I need to take a long road to get to the point though.
Two years ago, during my final full day in Costa Rica, I met Roberto while on a one-day package tour. We traded email addresses and later became Facebook friends too.
Every once in a while, I check to see what Roberto is up to, and am always happy to read that he is progressing along in his medical residency, attending conferences, and--this is key--traveling. For the young man he was, Roberto had profound, heartfelt, philosophical observations, like this one that I had blogged about too:
"When you are lying nearing your death, you cannot take your car or house or clothes. You have only your memories with you when dying" Roberto said. El sentido de la vida es vivirla was what Roberto had later noted in his Facebook post.After we returned to our respective routines, our interactions quickly reduced to nothing. Every once in a while I check his Facebook page, which almost always has posts only in Spanish. Sometimes I click "like" too.
Today, I happened to visit his page after a long time. And that is where the coincidence part kicks in.
With the lack of institutional reward at work--even if it is merely my perception that is not the reality--I was concerned that I might begin to coast along without investing any energy or emotion. Given my game plan to work for a long time before I exit this pale blue dot, I had been thinking about how to dangle a carrot in front of myself.
I happened to visit Roberto's Facebook page, where he had a lengthy post in Spanish with a final line that was "Rudyard Kipling." I figured he had posted a poem by Kipling and was curious. I clicked on translate. I liked the poem, but there was something bothering me about it. I am no specialist in poems, but I had a feeling that it was not Kipling's.
I then googled for the first line of the poem, and the results were that the author was Walter D. Wintle.
I now re-read the poem without that nagging feeling. You can see why it was a lucky coincidence, and why I am posting the poem below.
The man who thinks he can
By Walter D. Wintle
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It is almost a cinch that you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost;
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can!