How often do you fail?

There’s no greater test of a person than failure. Some people fail a lot and some people fail a little but we’ve all swallowed that bitter pill at some point in our lives. We all know how it feels to put ourselves out there, give it our best and be told that we aren’t good enough.

But that’s not the true test of you. The test is what you do in the moments, days and years of your life that follow failure.

Can you pick yourself up off the floor and put yourself right back out there? Do you have what it takes to achieve your dreams knowing that you’re going to endure failure again and again and again? Not just run of the mill, pat on the back and “better luck next time” kind of failure either, but that masochistic kick while you’re down kind of failure. The one that only comes from the very people who are supposed to love you the most.

Can you face that moment when someone you love approaches you with a look of concern and sympathy telling you that perhaps now it’s time to call it a day. That for your own sake you should stop. Will you listen? Will you give up there and then? 

I am sitting here writing this, a complete failure. A glutton for punishment I get up over and over again when every rational impulse me tells me to stay down, tells me to give up on myself and accept the message inherent in failure. That I’m just not good enough.

But I know a greater truth. I know that the most successful people are also the greatest failures. I know that those who succeed are the people who have had their dreams torn to shreds by the very people they look up to the most only to wake up the next day and try all over again.

Can you accept the words of fools who are so utterly petrified of failure that they never even try to achieve their dreams? These small people will never know what it is to reach the top of the mountain and look down at obstacles overcome. They were too scared of slipping along the way to even begin the journey.

Will you finish the journey and climb to the summit and know, once you’re there that you are enjoying a success earned the only way possible?

I’ve been on this earth for 34 years and throughout that time I’ve been petrified by the specter of failure. I have felt his cold, hard grip on my soul over and over again. I have felt failure and allowed him to defeat me. I have hidden myself away in plain sight. I have placed a desk and an office between me and the future I dream of. But I can’t hold back any more. I have my dreams, I have my ambitions and I won’t live for the rest of my life knowing that I barely tried to achieve them.

I don’t know what your dream is but mine is to be a writer. I wish to be the best writer the world has ever known, to win the Pulitzer and the Nobel and the Booker and everything else that’s out there. But those things aren’t up to me.

The only thing that’s up to me is to write. To take the words that sit within and present them to the world. To bring to you the beauty of love and the sadness of death. To make you smile and to make you cry. I want to create the older brother you never had, to take you to battlefields on other worlds, to make you feel the relief of surviving a plague and the sorrow of taking a life.

I want to send you back in time and forward into the future. I want to make you feel a range of emotions you didn’t even know you had. I want to let you know how it feels to ride a Blue Whale, how it feels to float in space. I want to let you know how it feels to be a spy and a murderer and a court jester. I want you to see the whole range of weird and wonderful things that my mind hasn’t yet painted onto the canvas of my imagination and forwarded on to the screen of a computer. I want to write words so vivid that they appear to you not as words at all but only as images to be marveled at in the confines of your mind.

I want my words and stories and articles to exist long after I am dead and gone. They will be my essence, my soul, my being. They will be dismissed, laughed at, ignored and ridiculed and that’s fine because it’s the price you pay for baring your soul. And a writer has no choice but to bare his soul, to leave it hanging, torn from its natural environment to be prodded, stabbed and burned by each new pair of eyes that falls on it.

In fact I want my words to be subject to such abuse because if they are it means I plucked up the courage to actually write them and someone else took the chance of publishing them. Every article, essay, story and book I write that someone chooses to publish, that someone pays me money for is a victory! A victory that tastes that much sweeter for the number of rejections that came before it.

So this is me, Marc Goldberg, the failure, officially putting himself out there for ridicule… and just maybe the fulfillment of a dream.

About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada