Friday, August 17, 2018

“Is there a fire in your belly?” – Anonymous

17 August
From “The Human Condition: A User’s Manual,” by Arnold Kunst
Do decisions make all the difference, or what?
Christopher Columbus did his sums and satisfied himself that he could get to the Orient [India] and the spice trade by sailing west.
Everybody, of course, knew he was crazy. The way to sail from Europe to India was to go south to the tip of Africa and turn left. The idea of sailing east by sailing west was as crazy as saying yes by saying no. And besides, if he sailed his ships out of sight of land they’d eventually disappear because they'd fall off! He probably heard all this when he'd go in for a beer to his neighborhood bar; he certainly heard it from the non-professionals he approached - court after court after court - for the money to finance the thing. It is probable that his wife thought occasionally that she was saddled with a basket case!
And when he did get his miserable fleet of three leaky little tubs two months into the Atlantic, he faced the threat of mutiny from a disheveled, indisciplined crew on short rations. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have ended up as nothing but a jumped-up footnote, a kind of historical freak, one of the legion of might-have-been’s, if he had decided to try to get the money together and see if the thing would work.
The conclusion is obvious: success in any human endeavor, while it entails the persistent injection of organizational ability and imagination, is primarily the result of a will act implacably adhered to.

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