He Came Up Short From Success

Three stores away from success he came up short never really coming close to crossing over the edge. The trials and tribulations of life were what mattered most. On the cusp of something fresh new or exciting, it all came thunderously crashing down. Staring down the face of failure he did not fail but he did not succeed. Alone he now stands with his aspirations torn asunder.

He agonizes over what went wrong. He chastises himself for everything he thought he did wrong never accepting of the fact that what he wanted or what he dreamed of was just not meant to be. His intentions from the outset were good. No stone was left unturned in his planning and preparation yet in the final analysis none of it mattered.

There is not a step he can take in any direction that will move him forward.

His fingers massage the rim of his favorite coffee cup that was given to him at a time when success was not elusive. Although there were setbacks along the way they did not set him back. At least until now when everything is so frustratingly difficult. There is not a step he can take in any direction that will move him forward. He is stuck in his place in time and space. Success and failure are polar opposites of each other but it is the elusiveness of success that satiates his failures.

Once upon a time, there was the love from a blue-eyed angel-faced girl who cradled his head in her arms. She listened gleefully to his stories of the past and his plans for the making of the future. His future. Their future. Our future? She tenderly strokes his forehead while his eyelids come to a close. He has now drifted off into the dimensions of his dreams. Soon he will be summoned to return to consciousness. The starkness of these fresh new moments stands as a barrier to where he longs to be. To where he needs to be. That past was the future he wanted to capture but could not.

He could have given up and given in to the pull of negativity that created that foreboding sense of doom yet he did not. The shattered slivers of glass took it all away as the fierce fighter in him was cut away from him as he now lay bleeding profusely from within having come to the realization that he came up short. There was the edge he would never come close to again.

We chart our courses according to the hands of a moral compass but as we see is not what we are really seeing.

The lesson we learned from him is aligned with our struggles. For it is for the want that we proceed. We now know there are potholes in every street of our lives. Sometimes we can deftly dodge and defy them but others we will not see are those which we cannot dislodge from. That forlorn feeling knowing we cannot proceed no matter how valiant the effort. We chart our courses according to the hands of a moral compass but as we see is not what we are really seeing. Our sights were set on obtaining that which we knew was unobtainable yet we forged ahead nonetheless. We let us lead ourselves astray.

We can build on our success or compound our failures. Those can be simultaneously turned the other way around. The frosting on our window panes signifies a change has come. The branches of the trees have shed their leaves until the coming of the thaw of Spring when life is renewed again. For now, meticulously crafted ice sculptures will be the ornaments on display. Its beauty captivates us perhaps motivating us to harden our hearts to overcome shortsightedness and misguided foresightedness. The past is behind you the moment it is created as that was then.

In deep rich baritone voices, we can harmonize with each note that enchants each ear. The high notes along with the mid-range tones signify the ebb and flows of the tides that lives can run to ruin on. We thump our chests to display our false success to invite nobody, in particular, to come to envy us but wilt like a flower parched for water when we discover how shallow we are. Success should be celebrated subtly as disenchantment from those who are disenfranchised may soon follow. You have it all but all that you have is nothing after all. Bow your head in shame and exit on stage left.

“In the dime stores and bus stations. People talk of situations. Read books, repeat quotations. Draw conclusions on the wall. Some speak of the future. My love, she speaks softly. She knows there’s no success like failure. And that failure’s no success at all.”

Love Minus Zero/No Limits-Bob Dylan

We can choose to define our success or let our success define us. Our successes along with our failures will have a final determination time when it will be decided whichever we have been. We must go with him from where we are to where he and we are shown to go. There is no question that the answer goes without saying but the question is the explanation that we cannot accept. We cannot conceptualize what we cannot comprehend nor come to conclusions when facts and feelings are separated by razor-thin margins.

He came up short but so do we. When something is dangled before our eyes we use our cat-like claws in unison with our lightning fast reflexes to bring that something into us but it eludes us still. As if it was a violation of our pride and dignity we cannot allow ourselves to accept the final outcome which was not the one we wanted and will remain deprived from us. He put in all of himself in order that he may get out something. That something meant more than anything to him and to us despite the risk, despite the cost, despite what this acquisition of an abstract concept would be.

We can never entrust our fate to that which we cannot see, feel, hear or hold. Yet he did and yet we do but we can never logically explain why. If a reason is called for none is supplied except for convoluted statements that serve as a reminder that which you don’t need the most but lust after just the same may be the one thing that permanently impeds your judgment leaving you vulnerable to your own vulnerabilities.  There is little he or we have to have or have had. Not having the mighty it (success) does not mean this was an inequity.

Miles away from where you are now is the place you come to rest. Slumber in peace. Witness the dance of the snowflakes as they transform the ground into a blanket of white. It is cold to the touch but warms the earth beneath it surface so flowers, bees, and birds will be rejuvenated in their time. Each day your heart beats and sends blood flowing to where it is needed most is a success for you. Every breath that is breathed into your nostrils ensures you will have been given another day. Another day for you live in while whirlwinds blow the secrets of real success in your direction. Listen to the words behind the sounds as they will trail you from behind. May you never succeed in failing those around you.


Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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  1. Excellent work. Good imagery. I am amazed to see you write things that are so closely related to my thoughts and in line with my feelings. You see loss from a perspective of true emotion and like myself must have been hurt deeply sometime in your life.

    • Johnny, Let me first thank you for reading and commenting on my article. You are very perceptive in that there has been and continues to be pain in my life. Part of it stems from being hurt emotionally and physically along with some life cycle events. I am glad that I have touched in thought and feeling. I am extremely grateful to have you as a friend in the BC360 Group. By the way, you happen to be one heck of a writer yourself.

  2. This isn’t a conventional column. This has been written with a breath of truth. This is almost like a cry rising from the soul, backed by the mind, and says something profoundly real. It speaks about feelings and infinite nuances of a human being – a human soul. What would we humans be without feelings? What a universe of joy and pain lies in a human soul. Two sides of the same coin. Yes, you are right Joel: what we see is not what we are really seeing, not even within ourselves. That’s why, in my view, it’s really important to face the truth of ourselves. It does help us to gain a better insight into ourselves and our life. Not to prevent failures or shocks, but to “gain” our real self. If we do this, everything falls into place. I might be wrong, but I think that there is no such a thing as success or failure. There’s only us on this planet, with our lives, our imperfections and our joy of living and everything that comes with it. Our journey. Thank you very much Joel!

    • Massimo, Thank you very much for your insightful comments. We judge ourselves in addition to others judging us to be a success or a failure. Of greatest importance is how we feel about ourselves. If in our hearts and our eyes we have succeeded that is what matters most. It is always a pleasure to read your comments.

    • You succeeded Joel. You have things inside that speak for themselves. No matter what. Things that come from the bottom of one’s heart. You have inner “wealthy” – and I say, Joel thank you my friend. It is always a pleasure for me as well to read your words.

    • Massimo,
      I don’t think I could ever find the right words to adequately thank you for your very moving words. In my mind what you wrote is a gift that no amount of money could ever buy or compare to. Thank you. I hope you have a happy, joyful, healthy and prosperous 2019.

  3. Thank you, Joel, for wrting another beautiful piece where you do a great job of highlighting and contrasting two strong emotions and the lessons th a can be learned from each.

    My take away is that although success may elude someone, they truly have not failed if they make the effort to grab hold of what’s most important.

    • Yvonne,
      Thank you for your warm and generous comments. Success can elude many of us for a myriad of different reasons. A lack of success does not mean you have failed or that you are a failure. If you give something your all and things do not work out you have in a way achieved success. Failing to try or put in the effort is necessary is one the main causes of failure. Happy Holidays, Yvonne.

    • Thank you again, Yvonne. My best wishes to you as well. I wish you much success and happiness in all of your endeavors.

  4. What an outstanding, poetic rendition of the two opposites viz. success and failure! To me personally, accepting defeat is the biggest failure of all.

    In this article, Dear Joel Sir, you have given a free hand to your imagination that soars above the universe, encompassing within itself the biggest fear of all, i.e. fate. I am more than impressed by your deeply introspective narration of an unacceptable situation to give it much deserved legitimacy, in my opinion at least.

    Thank You, for another enriching post, Joel Sir!

    • I would like to take this opportunity to emphatically thank the author of these comments for their exceptionally kind and generous comments. With regards to accepting defeat, I agree wholeheartedly with you that accepting defeat is the biggest failure of all. Even after you have been defeated you owe it yourself to try (if at all humanly plausible) to turn your defeat into success. Let me again extend my heartfelt thank you to whoever authored this comment.

    • Thank you again, Larry. Life has taught me and I have had to learn many lessons (good, bad, and in between) from life. The tragedy has been forgetting the life lessons I was taught or learned and making the same mistakes all over again.