Life Stages of a Spy - Stage Two

Stage Two: The Stress/Spiral Stage

Entering the adult years brings more complex and demanding challenges. Now we tend to compare ourselves to others, while also facing up to our own expectations of ourselves.

We all learn that natural gifts and talents alone do not result in sure success. Much of how it goes depends as much on external forces and blind luck.

And for some unfortunates, the going can get very tough. The bell-shaped curve of life is merciless.

At one end of the curve, the good end, live the fortunate few for whom everything falls into place like ripe fruit, everything they touch turns to gold.

At the other end—the bad end—just the opposite happens.

Here live the unfortunate few for whom nothing goes right.

Given a large enough population, say a government agency, it becomes a statistical likelihood that a small and very unlucky minority will experience the worst calamities of the bad end of the bell-shaped curve.

Adding further injury, the coincidental timing of life’s hard knocks can really pile on, making it even worse, a situation I call a psychological perfect storm.

Even the strongest can waver in such a storm. We all like to think we could weather anything that comes our way.

But try adding impending financial bankruptcy, severe personal health threats, an IRS audit, teenage son getting arrested, spouse having an affair, teenage daughter getting pregnant—all at the same time—and one can imagine even the strongest person buckling under the pressures.

The Biblical Story of Job addresses this awful possibility.

What adds up to the breaking point for any individual will vary and is probably not predictable.

Look for the key life setbacks that helped tip over to the decision to spy in the six to twelve months before the fateful decision gets made to cross over the line.

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