Why Can’t Success Stories Actually Help You?

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

You may be someone who is interested in entrepreneurship, seeks motivation to reach goals, or just likes to learn people’s stories — or maybe you are none of these. No matter who you are, you definitely heard at least one story of someone who became very successful in her field. These stories may have inspired or motivated you. Or quite the contrary, they may have dashed your hopes. However, the success stories you read cannot be directly beneficial or harmful for your lives. In this article, I’ll very briefly explain why most success stories weren’t designed to actually help you. As someone who has read hundreds of such stories and established a realistic perspective for these stories, I hope that this article will help you handle all success stories, including your own, more realistically than ever before.

The success stories you read have already been made true by other people. If you want to follow the same steps in the story and become the next Mark Zuckerberg, you need to face a harsh truth: there is no such thing as “the next Mark Zuckerberg”. There is only one Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook has already been founded. You may think that you too will be successful if you follow the same path with the same steps, but unfortunately you’re wrong. Success won’t come with imitation. Being the copy of someone doesn’t make you successful. Even if your job is to mimic celebrities in a performance, you need to do it in a creative and different way to make sure people will watch you. Therefore, no matter the field, you need to do something no one has ever done before if you want to be successful. And you can’t do that by walking on other people’s footsteps. That road won’t take you to the place you should go, and it cannot even take you to the place the people before you reached. Because things have changed, and even yesterday was way different than today. That road helped someone else reach somewhere and became their road, not yours. So, you need a new road to reach your own success.

Success stories are not as real as they seem to be. Therefore, we better start calling them success fairy tales rather than success stories. Many hardships people face are forgotten in time. Therefore, people who share their own stories don’t remember many obstacles they had faced and we readers can never learn those obstacles. This tricks us into thinking that we will face only a few obstacles in our way to success. Because we cannot learn the problems people experience in their own paths, we also cannot learn how the heroes of these stories solve these problems. Yet, one of the most crucial things we can learn from these stories is how people solve these small, untold hardships they face and keep them from becoming big crises. Unfortunately, these small problems are what people forget the most about their own stories.

Another reason why some of the actual hardships faced are missing in these stories is that people don’t want to rake up the past. Why would people who have become successful, reached some of their goals, and have an audience that want to listen to their stories want to be bothered by the people who made things harder for them in the past? That’s why people who share their stories avoid talking about people who have been hard to deal with in the past. An obvious example to that would be the lack of family problems in most success stories (although there is a group of honest people too). There are many successful people who have family problems, but they don’t talk about these issues because its emotionally hard and people are very quick to judge them on such matters. Therefore, it’s important to remember that the readers will never know some of the important things that happened because people sharing their stories don’t want to be in a vulnerable situation.

If you read these stories and say “If this miracle happened in my life, I would also be successful”, then you experience why these success fairy tales can’t help you firsthand. If you expect the same things to happen in your life and see this as the sole condition to your success, you are missing out on your own story’s miracles, your own luck, your own hardships, and your own strengths.

If you understand the reasons I explained for why success stories can’t help you, these stories will start being helpful. Because now you know that in these success fairy tales, many things which happened are not being told and the perfect life you see is just what they want you to see. What you need to focus on in these stories is not the events that magically happen, but the skills the successful people have and the solutions they find for the skills they don’t have. From this point on, these stories will help you with creating your own story. So, where are you in your story today?

Special thanks to Selin Ceydeli and Ata Engin for their help in editing.

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Berfu Ege

a multi-passionate young woman. I think, learn, and write about social innovation, gender equality in the sociopolitical sphere, and youth.