Inspiration & Perspective From The Past

ben franklin

I love the inspiration and perspective a good biography or memoir can deliver.

Over the past two months, I’ve been reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin.

In a previous post, I made the comparison between Ben and Mr. Money Mustache (personal finance blogger, early retiree). What I found so inspiring about this is the longevity of the ideas both men espoused (namely, frugality & industriousness) working for each one individually even though their lives are over 200 years apart.

What I also drew inspiration from was the three-act career Ben was able to pull off: tradesman, scientist, statesman. Solidifying the idea for me that, if you’re not a donkey, and focus on one or two things at a time – you will still have the opportunity to go all-in on other interests over the course of the following decades. While Ben was building his printing business he still kept the “lines warm” in science and public affairs, dabbling in each – but his focus was on the printing business. At age 40 he turned his focus to science, while loosely involved in the other two. Finally, to his time as a statesman later in life as the revolutionary war broke out.

The perspective this wonderful biography gave me is reinforcing the idea that over a decades-long time horizon, much more is possible than we initially think. Be patient, be flexible, do well with what you are doing now.

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