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Sunday
Sep132009

don't be suckered by narratives of success

The media love to parade success stories, writers, artists, businessmen, performers- people they have ‘discovered’ and anointed as ‘successes’. After a few years many of them disappear-why- because what makes a ‘success story’ is not the reality of a success- the story is not the success- merely a nice sugar coating, something that reads well. When a singer or writer dies young their work often achieves a considerable posthumous success- simply because their life now has a better narrative value- ie. nothing to do with intrinsic quality of their actual work.

I can't help wondering if the recent mega success of Stig Larson and Roberto Bolano hasn't something to do with this James Dean effect- the sudden transformation of a boring author into a compelling story.

 Unfortunately, reading these success naratives one can get suckered into losing hope because your life is so dull compared to that of the ‘success’ or losing faith because what you are doing is not interesting to the media; or copying the externals of the success story without realising the inner story, what is hidden from the media, probably contains the real insights.

 

Instead, refocus on your own efforts. Set your own definition of what counts as a success for you and achieve it. Being in the papers brings attention. Achieving self-set goals brings much more lasting satisfaction. 

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