The dilemma

The Observer Magazine - - CONTENTS -

“Should I write an apol­ogy to my ex?” Plus, the quiz

In­di­cate the ex­tent to which you agree with each state­ment below on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 5 (com­pletely). 1. I con­sider prob­lems from dif­fer­ent an­gles □ 2. There are many paths to suc­cess □ 3. I keep a to-do list □ 4. I like to keep my op­tions open □ 5. I am rarely bested in an ar­gu­ment □ Higher scores may in­di­cate greater re­source­ful­ness. While John D Rock­e­feller ar­gued, ‘sin­gle­ness of pur­pose is one of the chief essen­tials for a suc­cess­ful life,’ Ro­man play­wright Ti­tus Mac­cius Plau­tus noted ‘a mouse does not rely on just one hole’. Theodore Roo­sevelt would agree: ‘I am not a good shot, but I shoot of­ten’ and Ein­stein ad­mit­ted, ‘I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the con­clu­sion is false. The hun­dredth time, I am right.’

Some­times there is value in know­ing when to quit. F Scott Fitzger­ald praised not only ‘the abil­ity to persist, but the abil­ity to start over’. ‘It is tempt­ing,’ noted psy­chol­o­gist Abra­ham Maslow, ‘if the only tool you have is a ham­mer, to treat ev­ery­thing as if it were a nail.’ To build a brighter fu­ture, tool up.

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