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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Requisite Bet

“Dive right in.”  Advice offered Monday by Ari Fleischer (Bush Admin Press Secy from 2001-2003) to George Washington University Students.

“Dive right in” is great advice for students as well as people of all ages.  There will always be a thousand reasons—often rationalizations—why the timing is not right to take up a challenge.  One of the great objectives for GWU students is to by studying politics to raise their comfort level in this realm—to prepare the mind to accept the challenge to dive in.  The university experience is a way to enter the pool on the shallow end before taking the big plunge off the high dive of politics.  The substance of the task to raise the comfort level to dive right in is not a mystery. “Dive right in” is brother to “I can do it.”  Self-confidence is essential and is based on experience—not necessarily years of it.  It can be based on a flash of inspiration and insight (as in the case of Saint Joan).  God’s challenge with Moses was basically that of increasing his self-confidence.  He had to overcome his belief that “I can’t do it.”  Once this was accomplished, Moses dove right in.  Yet it is important to remember the lines of William Butler Yeats:

Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.

Before jumping off the high dive, there is always an instance (however fleeting) that calls forth the thought: “To hell with it; I’m going for it.”  Preparation alone isn’t enough.  One must learn to bet on themselves.  This is one reason why we are willing to follow a leader—we tacitly understand that they are willing to place that bet.

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