Make fun of me all you want but I love inspirational shit! Speeches, books, podcasts, articles, people, stories, songs, quotes, basically anything that gets the juices flowing. If it makes me feel like I can be a better human being, I'm all in. Because here's the thing, we can always be better. If you're down, there's always someone out there who's been through something similar to what you're going through (or worse) who can provide comfort and hope. If you're happy, it's always a good idea to remember how lucky you are to feel that way.
And if you're struggling to make it through this quarantine and are wondering what good could possibly come from it, Tim
Apple Cook delivers in every single way.
First with historical perspective...
"As 1918 dawned, a young Assistant Secretary of the Navy - just 36 at the time - was headed overseas, tasked with making sure America's green and untested troops were ready for action in Europe's Great War.
An iconoclastic academic and poet - barely 30 - balanced odd jobs as a high school teacher and banker after the outbreak of war had dashed his hopes of defending his dissertation.
And a young nurse - only 20 - began caring for wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Toronto. She worked ever-longer hours as a strange sickness began to appear beside the wounds of war.
By the time the Spanish Flu swept through their countries, their communities, and their bodies, these three would be forever changed.
Franklin Delanor Roosevelt was carried off a military ship on a stretcher. Once he was recovered back home in New York, he was the nominee for Vice President, beginning a career in national politics that would change the course of history.
While lying in his sickbed, T.S. Elliot began writing what would become The Wasteland, his poetic masterpiece. It begins, "April is the cruelest month" and it began a movement of literary modernism that would win him the Nobel Prize for Literature.
And when Amelia Earhart finally caught the flu from one of her patients, her recovery was more complicated and painful than most. To pass the long and grueling hours of quarantine and social distance, she would watch the airplanes coming and going and she started to wonder whether she might like a change of career.
And then with the reminder that we always have a choice, not necessarily in what happens to us, but in how we respond.
In every age, life has a frustrating way of reminding us that we are not the sole authors of our story. We must share credit, whether we'd like to or not, with a difficult and selfish collaborator called our circumstances.
And when our glittering plans are scrambled, as they often will be, and our dearest hopes are dashed, as will sometimes happen, we're left with a choice. We can curse the loss of something that was never going to be… or we can see reasons to be grateful for the yank on the scruff of the neck, in having our eyes lifted up from the story we were writing for ourselves and turned instead to a remade world."
Honestly, this may be one of the most difficult lessons life has to offer.
When you know something can go wrong and it does, the blow isn't as hard. It still sucks, of course, but the element of surprise doesn't play its cruel trick. But when the unexpected happens and completely changes the way you live your life, that can be an absolutely brutal reminder of how little power we have over our lives and how little we really know. As Cook puts it, "Fate comes like a thief in the night."
And sometimes it sticks around a lot longer than we expected.
I'm sure none of us ever imagined we would be forced to spend months locked up in our homes, unable to interact with others for fear of contracting a dangerous virus. And yet, here we are, powerless against our circumstances, but never our perspective.
"Those of us who can look back on this time and remember inconveniences and even boredom can count themselves lucky. Many more will know real hardship and fear. Others still will be cut to the bone…
Think about an undocumented father, ignored or scorned by his community, who is putting himself at risk in the fields today to feed his family and yours. Think about a single mother, who stocks shelves at night and drives a city bus in the morning, without whom so much would fall apart. Think about the hospital orderly, scrubbing down the ward on hands and knees, whose work today is as solitary and sacred as a high priest purifying a temple.
Most of all, think about how you — blessed with a world-class education — might act and work and be different when all of this is said and done…
You weren’t promised this day. Many of you had to fight hard to earn it. Now it’s yours. Think anew, act anew. Build a better future than the one you thought was certain. And in a fearful time, call us once again to hope."
Can't ask for more inspiration than that.