Fig Trees


In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius prompts us:

You shouldn’t be surprised that a fig tree produces figs.

He goes on to state that “A good doctor isn’t surprised when his patients have fevers, or a helmsman when the wind blows against him.” The truth Marcus is getting at here, or at least as I understand it, is that past performance is a reasonable indicator of future results.

This isn’t always the case, as no doubt that last sentence reminded you of the common “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” line that is, sensibly, plastered across risky investment products. But in life, as with fig trees, medical patients, the blowing winds upon the shore, and indeed, the current President of the United States, past performance is no guarantee of future results… but it’s a reasonable bet.


Benjamin Spall is the founding editor of the online magazine My Morning Routine, and the co-author of a book of the same name. He has written for outlets including the New York Times, the New York Observer, Quartz, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and more.

Subscribe to keep up to date with my latest posts (one email per week):