Get Inspiration When You Need It
Today I’m really happy to host the virtual tour of Danny Brown’s latest book
‘The Little Book of Inspiration‘.
Danny Brown is an award-winning marketer and blogger. His blog has been recognized as the number one marketing blog in the world by HubSpot.
Other recognitions include Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blog in 2011 and 2013, voted one of Canada’s Top 50 Marketing Blogs, and the Hive Award for Best Social Media Blog at the 2010 South by Southwest festival.
His publishing credentials include Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing and The Parables of Business. The Little Book of Inspiration is his first non-business book.
Currently, he lives in Ontario with his awesome wife, very funny son, adorable little girl, and two small Chinese Crested dogs. You can read more from Danny on his blog, or connect with him on Twitter and Google+.
Danny has been a blogging hero of mine for many years now and I’m so excited to have him do a guest post on the subject of inspiration today.
Take it away, Danny.
Get Inspiration When You Need It
When I was younger – much younger, before my teens, even – inspiration to me was learned at the chair of my granddad.
He was a typical Scotsman – gruff, no-nonsense, blunt. But he was also one of the wisest men I’ll probably ever know. Every weekend, my mum would take me round to my grandparents, and my granddad would sit me on his knee and regale me with stories from the railroad.
As a driver on Scottish Rail (back in the days of steam), he would travel all over the land, and have all sorts of adventures (at least, that’s what he told me – looking back, I’m sure many were as fabricated as were true, but I don’t care).
He talked about how in the north of Scotland, people would open up their homes so drivers could have a wee bit o’ tea and cake before heading home. Or how, in the west of Scotland, you had to have salt and vinegar with your fish and chips instead of salt and sauce, and pity help you if you asked for anything else!
Apart from his own adventures, though, he’d always try to infuse me with hope and inspiration.
Lessons Between Generations
Being a typical young boy, I’d often complain about the world being unfair.
I was too small for certain fairground rides. I wasn’t big enough to ride in the front seat of the car. I had to eat what I was told. I had to share a room with my little sister. And on, and on.
My granddad would listen to me, nod, smile, frown, or tut, and generally be the foil to my terrible tales of toddlerdom. And then he’d make me realize that, in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t all that hard done by.
“You know, Danny, some kids don’t even know what a fairground is. You should be thankful you at least get to go on some rides, even if they’re not the bigger ones.”
“The front seat isn’t as exciting as you think. Besides, if you sit in the front, who’s going to tell us about the police car following us behind?”
“Look at me – I have falsers (false teeth). I have to eat mushy peas and gravy! Oh, for a slice of beef or real apple crumble!”
And every time he told me this, he’d do it with a smile and a hug, so I knew he meant it, and that maybe the world wasn’t as bad as I made it sound after all.
Lessons Of My Own
Now, many years after my granddad’s passing, his lessons to me are reflected in the life I see happen around me.
You see, over the years, I became very cynical about the world. I saw loved ones die from cancer. I saw friends die from asthma. I saw relatives die from terrorist attacks. And, unlike me, these were good people. People that tried to make the world a better place.
But it wasn’t enough. Still they were taken. So I wondered what kind of world would do that? What kind of world are we living in when good is rewarded with death and suffering, while bad seemed to be rewarded with riches and pleasure?
But it wasn’t like that. Instead, I was allowing it to be like that – because instead of seeing the good around me every day, I was actively looking for the bad.
When you do that, of course you’re going to see only bad, and lose hope of the world not being a bad place.
When I realized that, the change in mindset and appreciation was huge. The best part? It can truly come from anywhere.
Instead of looking for the annoying people that force their way onto the subway so as not to lose precious seconds in their lives, I was seeing the young teenager giving up his seat for an elderly lady who appreciated the gesture more than that kid will probably ever know.
Instead of scanning the news stories for the coverage of the latest atrocity in the Middle East, I was letting myself be educated on how Muslims in the UK were coming together to raise donations for war veterans – the same white war veterans whose grandchildren were racially abusing the Muslim community.
Instead of nodding when hearing examples of how people today are all about themselves, I’m watching on in awe as cities come to a standstill so a little boy with cancer can act out his dreams of being Batman.
And on and on it goes. Examples of hope and inspiration all around me, and us – if only we’ll look.
The Next Generation of Inspirationalists
Perhaps what inspires me the most (and, yes, I’m biased here) is watching my two young kids, and how they interact with not only each other, but those around them.
Ewan, our five year old son, is possibly the world’s most huggiest kid, especially around babies. If he sees a little one, he’ll wander up and start talking and offer hugs (if the mom says that’s okay).
Salem, our three year old daughter, will always look to share what she has with others, even candy and treats!
At school, and outside of school, Ewan doesn’t see “differences”, he just sees people, regardless of colour, gender, or sexual preference. To him, people are just people.
When they’re together, they both make sure each other is happy – if one has a toy, they ask if the other wants to play. If one has more candy left, they ask if they want to share. And when they see each other after school (Salem still goes to daycare), they run up to each other and give a huge hug. Every time.
Perhaps it’s the innocence of children that may disappear. Perhaps it’s because where we live is a pretty friendly city anyway. Perhaps it’s because education for toddlers here allows for discovery through play, as opposed to rigid lessons, and that allows kids to really be their own people.
Whatever it is, seeing my kids interact the way they do (and other kids doing the same thing) makes me hopeful of the changes they can make in the world if we can’t.
And that, for me, is truly inspiring.
The Little Book of Inspiration
Yesterday, mortality may have caught up with me. Today, I welcomed it as a future friend who will simply help me remember the present…
Life moves pretty fast and, in this always-on-the-go world that we find ourselves in, it’s becoming ever-harder to pause and reflect on what we see.
Yet, if we don’t, we miss the opportunity to experience the things that could truly change our lives.
The Little Book of Inspiration aims to be that opportunity to stop and savour not only the events around us, but the people, the experiences, the sights and sounds.
Through these inspiring stories and poems of love, redemption, and change, take a moment to really see all the inspirational treasures that are present.
Inspiration is all around us. All we have to do is look.
Yesterday, Oct 12, the tour stopped at Jenny Pitt’s blog for a review of The Little Book of Inspiration.
Tomorrow, Oct 14, the tour takes us to Andrij Harasewych’s blog for a Book Excerpt and Q & A.
Do follow the tour.
But hold on…there’s something exciting for you. A generous giveaway.
For copies of the book at a 20% discount, click on this image.