People tell themselves stories about success and failure.

Most of those stories overlap with cultural stories that may, or may not, be factual. Cultural stories overlap with success and failure stories carry an impact. Success stories range from stories about hard work to stories about perseverance, patience, and tenacity.

What often gets missed in these stories is a discussion (or even a curiosity) about the individual and corporate moments that lead to the successes: The moments of gossamer when someone made a decision—or didn’t—and the consequences that resulted from that decision. Very rarely is decision making viewed through this lens as a series of deliberate and coincidental acts, complete with a dizzying array of textures, and moments.

The other thing that is often missed in all of these stories is the acknowledgment of the presence of a moral component in decision making. It is a sign of how far our post-modern world has come, that stories of success are tied more to the presence or absence of psychological traits, than they are tied to the presence or absence of spiritual traits.

The change really shows its colors when we either express guilt at the perceived underserved outcomes of our success—no matter how hard we know we worked for them. And it cuts particularly deep when “so many other people around me didn’t have the same success.” We compound our problem when we lack the commensurate humility in attaining our successes and are arrogant around the impact of our failures, exhibiting both a lack of a higher moral code and even more, a lack of an understanding of the limits of our own individuality and freedom.

There are no overnight successes: Parent work to ensure that their children have advantages that they did not have in their experiences. Adults work, experiment, try and fail, and neither the rewards, nor the failures, are equally meted out. People tell themselves stories about themselves (or repeat the stories they have been told by others since birth) and in repeating the narratives of success, failure, ennui, or moral uprightness, they continue to perpetuate myths that harden into legends, and become lived truths, echoing on down through the generations.

Nothing “bad” and nothing “good” happens overnight. It takes years (some would say at least 10,000 hours) to get to the epicenter of mastery of success and it takes just as long to get to the center of failure.

And the tenacious, and the patient, are rewarded, each to their own ends.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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