“The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.” — Seneca
The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon, has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877. Just above the players’ entrance to the Centre Court, the tournament’s main arena, inscribed are two lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If:”
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” — William Shakespeare
We have this strange fascination for the extremely successful among us. We crave stories about Alexander the Great, Caesar, Rockefeller, or Vanderbilt.
But we don’t think that it’s not all fun and games to sacrifice in a myriad different ways on a daily basis in order to reach the top of the food chain. We don’t think of how treacherous the path to the top of the mountain truly is.
“If anyone can refute me — show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective — I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”
How often do you change your mind? How often do you change your beliefs? What about your principles? Or your self-image?
How often do you admit that you were wrong?
How often do you force yourself to see things from the opposite of your usual perspective?
It can often feel like a cardinal sin to change one’s mind, to admit being wrong, but the truth is that the inability to change one’s mind is the foundation of a fixed mindset.
“If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?”
Jobs asked this question in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. He told the audience that he looked in the mirror every morning and asked himself that question, and whenever the answer was “no” for many days in a row, he knew something had to change.
This simple habit reveals a person who was incredibly passionate, disciplined, a true visionary, one who wanted to conquer the world, no matter yet.
Looking at yourself in the mirror, asking a question we all dread means that you are ready to carpe diem, as the Romans used to say. You are ready to do live each day as if it were your last, because one day you’ll most certainly be right.
This brings us to the first lesson we can learn from the genius co-founder of Apple.