One day a proud young man approached Socrates and asked him to show him the path to wisdom. Socrates looked at the man and paused for a few moments, allowing the him to become uncomfortable with the silence. He locked eyes with the young man and told him, “meet me at the river at dawn” before walking away.

The next morning the young man arrived at the river before dawn. Socrates soon walked down the path and slowly waded into the water, motioning for the man to join him. When the young man waded up to his chest Socrates looked at him and asked, “what do you want?” The young man responded, “to find wisdom!”

Socrates grabbed the man and began drowning him. He held him under water for twenty seconds and then let him up, asking him again, “what do you want?” The young man responded again, “to find wisdom!” At that, Socrates promptly submerged the man under water again. Thirty seconds passed, then forty, and the man’s face began to turn blue. Socrates lifted the man up and asked, “what do you want?” The man gasped, “air!”

Socrates released the young man, and said “when you want wisdom as much as you have just wanted air, then you will begin to find wisdom.”

Wisdom, like most things in life, can only be gained with determined effort. Acquiring new skills or perspectives takes determined effort. You have to struggle with the concepts, you have to fight for it as if it was you are fighting for your survival.


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