Frugal Beautiful

Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration

Steve Jobs - Limited TimeLife an unconventional life.  Follow your instinct and know it won’t make sense as you go through it, but filling your days with little things that bring you joy and fulfillment will eventually lead to a gorgeous story of your life when all is said and done.  Failure can be freeing.

You have to find what you love- do what you believe is great, no matter what that is.  You will know when you find it- don’t settle.

This is one of the most famous commencement speeches ever given- it has over 3 million Youtube hits and for good reason.  Steve Jobs is an American Icon, but he isn’t simply gloating about his success- he details his meanderings, his failings, his admonitions to love and follow that love.

15 minutes is all you need!

The famous line “People first, then money, then things,” comes from financial guru Suze Orman.  I adore Suze- I am watching her show right now on Itunes.  Fabulous stuff!  While her other advice is great- “people first,” is really something I’ve been focusing on.  I’m currently on the 30-Day-No-Shopping Challenge and I realized that time not spent shopping needs to be filled with something else in order to succeed.

Filling your life with people, not things is a way to free up your money for greater opportunity: retirement, starting a business, going on vacation, cutting your work hours and living comfortably…or how about this:  not bursting into tears when the credit bill comes each month?  That sounds pretty darn good.


Shopping keeps us busy.  It also gives us a sense that we’re building something- a more beautiful home, a more savvy wardrobe to spur more confidence,  a repertoire of things to make life better, faster, more efficient.  But what it all boils down to is people.  We want a nicer home to invite friends over and gadgets to entertain them with, a wardrobe that inspires awe and praise from people at work,  a birthday gift that shows our appreciation.  While things can be useful- it’s a distraction from the sometimes intimidating work of making personal connections with people and building community based on our own personalities and effort.

I recently had some friends over for drinks after hitting up a discount pizza place for their Monday night specials.  Honestly, I was embarrassed to have them over- my new apartment was sparsely furnished- we didn’t even have enough chairs for everyone.  I found myself fretting over the appearance of my apartment, but of course- as you can imagine, nobody cared.  Everyone was just happy I opened my home and we had cheap beer and wine and sat around and talked.  They were happy to get together, and in the end, I was happy to have done it.  Relying on personal connections and not things can be scary-  but often the experience is more genuine.

To ensure the success of my No-Shopping Challenge, I’m filling my life with EVENTS and not stuff.  I’m going to knitting meetups and attending health workshops.  I walk my dog each day and finally tackle projects that have been nagging at me.


Shopping has been a distraction for far too long.  It makes you feel accomplished, productive and successful when you can buy something new- especially when you’ve hunted down a good deal, but the activity of shopping usually distracts from other activity.

What are you using shopping to hide from? How are “things” holding you back from genuine experiences and connections with people?  Does debt keep you in a constant state of stress or does shopping hide the fact that you haven’t explored what really makes you happy?  Do you feel you don’t have the right “things” to start your goals?  (Trust me, having a cute pair of Nikes will not really encourage you to go to the gym).

People first– the money will sort itself out and the the things will matter less and less.  You will have exactly what you need.



Suze Orman is known for her financial advice- especially her emphasis on living within your means and saving for the future.

I chose her commencement address at University of Illinois because she speaks about her life journey.  The fact that she had no idea what she wanted to do, and ended up dropping out of U of I resonates with a lot of us who are trying to figure out our life’s path.  She was a major in Social Work and ended up being one of our generation’s major financial gurus, and it happened through her mistakes, miscalculations and of course- tenacity.

“Your degree does not make you- you make your life.” Her story will leave us with plenty of useful lessons learned.

“You are to go for anything and everything you want.  You are to give 100% to everything you do…the hardest thing in life is to jump a chasm…it doesn’t matter what you jump into.  All I ask of you is to jump into it with 100%, with every single thing you have.”

Military members perform "Gitmo jump-off."

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

— Nelson Mandela

I heard this quote several years ago and remember thinking “What the h*ll does that even mean? I’m not afraid of myself and my potential, my fear is that I’m not good enough!”  I sit here, blogging, nearly 5 years later and I think I’ve come to understand this famous quote-  we may fear that we are inadequate, but what scares us most is realizing that we can dream and live however we want, but the we are the only ones responsible to make it happen.

Whoa, isn’t that scary?  We hide our dreams and goals behind the fear of inadequacy, but truly, we are hiding behind the knowledge that nobody is holding us back but ourselves and in order to realize our own potential, we must look within ourselves.  There’s no book, pill or bullet list that can figure it out for us- we have to have confidence in what we are now, and faith in what we are to become.

Lack of Vision: If you have heard yourself sarcastically utter, “Sure it’d be nice to….(lose weight, sign up for flight school, increase your income)”  the key to what’s holding you back is not so much your lack of time, energy or resources- but really, the fear of what it would require to achieve those goals.  “It’d be nice,” to have your retirement years paid for, but can you really see yourself doing it? Why not?  If “it’d be nice,” then it might be a goal- but what’s keeping you from making it a goal?  Why can’t you envision yourself doing it?

Ignorance: When I started blogging, it opened up my vision to all of the stuff I had no clue about:  wordpress, graphic design, basics of HTML/CSS, social networking.  I had read blogs for years and loved it- but never got how it really “worked.”  I started realizing there was so much I didn’t understand and nearly shut down.  I didn’t even know where to start-  but take it day by day and enlist people to help you that have the knowledge- whether through friends or by reading up on it.  You will not know everything when you begin a journey towards your goal- but start anyway. You will gain more from the process than from the finished product.

Alienation: Happy, fulfilled people aren’t obnoxious aren’t they?  They’re always smiling and talking about whatever they’re working on with such zeal and enthusiasm- gross.  But yet, don’t we long to be those people?   It’s true, sometimes we fear that living a dream-oriented life and working towards it will change how people perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves- but trust me, it will change you and it will be worth it. You will love the person you are, and anyone else that doesn’t? Well, they can get out of your way- but it needs to be said that the transformation can be scary before you start it.  After you start it, you won’t want to go back.

Intimidation: Off the top of your head, you can identify the people you admire and want to emulate.  They have the life or the career you want.  It’s like, they know something we don’t- but truly they’re just doing something we all know:  find your goal and work on it a little bit every day. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the goal, or put off by the fact that it takes daily effort-  if you’re doing what you love, small efforts make daily happiness.

It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyway!  I leave you with a quote:

“(S)he who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

So go get ’em Tiger!  Ruby says “Rawr!”

It can be so easy to be discouraged when life throws us some obstacles- it’s easy to react with anger, to shut down, to completely let emotion take hold of us. We can’t control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react to it. Innovation can sometimes come with trying to work through frustration and happiness can come from taking the reigns of a disheartening situation.

John Bramblitt is a man who went blind in his late 20’s due to Epilepsy. Of course, at first he was angry and shut down- not wanting to leave the house- a normal reaction. But after a time, he started to discover that there were things he loved, which he could still do as a person with blindness, but it would take some adaption and some time to learn new ways to read and “see.” Truly, it’s inspiring to see his innovation through difficult circumstances and his persistence to adapt to a new way of doing things.

While it could be argued that he’s just “painting by the lines,” the patience, training and persistence it would take to even accomplish something like this, in a medium not truly adapted for the blind is extraordinary.  People who downplay his ability to paint seem to overlook the core of why this is inspiring- he was able to innovate and create despite a condition that would normally completely discourage the average person. Without sight, I couldn’t even pick a design to paint, much less find the supplies I needed or mix colors for a canvas!

He must think and approach every activity completely differently in order to accomplish what he wants.  It’s difficult and new, but he is able to make his desires happen and do what he loves by using a different approach.

I think the videos speak for themselves:

Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” is a hugely popular video on YouTube.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it.

If you have seen it, watch it again.

At the Time Randy gave his lecture at Carnegie Mellon, he had been diagnosed with cancer with only a few months left to live.  The humor and wit he uses when talking about his childhood dreams, and his attempts to fulfill them will give you a much needed boost to start your week.

My favorite quotes from Randy:

“Look, I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.”

“When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better,”

“Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one tenth the enrgy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

“When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It’s that simple. It’s that easy.”

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”

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June 2019
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