Harry Wolff

You can't escape my laugh.

The Early Stages Of Success

November 8, 2011
Read time 3 minutes

It isn't always possible to get something right on the first go around. There’s a lot of factors at play that could push the success of a project to become a failure. It's no fun to work on something that ends up being a failure. A by product of mismanaged time that cannot be replaced.

Yet for the most part we are surrounded by and interact with successes. Of course there are wide interpretations of what qualifies as a success. Far and wide what we see and touch every day was at one point declared a success and shared with the world at large. Yes, one man's success is another man's failure, however the impetus to contribute something meaningful to society lurks from the outset. That is why we are bombarded by commercials exalting the release of a new product fated for success, only to reflect on its tragic demise after some months pass.

As a whole these products seem to have come into existence without effort. Perhaps this new website was made with the flick of a wrist from an established and successful businessman. Each page delicately designed as if Michelangelo himself held the brush while Einstein coded the backend. The holistic experience so profound it was as if Steve Jobs himself led the product's creation.

And yet there I sit, in my chair, cowering as I take this all in. I browse the pages, dumbfounded, confounded, jealous, and curious at how such a wondrous success made its way from idea to screen. I study the source code, I enlarge the textures, I conduct personal A/B tests in some vain hope that I might be able to capture the magic of this success in a bottle so that I may use it for myself one day.

Yet I let the excitement of this success pass as I wander away, morose in my inability to match its virtuosity. Until the next day when I come across another success that puts the previous one to shame. So I study it, soak it in, and slink away even more glum of my own non-successes.

Then one day I wake up and set to work. I stop looking at the successes out there and begin creating the success right here. I stay up late on weekdays, moonlighting after my 9-5, burning all candles on both ends. The weekend comes and I shut myself inside, focusing on my work, honing my ideas, shaping my success.

Another week passes and I can see my success taking shape. The pieces are coming together. I feel myself nearing the time to share my success to all. I work all day Saturday and all day sunday.

But then something painful happens Sunday night. I hit a wall. A feature I need to have to see my success shine its brightest is proving difficult to create. I spend hours trying to find a solution, attacking it from every angle imaginable - to no avail. I go to sleep Sunday night with a heavy heart, forlorn and depressed that I will never have a success to share.

So a week goes by and I go back to studying the successes of others. I wish them luck with pangs of regret.

Another week goes by, more or less the same as the first. And another.

By the fourth week I'm starting to get antsy again. Indignant thoughts float around, bemoaning others ease of success and lamenting my own difficulties. By the weekend I'm back to working on my success-in-progress, having once again become fed up to merely goggle at the successes of others. The problem that had me firmly stumped the month before slid to the wayside in a burst of insight. I was off to the races again and sprinting toward the finish.

What comes after the finish line I don't yet know. However I have learned that what appears easy is only so on the surface. What lies underneath is overwhelmingly complex and rife with personal sacrifice.

A true success is one with sacrifice and pain. When you see it for the first time all those days of sweat and tears culminate into one cohesive unit that leaves you breathless and wondering simply 'how?'