Good morning. Look who’s back! With day 2 of morning inspiration, Epictetus brings us another piece of wisdom.
This kind of inspiration is not theoretical. It has a very practical application in life. An example? Yes. An example.
A few weeks ago, we met the teachers of Thea, our younger daughter. They recommended she attend a Chinese evening class to gain fluency faster, maybe at a private tuition school next to her kindergarten, where some of her classmates go. Now, there was only one day and one class she could attend, to be with her classmates: Friday at 5pm. And you would not believe how many parents want to put their children in this class, on Friday at 5pm. Thea’s mom had put her in a waiting list about a year before, and we had stayed in that waiting list, count number 40, for the last 10 months.
Nevertheless, we went to the school immediately, and I clearly explained that I would not live the premises before my daughter’s name was on the roster of that particular class. I appreciated the difficulty of their position, and was willing to do what it would take so there would possibly be a second teacher in the class, or anything else in my power to help. But I needed her to be in that class, that day, at that time. I also acknowledged that we were far down in the waiting list, but I needed her to be in that class, that day, at that time. I explained that I would make complete payment immediately, but I needed her to be in that class, that day, at that time. We went back and forth for a while, with no progress to show for, and they were in the process of looking for the personal mobile phone number of the CEO of the franchise, then on a business trip in Korea, to agree on an exception when the phone rang. The conversation happened in Chinese, so I did not catch what was happening at the time, but I could see the ladies started smiling, relaxing even. Then, one of them told me that a mom called and changed her son from that class to another one. They should normally call the next person on the waiting list, but since I was here, so eager yet polite, my daughter would get in.
Now, you can call it luck. I do not mind. I am not delusional, and I do not think that I got into the head of this woman for her to call and transfer her son. But I know that if I had not set my mind to resolve this once and for all, if I had not decided to stay with them until my daughter was in that class, I would not have been there after 45 minutes of seemingly endless discussions when she called, and the school team would have done what was only natural: pick the next name on the list. It is fair, though. I showed up. You have to show up. You have to want it. You have to want it more – more than everyone else.
And I know one other thing for sure. This is not a one-time wonder. I have collected dozens of stories like these in the last two decades. I even majored in it. For years, these were the only stories that I wanted to be part of. And it works. You take something other people believe impossible, and you set in your mind that you will find a way. And you find a way. Because you look. Because you apply your attention. Because you tinker. You try, push, twist, pull, ask, try once again, beg, bargain, try once more. Then you find. It may not be ideal, or even be pretty. But you find a way, because the world really turns aside to let any man pass, who knows where he is going.
The world turns aside to let any man pass, who knows where he is going.