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"Still here!"

In episode 14 of the 8th season of Monk (Tony Shalhoub's television series about a world-class detective battling severe psychological disorders exacerbated by the murder of his wife), detective Adrian Monk wins his 12-year struggle for reinstatement as a member of the San Francisco Police Department.  But after only a few days back on the force, Monk is inexplicably disillusioned with his own hard-won success.  He consults his psychiatrist, who points out that Monk is not only best suited to be an independent consulting detective with the SFPD, but that he has actually been happy in that role for 12 years -- years that Monk perceived as an ordeal.

As the realization sinks in, Monk exclaims:  "Why didn't you tell me I was happy!"

Like Monk, it is possible to be successful and not know it.  How we define success has a profound influence on our stamina and ability to achieve and then tolerate it.  For example, success may consist of something as simple as having one more day in which to do the kind of work you enjoy doing.

As a studio artist, one of the best descriptions of success that I've ever heard comes out of the Great Depression of the 1930s (see Go Forward With Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley by Sheri L. Dew [Deseret Book, 1996], p. 520).  A farmer scrawled it on a sign found hanging from a solitary staple on the rusted barbed-wire of his fence:

     Burned out by drought,
     Drowned out by flud waters,
     Et-out by jackrabbits,
     Sold out by sheriff,
     Still here!

Far Away In The West by Ashton Young

Tags: 2011, Inspiration and creativity

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