The Inspiration Project

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’d heard her interviewed on Tim Ferriss’s podcast, and I was intrigued. I then downloaded (and subscribed to) her podcast. After that, I downloaded the audio version of her book (she’s got several more books).

In the book, she outlines what The Happiness Project is. (It’s basically a book about a year of her life that was spent researching and trying out things that might make one happy or that are supposed to make one happy.) The book is great. I like how it’s set up. I love the premise. I feel inspired by it. Part her idea is that reading (of listening to) The Happiness Project might inspire someone to try their own happiness project.

Then this morning I thought, “What if I wrote a series of posts on things that inspire me?” And not just in terms of teaching. Certainly teaching-specific items will be included, but it is my belief that if one is inspired in general, one will be inspired in the classroom.

It also feels to me like being inspired is a habit. Like being bored is a habit. If a person constantly thinks, “This is boring. I have nothing to do,” it becomes the norm of their life. And on the other hand, if a person is constantly thinking of new ideas and having fun in life, that becomes the norm of their life.

Another person I find endlessly fascinating and inspiring is James Altucher. He has a podcast called The James Altucher Show. He speaks to all kinds of people about their lives, how they got where they are (they are generally successful in some area of life) and how they think.

One of his books is entitled Choose Yourself! It’s probably his most well-known book, but all of his books are infused with his curiosity and energy. In the book, he suggests making a list of ten things every day. It could be anything. The idea is that if you do this every day, your brain will get used to it and you’ll become an idea machine. There are six months worth of list ideas in another of his books, Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century. It’s actually co-written by his then-wife, Claudia Azula.

My idea here is that thinking (and writing) about things (or people or events) that inspire me will make my brain think of more things that inspire me. Also, I’d like to read about things that could inspire me and try them out.

So these are my first two: Gretchen Rubin and James Altucher. I eagerly await their podcasts each week (Gretchen’s is done with her sister, Elizabeth, which makes me wonder how I could get my own sister, Kathy, involved in this). And when I run out of podcast episodes, I listen to their books.

Will I call it The Inspiration Project (which sounds so amazingly derivative)? Who knows? What I know is that I suddenly want to write.

Help me out and tell me what inspires you.

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