Here's my inspiration room. It's got things that inspire me and keep me going. Some of these things keep me going intellectually and provide that kind of stimulation. Others smash through, grip your heart and make it twist they're that powerful. I'm not a big musical listener but there just happen to be some tracks that literally change my physiology.
Maybe I should listen to these tracks more.
Scribe - Dreaming (and almost every track from his first album, "The Crusader", is seriously awesome)
These lyrics capture how I feel with my startup:
"I sacrificed late nights and going out with my friends
Just to stay home alone with my pad and my pen
Had my eyes on my prize, my mind on my goal
As I carved these rhymes out with my hear and my soul
I was down and out
Wondered how I'm gonna make it thru
I got a dream (I got a dream)
Holding old (I'm gonna hold on)
I can't let go cos I gotta make it come true
All I do is try to stay true to the words of my song
Just don't hesitate and wait too long
Cos like a dream when you wake up its gone ... its gone
I'm working 9 to 5; I'm slaving over beats
Its hard work living the dream I hardly ever sleep
I'm in the rhythm deep, Yo just trying to do my thing"
Sometimes you can hear your soul speaking in the world. It's like pure energy shooting right from the centre. It's raw, powerful, pure and immediate. Perhaps I'll never be able to put it into words but I think that there's a sweet sadness to this track and it's a ballad to startup life in my mind.
There's also a sentimental sadness to it, it's more hopeful than certain and it's more about holding on rather than forcing the world to bend to your will. But startups, to me (and any achievement project for that matter) are more about weathering storms, standing your ground and pushing into the wind more than a blitzing conquest.
Maybe I'm doing it wrong but I figure if I'm prepared to hunker down for the long term struggle then I'll make it no matter what happens.
Best listened to: On public transport to and from Fishburners.
Worst time to listen to: When you're trying to get into negotiation mode.
Hilltop Hoods - Nosebleed Section
This is just a feel good song that lifts my mood. The key is, don't go to the well too often or it won't have the same impact.
Best listened to: Whilst working or early in the morning
Worst time to listen to: At work
Far East Movement - Like a G6
This song just wants me to break out dancing. It also stirs me up so I feel a heady cocktail of toxic anxiety and anticipation. It's strange how a track can pull out such strong feelings - not all positive - but feelings I enjoy experiencing. I think it just reminds me of going to nightclubs as a younger man.
Magnetic Man - Perfect Stranger
Magnetic Man - I Need Air
Swedish House Mafia (ft Tinie Tempah) - Miami to Ibiza
These three tracks are the kind I literally listen to at full volume. I do this with my headphones on at foodcourts or Fishburners. For those brief, precious, fleeting moments I'm somewhere else living a hyper-exaggerated, over-blown, full-throttle version of my wildest self.
Outwardly I'm calmer than a buddhist monk on morphine as I sit like a statue but inwardly I feel like the deep animal self we all have gets to breath a little before disappearing again when I open my eyes. Why is this inspiring? For me there's nothing that gives me a stronger, deeper connection with my humanity than that.
Best listened to: Whenever I'm overthinking it
Worst listened to: Never
Steve Jobs Commencement Address
This video will keep you true to yourself, your core purpose and living for right now.
Tim Ferriss Four Hour Workweek. This book gets me revved up about creating the life I want instead of being forced to accept my current circumstances.
If - Rudyard Kipling
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!"
Invictus - William Ernest Henley
"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."
And there's one last thing that inspires me more than any other:
That's right - the big D. The reality that in the eyes of eternity we're all just dust in the wind fills me with alternating levels of despair and inspiration.
Our time is so fleeting and death is one way to fundamentally expose the myths of our society - like the adherence to the status quo, the concept that a 9-5 job routine is dependable and infinite, that settling is OK.
You have to fight and push and work to create the life of your dreams. We all get a finite amount of time and realising that you're already dead is a sure way to focus your mind on what's important.