Inspirational Living: Life Lessons for Success & Happiness
How to Cultivate the Spirit of True Happiness

How to Cultivate the Spirit of True Happiness

June 20, 2019

Get inspired with episode 381 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Cultivate the Spirit of True Happiness. Edited and adapted from Happiness by Hugh Black.

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Inspirational Podcast TranscriptHappiness is the net result of an individual’s whole reaction to life. It is an inward state, affected no doubt by outward conditions, but not completely dependent on them. It is a feeling of the heart, and an attitude of the soul.

Life is not a matter of surroundings merely, and a change of environment will not give a change of self. In the busy market, in a crowded street, with the roar of life in the ears and brain, people have known an interior peace that nothing could disturb.

So, when we speak of the foes of happiness, we are forced to look deeper than to outward fortune. We have to look within, where each must find the fountain of good for themselves.

Happiness or unhappiness depends much on disposition, and disposition means the way we look at things and the way we comport ourselves. In common speech we say of a person that they are their own worst enemy, or that they are the enemy of no one but themselves. It suggests that the problem is a deeper one than one of environment.

There are two factors often overlooked when dealing with this subject. One is that perhaps the biggest part of a person’s environment is themselves. After all, I have to live with myself, and I may be a difficult person to live with. I have to submit to the influence of my own thoughts, and habits, and general view of life.

Nikola Tesla Wisdom | My Inventions | Autobiography

Nikola Tesla Wisdom | My Inventions | Autobiography

June 18, 2019

Listen to episode 380 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Wisdom of Nikola Tesla | My Inventions. Edited and adapted from the writing of Nikola Tesla.

Inspirational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. A special thanks to our newest patrons Stanley Oahimin and Daniel McGehee. By becoming patrons, Stanley and Daniel now get access to 100 additional podcasts from our archive that are no longer available in our current public list — as well as full transcripts to every episode. To get that same access, become our patron today. You can do so for as little as $3 a month. Learn more at LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the writings of Nikola Tesla.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and yet be quite insane.”

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

 “If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.”

“Be alone, that is the secret of invention. Be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

“My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe, there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”

“What we now want is closer contact and a better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride, which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife... Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.”

“Everyone should consider their body as a priceless gift from one whom they love above all — a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty, and a mystery beyond human conception, one so delicate that a word, a breath, a look, nay, a thought may injure it.”

How to Succeed in Business & Life | Your Will Power

How to Succeed in Business & Life | Your Will Power

June 13, 2019

Listen to episode 379 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Succeed in Business and Life. How to Develop Your Will Power by Clare Tree Major.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Get the best of our podcast in heirloom hardcover or e-book by visiting the website InspirationalLifeLessons.com. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from How to Develop Your Will Power by Clare Tree Major, published in 1920.

Many years ago I went to see an Indian scholar give a lecture on reincarnation. He said that the real, indestructible You, the self, is like a person shut up in a tall tower, and that each recurring life is another window let into the tower, giving you more and more light on your own problems, while at the same time opening up to your enlightened gaze a greater and greater stretch of the landscape of truth.

This same analogy might apply equally well to our inner and hidden lives. Each physical, emotional, or mental attribute we bring under the control of our Self is another window let into the dark tower of our imprisonment, a window which not only gives you light with which to clearly and truthfully view the world, but through which also may shine some glimmer of the glory of the triumphant indwelling Self.

The quality of pure matter is Inertia. The quality of pure spirit is Energy. From a combination of the two, worlds are made. You are a world in yourself. You are in your human life a combination of these fundamental parts: spirit and matter. You reflect their fundamental characteristics: Energy and Inertia. That is the beginning and end of your fight: to bring spirit triumphant from under the yoke of matter — to DO, not to give in.

When you put off something until tomorrow that you should do at once, you are giving the reins of self-government into the hands of the material part of you. You are obeying the commands of Inertia. When you take the reins into your own hands, with the definite determination to guide your own life, you are employing the unconquerable force of Energy. You must choose. And the one who thrusts themselves to the very topmost rung of the ladder in life is not the one who chooses Inertia.

You must either sink with your choice of the material, or rise with your choice of spirit. The knife is not sharpened on wood, or the soft things of life. It must be ground on a stone which is harder than itself. So must you, even though the grinding process may sometimes hurt.

Overcoming Disablity & Infirmity | Inspirational Stories

Overcoming Disablity & Infirmity | Inspirational Stories

June 11, 2019

Listen to episode 378 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Overcoming Disability & Infirmity | Inspirational Stories. Edited and adapted from The Book of Courage by William James Dawson.

Inspirational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If our podcast has inspired you to live a happier, more successful, life, please do let us know by leaving a review at the iTunes store, or you can also email me directly at living[at]livinghour.org. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Book of Courage by William James Dawson, published in 1911.

IT is a common saying that health is one of those possessions that is not valued until it is lost. Like sunshine, fresh air, water, and sleep, it seems less a boon bestowed than our natural heritage. We assume that it is ours beyond all threat of loss, and this in spite of a hundred instances to the contrary. Few people, in estimating the manifold perils of life, trouble themselves over the possibility of a sudden infirmity. And yet the risk is always there.

Now, let us say that this risk turns to reality and some permanent, physical disability afflicts us. What then? Is that the end of our hopes and dreams? No, not ever. History has shown us countless examples of individuals who have, by sheer force of will, made their bodies serve them, and compelled frail or damaged physical machinery to accomplish great purposes.

One popular theory of personality represents the body as a kind of house into which there is introduced a spiritual tenant, commonly known as the Soul. The soul is not so much born with the body as injected into it. It possesses the body, but is no more of the substance of the body than I am of the substance of the bricks, mortar, marble, glass, or woodwork that combine to give me shelter.

This is not only a noble theory, but it is patently a fact. I am represented to the casual observer by my body, and (as like as not) misrepresented. The body is, in reality, no more than a means to an end — just as writing is not thought, but the means of thought. What is more natural than that this personality or soul of mine should be able to impose its will upon the body, and even to overrule its frailties and infirmities?

The Courageous Heart | Developing Your Force & Energy

The Courageous Heart | Developing Your Force & Energy

June 6, 2019

Listen to episode 377 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Courageous Heart | Developing Your Force & Energy. Edited and adapted from Courage by Charles Wagner.

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Motivational Podcast Excerpt: The chief concern of every living creature is to live. To live as well (and as fully as possible) is our primordial instinct — the eternal spring which is hidden beneath all our fleeting aspirations. It is the motive power which drives the world. Everything obeys it: the blade of wheat piercing through the earth and greeting the sun for the first time; the little chicken just freed from the shell; the child opening its young soul to the influences of life on every side.

It is true that people sometimes says that life is an evil thing, and that it would be better if it were not. However, this does not hinder the continuance of life; this does not stop the great invisible impulse which makes for existence; this does not destroy the bacteria of the earth, nor the prodigious life of the ocean.

Life IS: that is the chief fact of the universe; and the vast majority of beings not only accept it, but cling to it with courage or despair.

It is not enough, however, to simply live. The important thing is to live well. The question of living well or badly does not exist for those creatures who are guided by vague instincts, and who could not do otherwise than they do. On the other hand, this question is of paramount importance to you and I.

The Journey of Life | The Cheerful Traveler | Inspiration

The Journey of Life | The Cheerful Traveler | Inspiration

June 4, 2019

Listen to episode 376 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Journey of Life | The Cheerful Traveler. Edited and adapted from The Palace of Mirrors and Other Essays by Joseph Frank Thompson.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. To watch free fireside chat versions of our podcast, subscribe to our YouTube channel at: LivingHour.org/youtube. Or just go to YouTube and search for the Inspirational Living podcast.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Palace of Mirrors and Other Essays by Joseph Frank Thompson, published in 1891.

There is an old Turkish proverb that says, “During the pilgrimage, everything does not suit the taste of the pilgrim." When making a long journey on foot, we enjoy many pleasures and endure many discomforts. No two days (and scarcely any two hours of the same day) are precisely alike. The scenery is sometimes varied and interesting; while at other times it is uniform and tiresome. There are long stretches where the road is shaded by trees, and the air is cool with morning dew and sweet with the breath of flowers. And there are also places where we are parched with heat and choked with dust.

Frequently we fall in with companions whose sympathy increases our pleasure, or whose cheerfulness makes us forgetful of our hard-ships. And occasionally we are quite alone, or would like to be and cannot, which is worse.

Such things are to be expected. They happen to every traveler. And the sum of our pleasures will be greater or less according to the kind of experience upon which our disposition inclines us to dwell.

It is so in the journey of life. The one, like the other, has its rough places and its smooth. And no traveler can hope to escape its hardships while enjoying its delights. It lies amid scenes of grandeur and beauty. But it also traverses many regions that are wasted and desolate.

Inspiring Others Rather Than Judging Them | J.R. Miller

Inspiring Others Rather Than Judging Them | J.R. Miller

May 30, 2019

Listen to episode 375 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Inspiring Others Rather Than Judging Them. Edited and adapted from A Life of Character by J.R. Miller.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. With high school and college graduations happening soon, let me remind you that our book Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons makes for a wonderful graduation gift — the kind of gift that a young adult will treasure for a lifetime. Get your copy in heirloom hardcover by visiting InspirationalLifeLessons.com.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from: A Life of Character by J.R. Miller, published in 1894.

It is better to have eyes for beauty — than for blemish. It is better to be able to see the roses — than the thorns. It is better to have learned to look for things to commend in others — than for things to condemn. Of course other people have faults, and we are not blind. But then we have faults of our own, and this should make us charitable.

There is a divine teaching on this subject. Jesus said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." But we need to understand just what those words mean. After all, we cannot help judging others. We should be able to read people’s character, and to know whether they are good or bad. As we watch another person’s acts, we cannot help forming opinions about them. And the stronger in character that we grow, the keener will be our moral judgments. We are not bidden to shut our eyes, and be blind to people's faults and sins.

What, then, did Jesus mean by those words? He meant to warn us about making uncharitable judgments. We are not to look for the evil in others. We are not to see others through the warped glasses of prejudice and unkindly feeling. We are not to take on the function of judges, as if people were answerable to us. We are to avoid a critical or censorious spirit. Nothing is said against speaking of the good in those we see and know. It is uncharitable judging and speaking, which Jesus condemns.

Authenticity & The Courage to Be Who You Are

Authenticity & The Courage to Be Who You Are

May 28, 2019

Get inspired with episode 374 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Authenticity & The Courage to Be Who You Are. Edited and adapted from Gaining the Round Above by Gustavus S. Kimball.

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Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Courage is the spirit to begin, and the determination to pursue what has been begun — to do that which is right at all hazards and at any cost. The greater part of the courage that is needed in the world, however, is not of the heroic kind.

Courage may be displayed in everyday life, as well as on heroic fields of action. Our common need is for the courage to be honest, the courage to speak the truth, the courage to be what we really are, and not to pretend to be what we are not.  

Remember also that it is OPPORTUNITY that makes you and your fortune, provided you have learned how to take advantage of the opportunity.

Opportunity comes sooner or later to everyone, but rare is the person who is ready to seize it. It is not luck or natural brilliancy which puts one individual so far ahead in places of trust and honor. You will find they achieved their success by educated and well-directed energy.

For the well-equipped person, the best prizes of life are not hard to obtain, because so few can grasp them. But even if the competition was severe, to the resolute, this should sharpen their efforts rather than weaken them. 

Is it possible for a person of ordinary abilities to attain success today? Most emphatically, yes. Never in the history of this country were there greater opportunities than today. But what the world demands are people of character and preparation.

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.

Inspiration: Foundation Stones to Happiness & Success

Inspiration: Foundation Stones to Happiness & 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.

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Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: 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.

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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.

Inspiration & Motivation for Work | The Dignity of Labor

Inspiration & Motivation for Work | The Dignity of Labor

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.

Two very good biographies that you can find on Blinkist are Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and Harriet Tubman (The Road to Freedom) by Catherine Clinton.

Right now, for a limited time, Blinkist has a special offer for our audience. Go to Blinkist.com/living to start a free 7 day trial.

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.