Rendered Fat Content


Odilon Redon: The Egg (1885)

" … already become well-introduced to the feeling …"

Much of the Success experience occurs before the Success arrives, in anticipation of the blesséd event. Once the finish line's crossed, the real Success experience begins, but leading up to finishing the race, much might depend upon how the runner believes he's doing. Whether he's ahead or behind, does he still feel as though he has a chance of succeeding? Any hint of impending doom might materially influence his remaining performance. If he senses inevitable defeat, he might not find his feet responding nearly as fluidly as they otherwise might. The story he conjures to describe and explain his present state affects how or even whether he ever finishes this race.

Our lonely long-distance runner probably has no idea about the pattern of his progress or the pattern of a winning trajectory.
He very likely cannot determine if he's halfway home or further. He's unlikely to have ever run precisely this race before on this same course, so he couldn't specifically compare where he finds himself with where he should be by then. He cannot realistically anticipate what's next. He's running into and through, if not precisely, a black box, then a grey and somewhat foggy one. Imagination compensates for much of the missing information. Imagination might well go wild.

The consistently Successful might develop an extra sense, one capable of seamlessly projecting a believable trajectory story that encourages continuing effort rather than feeding that sinking feeling like they're looking at a losing proposition. They likely could never know for sure from their current position, so they’re concocting fiction useful for fueling eventual success, or worthless fiction. It seems like a delicate balance. One must avoid over-promising, for the kind of encouragement that might impart seems fragile and likely to fall apart too easily. Likewise, one must avoid overly discouraging stories, for these sap the motive to continue moving forward. The story must, above all, seem believable even though it will be ninety-nine and ninety-nine one-hundredths percent pure fiction. Success depends upon the influence of this believable bullshit component.

We must develop the ability to get really skilled at CountingChickens long before they're likely to hatch, however risky that counting. Certainly, we've been warned against this practice, even though it may prove to be the very soul of practicability. One must develop this skill or wander sightless through non-anticipatory Hell. Whatever discouragement might arise when we find our optimism ill-advised can't come close to matching the wounding effect of attempting to move forward without some sense of impending Success. If I were to draw a graph of the typical Success experience, it would feature a very long anticipatory nose leading up to the event and a relatively shorter tail heading beyond it. We back into Success, it seems, or forego the experience. I contend that much and, almost always most, of the sense of Success comes well before the blesséd event and that the actual earned experience after achieving it rarely sustains for very long after.

Without some ability to be CountingChickens, few eggs ever hatch. Even if the counting makes no difference (how could anyone possibly know?), it still profoundly influences the whole experience. We must, it seems, travel with some heart-lightening stories, or the journey will seem to take forever. We must imagine some feasible trajectory in our active imagination to maintain sufficient motivation to ever actually achieve much of anything, especially Success. By the time each race concludes, the runner should have already become well-introduced to the feeling their Success induces. No stranger to that feeling ever manages to cross that finish line.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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