The Trouble With Success​ Stories

The internet has opened opportunities to anyone that can access it. Some of the most popular posts are tips and hacks to better everyday life. People look to the internet to improve their lives. Want to learn how to retile your bathroom? There are thousands, if not millions, of articles on it. Want to learn how to knit Dr. Seuss underwear? Well, I could not find that, but it might be somewhere deep in the dark web.

These tips on how to live a better life, remodel your bathroom in half the price of normal remodels, or lose 49.2 pounds in just three weeks, often come with success stories. These success stories are all over my Facebook.  They are not always associated with a corporation looking to cash in on someone’s luck and someone else’s insecurity. Often, these stories come from well-meaning people who have everyone’s best interest at heart.

The issue with most success stories is their vague and single faceted nature. Sure Aunt Sue lost 45 pounds with her new diet; however, given that I am a completely different person, with different strengths, weaknesses, and genetics, my results will be different from hers. Why would I be motivated by her success?

Of course, we all love to hear stories of those who have broken through boundaries that we struggle with. Think about all the blogging success stories that encouraged people to start blogging. The problem is we don’t actually have the whole story.

When I see success stories, epic montages run through my head, who doesn’t love a good rocky training montage? The blogger painstakingly edits their posts. They post consistently despite their life’s other challenges, and suddenly one day their blog goes viral and they make it big. Living the dream, right?

We don’t know.

What we don’t see is the years of struggling before. The help received. The mistakes made. The networking involved. The sacrifices. The Luck. The Luck. The Luck. These aspects rarely make it into the success stories. Few success stories want to tell the full story because it is not as glamorous.

The next time you read a success story. Question what is not being shared. Yes, it often takes hard work and dedication; however, it takes so much more. Often times, it is simply one hard working person being in the right place at the right time. The person could be replaced with tons of other people, and the situation would have been the same.

What does this mean for us dreamers? It means that we should acknowledge success stories. Read the stories, see if you can learn from it. Know that if you do succeed, your story will be nothing like theirs, but always keep a backup plan.

Keep your life jacket on, and keep your fingers crossed.


Image used from Wikimedia Commons


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