When Ability, Intelligence, Effort, Creativity, Perseverance & Luck Aren’t Enough
Bill Cottringer

“Man may have been made in God’s image, but he has been trying to return the favor ever since.” ~Unknown humorous lay philosopher.

Now what? When the above sure-cure success formula from ability to luck and everywhere in between runs dry, what is there to do? The problems we face today with widespread failures from politics to the economy and from relationships to school and work bullying, are all begging for solutions that are beyond the current success models. Today’s problems are heavy and solutions are light, even with all the government’s might.

The problems, challenges and adversities we face today are like the social security upper taxable income limit—every time you get close, the finishing line gets moved ahead. Now’s the time to pause and rethink the correctness of the perspective you are seeing things from, and the purpose you understand, in regards to the problems at your doorstep, as an individual and collectively, as equal residents of this planet with everything else. The urgency is not even unimaginable.

Success today involves the near impossible challenge of separating ourselves from our present paradigm of seeing, explaining and living life. It represents a complete transformation of consciousness, but this is old news to the spiritual community. Actually, if you look around the world has already done this in shifting from the world of things to a world of ideas, and the scientific community has long ago abandoned the certainty of classical physics for the uncertainty of quantum mechanics. The rest of us might as well get our surf boards out and ride the wave into shore or out to sea wherever it takes us. We shall see, no pun intended.


What you see mostly depends upon when and where you are looking from in time and space. And if you don’t like what you see, all you have to do to get different results is just change looking locations, or your viewpoint. But, this is obviously easier said than done because you are wearing such a perspective as close as your skin. Look at success in photography as a good example. Once you acquire the right equipment and learn the ins and outs of lighting, success mainly depends on finding the most difficult and unique perspective of the thing photographed. Those three elements work together to creatively communicate the important message of the photograph to qualify for Ken Wilbur’s objective quality control criteria award. Plus maybe even some money to upgrade the equipment.

The title of this article is a particular perspective that implies a new one is needed, which it is. To get past failure, which catches up on all of us sooner or later as the once great US economy and elite Fortune 50 corporations have found out the hard way, we have to embrace and understand what we are doing wrong. When you have the wrong perspective without the right purpose, the outcome can’t possibly be good, like Michelangelo’s perspective on painting. It may be time to pause and rethink your wrong perspective and misunderstood purpose.


When bad things happen to good people, the only possible explanations are: (a) sometimes it takes Karma a while to catch up with you (b) things are really random and practically uncontrollable, or (b) there is a positive purpose in the worst of events that eventually takes us all to a better place. The only perspective worth having here is the tough one—seeing the light when you are in a dark tunnel isn’t easy and it takes time and effort to see it, but more than anything, a willingness to change your point of view when all you have is the one you have. What else is there? As one bright psychology student of mine said to me when I was in my own dark tunnel, “If the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a freight train coming straight at you, hop aboard and ride it on out of the tunnel.”

Let’s apply purpose to our three problems of the economy, failed relationships and the bullying phenomenon:

• The economic system and its primary currency of money is headed for a collapse. Why? Maybe because acquiring and using money isn’t the main purpose of life, and this is a very painful wake-up call against the greed and impatience that drive short term solutions that lack long term gain. A smart, but growing minority, say our purpose is revealed in living the virtues of love, tolerance, acceptance, empathy and compassion to help others become happier, more peaceful and enjoy more success. Unfortunately we think we need money to do these things, or so we are convinced, but from the wrong perspective.

• Three out of four relationships don’t survive. Why the 75% failure rate? Sometimes perspective and purpose can get mixed up and give you more incorrect information to act on than right information to plan your approach. If you think that relationships serve the purpose of helping you to be happier, completing your other half, or giving you something more together than you can get alone, that you are probably in the larger majority of failures, either living a life of quiet desperation or headed towards the divorce court. The real “happy” group membership is limited to those mature journeyers who know that the main purpose of a relationship is to painfully push you into being your best self by perpetual growing and improving, as hard as t6hat is to see, experience and understand.

• Even Facebook can’t cure bullying; first, this institution needs to govern itself better to eliminate inadvertent contributions in making the problem worse via mass blasts without thought result in the courts having to clean up the mess. Bullying or being bullied just isn’t meeting the intended purpose and should be discarded without much resistance. What we all want is to feel a real sense of power and recognition for who we are in our attempts to connect with one another, and the only way to get here is not through failure-prone aggression or passivity, but the success-guarantee of assertiveness. And the only “treatment” intervention to mitigate and eventually cure this problem, which is now costing the schools lives and the business world big bucks, is to creatively orchestrate positive empathy experiences for both sides of the equation—changing perspectives to those of the other side to get closer to the whole picture.

If you are using all your talent, intelligence, creativity, effort, perseverance and luck and still not succeeding in what you are trying to do—stop, pause and rethink your personal perspective and purpose. In other words, don’t be afraid turn upside down, inside out, right to left and front to back. The solution is always in one of those places or maybe even right under your nose or your left foot.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with his working hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), and Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net