An Open Letter to College Students
There isn’t much that I would change about my college experience. But if I could…
Inspiration is underrated. At least that’s what I’ve come to believe. This seems counter-intuitive, however, in today’s world of self-help gurus, professional training seminars, and performance-based compensation packages. Inspiration should be blossoming on every tree.
So why is inspiration underrated? It’s not that inspirational motivators are rare; rather, they are all around you. What’s rare is one’s ability to identify such motivators and harness them to an advantage. In this blog article, I want to help you answer the question “What inspires you?”.
When I pose the question “What inspires you?”, I’m not talking about why you brush your teeth, mow the lawn, or even show up for work each day. I’m talking really really big picture things here. Webster’s Dictionary states that the word “inspire” means to wield “an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence” on another person. Exalting…wow, that’s pretty powerful. When was the last time you felt like someone left an exalting impression on you? Perhaps it was a teacher who challenged you to register for an advanced calculus class, thus kick-starting your career track as a stock broker. Or perhaps it was your father who always took you to “take your child to work day”. At some point in your life, something inspired you to become the person you are today. It’s great that you’ve experienced this phenomenon…but how do you find inspiration on a regular basis?
Lately, I’ve been fascinated by History Channel’s Series “The Men Who Built America”. If you haven’t been watching, it is a very interesting docu-drama about the innovation boom that occurred in the late 1800s. The series smartly focuses on the inspiring forces behind men such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and others. In a nutshell, each man had a desire to become the most successful American businessman. With each new innovation, the others were inspired to seek out even bigger and better things. As a result, we now have electricity, fossil fuels, the automotive and steel industries, skyscraper buildings, and much more.
These titans of industry seemed to have a perpetual source of inspiration: each other. Instead of simply being content with their achievements, they continuously found inspiration to create more, grow more, and be more. As a result, they became some of the richest men the world had known and are still household names even to this day.
The natural reaction is to think you can’t be like Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Morgan. But why not? I’m certainly not saying it’s easy to become a millionaire or billionaire. What I am saying is that these men were special because they never settled for the status quo.
With so many places to look for inspiration, where should you look? Allow me to share a personal example. As many of you know, my book, Executive in Sweatpants, will be released this month. People often ask me, “Matt what inspired you to write a book?”. Although there are several motivators, the true inspiration occurred one morning in my office. I had just gotten my coffee and was sitting down to begin my workday. I always listen to the Dave Ramsey radio program in the morning, as I find Dave’s advice good for both business and personal purposes. Dave was speaking to a gentleman who had years of experience in the business world but could not find a job. He was in desperate shape and really needed hope. At that moment, I realized that there are probably millions of people who are in the exact same position. My goal with the book is to educate the population on the new virtual economy, provide helpful tips for building a successful work from home business, and hopefully inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Keep an open mind to being inspired. Also, seek out content that may serve to inspire you. By reading books (motivational and biographical books are great), listening to constructive radio programs or podcasts, reading blogs, engaging in social media conversations, and even occasionally watching TV, you can expose yourself to right kind of content. Be ready: you never know when inspiration might strike. And who knows….someone may be writing articles about you some day!
Executive in Sweatpants is the upcoming book (available in late November 2012) from marketer and author Matt Keener. The book is a how-to guide for launching and growing a successful work-from-home consulting business. Sign up to receive future blog postings and news sent directly to your email inbox.