Alexander and the morning dip

I was reminded of a story from Alexander III’s (“the Great”) childhood. His childhood tutor used to wake him up at 5am and make sure he took an early morning dip in the river.

As the water was freezing cold, Alexander understandably hated it. However, the more he showed his displeasure, the more his tutor took pleasure in this ritual.

After months of this, young Alexander decided it was time for change. So, he woke up much earlier than his tutor, embraced the dip in the ice cold water, and then woke his tutor up to say he was ready for the day’s lessons. This time, it was the tutor’s turn to be annoyed.

After a few more days of this, the tutor finally took Alexander to his father. Instead of complaining, however, the tutor explained that Alexander was now ready to move to his next phase of studies – studying life and philosophy under a more accomplished teacher.

There are a few fascinating lessons in this story – the one that stands out to me is how the combination of being proactive and developing self-discipline were fundamental building blocks of his education.


PS: In case you are wondering, that next tutor went by the name Aristotle. :-)