Let's kick this post off with the most overused cliche on the internet!
"Success is a journey not a destination."
The quote is so true and so good it's become bad. It's like the movie Titanic. I love Leo, Kate & Celine, but I just can't watch another scene or listen to another note.
Here's me taking a stab at the truth found in that overexploited quote:
"Success is the whole story."
Not near as good, but let me explain.
Whole stories have a beginning, middle and end.
Most writers will tell you that the most challenging part of writing is the middle. It's incredibly hard to, not only hold the tension, but continue to elevate it as you approach your climax. Sure, the beginning is crucial. You've got to hook your reader. And the end is, without a doubt, the most important part of any good writing; you've got to satisfy them. But there's something magical about the middle. Here's the archetypal story structure we're all familiar with.
The Archetypal Story Structure:
Once upon a time
1) I dreamt of accomplishing: ___________
2) I persevered through every obstacle and trial standing in my way
3) Until I finally achieved: ____________
That is the structure. That is what makes the story work. You have to have all three sections.
Now imagine taking out the middle. All the conflict. All the perseverance. All the struggle. Every bit of the journey. What are you left with? A boring story.
Once upon a time
1) I dreamt of accomplishing: ________
3) I never lifted a finger to achieve: ________
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This, I am afraid, is how some want the story of their life to be written. They assume this truncated story structure would bring fulfillment, skip the conflict and get straight to the good part.
I would like to submit to you that the good part, the great part, is the middle. It's the perseverance, the struggle, the character-forming stuff.
By keeping the middle right where it belongs, you're saying yes to growth. You're saying yes to moments of discomfort even heartache. Don't forget that uncomfortableness is the indicator that lets you know you're growing.
"The best way out is always through."
– Robert Frost
See, even Robert Frost is with me on this. Success is the whole story: beginning, end and that glorious middle.
Have you found this to be true in your life? If so, how? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.