(8) Often, when a thing is just begun, it is impossible to know how it will end, much less whether society will acknowledge it. If you want success you must make every possible effort, you must keep a cool head and resist anxiety. If you work calmly and steadfastly, you will attain happiness. But if you are constantly focused on the fruits of success, the loneliness will be unbearable; you’ll be unable to stay the course and will end up empty-handed. During these times we should remember that ________.
a) Good things all come at a price.
b) No pain, no gain.
c) If winter is here, can spring be far behind?
d) The road is winding, but the future is bright.
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006. From the entrance exam for Chinese civil servants. Last year, 365,000 people applied for 10,282 openings; they had 120 minutes to answer 130 questions. Translated from the Chinese by Eric Abrahamsen. Originally from Harper’s Magazine, February 2006.