“Reserve the right to know more today than yesterday.”
Konrad Adenauer was the Chancellor of West Germany for over 20 years.He had a reporter who did not like him and was always trying to be critical
of Adenauer. One day he asked Adenauer a question, and did not like what he answered. He belligerently said to Adenauer, “I asked you the same question last week and today you gave me a completely different answer, can’t you make up your mind?”
Adenauer looked at the reporter and answered, “I can make up my mind, but I reserve the right to know more today than yesterday.”
And so do I.
When I was 10 years old I was standing on a subway station in Brooklyn, New York, and I saw a person with a mop washing the floor. I thought to myself, who will be doing that job in 10 years? I was raised in a Jewish family, and the expectation was that I would endeavor to become a professional such as as doctor, lawyer, teacher, or business owner. I “knew” everyone must have the same expectation, so there would be no one left to do those “menial” jobs, such as being a janitor, or garbage collector.
George Bernard Shaw wrote,
”Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”
I admire “unreasonable” people, those who lead a life that is not “comfortable”, and are willing to go out on a limb, not blindly, but with a sense of
what they want to achieve, and an understanding that the limb may break; they are prepared for and willing to confront that possibility. As you look
over your career or your educational path, are you being reasonable in your choices, because that seems to be a safer, more comfortable path to take?
Now for some shameless self-promotion – I truly admire myself for the “unreasonable”, “unsafe”, well thought out decisions that took me in directions I would never have predicted for myself as I grew up in Brooklyn. I reserved the right to know more about myself today than yesterday, and with
that knowledge made choices that helped me take some unreasonable and uncomfortable, but ultimately fulfilling, even adventurous paths.
Eleanor Roosevelt commented about the two roles of a leader:
“To comfort the afflicted AND afflict the comforted.”
Are you afflicted by your lack of certainty on what is the right path to choose, or are you in need of being afflicted to move out of you life of comfort, to one that is more fulfilling and satisfying?
The Foundations of Brilliance program helps you know more today than yesterday about yourself. It helps you choose the right path to take as you pursue your potentially unreasonable and uncomfortable, but truly satisfying educational or professional path.