Seize the day; put no trust in the morrow.
You may be familiar with the quote from Horace in its Latin version, “Carpe diem,” made famous in the movie Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams. The ancient Roman was telling us that nothing gets done tomorrow. You have to act today if you expect to accomplish your purpose in life. But while you must act today, you must keep your eye focused on tomorrow and the next year and the next decade. If your vision does not extend beyond today, then you will become mired in failure, because success in life cannot be achieved in a single day.
Bill Walsh, the National Football League Hall-of-Famer and Stanford University coach, put it very effectively:
Perhaps the secret to effective action lies in how you interpret the length of the “day” in Carpe Diem. If it’s a moment, or a day, you’re cutting down on the odds for success. But if you recognize that in business as in sports (or all of life, for that matter), there’s a “season” made up of several opportunities, those odds go up considerably.1
But the opportunities are like baseball pitches: You have to swing at them if you expect to hit the ball out of the park. So Walsh adds:
The key to success is reaching out, extending yourself, striking, and then, if you fail, bouncing back and doing it again— being so resourceful that finally when the moment comes again you won’t hesitate.2
Hesitation results from an uncertainty about where you want to go and what you ...