Below are several categories of triumph. You can browse through the stories and vote for your favorite. You can also submit your own stories.
Defeating an adversary
Overcoming an adversity
Shifting from a foolish risk to a favorable one
Questioning popular presumptions and creating effective habits
Normally, we could think of “defeating an adversary” as one opponent beating another. However, in my case, perhaps of the most challenging adversary that I have “defeated” is my own narrative of victimhood. Soon, we can explore exactly what I mean by that.
First, this triumph may actually be the most valuable for you to read, since it involves some humorous explorations of a variety of common ways that people may use language. Note also that there are times when it works very well to use a narrative of a victim begging for a savior! The triumph is not really over the victimhood narrative itself, but simply a relaxing of a persona or identity that has been anxiously formed around habitually being “the victim” (especially being innocently victimized by a villain). In fact, a big part of giving up a victimhood narrative can result from confiding in someone trustworthy about any incidents that one has shamefully kept secret out of terror.
If you read this section, you will read some examples of my own victimhood narratives, plus read about how I “defeated my internal adversary.” I will share mention of the conversations that I had that accessed the grief and trauma that I had been “avoiding” (sort of) through the compulsive practice of presenting an identity or persona of “professional victim.”
Of all the adversities I have experienced, one stands out to me as the most unusual. It developed suddenly and unexpectedly, plus I overcame it with a remarkable solution.
In short, in early 2007, I suddenly lost the ability to walk. I consulted a small variety of health care professionals and experts, but those interactions produced rather little insight or hope.
However, in a casual conversation with a financial client of mine, she asked how I was doing. I gave her a longer answer than she might have expected, telling her about the health problems I was having.
Oddly enough, she was familiar with other cases of people suddenly and mysteriously losing the ability to walk. Further, she invited me to invest a few dollars in to a method that had worked for other people.
It worked. In fact, it worked literally overnight.
After one night of the best sleep I had experienced in months, I woke up and could walk fine. With a few more days of strengthening both legs, I was even able to jog again. With time, my strength and endurance returned to being as good as they had been in many years.
So, for anyone who is interested in a recovery from the kinds of symptoms I just mentioned, you might find this section immensely beneficial. Further, you can expect some insights on (1) how the vast increase in overall prosperity in the last century or so has directly produced (not just allowed) a massive reduction in overall health, (2) what simple steps can tremendously improve the health of most modern people, and (3) why so many of the ideas and methods of mainstream medicine are so popular although they have no established record of producing benefit (and some even have established records of consistently producing harm, yet are still widely used).
Also, I’d like to point out that the person in the images just above is not me. Those are photos of a Medical Doctor in the US named Terry Wahls. I used her photos because her story is similar to mine, but with a few distinctive twists.
She was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and began conventional medical treatment, which totally failed her. So, she used a wheelchair to get around… until she recognized a small variety of changes that she could make which might help her and then reversed her health decline and recovered the ability to walk.
I can mention several other MDs in the US who have faced severe health crises, then were disappointed after trying to treat their symptoms only through conventional medical interventions, yet eventually had “miraculous” recoveries not by attacking their symptoms (their body), but by promoting their health. In my “overcoming adversity” story, I will start with my own history and then detail some other remarkable cases as well as some published clinical research comparing some inexpensive and well-established practices with conventional methods that are so profitable that they produce huge marketing budgets which keep them popular. Note that I consider all spending on lobbying in particular to be part of marketing in general.
As a final footnote, for citizens who relate to large governments as potential “saviors” (as in defenders of the common good), it may be shocking to learn of programs like the VICP in the US. That program so far has extracted over $3 billion from millions of US citizens in order to pay for about 4,000 injuries and deaths that the US government has determined to be caused by the use of vaccines in the US. The vaccine manufacturers lobbied for this liability transfer in the 1980s because the cost of civil lawsuits was cutting so deep in to their profits. Why is that particular US government program so poorly publicized? Because what the lobbyists who sponsored that program valued is what they created. If you owned a company that manufactured vaccines, wouldn’t it make sense to transfer liability away from your company to taxpayers (and, ideally, also make sure that public attention was captivated by other issues)?
Monitoring risk can be important because then I can shift from bad risks to better risks. In other words, monitoring the quality of a few different investments can allow me to intelligently diversify away from poor bets toward good bets.
The specific event that I will detail in this section began with a gain of about 400% in a few weeks. However, that gain involved some high-risk methods (which also corresponded to a lot of stressful hours).
Just producing the big gain was not the triumph though. Another important part of the triumph was to withdraw a large portion of the gains and use that money to stabilize my life… for quite a while.
The investment profits were sheltered within a tax-exempt charitable trust. The trust used some of those profits to purchase a car as well as to cover all regular operating expenses.
Was this triumph good for my finances? It was. However, it also had some big costs to my health. But for me the essence of this triumph was about courage and hope.
I already had some serious health issues, so for them to get worse was certainly inconvenient, but what I needed most was time to reverse the momentum of my health. Further, I needed to be able to cover my living expenses in order to invest a lot of time in recovering my health.
So, yes, it was a very big gain in a short period of time. More importantly, it altered my own framework of what it was possible for me to do.
The financial benefit was discontinuous with anything that I had ever done before. Further, I alone had cultivated the network of participants (through online social networking). I alone had studied investment markets and developed my methods.
The triumph was not just the results that I produced. The core triumph was that I was absolutely clear that I could do again what I had suddenly just done.
This success evidenced a degree of competence and expertise, but certainly not mastery. I was not suddenly calmly confident calm either. In fact, I was not calm but quite elated.
But I had been elated before. Early in my experiments with investing, I had produced gains of 300% in a single week in late 2002.
However, in that case, I did not reduce risk after the big gain. I also did not withdraw any of the profits. I was elated but without any particular competence. Simply put, I had been lucky (like so many other people, like gamblers winning the state lottery). So, I was excited and hopeful. But that first gain in 2002 did not evoke courage. It simply sparked hope and then, when I lost all of the quick gains, caution.
In 2002, I had not been risking massive amounts of borrowed money (like the typical real estate buyer), but I had risked what was a lot of money to me. My quick gains followed by quick losses taught me caution.
By 2006, when so many investors had an excess of hope and very little caution, I not only had caution, but an increasing level of self-discipline and discernment. So, I recognized an unusual opportunity and I did very well.
I had started with curiosity, then hope, and then elation. But the gains from my earliest “investing triumphs” did not last long and so I developed caution. I studied. I experimented. When the markets for precious metals started to destabilize in April of 2006, I was ready to get in position and “scalp” a series of quick profits.
I could say that it required courage to even attempt all that. But it also worked.
And, when it worked, I had a sense of commitment that was new. That was distinct from the hope that “this might be possible.” It was the unavoidable awareness that “I just did that.”
I had been talking with investors for several years (since publishing my first investment market forecasts in early 2003). I was quite discouraged by what I considered their lack of commitment to producing safe profits. I had been writing for years already about the developments that later arrived in 2007 and 2008 and I realized that the vast majority of investors were going to stay with the methods that would produce massive losses for them.
Their lack of commitment to only taking wise risks did not stop me. In fact, it is reasonable to say that the extreme complacency and negligence of most mainstream investors is precisely the source of the most remarkable opportunities in investment markets.
When the masses are moderately wrong, being right produces moderate benefits. However, when the masses are extremely wrong, being right produces extreme benefits.
For me, caution began in 2002 when I first started researching some different methods for forecasting investment trends. Courage was certainly present by early 2006. However, after the big gains in 2006 (which were larger not only in terms of percentage, but total dollars), I experienced something distinct from just caution or courage. I will call it commitment.
To say that something can be done or that I personally can do it is not commitment. When I say “I like my results enough that I am willing to keep doing this even though I may have a lot left to learn,” that is commitment. It certainly was not mastery. But it was quite a triumph for me.
In 2002, I told almost no one about my 300% one-week gains. In 2006, I had alerted dozens of people in advance to the set up that I had observed in investment markets. Over the weeks, as the gains were compounding, more and more people were keeping track of my progress and going through their own sense of intrigue and hope and elation.
Again, this triumph produced a big surge in commitment for me. The commitment was not just to the activity of monitoring investment markets and concentrating on the most favorable risks. This triumph produced a surge in commitment to trusting myself. This was a new plateau of initiative and self-discipline and responsibility.
However, this triumph did not involve much teamwork. I was not partnering with a team of other people who had mastery of competencies that were complementary to mine. It was nothing more (or less) than a triumph in responsibly measuring risks and then courageously taking action. It was a real commitment to noticing what works well and doing only that.
There can still be failures and those will still be disappointing. However, when there is an underlying sense of spontaneous commitment (as in momentum), then delays or even disappointments are nothing more than delays and disappointments. Commitment is not canceled because of a challenge. Challenges simply cause us to refine our methods (to innovate, to learn) in order to continue to explore the underlying commitment.
Finally, this section is notable as perhaps having the most appeal to the most people. Some people will already be free of victimhood narratives, blessed with excellent fitness (and with a healthy skepticism about mainstream health care doctrines), and so on. So, maybe some of the details mentioned above will already be somewhat familiar to them.
Also, in a way, all of the above triumphs involve “questioning popular presumptions and creating effective habits.” Here, I will focus on that “unifying theme” plus explore how it applies specifically to my interactions with other people, as in relationships (including in my marriage).
This section covers many personal details, including several unusual things about me (such as being adopted and then meeting my mother). I cover a range of challenges that I have had in relationships in particular and life in general (besides those covered elsewhere).
I will give some background to some of the more unusual developments in my romantic history, including two relationships that featured someone who lived in other countries (1 in Europe and 1 in Central America) coming to the US to be my girlfriend (in the first case) and my wife (in the second case). In short, this triumph is the most subtle of all. It is not so concrete and objective like recovering the ability to walk overnight. This triumph is about being happy with my relationships with other people.
To clarify, this is not about being happy through my relationships. Many seem to relate to romantic relationships in particular as “my only hope for salvation from a life of unhappy victimhood.” Or we relate to “family” in general as “our shelter from a world that should be some other way from the way that it is.”
I can understand those kinds of outlooks because I am very familiar with them. But this section is about being happy with my actual relationships.
This is not being happy in spite of my relationships. This is not pretending to always be happy with every detail of every relationship. This is about being happy with myself (even as I interact with others, with relationships forming and transforming and in some cases dissolving).
How is this a triumph for me? Because I am familiar with contempt, resentment, shame, guilt, and arrogance. I have been witness to such things between other people, a “practitioner” of such things, and a target of such things.
To me, there are certain popular presumptions which are at the root of all of the patterns just mentioned. In fact, promoting certain presumptions (and certain related interpersonal habits) may be so valuable to certain “lobbyists” that they form central committees to create programming to promote those presumptions to the general public. They may even form new governments (or influence existing governments) in order to govern the public’s attention to certain curriculum topics or doctrines.
Once the public’s attention is governed, then certain models of how to think about the selected topics can be presented. The core of the programming may not be the subjects of focus, but the conceptual doctrines about those subjects of focus.
So, the attention of large populations or congregations can be governed, then they can be programmed in regard to how to relate to the selected topics. In other words, they can be indoctrinated with certain value systems.
We can recognize that there are several contrasting value systems possible because there are occasions in which there is a clear clash of two distinct value systems. Distinct large groups (such as all Democrats and all Republicans) may all agree to consider the exact same topic as important and both groups will seem to have an internal consensus about that topic yet be in total disagreement between the two groups.
Could it be that both groups have been programmed to relate to a certain topic hysterically, but with two contrasting forms of hysteria? Earlier, I mentioned the VICP program in passing. Is it “essential?” Is it “infuriating?” Is it “heroic?” Is it “embarrassing?”
In some cases, people may even dispute the existence of a particular government program because “I so dislike the idea that such a program exists that I will simply reject any suggestion that it does.” The more time and emotion that people invest in ridiculing the existence of something, the more awkward it would be to later admit one’s own hysterical naivete.
Now, consider that some of us may have been exposed to certain “fairy tales” about how people should be, how they should interact, how relationships should go, how important it is to get married, and so on. Later, you can read more about my thoughts on this, plus for now I will say that questioning popular presumptions about how relationships should be can lead to more precisely recognizing how relationships actually work.
Rather than being hysterically resentful of others for “them not being how I was programmed to presume that they will be,” I can respect however they actually are. Rather than being hysterically guilty for “not being how I was programmed to presume what I would do (and how I would feel),” I can respect however I actually am.
It is possible for me to be happy with my relationships, no matter how they are. Further, it is possible for me to operate in a mode of perfectionism or extreme victimhood in which I insist that my relationships are ruining my life. In other words, I can relate to my relationships as victimizing me.
So, this fourth section is ultimately about creating effective habits, including effective communication habits. That means recognizing existing habits and evaluating their results. Habits with great results can be ignored (or increased). Habits with decent results can be refined (or relaxed). Habits with any other results can be broken or interrupted.
We can assess priorities and results, then diversify away from the least rewarding, most costly investments. Unless people are willing to stop investing in what is not ideal, then there is no point in assessing how much better the other options may be.
The same principle applies to health practices. You cannot both be hysterically loyal to what is familiar and also open to learning.
In regard to the momentum of a particular narrative or persona, we can either question the conceptual presumptions or decline to question them. Some may even resort to denial and say “I do not have any conceptual presumptions because if I did then I presume that I would already be consciously aware of them!” People can be so hilarious.