success requires no explanation

“Success requires no explanation; failures must be doctored with alibis.” That’s what Napoleon Hill said. In my mind, that translates to explaining how success came to be, in hindsight, is easy. However, a multitude of factors undeniably played a role in achieving success—timing and location, among many others. Failure, on the other hand, is equally easy to explain. Post-rationalizing everything that went wrong, coming up with an explanation and excuse at the same time.

One is, however, more honest than the other. At least, if you take away the blaming aspect from explaining the failure. For instance, the product failed because the customers were too stupid to understand how to use the product. Considering that the market is always right, externalizing the blame doesn’t provide a fertile environment where learning opportunities are plentiful. In short, the product maker was too stupid and arrogant to make a product customers wouldn’t be able to understand.

Why is explaining success sometimes dishonest? Because the need for rationalization is smaller. Both from an internal and external point of view.

When people fail, we try to look for answers within to make peace or amends. Other times, the outside world demands explanations.
When people succeed, the need for answers is reduced.

Success to me is understanding failure, without blaming anything or anyone, on the one hand, combined with understanding, rationally, why success manifested itself on the other hand.

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