ask for work in vain.

The Power of Purpose and Joy of Accomplishment

The Power of Purpose and Joy of Accomplishment

March 5, 2019

Listen to episode 349 of the Inspirational Living Podcast: Inspiration for Perfect Poise & Personal Honor. Edited and adapted from The Mastery of Destiny by James Allen.

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Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Concentration is power. But dispersion is weakness. Destruction is a scattering, while preservation is a uniting process. Things are useful and thoughts are powerful to the degree that their parts are strongly and intelligently concentrated. Having a purpose is to have a highly concentrated thought. All the mental energies are directed to the attainment of an object, and obstacles which intervene between the thinker and the object are, one after another, broken down and overcome.

Purpose is the keystone in the temple of achievement. It binds and holds together in a complete whole that which would otherwise lie scattered and useless. Empty whims, ephemeral fancies, vague desires, and half-hearted resolutions have no place in purpose. In the sustained determination to accomplish, there is an invincible power which swallows up all inferior considerations and marches direct to victory.

All successful men and women are people of purpose. They hold fast to an idea, a project, a plan, and will not let it go. They cherish it, brood upon it, tend and develop it. And when assailed by difficulties, they refuse to be beguiled into surrender. Indeed, the intensity of the purpose increases with the growing magnitude of the obstacles encountered.

Inspiration for Perfect Poise and Personal Honor

Inspiration for Perfect Poise and Personal Honor

February 28, 2019

Listen to episode 348 of the Inspirational Living Podcast: Inspiration for Perfect Poise & Personal Honor. Edited and adapted from Making the Grade by C.V. Mosby.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. For inspirational t-shirts and gifts, be sure to check out our website BookofZen.com. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Making the Grade by C.V. Mosby, published in 1917.

BALANCE is necessary in all things. Nature demands and preserves an equilibrium. Get out of balance and you are in danger of a fall. A well-ordered and successful life consists of being able to preserve your poise, and keep it in tune and harmony with nature. Confusion is caused by a loss of mental balance, and failure comes to a life that is not well poised.

It is amusing to see so much energy wasted upon things over which we have no control, like complaining about the weather. “This is the hottest day ever” is hurled at you again and again on a summer morning by some fuming, fussy neurotic — when a glance at the thermometer would convince anyone that the temperature is pretty normal.

“I am dead tired, utterly worn out, worked to death,'' is said repeatedly, day after day, by people who are perfectly normal in every way except for a lack of poise. Haste, extravagant statements, fussing and fuming, does nothing but burn up your gasoline. You stand still all the time, but your engine is running at top speed.

An engine needs a governor. Without it, the engine’s value is nil. Instead of serving us, it destroys. The same is true of life. Lack of poise, lack of perfect control of our emotions, lack of order and equanimity, and life becomes chaos. Nothing is accomplished. All the energy and efforts needed in climbing, in making the grades, are burned up while we stand still.