Goals and To-Do Lists from Uncanny Sources

A while back I found this great image of a New Years resolution list by Woody Guthrie.

 

 

 

 

 

While people have been spending time reading “Who Moved My Cheese” and other droll business books or relying heavily on crowd-sourced Twitter wisdom, I’ve been shy to do so. It seems like plenty of inspiration abounds for your work from the sources that have always mattered most: artists. You apply it to your life as you like, you take what you want and leave the rest, you eat it alive and run on the inspiration.

Here’s an example. A couple of months ago I picked up Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut for the first time. It was full of life-lesson-level gems of wisdom, galvanized by comedy and made more-than-fiction by its undying wit. Now THERE’S your business book right there. Here are some demonstrative quotes:

Recovering from hard times or mistakes? “You were sick, but now your well, and there’s work to do.”

Feel like you’re blogging or advertising into the ether? Many people need desperately to receive this message: “I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people don’t care about them. You are not alone.”

My favorite, my mantra I live by- “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”

You can take your buzz words and meme themes like work-life balance, synergy, engagement- you know them all- and just distill better and more meaningful messages from art. I mean, these Vonnegut quotes are pretty bad ass, but you really do have to read the book to get what I got from it. It stoked a fire in my gut. It was a call to action and a call to relaxation. When you read Timequake (which now I’m sure you will, right?) you’ll see what I mean when you read these quotes in context.

At the very least, maybe you could listen to some really great music and start working out a list like Woody’s here. I’ve adopted a couple of his resolutions this year.

Work more and better.

Stay glad.

Wake up and fight.

So what do you think about all this? Can you think of a book that serves as an important tome in your life? I’d love to hear about it.