Rendered Fat Content


Odilon Redon: The Egg (1885)

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

Much of the Success experience occurs before the Success actually arrives, in anticipation of the bless
éd 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 certain defeat, it follows that 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, indeed, of 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 precisely 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 exactly a black box, then a grey and rather 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, one which encourages continuing effort rather than feeding that sinking feeling like they're looking at a losing proposition. From their current position, they likely could never know for certain, so they're concocting fiction useful for the purpose of fueling eventual success, or worthless. It seems like a delicate balance. One must avoid over-promising, for the sort of encouragement it might impart seems delicate and likely to too-easily fall apart. Likewise, one must avoid overly discouraging stories, for these sap 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, it seems, develop the ability to get really skilled at CountingChickens long before they're likely to hatch, however risky. Certainly, we've been warned against this practice, even though it might well 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 most likely 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 content than much and almost always most of the sense of Success comes well before the bless
éd event and that the actual earned experience after having achieved it rarely sustains for very long after.

Without some ability to be CountingChickens, few eggs ever hatch. Even if the counting makes no actual difference (how could anyone possibly know?), it still brings deep influence to 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 it ever manages to cross that finish line.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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