If you had only six months left to live, would you do what you are doing now? Would you live the way you’re living now?
Admiral Hyman Rickover was in charge of the original development of naval nuclear propulsion. He was known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” He was also known for his tough interviews.
One of things he especially wanted to know was how candidates would act under stress. He kept a chair in his office that had a few inches sawed off the front two legs. When a candidate sat down, they would immediately be off-balance. His theory: If you can’t handle sitting in an awkward chair, I’m not going to put you in charge of a nuclear submarine.
Former President Jimmy Carter once interviewed with Admiral Rickover for a position. He tells the story in his autobiography entitled, Why Not the Best: The First Fifty Years”:
As the interview started, the admiral asked how Carter what had been his class rank at the Naval Academy.
“I swelled my chest with pride and answered, ‘Sir, I stood 59th in a class of 820!’ I sat back to wait for the congratulations. Instead came the question: ‘Did you do your best?’ I started to say, ‘Yes, sir,’ but I remembered who this was. I gulped and admitted, ‘No, sir, I didn’t always do my best.’
He looked at me for a long time, and then asked one final question, which I have never been able to forget — or to answer. He said, ‘Why not?”
When you stand before Almighty God, would you rather hear “Why not” … or “Well done”?
My prayer each of us is that we will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence by Dr. Ben Carson