We all have times when we need a little kick, a reminder as to why we’re working so hard to grow a business, start something new, or switch careers. We long for the blissful perspective of the young while simultaneously seething over their smug naivete. Everyone who is working hard to accomplish something or is finding that the road is hard, should have a cache of words that inspires them. When motivation is low and frustration is high, nothing can be more refreshing than a childlike book, video, or speech.
One such classic piece is the children’s book/graduation speech Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Many Dr. Seuss books are known for going beyond the surface. One of the things that makes Oh, the Places You’ll Go! special is how it nonchalantly recognizes the cycle of success and failure. “Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go you will top all the rest,” provides typical you-have-boundless-potential fare. Then turn the page to “Except when you don’t. Because, sometimes, you won’t.” Seuss tells us that yes, it can and it will happen to you, but you’ll bounce back because you don’t let failure stop you forever. There is stigma with failure, but there shouldn’t be, because it happens to everyone. And there is great comfort in that message.
When The Man is getting you down, seek no further than Kate Beaton’s adorable Mother’s Day comic. The whimsy of cartoon, coupled with sincere parental encouragement, makes this comic a sweet message of staying true to oneself, even when the so-called experts don’t understand it.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Baz Luhrmann’s spoken word “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen” originally written by Mary Schmich packs professional, personal, and physical advice (“wear sunscreen”) in another pseudo-graduation speech. Ironically, one piece of that advice is to ignore advice. It’s a light-hearted conglomerate of silly and serious statements. “Don’t waste time with jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”
A more current piece of inspiration comes from the sage Internet phenomenon Kid President. “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You” is applicable to all ages and facets of life, but especially to those struggling to create something. “What if Michael Jordan had quit when he didn’t make the team [in high school]? He’d never have made Space Jam….What will be your Space Jam?” Kid President videos are funny and encouraging. “And if life is a game, we’re on the same team. I mean really, right? I’m on your team.”