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Jacob Duck:
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist

" … steal every possibility for achieving Success"

I possess no foolproof method for attracting Success, just the collected anecdotes included in this almost-finished series. These, distilled together, would not render much of a magic potion, and I did not intend to write a how-do, Do-In-Yourself series on attracting Success. Success never was a commodity to be traded and conjured but more of an ecosystem of experiences, emotions, knowledge, and actions. Attracting Success seems a fool's mission, but not quite so success’s opposite. I believe that the least of us can reliably chase away Success, and often without even thinking very hard, probably usually without thinking at all. One element seems to undermine Success wherever and whenever it occurs, and that element seems to be Grudgement. Carrying a grudge naturally chases most of the positive energy out of the vehicle and renders the driver its slave. Holding a grudge seems the surest way to ensure that Success stays just as far away as possible.

I present as evidence our most recent former President, who still hasn't conceded his most recent defeat even while claiming to be running for a repeat performance.
His self-proclaimed Successful first term performance looks merely disastrous from pretty much any perspective. He exhibited the most remarkable reverse Midas touch in that everything he even attempted to touch quickly turned to shit. He survived with enormous infusions of public relations, but that only influenced his much-touted "base" (A better label was never bestowed upon any demographic.) That ex- exclusively traded in Grudgements. He claimed to be getting even but only ever seemed to slip further behind his own less-than-magic eight ball. He left office having accomplished much less than nothing that he had promised. He left with more than classified documents in his shorts. He attempted to steal our underlying democratic form of government but, predictably, failed. His Grudgements undermined even his most evil intentions, thank heavens!

His will be a fable for the ages, how a self-touted richest man in the country (he wasn't, really) could manage to sprout and nurture more Grudgements per cubic furlong than anyone in human history. He'd probably spent much of his sizable inheritance buying grudges—since it seems impossible that any mere human being, however wealthy, could have accumulated so many grudges the old-fashioned way by merely being serially slighted. One would think he had been humiliated many times each day, like a wimpy kid in middle school whose superpower was to always appear in the wrong place at the wrong time so as to accumulate more swirlies than any other in history, such that he held the permanent Guinness Book of World Records for the experience. And not even that would have been enough to produce his inventory of Grudgements!

Little did he suspect, I guess, that his Grudgements would effectively prevent any Success from gracing his Presidency. His would be a tale of epic ineptness for the ages, a left-footed ballet featuring fat men in tutus and trade wars he induced, which came back to bite his sorry white ass. Walls he built which invalids could breach without hardly having to think about it. International relations wounded like innocent blind dates treated like transactions. Every government function on the take. Every good deed the source of fresh Grudgements. The whole administration unable to successfully administer anything. We've never seen more ineptness exhibited by any executive. Let his be a cautionary lesson in the undermining influence of Grudgements.

One key to Success, then, seems as if it might be to become adept at dismissing grudges, at becoming so freaking forgiving that no grudge can take root. To simply leave them be. To never even pick them up. To let every bygone be gone by, however deep and seemingly intentionally inflicted. Become unoffendable by nature. Come to understand that vengeance turns out to be nobody's business and that revenge amounts to a self-inflicted suicide pact with Success. Take our eternally undeparted ex-president to heart and recognize that Grudgements steal every possibility for achieving Success, and so always, always, always cost more than they yield. Begrudgements are Success's death.


Like An Infant Plays With Food
Today will be the final Friday of this Success Series. This story leaves only three empty slots open to finish. This week, the stories came easy, each focusing upon some essential element of Success, bits that seemed as though they should not be forgotten. Not that I was aiming to produce the comprehensive compendium of Success, quite the opposite. My intentions were always entirely anecdotal and broadly focused, for I was trying to recount experience rather than produce instructions. My experiences with Success remain almost as mysterious as they were when I started writing this series. Still, I had not expected to encapsulate for easy translation all of my experiences and practices for easy consumption and later regurgitation. Perhaps I only engaged for entertainment, for the considerable joy I find in simply considering, to play with this language like an infant plays with food. Nevertheless, even that pretension might qualify as good enough to judge this conversation Successful so far.

Weekly Writing Summary

I began this writing week with an enlivening round of *
TrueConfessions, which proved the most popular posting this period. "I came to recognize in myself the common human foibles and to slowly accept that nobody was ever granted a single exemption from the normal set of human frailties. Nothing could possibly ever be gained from pretending that I had been excluded when they passed out inadequacies."
Alfred Stieglitz: Dorothy True (1919)
"I must tell my stories or else …"

I considered
ThePrice of Success and found it not worth assessment. "ThePrice of Success seems priceless; the cost, routinely far beyond reason or accounting."
Honoré Victorin Daumier:
The Print Collector (c. 1857/63)
"Success seems priceless"

I spoke of the hacking that seems an intrinsic part of Succeeding in
Hackcess. "It might be that all Success can only properly be considered Hackcess, that pretty much none of it ever comes from simply following the instructions."
Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Self-Portrait (1876)
"Hackcess ever only happens once …"

I mentioned the sorts of Success that unrelentingly visit, almost more punishment than reward, in
AbjectSuccess. "Not every meal need be a feast. Not every book, a best seller. Not every movie, a blockbuster. Not even every kiss, one for the ages."
Walter Crane: King Midas with his daughter,
Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1893 edition of
A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys
"The absence of its opposite …"

I toyed with the idea of an absolute value of action, Success or so-called failure, in
|Success|. "How I feel about that result might measure great or small, but both measure AbsoluteSuccess, the magnitude of the resulting emotional content, joy or sadness, high or low, absolutely equivalent."
Claude Monet:
The Departure of the Boats, Étretat (1885)
" … my purpose must be clear,
for it is always and without exception,
what my actions manifest here."

I wrote about my relationship with solving puzzles, often integral to Successful engagement, in
Puzzlements. "May I never become an accomplished puzzle solver."
Okumura Masanobu:
Solving a Puzzle (n.d., circa 1700-1760s)
" … no more often than occasionally, please."

I ended my writing week insisting that time simply passing might flip even the seemingly greatest Success or failure into its opposite in
TimePassing. "Success and failure seem every bit as mercurial as time, for the mere passage of time seems capable of utterly changing either's nature. An apparent failure can become a clear Success when seen through the long-ish shadow of additional experience."
Claude Monet: Cliff Walk at Pourville (1882)
"Everything was different after that."

I bet on the prospect that if I sit down each morning, some significance might find me and spark a story. More than any of the couple of dozen previous ones, this series seemed better focused than usual. Sometimes, the stories come in jumbles without much in the way of plot or progression. However, this one came out in some better semblance of order. This writing week serves as an example, but each previous writing week from this series also seemed miraculous in emergent structure. I think it unarguable that TrueConfessions tend to open up potential and that ThePrice will always remain an essential element to consider, especially when ThePrice seems somehow beside any coherent point. Also important, the understanding that Hacking essentially underlies every human undertaking and to not overlook the possibility that one's seeking altogether too much of even the very best. Puzzlements often preface Success. TimePassing can heal anything, or so it sure seems as this long Winter finally melts into a reassuring Spring. Thank you for following these stories.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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