Rearview mirror. Hindsight.

This is where most stories live, because stories are told in retrospect.

By definition, stories have already happened, even if you’re telling a story that takes place in the future. Truth, myth, whatever the story may be, the structure moves through a beginning and middle towards an end, which has already happened, too.

That’s what makes them stories.

So here’s something to consider. Maybe you want to accomplish something, and you search out the stories of people who’ve done what you want to do. You’re interested in what the beginning and middle of their stories looks like, because you want the same kind of ending. Fair enough. You may get some needed inspiration from their experience.

But remember that their experience happened in real-time.

Sure, the end of the story makes sense now, given the beginning and middle.

But the people in the story didn’t know how it was going to end. They probably didn’t even know they were in the beginning of a story, or the middle. The end determines those things.

They were winging it, just like we all are.

So don’t get too caught up in the particulars of someone else’s story. Their story is a map, your heart is a compass.

In other words, nobody really knows what the hell is going on in real-time.

Even your heroes.

So follow your heart.