Because you are not seeing all the in-between bits that got a person to where they are.
You are simply reading an account of the major events without having to live through the time and little details that seemed eternal to the person actually living it.
In this time of instant gratification (something that is not likely to change any time soon, if technology is any indication), we are used to hearing the story in an hour tv show, a 200 page book or a 20 minute conversation.
But the events we are listening to actually took place over years, sometimes decades.
It is only with that distance that we get the opportunity to look at someone’s own personal story as inspirational or moving. However, I can guarantee that the person who lived every minute and second of the story does not have the same fairy tale perspective. And they didn’t know everything would turn out ok in the end. As a matter of fact, unless they are dead, the story has not even ended yet. There is still time to lose it all – or gain it, as the case may be.
No Fairy Godmother swoops in and fixes everything in an instant. You have to do it yourself, one day – or minute – at a time.
We all know that JK Rowling has literally gone from rags to riches. We know she is a wonderfully talented author whose work has been both critically acclaimed and read worldwide by a range of readers from critics and literary types to families and children.
What we don’t always think about is that she got the idea for HP in 1990 and, while writing the first book married, had a child and divorced, eventually being forced on to welfare as a single mother before the first manuscript was finished in 1995.
I am pretty sure she had no clue she would be a billionaire by March of 2011.
While I read biographical information in a few minutes, this rags-to-riches story played out over a decade of hardship for her. One I am pretty sure held many sleepless nights of mental torture wondering how she was going to get through the next day, much less the next decade.
Stephen King (my most favorite writer) almost lost it all – or maybe never would have even had it. He threw Carrie in the trash after writing it in the laundry room while he was an English teacher. His wife dug it out and got him to finish it (and we all thank her for that). He also does not remember even writing The Shining because he was every bit as strung out as Jack Torrance (his character) was. That just about cost him his family. Yet now he is seen as the epitome of a successful writer.
These are only fairy tales of the rich, lucky and successful now because we don’t see the days of rejections and living paycheck to paycheck. We don’t see the minutes, hours, days, weeks and years or waiting and working and hoping. To us – and only us, the audience – this seems to have happened over night.
And this is true of all kinds of successful people (not just writers) from Lance Armstrong to Warren Buffett.
Seeing only the end result makes you wonder, “Why can’t that kind of thing happen to me?”
What we often don’t consider is that, just maybe, it is. It may be happening to you right now.