"Certainly, my son," replied Socrates. "Walk with me." Socrates began to walk and headed towards the sea. Once on the sand, Socrates continued to walk straight into the water. The young man followed. When both were chest deep in the ocean, Socrates placed his hands on the young man's head and quickly forced it under the water. After about ten seconds, the young man fought his way to the surface and began to gasp for air. Socrates released the boy’s head, turned and walked away.
The young man was appalled. He had traveled a great distance to meet with this scholar whom he admired and respected and when he asked for his wisdom all he did was put his head under water. Never again, vowed the young man, would he seek the advice of Socrates.
However, time as we know, has a way of healing wounds and after a week went by, the young man thought maybe he did something to upset Socrates. So back he went to visit the scholar. Again he beseeched Socrates to teach him all he needed to know so he could be a great success.
Socrates smiled and once again agreed. He asked the young man to follow him and again they walked toward the ocean. Just like before, Socrates walked in the water and, when the water was chest high, Socrates grabbed the young man by his head and pushed it under water. This time, however, the young man was ready. Before going under, he took a big gulp of air and held his breath for almost for thirty seconds before coming up gasping for air. As he wiped the water from his eyes, he saw Socrates already on the shore walking away.
Now the young man was livid. Twice he had approached Socrates for the knowledge he needed to become a great success and twice Socrates took him to the ocean and put his head under water. Never ever again would he be insulted and humiliated like this.
Well, thirty days passed and the young man had time to reflect. He truly wanted to be a success. Socrates had the wisdom he needed so he decided to go one final time to see the scholar. Upon arriving at Socrates’ home, he rapped on the door. When Socrates appeared, the young man said, "I hope you remember me?"
This time the young man was well prepared. As soon as Socrates grabbed his head, he took a deep swallow of air, relaxed and was able to hold his breath underwater for almost two minutes. When he finally surfaced for air, Socrates had already walked away.
Furious the young man ran after Socrates. When he was a few feet from Socrates he shouted, "Socrates, why is it every time I come to you and ask for your help to gain the wisdom and the knowledge on how to be a great success, all you do is take me out in the water and dunk my head?"
Socrates turned around, faced the young man, and said, "Son, I have tried three times now to teach you the secret of being a great success. The secret is simple: When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, you will be a great success."
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