Inspirational Living: Life Lessons for Success & Happiness
Wisdom & Destiny | Maurice Maeterlinck | Inspiration

Wisdom & Destiny | Maurice Maeterlinck | Inspiration

October 30, 2018

Listen to episode 313 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Wisdom & Destiny. Edited and adapted from Wisdom & Destiny by Maurice Maeterlinck.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. For unique fashion and gifts, don’t forget to check out our website BookofZen.com. Each item includes one of my original sayings inside zen enso circle, and all sales go to support this podcast.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Wisdom & Destiny by Maurice Maeterlinck, published in 1906.

In every age there should be some people who dare to speak, and to think, and to act as though all people were happy — for otherwise, when the day comes for destiny to throw open to all people the garden of the promised land, what happiness shall the others find there, what justice, what beauty or love?

It may be urged, it is true, that it is best, first of all, to consider our most pressing needs, yet this is not always wisest. It is often better to seek, from the start, that which is highest. When the flood waters threaten the home of a farmer in Holland, there is a pressing need to safeguard one’s own cattle and grain; but the wisest farmer races to the top of the dyke, summoning all neighbors, and thus meet the flood, and do battle.

Humanity up to now has been like an invalid tossing and turning on a couch in search of rest. And yet words of genuine consolation have come only from those who spoke as though humanity were freed from all pain. For, as we all were created for health, so were we created for happiness; and to speak of humanity’s misery only (though that misery be everywhere and seem everlasting) is only to say words that fall lightly and soon are forgotten.

Why not speak as though humankind were always on the eve of a great certitude, of a great joy? By doing so, we are led by our finest instincts, though we never may live to behold the long-wished-for tomorrow. It is well to believe, that we need but a little more thought; a little more courage, love, and devotion to life; a little more eagerness; and one day the portals of joy and of truth will be flung wide open.

Let us hope that one day all people will be happy and wise. And though this day may never dawn, to have hoped for it cannot be wrong. Regardless of what may come, it is helpful to speak of happiness to those who are perpetually gloomy — so at least they may learn what happiness means.

The Leadership Challenge | How to Be a Leader

The Leadership Challenge | How to Be a Leader

October 25, 2018

Listen to episode 312 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Leadership Challenge | How to Be a Leader. Edited and adapted from Leadership by George H. Knox.

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Motivational Podcast ExcerptMore men and women should place upon their heads a crown of leadership that will inspire to the impossible. However, that is a headgear that doesn't stay on by itself. If you can reach the sublime heights of leadership, you can wear the crown with ease, but if you shrink from the task before you, it will become a burden that will crush you to the earth.

Leadership is a magic word — a marvelous attainment — but the price you pay for it is tremendous. The splendid thing about it is that the more you pay the more you get. The more you give in, the more you have left. Pay but a small price, and the returns are meagre, but pay the supreme price of leadership, and your reward is genius and immortality.

When a person aspires to leadership, you need to forget some things. You should forget those who envy you, those who would pull you down and trample you under their feet, thereby hoping to gain a foothold for themselves. You must forget that there is such a thing as loafing or lounging or wasting time. If a person has a life of ease, they can have nothing else. If you have this, you can't have that.

You must pay the price of being thorough; of being a master of time, of method, and of concentration. Never, on penalty of your crown of leadership, get to the position where you think you don't need further preparation. Cease to prepare, and you cease to grow. Cease to grow, and you begin to dwindle. When you cease to be better, you cease to be good. You become but a weed in the garden of prosperity.

You must cultivate nerve and enthusiasm and concentration, and a great faith, and a great zeal that passeth understanding. You must cultivate patience and then more patience. Not the patience that idly waits, but the patience that knows that when the best that can be done has been done, if the result doesn't come today, it will tomorrow.

Making the Most Out of Life | Motivational Self-Help Talks

Making the Most Out of Life | Motivational Self-Help Talks

October 23, 2018

Listen to episode 311 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Making the Most Out of Life. Edited and adapted from Ready Money by George H. Knox.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Have you ever wanted to read the inspirational material that I deliver to you each week? Well, you can get access to the transcripts of our entire archive of over 300 podcasts by becoming our patron today. You’ll also get your very own private podcast feed, with every transcript delivered right to your phone. You can gain access for as little as $3 a month. Learn more at LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Ready Money by George H. Knox, published in 1905.

What is nerve? Nerve is that which enables a person to hang on and either lose everything or win out. It is undertaking more than ordinary things. It is taking big risks on one's own ability. It is holding the fort against all-comers. It is doing the thing which the ordinary person thinks is impossible. It is setting your standard twice as high as your colleagues would set it for you, and then reaching it. It is burning your bridges behind you and staking your all on your own endeavor.

It is taking chances that are not chances — to ordinary people the risk would be enormous, but the man and woman of nerve is not even taking chances because they know they can carry the thing through and do not allow themselves to become side-tracked, or even annoyed by the people who say it can't be done.

Nerve consists not only in undertaking a hard task, but in everlastingly and unflinchingly standing by your work when your friends have given up in despair. That is the truest test of nerve. It is nerve that gives us our airplanes and Atlantic cables below the ocean. It is nerve that belts our continents with railroads and enables entrepreneurs to build up enterprises that astonish the world.

Nerve is that which enables one to calmly and unflinchingly face an unpleasant task, or a seemingly unendurable condition, when duty requires it.

Don't jump to the conclusion that people are trying to cheat you. It is all right to be businesslike; you must be. But it is all wrong to be unbusinesslike. It is all wrong to tie your business up in such a way that you have to depend either upon the honesty or the judgment of someone else to enable you to succeed in fulfilling your promises.

Overcoming Your Only Enemy | Self-Empowerment

Overcoming Your Only Enemy | Self-Empowerment

October 18, 2018

Listen to episode 310 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Overcoming Your Only Enemy. Edited and adapted from Self-Investment by Orison Swett Marden.

Inspirational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Let us help you achieve a deep, inspirational sleep with our new sleep meditations, each of which includes 50 transformational affirmations over a background of either ocean waves or gentle rain. Learn more by visiting LivingHour.org/sleep.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Self-Investment, by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1911.

We can make our minds art galleries of beauty or chambers of horror. We can furnish them with anything we please. We think in mental images. They always precede the physical realities. Our mental pictures are copied into life, etched upon our character. Our whole physical economy is constantly translating these images, these mental pictures, into our lives.

A thousand times better to allow thieves into your home and steal your most valuable treasures, to rob you of money or property, than to allow the enemies of your success and happiness — discordant thoughts, disease thoughts, morbid thoughts, jealous thoughts — to enter your mind and steal your comfort, rob you of that peace and serenity without which life is a living tomb.

Whatever you do or do not do for a living, resolve that no morbid, discordant, sick thoughts shall get access to your mind. Everything depends upon keeping your mental faculties clear and clean. Keep the holy shrine of your mind, God’s temple, pure and free from all your thought enemies.

A discordant thought, a morbid mood, when once harbored, breeds more discordant thoughts and more gloom. The moment you harbor the one or the other it will begin to multiply a thousandfold, and grow more formidable.

Do not have anything to do with discord or the offspring of morbid moods. They spoil everything they touch. They leave their wretched impression on everything. They rob one of hope, happiness, and efficiency. Tear down all the dark pictures from your mind, all the black images. Dispel them. They only mean mischief, failure, paralysis of ambition, and the death of hope.

We must stand on guard at the door of our thoughts; keep out all the enemies of our happiness and achievement. We have no real enemies except those which live in our own minds, which are generated by our own passion, prejudice, and selfishness.

Self-Reliance: The Key to Self Respect | Personal Growth

Self-Reliance: The Key to Self Respect | Personal Growth

October 16, 2018

Listen to episode 309 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Self-Reliance: The Key to Self-Respect. Edited and adapted from Self-Investment by Orison Swett Marden.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you enjoy our podcast, you’ll love our book Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons, available in beautiful heirloom hardcover. Learn more by visiting InspirationalLifeLessons.com.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Self-Investment by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1911.

The average person is capable of independence and self-reliance, yet comparatively few people ever develop their ability to stand alone. It is so much easier to lean, to trail, to follow somebody else, to let others do the thinking and the planning and the work. One of the worst faults of the typical person is that (if they do not possess commanding talents in some particular direction) they usually do not think it worthwhile to make the most of what they have.

Do not think that, just because you are not a born leader, you are a born follower. A lack of great commanding qualities of leadership is no reason why you should not cultivate what you have. We never know what resources or possibilities of strength are ours until we put our powers to the test. Many a person has proved themselves a great leader who did not seem to be so naturally — who showed at first very little evidence of self-reliance.

Leaders do not copy. They do not reflect the opinion of the majority. They think. They create. They make their own program and carry it out.

How few people stand for anything in particular! The majority are merely so many individuals in the census; they help make a little larger crowd; but how few of us stand above or beyond our fellow citizens and are self-sufficient!

Almost everybody you see is leaning on something or somebody. Some lean on their money, some on their friends; some depend upon their clothes, their pedigree, their social standing; but how seldom do we see someone who stands fair and square on their own feet; who goes through life on their own merits, and is self-reliant and resourceful.

In later life we never quite forgive those who have allowed us to lean upon them, for we know that it has deprived us of our birthright. A child is not satisfied when a parent shows them how to do a certain thing. But watch the joy on a child’s face when by actually doing it they have conquered the thing themselves. This new sense of conquest is an added power that has increased their self-confidence and self-respect.

Just Be Glad | Life is a Song | Christian D. Larson

Just Be Glad | Life is a Song | Christian D. Larson

October 11, 2018

Listen to episode 308 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Just Be Glad | Life is a Song. Edited and adapted from Just Be Glad by Christian D. Larson.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Christian D. Larson’s book “Just Be Glad,” a book which I also read a different selection from in last week’s episode of Our Sunday Talks. So, if you enjoy today’s reading and would like to hear more from Christian D. Larson, become our patron for as little as $3 a month to gain access to the Our Sunday Talk series. Learn more at LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Whether you believe that life was made for happiness or that happiness was made for life, matters not. The fact remains that they alone can live the most and enjoy the best who take for their motto — just be glad.

Whatever comes, or whatever may fail to come, this one thing you should always remember — just be glad. Though every mind in the world may give darkness, continue to give your light; and though all may be lost, so there seems nothing more to give, forget not to give happiness.

The one great thing to do under every circumstance and in the midst of every event is this — just be glad. Wherever you may be, add sunshine. Whatever your position may be, be also a human sunbeam. What a difference there is when the sunbeam comes in; therefore why should your sunbeam remain without?

There is a sunbeam in every heart. Why hide it at any time? Does not the world need your smile? Is not everybody made happier and better when in the presence of a radiant countenance? Do we ever forget the face that shines as the sun? And does not such a memory continue to give us strength and inspiration all through the turnings and complexities of life?

We are not here to give sadness, but joy. We were not made to hide our souls in a dark thunder cloud, but to let the spirit shine in all its splendor and beauty. We are made to make life an endless song, and the sweet refrain of that beautiful song is — just be glad.

When things go wrong, just be glad. It is sunshine that brings forth the flowers from the cold and soggy earth. It is light-heartedness that lifts the burdens of life. It is the smile of human sweetness that dispels the chilly night of isolation and brings friendship and love to the bosom of the yearning soul.

The Law of Giving First | Success Talks | Inspiring You

The Law of Giving First | Success Talks | Inspiring You

October 9, 2018

Listen to episode 307 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Law of Giving & Receiving | It Works. Edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting.

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 or Twitter. A positive review at the iTunes store or Google Play would also be much appreciated. Thank you.

Today’s reading is a continuation of last week’s reading on How to Transform Your Life, and has been edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting, published in 1934.

There's a lot of talk these days about the power of thought, and some people are disposed to sneer at it. But there's more in it than these persons suppose, and they suffer because they don't realize its power.

Consider this, can you do anything without first thinking about it? Is any discovery or invention, any work of art or book, any newspaper or tool, any manufacturing or any crime, any deed (good or bad) ever performed without some one's first thinking about it? In other words, everything that you do is first an idea in your mind. That is where it is first "created."

If you want to make a chair, or a plan, or a sailboat, or a printing press, or a bomb, or a broom, it must first take shape in your mind, as an idea. As a matter of fact, the idea of a thing is the real creation of it. The physical putting it together afterward is a mere copy of the idea in your mind.

We are accustomed to think that a certain amount of time and energy is required to make the visible copy of the idea — the visible chair, or plow, or broom. But the more perfectly we think it out (that is, create it as a complete idea in mind), the more quickly and perfectly we can create it in visible form. And as we think it out better and better, we find that we require less and less time to make the visible thing, and less and less energy.

Newly invented machines, for instance, are usually crude, cumbersome, heavy, and require a lot of power to operate them. But as they are perfected (that is, as they are thought out) they become lighter, simpler, more efficient, are operated by less power, and do their work more quickly.

During this process, the time always comes when the thing that once took a long period and much labor to make is made at a speed so high that the production is in some cases almost instantaneous. If, when we began making this thing, we had understood all the laws of its making, we could have made it instantaneously without going through the process of learning how. But that would have been a miracle! Exactly.

The Dalai Lama on Life, Religion & Education | Inspiration

The Dalai Lama on Life, Religion & Education | Inspiration

October 4, 2018

Listen to episode 306 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Dalai Lama on Life, Religion, and Education. Tibetan Buddhism.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you by the kind financial support of our patrons. Learn how you can support our work, and gain access to full transcripts, by visiting LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the writings and talks of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.”

“Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world, until we make peace with ourselves.”

“There is a saying in Tibet: ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’”

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

“No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

 “To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive, and persevere, and never give up.”

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation.”

“The true hero is one who conquers their own anger and hatred…..In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.”

How to Transform Your Life | Start Today | Inspiration

How to Transform Your Life | Start Today | Inspiration

October 2, 2018

Listen to episode 305 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Transform Your Life | Start Today. Edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting.

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Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Why not have what you want? Have you settled down with a notion that you can't get it? Are you accepting a disappointment as something you must suffer through? Do you look at the thing that you really desire as being far beyond your reach? Do you carry around with you a heartache because you think your heart's desire is finally and forever denied you?

Do you look on yourself as being down and out, with no chance to get back? Do you think you are too poor to buy the things you like or even the things you need?

Have you done something that you think has brought a penalty upon you — sickness, poverty, loss of freedom, grief?

Well, before you give it all up as hopeless, won't you just hear me out a little way to see if your case is as bad as you think it is? I am not trying to sell you anything or to teach you anything or to persuade you of anything, but just want to share with you the ideas that changed the life of a man who used to think as you do, and who thought he had good reason to think so, but who has found out that he was mistaken and that life is not hopeless at all; and who believes that what helped him may help somebody else who is under a cloud similar to the one that he once lived under. Many things you want most are now within your reach.

It has been said that if a person were to offer a hundred dollar gold pieces for sale on the street at 5 dollars each, there would be few buyers, because nearly everybody would leap to the conclusion that the seller was a fraud. If you study the real reason why people instinctively feel that way, you will find in it the very secret of success in getting what you want.

You have heard it said a thousand times that "you can't get something for nothing." You may or may not think that you believe this to be true, but it is true, whether you believe it or not; and everybody deep down in their inner nature knows it is true. That's why we are shy of any promise that promises too much. That's why you are probably skeptical about the promise of what I am sharing with you today.

But just let this idea get a foothold in your mind: If it is a law that I cannot get something for nothing, then it must be true of this law, as it is of all genuine laws, that it works both ways. It must be true that I cannot give anything without getting something for it. Ever think of that?

The Magic Voice Within You | Inspiration & Creative Power

The Magic Voice Within You | Inspiration & Creative Power

September 27, 2018

Listen to episode 304 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Magic Voice Within You | Creative Power. Edited and adapted from Working With God by Gardner Hunting.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. I’d like to start today with a special thanks to our newest patrons: John Lichieoveri, James Allen, and Soncerae Beam. If you would like to lend your support to our podcast by becoming patron, you can do so for as a little as $1 a month. Learn more by visiting LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

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

THERE is a remarkable little book called "Finding Youth," by Gertrude Nelson Andrews, that tells the story of a man who lost his job when he was sixty years of age, after a lifetime of faithful service to others. In despair, he did not know which way to turn to make a living for himself and his family. In his own trade, printing, no place was open for him; and he knew no other trade. Want and the shame of failure stared him in the face. But through a chain of circumstances that makes up the body of the story, he found within himself a creative faculty, which he began to use. He found that by giving attention to this creative urge he could reconstruct his work and his life. He found that by giving heed to its suggestions and dictates he could reconstruct his youth. And he did. He built a new career for himself, and happiness, and prosperity.

The author says that this story is not fact but fiction. It doesn't matter, for whichever it is, it is true. We all have a creative faculty within us that will reconstruct our work, and our career, and our youth, if we will pay attention to it and obey it. The trouble is that we do not usually trust this inner urge to create. We haven't any confidence in our own ideas — because they are our own.

Maybe you think this is not true in your case. But stop and review some of your experiences. Don't you often look at some device or plan or object that somebody else has made and see a better way of doing it? Don't you frequently believe you could build a house, run a school, launch a business, sail a boat, play chess, raise radishes — anything that happens to interest you — better than somebody else you see doing it, if you only had time to gain the requisite fundamental information with which to equip your creative impulses?

And haven't you had the experience of thinking of what seemed momentarily a good idea; then discarding it because it was your own, and so couldn't be worth much? — and soon after finding that somebody else had conceived the same idea, used it, put it over successfully, and reaped the profits and the credit that might have been yours? And how cheap you felt, when all you could say to yourself was "I thought of that first. Why didn't I do it?"

The Road to Freedom | What is it to be Free? | Motivation

The Road to Freedom | What is it to be Free? | Motivation

September 25, 2018

Listen to episode 303 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Freedom Talks: What is it to be Free? Edited and adapted from Where Dwells the Soul Serene by Stanton Davis Kirkham.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Get fireside chat versions of our podcast by subscribing to our YouTube channel. To subscribe now, simply visit LivingHour.org/youtube.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Where Dwells the Soul Serene by Stanton Davis Kirkham, published in 1900.

THERE is ever in the human mind a longing and desire to transcend the limits of the known — to break boundaries. It is this desire that has led explorers to great new discoveries of unchartered lands and places. But it is in the realm of ideas that it leads us furthest, and reveals the grandest continents; carries us to the more sublime elevations, and lays before us the more majestic panoramas — for it is in the sphere of ideas alone that we may be said to pass all boundaries and be free of limitations. It travels not by the chart but would go where there are no charts; it goes not by the beaten road but follows rivers, and mountain chains, and the shores of continents, like migrating swans — for to follow a traveled road is to see what has already been seen by all women and men; but to make your own road, under the guidance of the Inner Light, is to see and report what no other has seen.

Ah, what a sunny land waits to be revealed when we turn our steps within! There, too, must we cross burning deserts and ascend the rugged cliffs, scale precipices and take our way over ridges and among crevasses; to finally reach the sunny vale — smiling and verdant always — where sparkle limpid streams, where bloom the rose and jasmine, where sing the whistling thrush.

To explore the unknown regions of the mind, to seek that shining land where dwells the Soul, serene — here is a work worthy of the true explorer's mettle. Let us explore this world of thought; let us blaze a path and wear a trail up over the mountains; let us recount our escape from the wilderness, and leave a record of our journey from bondage to freedom.

It is the royal privilege of every person to so live that their life and example shall be an inspiration; to so walk erect and free that others shall be obliged to inquire as to the means of our freedom.

Rejoice Always! Your Right to Be Happy & Contented

Rejoice Always! Your Right to Be Happy & Contented

September 20, 2018

Listen to episode 302 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Rejoice Always: Your Right to Be Happy. Edited and adapted from Your Right to Be Happy, by Frank & Marion Van Eps, published in 1922.

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We also truly appreciate those who feel inspired to leave us a positive review at the iTunes store. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Your Right to Be Happy, by Frank & Marion Van Eps, published in 1922.

JOY and happiness is the birthright of every human being; and there is a sure way to realize it. Our capacity for happiness, and our eagerness for it, are evidence of this fact. As the ear is the organ for hearing and the eye for seeing (and their very existence points to hearing and to seeing), so the capacity for anything such as happiness, points to its satisfaction.

A faculty points to its own action and effectiveness. Our capacity for joy proves that our destiny is joy and happiness. If you are not having an experience which aligns with the things to which your nature and constitution point (and which according to reason they require), it is evident that something unnatural must be interfering with you.

Reason shows that the evident purpose of the Creator is that all of us should be happy and satisfied. But how? Where do people miss their way? Why do they not find it? If there is any way of peace and happiness, why has it not been found and followed all these ages? Surely it would seem that all people would rush toward the way that releases them from their burdens, if such a way were pointed out.

But, is it so? Point out to someone what you have found to help bring about a joyful life, and you will not always find that there will be a rush to try the same. People have a habit of objecting, arguing, or hesitating, rather than accepting with eagerness the way of deliverance. Too often they ask that foolish question, “Why is it that way, and not otherwise?”

Albert Einstein: Thoughts on Science, Religion & Life

Albert Einstein: Thoughts on Science, Religion & Life

September 18, 2018

Listen to episode 301 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Albert Einstein: Thoughts on Science, Religion & Life. Edited and adapted from the writings of Albert Einstein.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you are having trouble sleeping, try our Living Hour sleep meditations, which combine the relaxing sounds of the ocean or rain with a binaural beat track and 50 positive affirmations to send you off into a deep and rejuvenating sleep. Learn more by visiting LivingHour.org/ocean. Thank you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the writings of Albert Einstein.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

“There are only two ways to live your life: one as though nothing is a miracle, and the other as though everything is a miracle.”

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge — for knowledge is limited, while imagination encircles the world.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when we contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if we try merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty. Never regard study as duty but as a wonderful opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty, in the realm of the spirit, for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community — to which your later work belongs.”

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether they are the garbage man or the president of the university.”

The Charm of Civility & The Industrious Personality

The Charm of Civility & The Industrious Personality

September 13, 2018

Listen to episode 300 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Gaining the Round Above, a Guide to Personal Efficiency by Gustavus S. Kimball.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Get access to full trascripts of our podcast delivered right to your smart phone by becoming our patron today, and for as little as $3 a month. Learn more by visiting LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Gaining the Round Above, a Guide to Personal Efficiency, by Gustavus S. Kimball, published in 1918.

Small kindnesses, small courtesies, small considerations, habitually practiced in our social intercourse, give greater charm to the character than a display of great talent and accomplishment.

There is no better working capital today for an individual seeking their way in the world than civility, for it makes friends and friends you must have. Civility is courtesy and refinement. It is politeness. It is consideration for other people — that is to say, intelligent altruism in small matters.

Much of the charm of a magnetic personality comes from a fine, cultivated manner. One must know exactly what to do, and be able to do just the right thing at the right time. We speak nostalgically of the charm of the old school. The quaint courtesy of men and women of earlier generations had a refining and softening influence upon even the rudest person. Good judgment and common sense are indispensable to those who are trying to acquire this magic power.

Good taste is also one of the elements of personal charm. You cannot offend the tastes of others without hurting their sensibilities. Most of us can manage to forget ourselves enough to observe the ordinary conventions of life. In fact, our very selfishness forbids actual rudeness. But thoughtfulness in little things, the considerate word of "thanks," the general use of the word "please," the giving of a cordial greeting and a gracious smile, the unobtrusive kindness that seeks no return, the gracious deference to age or ill health; these are all apt to be lacking, unless we possess naturally (or have acquired by self-discipline) the forgetfulness of self which makes the real charm of the thoughtful person.

The Two Great Obstacles to Health, Happiness & Success

The Two Great Obstacles to Health, Happiness & Success

September 11, 2018

Listen to episode 299 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Two Great Obstacles of Health & Success. Edited and adapted from Dynamic Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin.

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Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: THERE are two great obstacles along the path to health and success. They are fear and hate. Not only do they bar your path to success, not only do they break down your health, but they also destroy all happiness and peace of mind. They are the most negative of all negative qualities, and give rise to the most negative of thoughts and the most destructive emotions. They break down the fabric of the character, destroy the nervous system, and create disharmony and disturbance which effectually keep success, health, peace of mind, and happiness at a distance.

There has never been a truly great figure in the world's history that has harbored fear. On the contrary, the truly great have always been distinguished by their faith and courage. Great characters, accomplishers of great achievements, the truly successful, know full well that they can only do great deeds, or accomplish mighty purposes, to the extent that they are able to banish fear and hate from their minds and lives.

Fear is the deadly enemy of accomplishment. It paralyzes effort, destroys initiative, and corrodes the mental machinery. Fear and worry go hand in hand, the one produces the other. Worry never yet succeeded in overcoming a difficulty, neither has it ever succeeded in elucidating a problem. All it can do is destroy health, wreck happiness and peace of mind, and make our difficulties more difficult to overcome and our problems less easy to solve.

Fear, worry, care — what a terrible trinity! How destructive they are, what numberless lives they have marred and ruined. Mental gifts, high achievement, a university education, help from friends and relatives, even genius, all are in vain, all are rendered futile, if the mind is allowed to entertain fear. Unless fear is cast out of your life, there can be no success. Entertain fear in your mind and you slam and bolt the door on all achievement; you sound the death knell of your hopes and ambitions.

Concentration and Meditation | Swami Paramananda

Concentration and Meditation | Swami Paramananda

September 6, 2018

Listen to episode 298 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Concentration and Meditation. Edited and adapted from Concentration and Meditation by Swami Paramananda.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, or heroin, our break free meditations can help. To learn more, please visit LivingHour.org/breakfree.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Concentration and Meditation by Swami Paramananda, published in 1921.

WE all possess the faculty of concentration, but with the majority it is instinctive and automatic, not conscious. Even among the animals, we see how a lion or tiger will gather their strength by a moment of absolute stillness before they spring upon their prey.That automatic, instinctive power of concentration is embedded in every living creature. But until we can gain conscious command over our mental and spiritual forces, we can never have complete concentration.

When the scattered mind is gathered together, it is like a bright searchlight, and by it we are able to investigate the latent powers which we possess, but of which we are not now wholly aware. And as we grow more conscious of these hidden forces and learn to use them, we become more and more proficient with them.

We never wish to be defeated, and yet how often our strength of mind or our physical capacities prove inadequate. It is because we have not the full and conscious possession of our whole being. We cannot achieve much unless we have free use of our hands and feet, free use of our eyes and ears, free use of our muscles, and above all free use of our mind and intelligence. But how many of us have the free use of all these? When we would make use of them, we find them hopelessly scattered and rebellious to our will.

The cause of this does not lie in any inherent lack of power, but in our inability to coordinate, and in our lack of a definite singular purpose. We miss the mark because we do not set our aim properly. Once in ancient India there was a tournament held to test marksmanship in archery. A wooden fish was set up on a high pole and the eye of the fish was the target. One by one, many valiant archers came and tried their skill but in vain.

Before each one shot their arrow, the teacher asked them what they saw, and invariably all replied that they saw a fish on a pole at a great height, with head, eyes, etc.; but Arjuna as he took his aim said: "I see the eye of the fish." — and he was the only one who succeeded in hitting the mark.

C.S. Lewis: Quotes & Wisdom | Inspiration

C.S. Lewis: Quotes & Wisdom | Inspiration

September 4, 2018

Listen to episode 297 of the Inspirational Living podcast: C.S. Lewis: Inspirational Quotes & Wisdom. Edited and adapted from the works of C.S. Lewis.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living Podcast, brought to you by the kind financial support of listeners like you. To learn how you can become a patron, please visit LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the works of C.S. Lewis.

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest… No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond… Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

“We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road. In that case, the person who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

“Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a person a more clever devil… The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good, will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

“Even in literature and art, no person who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring a whit how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

Getting Out of Our Ruts | How to Live Long & Love It

Getting Out of Our Ruts | How to Live Long & Love It

August 30, 2018

Listen to episode 296 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Getting Out of Ruts | How to Live Long & Love It. Edited and adapted from The Road to Seventy Years Young by Emily Mulkin Bishop, published in 1909.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Discover how you can begin developing a lasting positive Mindset with our MAJESTY meditation program. Visit LivingHour.org/majesty. And use the coupon code “inspiration” for a 30% discount.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from “The Road to Seventy Years Young or The Unhabitual Way” by Emily Mulkin Bishop, published in 1909.

A kind of mental laziness (which for lack of a better term may be called “an inertia of the will”) is, perhaps, the chief cause of old age. It is easy to dawdle mentally, for no action of will is required when the wheels of thought aimlessly revolve in accustomed grooves. Such come-as-you-please thoughts are practically automatic, the undirected response to some stimulus.

Directed thinking to some definite end (which is the only kind of thinking that makes for the retention of mental vigor) requires effort. If you are going to use your mind, use it with all your heart. A virile will takes the initiative. It is pioneering, daring, and definite. Inertia of the will manifests, instead, in such mental habits as treadmill thinking, mooning about, and vain longings.

During the early part of life, the strong stimuli afforded by school and college, study and sports, by the first few years of aggressive business and professional life, are sufficient to keep the brain quite generally active. But as time goes by, the early stimuli no longer stimulate. The result is that the average person of forty years thinks and feels principally in ruts — and thoughts and emotions control their acts.

It is well, occasionally, to take an inventory of our stock of ideas, of our staple lines of thought, and to close out those that have become "dead stock." To make room for the new, out must go the old prejudices, the antiquated ideas, the old business methods. True, this is setting a task that is difficult for some people. But what matter does it make, if growth follows.

Now, it may seem like we are losing a part of our very selves to give up certain long cherished ideas — for our opinions and habits of thought are very intimately associated with our identity. But if our mental furnishings have become shabby, no matter what their associations, they must be discarded. As it’s been said, "Angels must go, that archangels may come."

How to Break Bad Habits | Character Building

How to Break Bad Habits | Character Building

August 28, 2018

Listen to episode 295 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Break Bad Habits | Character Building. Edited and adapted from the book Within You is the Power by Henry Thomas Hamblin.

Inspirational Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to by the generous financial support of listeners like you. If you would like to give back to our podcast in the way of a donation, please visit LivingHour.org/donate. Your donation will help ensure the continuation of our podcast for years to come. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Within You is the Power by Henry Thomas Hamblin, published in 1920.

Character building is the greatest object in life. It has been said that character is the only thing we can take with us when we depart this life. That is perfectly true, therefore the object of all religion, mental training, and spiritual development should be the building of character.

A religion that does not build up character is worthless. Those who think that they can slide through life, who make no effort to improve their character, and through believing in a certain creed can miraculously become perfect, simply by dying, are deceiving themselves.

We do not become "perfect" — that is, a person of strong and perfect character — either by believing in a creed or through dying, but by attainment. God helps those who help themselves, and those people who will not strive after better things cut themselves off from all the great and wonderful possibilities of spiritual attainment.

Before, however, thinking about such lofty things as entering the Path of Attainment — and modeling ourselves after the Divine Image — the average person may wish to know how to overcome those bad habits and weaknesses of character which are keeping you down in life, and, possibly, undermining your health.

Most people are conscious of some wrong habits that ought to be overcome, and weaknesses of character which should be eradicated. Possibly they have fought against their habits or weaknesses for years, prayed until they are tired of praying, made innumerable attempts at turning over a new leaf, yet all in vain — for they are as firmly struggling as ever.

A Parable of Life & Achievement | Inspiration for Success

A Parable of Life & Achievement | Inspiration for Success

August 23, 2018

Listen to episode 294 of the Inspirational Living podcast: A Parable of Life & Achievement. Edited and adapted from It’s Up to You! by Ralph Parlette.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And if you feel inspired, do tell your friends about us. Thank you. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from It's up to you! by Ralph Parlette, published in 1918.

I would like you to close your eyes for a moment. Now, imagine that I hold in my hand a glass jar containing little white beans and big black walnuts. I mix them all up. Then I shake the jar. They un-mix. The walnuts go to the top and the little beans go to the bottom.

That always happens. You have seen it happening all your life, all around you, in a thousand different ways. But have you really seen it? Have you ever noticed how many times we have to see a thing before we really see it? Why don’t you try it yourself?

Get a jar, a box, or a bucket, and put into it pebbles, marbles, blocks, or any different-sized things of about the same specific gravity. Mix them in any way, and then shake. Note how more perfectly than human hands can sort them, they will sort themselves just by the shaking. Each object finds its place according to its size.

The littlest ones get on the bottom, the next larger a little higher, the next larger a little higher, and the largest will shake to the top. When they shake into their place they stay there. Go on shaking, but they won't change — the biggest will stay on the top and the littlest on the bottom.

Now, suppose these objects in the jar could talk. Do you see that littlest bean in the bottom? I think if he could talk, he would say, “Help, Help! Help me up. Here I am in the bottom and so unfortunate and low down. I never had a chance like them big ones up at the top. Help me up!”

I say, “Yes, Little Bean, I'll help you. Cheer up and hold tight, for I am going to boost you.” And you see, I will get him clear to the top.

There, you see him up on the top. But the jar shakes. And back to the bottom shakes Little Bean, right where he was before I boosted him. I hear him say, “Hey, I slipped! You try that over again, put me back to the top and I'll stick there.”

“All right, Little Bean, I'll put you back to the top.” So I put him back on top. But he cannot stay on top. I shake the jar, and he shakes right down to the bottom. I can put him up a thousand times, and he will shake right back to the bottom. Why? You know why. I increase his altitude without increasing his dimensions, and he thus reduces to his lowest position!

Know Thyself & The Meaning of Success | Life Skills

Know Thyself & The Meaning of Success | Life Skills

August 21, 2018

Listen to episode 293 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Know Thyself & The Meaning of Success. Edited and adapted from Gaining the Round Above by Gustavus S. Kimball.

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Motivational Podcast Excerpt: During a conversation with a learned and distinguished professor, the question was asked, “What would you do if you had your life to live over?” His reply was: ''First, I would be a better man. Second, I would know more and study more carefully to know my own capabilities. And third, I would cultivate public speaking."

Without underestimating the force of the first or third answers, the second one should be uppermost in the mind of every person who is busy making a career for themselves. It is a great day in our lives when we begin to discover our capabilities and what it is possible for us to achieve. It is often true that we have latent capacities greater than we suspect, and which often lie dormant until some sudden awakening reveals them to us — therefore, every person should study to know themselves and what they are best adapted for in life.

You should take stock of yourself, as it were, for a knowledge of your limitations and possibilities is worth much to you. You must, in a sense, interpret and judge your own capacities from a study of the lives of other people. History is full of records of men and women who discovered somewhat their own capacity. But history has yet to record the individual who fully discovered all they might have been.

Remember that every person in this world is created differently from every other, and the success which some people achieve does not appeal to all alike. The success of some, means nothing to others. The interpretation of life's meaning and vocation reveals itself to you in what you enjoy: the books you read, the company you keep — to where your tastes lead you. Hence these should not be overlooked in selecting an occupation, and in deciding what your life work should be.

While there are many notable examples on record of people, with strong minds, who have shown their natural aptitude very early in life, most of us require years of waiting to discover our bent. The first years of every person's adult life are years of education. Doors do not open to us until we are prepared to enter them — for really we are only valuable, in the best sense, to the business world, to the community about us, when we have grasped life's full meaning and have gained poise of character, power, and self-control. Every person should thus find out from their interests for what they are best adapted, what they desire to do — and then do it with the bravery and enthusiasm which belongs to the bold.

The History & Purpose of Education | Henry Van Dyke

The History & Purpose of Education | Henry Van Dyke

August 16, 2018

Listen to episode 292 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The History & Purpose of Education | Henry Van Dyke. Edited and adapted from The School of Life.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. If you have been enjoying our podcast, we would be much obliged if you could help us spread the word by sharing one of our podcasts on your Facebook page, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Or the old-fashioned way of mentioning us to your friends when hanging out together. Thanks in advance.

Now, on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from “The School of Life” by Henry Van Dyke, published in 1905.

Life itself is the great school. Facts are teachers. Experiences are lessons. Friends are guides. Work is a master. Love is an interpreter. Teaching itself is a method of learning. Joy carries a divining rod and discovers fountains. Sorrow is an astronomer and shows us the stars. What I have lived I really know, and what I really know I partly own; and so beginning with what I know and what I own, I move through my curriculum, elective and required, gaining nothing but what I learn, at once instructed by every duty and every pleasure.

It is a mistake to say, "Today education ends, tomorrow life begins." The process is continuous: the idea turns into the thought, the thought into the action, the action into the character. When the mulberry seed falls into the ground and germinates, it begins to be transformed into silk. This view of life as a process of education was held by the Greeks and the Hebrews — the two races in whose deep hearts the stream of Western progress takes its rise, the two great races whose energy of spirit and strength of self-restraint have kept the modern world afloat.

For the Greeks, the dominant idea was the unfolding of reason, the clarifying of the powers of thought and imagination. The ideal person was one who saw things as they are, and understood their nature, and felt beauty, and followed truth....

William Shakespeare | Quotes & Wisdom | Plays

William Shakespeare | Quotes & Wisdom | Plays

August 14, 2018

Listen to episode 291 of the Inspirational Living podcast: William Shakespeare | Quotes & Wisdom | Plays. Edited and adapted from the works of Shakespeare.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. To get our podcast in fireside chat form, which you can pull up on your smart TV, subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Visit LivingHour.org/youtube. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from the works of William Shakespeare.

“The fool thinks they are wise, but the wise person knows themselves to be a fool. Modest doubt is the beacon of the wise. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.”

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. Notice how far the little candle throws its beams! So shines a good and kind deed in this weary world.”

“There are some who say that to love thyself is a sin, but it is not so great a one as to neglect thyself.”

“Virtue is bold, goodness is never fearful — while no legacy is so rich as honesty. To be an honest friend, as this world goes, is like one picked out of ten thousand.”

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. But all know this: to do a great right, we must often do a little wrong.”

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. And therefore is the winged Cupid painted blind. They who do not love are those who do not show their love.”

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. It is not the stars that hold our destiny, but ourselves.”

“Cowards die many times before their deaths. But the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that people should fear death, seeing that death is a necessary end, and will come when it comes.”

The Law of Attraction | Truth vs. Nonsense | Inspiration

The Law of Attraction | Truth vs. Nonsense | Inspiration

August 9, 2018

Listen to episode 290 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Law of Attraction | Truth vs. Nonsense. Adapted from the book Dynamic Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin, published in 1914.

Inspirational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. A special thanks to James Allan for becoming our newest monthly patron. If you would like to join James in becoming a patron, you can do so for a little a dollar month. To learn more about the special rewards our patrons receive, please visit LivingHour.org/patron. Thank you.

Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Dynamic Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin, published in 1914.

There has been a lot of nonsense written and spoken about the Law of Attraction. People have been taught that all they need to do is to adopt a certain mental attitude, think thoughts of success and abundance, and then sit and wait for the abundance of all good things to drop from the skies at their feet. The folly of it is seen when we find that these teachers of "abundance" and "opulence" have to work for a living — by teaching the very thing which, if true, would save them from all the necessity of working.

Suppose that it were true; then what is possible for one would be possible for all, and if all adopted this method of getting a living, then who would till the soil or make our clothes? Would everything we need come from the skies? Even if this were true (and we could draw all that we needed by the power of thought from the blue vault of heaven), then no one would have anything to do; life would become stagnant; and the race would perish from inaction.

Life IS action — and if a person ceases to work, they at once begin to disintegrate, and soon require six feet of earth wherein to cover their bones. When business people retire they often quickly die, and those who (being born with riches) have no necessity to work for a living, STILL have to find some kind of work and interest, in order to prevent themselves from mental and physical decay.

There is no such thing as getting something for nothing. The principle of the "square deal" runs right through life and the Universe. A business person who tries to get something for nothing — who, in other words, fails to give value for money — finally finds themselves without a customer.

Overcoming Troubles & Difficulties | Henry Thomas Hamblin

Overcoming Troubles & Difficulties | Henry Thomas Hamblin

August 7, 2018

Listen to episode 289 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Overcoming Troubles & Difficulties. Adapted from the book The Power of Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin.

Motivational Podcast Excerpt: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or to leave us a review at the iTunes store. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Power of Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin, published in 1924.

WHY is thinking right thoughts so important? It’s important because it influences our actions. It’s important because it builds up character and a steadfast mind. It’s important because upon it our well-being and the success of our whole life depend. It’s important because it is by right thought that we can overcome harmful suggestion.

First of all, we have to realize that thought is the cause of our actions and decisions. It is largely because of this that our circumstances depend upon our thoughts. If, for instance, we do not overcome life's difficulties in our thoughts, then we can never overcome them in actual experience. By this I mean that our difficulties must be boldly met and conquered in thought, if ever we are to hope to overcome them in reality.

In a way, it is good advice to tell people not to dwell upon their woes but to think of pleasant things instead — however, it is liable to lead to a habit of thought almost as destructive as brooding over trouble. This negative application of what is meant to be good advice is responsible for the failure of those who say, “I have tried right- thinking, but it makes no difference.” The reason “it makes no difference” is that it is not right-thinking at all, but actually a form of wrong-thinking.

Such people say, “I never indulge in wrong thoughts about my troubles. I refuse to think about them.” Just so, and it is there where the whole trouble lies. Instead of life's troubles being met boldly and conquered in thought, they run away from them. As soon as the mind comes up against an unpleasant thought — the thought of an irksome duty that must be done or of a crisis that must be faced, or of a difficulty that has to be overcome — the mind dodges it and moves on to something more pleasant.