Let's kick this post off with the most overused cliche on the internet.

"Success is a journey not a destination."

The quote is so good it's become bad. It's like the movie Titanic. I love Leo, Kate & Celine, but I just can't watch another scene or listen to another note.

Here's me taking a stab at the truth found in that overexploited quote:

"Success is the whole story."

Not as good, but let me explain. Thanks to middle school, we all know that stories have a beginning, middle and end. Most fiction authors will tell you that the most challenging part of writing is not the beginning or the end—but the middle. It's incredibly hard to, not only hold the tension, but continue to elevate it as you approach the story's climax. Yes, the beginning is crucial. You've got to hook your reader. And the end is, without a doubt, the most important part of any good writing; you've got to satisfy them. But there's something magical about the middle.  Here's the archetypal story structure we're all familiar with:


The Archetypal Story Structure
 

Once upon a time...

I.   I dreamt of accomplishing:  <fill-in-the-blank>
II.  I persevered through every obstacle in my way
III. Until I finally achieved: <fill-in-the-blank>

...The End


That is the structure. That is what makes the story work. You have to have all three sections.

Now imagine taking out the middle. All of the conflict. All of the perseverance. All of the struggle. Every bit of the journey. What are you left with? A boring story. 


A Story without the Middle
 

Once upon a time...

I.   I dreamt of accomplishing:  <fill-in-the-blank>
II.  I achieved <fill-in-the-blank> without lifting a finger

...The End


This, I am afraid, is how some want the story of their life to be written. They assume this truncated story structure would bring fulfillment, skip the conflict and get straight to the good part.

I submit to you that the good part, the great part, is the middle. It's the perseverance, the struggle, the character-forming stuff. 

By keeping the middle right where it belongs, you're saying yes to growth. You're saying yes to moments of discomfort even heartache. Don't forget that uncomfortableness is the indicator that lets you know you're growing.

"The best way out is always through."
– Robert Frost

See, even Robert Frost is with me on this. :)  Success is the whole story: beginning, end and that glorious middle.


Have you found this to be true in your life? If so, how? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

 

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About Joshua Bailey

Serial Entrepreneur, Writer, Husband, Father of Three.
Encouraging others to grow each and every day.

 

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