Success. Fear. And stuff.

fearMost people like to believe talent, hard work, and luck are among the determining factors of success. For a long time I thought you only need two of them.

But, actually, if you want to be successful, and it doesn’t matter if all you want is to become a great dancer or actor or writer, or whether you want to pick up pretty girls in bars, you just have to be willing to make a fool out of yourself.

Let me tell you why. Making a fool out of yourself is even worse than failing, because our freedom is ultimately limited by what others think about us. For some, seeing their own failure reflected in the eyes of those around them is worse than the death penalty.

Because we’re social creatures disgrace feels like the most terrible of punishments. No man is an island. For whatever reason, we want to belong, we want to find others just like us, and thus we are afraid of being rejected. Furthermore, we are afraid of what consequences our actions might bring.

Some try to play it safe. Their heads bowed, they try to survive for as long as possible. For them, life’s just the battle of staying alive until they die, and every day they wake up and look themselves in the mirror, that’s a day they’ve already given up on.

In order to succeed you have to be willing to fail, and I could leave it at that, go back to writing my stories, and you’d feel like you know something. Instead, I’m going to tell you what “being willing to fail” actually means: it’s one of the scariest things you’ll ever do in this life.

You know that really famous quote from Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea?

A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

I’ve always thought it to be exactly the opposite. A man can (and will) be defeated. Countless times, actually. Painfully, mercilessly so at times. But he can never be destroyed.

Life’s all about failing, over and over again, and rising up every time we fail. And it’s all right to be afraid. Fear is a natural response, but not understanding fear is not.

Dreams don’t come true, you have to make them come true, you have to start things, you have to finish them, you have to search and try and work really hard at it. No matter how afraid you are, no matter how easy it seems to just give up, you have to keep going.

And I’m not talking just about writing or art. No, this is about life, about love, about being the person you want to be.

We live in a strange world. You’ve got billions of people, and they’re all different, and they all want what they want, and they’re all fighting to get it. All these dreams, all living at once on the same planet.

At times it might seem like a good idea to wait. Just put your dreams on hold.

I’ve met so many people who know what’s that one thing they want most, and they do something else regardless. Apparently, they want to wait for the right time… some of them want to earn enough money by doing something else, then spend the rest of their lives doing that which they’re passionate about.

But it rarely works that way.

There is only one battle worth fighting: spend every second of your life searching for the spark that makes you feel alive. There’s no other fight quite like it. You fail, and it doesn’t matter. The entire world thinks you’re pathologically unstable, and it doesn’t matter. You receive 200 rejection letters from agents, you keep on writing. Reach for the stars and don’t whine when you fall on your ass.

Success comes to those who fight wars they believe in. With a million strangers at their side or all on their own, there’s nothing quite like going through life with your head held high.


This crazy Romanian kid has so far raised $700 out of a total of $1,400 he badly needs to fix a really nasty medical problem. For this he has to thank Rich, Mike, and Laura. But he still needs your help.

You can donate any amount you’d like here.

Also, because time is really not on my side, there are still three reblog spots available, which you can purchase here.

Thank you so much for your continued support,



26 thoughts on “Success. Fear. And stuff.

  1. Again, another post that is real close to what I am thinking about posting about. Must be something in the air. I am so tired of feeling like I am bumbling around the universe trying to not really live, but to just not get hurt. And the worst thing is, I’m still not ready to move forward, I’m still afraid and haven’t accepted that I will fail…and I will always fail. Sort of defeating to think about and I’m not on the other side of that mountain yet.


    • It’s not that you will always fail, just that failure is a part of growth and am inevitable step in anything worth doing.

      It’s all about two things, perspective: each failure is a learning experience and there are only two true failures, learning nothing and giving up.

      The other is that you just have to keep pushing forward. (Or dodging sideways occasionally.)

      And it can be amazingly scary, but you need to thrust yourself forward and start. If you can start taking those steps towards your goal, one at a time, you’ll reach it


      • You are absolutely right, it’s just remembering in the moment that is the trick right? When I’m at peace and accept what is has it just is, then I know and believe that. When I’m in a situation that is painful or fearful that is when I forget.
        Thank you Waycat


  2. I agree, and I disagree. For me, your blog is absolutely true. I am in the throes of absorbing my failures, and finding the lessons in them. But, I have the freedom to do that because my husband works and I am a stay-at-home mom with kids in school all day. I am free to write, my dream, which is a huge privilege, made possible by my husband’s sacrifice. He has a wonderful job, but he also has personal talents and passions that are completely different from his job. So, if I analyzed our situation from the perspective of your post, I would have to say my husband has given up on his dreams, but he didn’t. He accepted that pursuing his passion would either fail or not make enough money to support our family. He works hard at his job, finding ways to show his talents there. To me, he is my savior, not a failure.
    Best regards,


  3. “some of them want to earn enough money by doing something else, then spend the rest of their lives doing that which they’re passionate about.

    But it rarely works that way.”

    So true! For some, it really isn’t possible to pursue their dreams for so many reasons, but for those of us lucky to even have one small moment to ourselves to create, access to the necessary technology, we have to chase after our passions. There are so many excuses, but also so many versions of success. Some days just sitting and writing for five minutes is a success. It’s a battle, but how empty life would be without it.

    Thanks for the thoughtful and thought-provoking post!


  4. This was really great! I think what you said about man being defeated but not destroyed depends on your definition on both of those words. I like to think that “defeated” means that man’s spirit, or soul, is overcome, if you will. It means it is over. Finished. “Destroyed” means, at least in my opinion, simply man’s goals have not been accomplished, he has been ripped to shreds, perhaps figuratively, he has failed, but his fighting spirit is still there. But I could be wrong. It could be the opposite.
    I agree with everything else. So inspiring.


  5. Your words are so true! There is a freedom in accepting failure as a natural set of steps to success. I think it is important that we consider our concept of success in this process as well. Great writing, sir!


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