Monday, September 28, 2015

I think I can. I think so ...

Lucky coincidences.  They happen.

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!


Ramesh said...

Well , before this post I had no clue who Walter D. Wintle was, and now I know, Know enough to be pedantic and say the title of the poem is wrong - the title should simply be "Thinking" if Wikipedia is to be believed.

Yes, the man who thinks he can, often wins, but it helps if he is strong and fast as well !! Maybe you be strong, fast and win in working for a long time .

Sriram Khé said...

when I did the Google search to check who wrote that poem, Wikipedia informed me:
"Thinking" is also known as "The Man Who Thinks He Can".
Because of the autoethnographic aspect of the blog-post, I way preferred that other title that I used.

I will be happy working for a long time, even if I don't "win." Let us see ... Thanks for "Maybe you be strong, fast and win in working for a long time"

Anne in Salem said...

So which came first, the Wintle poem or Henry Ford saying, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right”?

The post about poetry you reference in this post predates my participation so I read it eagerly. I must say, we have found common ground! Courtesy of teachers, I was put off of poetry. With the help of a dear friend, I am learning to appreciate it. I have a definite preference for the Tennyson-types and an aversion to free verse.

Much to learn in this world . . .

Sriram Khé said...

Henry Ford said a lot of things that are not worth the cars he made, which is a good reason not to give him credit ;)

Yes, much to learn, which works out well for some of us ...