Nope, You’re Still Not a Failure

I’m writing this post for all of us because although we live in a world where ambition is admired and accomplishments are revered, I think sometimes we could all use a reminder that none of it needs to have any bearing on how we feel about our actual selves.

In other words, when it comes to our basic worth as human beings, our accomplishments don’t mean shit. Isn’t that freeing? (Unless of course you’re hugely accomplished and have placed all of your esteem in said accomplishments. Then I suppose it might be less freeing and more like that scene in Star Wars where Darth Vader went all “I am your father” on Luke Skywalker and shit got real.)

I’m all about striving for our full potential and creating our best lives. But when things don’t go as planned, let’s not beat ourselves up. Whether we win or lose at reaching our goals, we can still always choose to be whole without the validation of outside decision-makers. Let’s stop being “successes” and “failures” and instead just be humans.

And so…

Are you eighteen and headed to your back-up school this fall because all your dream colleges rejected you in spite of the fact that you aced the SATs and worked your ass off on every single application you submitted?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Are you not going to college at all because it just wasn’t feasible for whatever reason?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Did you recently get divorced from your spouse of ten years after tying the knot “way too young,” according to certain well-meaning but insensitive assholes in your life at the time, and now you’re wondering if they were right all along?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Are you an overweight fourth grader who dreads the state physical fitness test administered in gym class every year because they humiliatingly make you attempt to do pushups and run a mile even though you’ve never even once come close to doing either successfully?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Are you a recent or even not-so-recent grad who’s struggling to find work “in your field” and feeling like your life won’t truly begin until you get one of those adult jobs that all your friends have?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Do you sometimes feel like you have no friends at all?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Are you Mariah Carey and is your latest album — ALTHOUGH A BRILLIANT MASTERPIECE — struggling to perform commercially?

Nope, you’re still not a failure. (Rather, you are a deity.)

Did youΒ naΓ―vely choose to incur six figures of student loan debt to “find yourself” in grad school only to graduate and end up in a job that you find totally unfulfilling yet feel trapped in due to your massive debt?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Have you been spending the past two years working on draft after draft of a manuscript for a book that still hasn’t been picked up by an agent?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Do you subscribe to New Age wisdom and believe that our thoughts attract our reality, and so when something shitty happens you tend to blame yourself and your negative thoughts entirely, thinking, OH MY GOD I’M THE WORST AT BEING SPIRITUAL?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

Do you sometimes just feel like you’re not enough? Smart enough, hot enough, funny enough, eloquent enough, doing enough, saying enough, being enough, acting enough, tweeting enough, creating enough, exercising enough, living enough, socializing enough, trying enough?

Nope, you’re still not a failure.

And actually? You’re enough.


The revolution will be tweeted. (Side note: even these trees with no leaves aren’t failures.)

P.S. I struggle with this often, so this piece is just as much an affirmation for myself as it is for whomever else it may happen to reach.

P.P.S. Is it just me, or did that whole “Nope, you’re still not a failure” response thing have a very Catholic-mass-“Lord-hear-our-prayer” feel to it? Maybe I should just be a priest.

P.P.P.S. Oh my God, no. I love cursing and alcohol and being gay too much. I’d fail so hard at being a priest.

P.P.P.P.S. But it wouldn’t matter! Because nope, #StillNotAFailure.


  1. I needed this. Thanks. You are brilliant.

  2. You make me laugh! This is all very true and I struggle with some of the things that you listed frequently. I sometimes wonder what the hell I’m doing and how to get where I want to go. Thanks for the reminder and the early morning giggles!

  3. I’m really glad I read this post this morning. Actually I’m crying pretty hardcore right now because I’m really going through the most with trying not to feel like a failure and just give up completely. I set my bar so high and lately can’t hit it at all. This made me happy that someone gets it and that its ok. Thank yoy

    • Dre – thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad this caught you at the right time. The fact that you have a bar set at all tells me you definitely shouldn’t give up. But I totally know that feeling, and the craziest thing of all is that in the moment it tends to feel isolating, which is why I wanted to put this out there. Sending you all the good, keep-on-keepin’-on vibes, my friend!

  4. Lindsay Balesano says:

    I loved everything about this. #lordhearourprayer

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Oh, this is really quite wonderful. And I think it’s so important in this age of social media, where we (ahem…I) compare ourselves to what are usually highlight reels posted on other people’s pages. Awesome post. In WordPress’s name, Amen.

    • Haha, AMEN! And ahhh, the social media comparison syndrome! It’s such a bitch, but a bitch that is less scary when we become aware of it, so at least we have that.

  6. This definitely came at the most perfect time for me! Great post, mister! And so true πŸ™‚

  7. Stephanie says:

    This is brilliant! And I actually really needed to hear/read that. I’ve been lurking for awhile, but don’t comment. Thank you!!

    • I have lurker tendencies myself, so I’m honored that I inspired you to comment! Thanks so much, and I’m glad this caught you at the right time πŸ™‚

  8. jocellita says:

    Absolutely something everyone needs to read/hear every now and then. Really needed this. Thanks.

  9. And he blogged, and it was good.

  10. Ugh the fucking presidential fitness test…thank goodness for asthmatic friends who ~desperately required my assistance~ at the back of the line. Definitely got more out of this than my last visit to church.

    • Hahaha the asthmatic crew at the back! Love that you brought it up – was ALL up in that too. I was also re-tying my shoes in slow motion about every three minutes, purely as an excuse to take a break. That test was an asshole.

      • Ah yes the old shoe trick- pretty sure that’s the reason I’m now physically incapable of tying my shoes in under thirty seconds.

  11. Nic…………Your blog is delightful. For a few paragraphs I thought you must be brilliant but then I realized it could not be because brilliant folks do’nt live in New York or take the train to Connecticut which is where I am from. I suspect you and I share an ethnicity, Sicilian. (?) We also share an interest … passion … in exploring the possibilities and resources of language. As an older person I have a few words of friendly avuncular advice for you. Not about your writing, which is splendid, but about your own blossoming forth in the sundry spheres of human development. If you are interested, let me know. Don’t want to write out “serious” ideas if the destinee doesn’t give a rat’s ascertainment about what an old geezer has to say.
    Blake More

    • Haha, yes I am indeed Sicilian! I love that you could tell. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind words on my writing. I really appreciate it. I’m totally interested in hearing ALL perspectives on life, and am honored that you feel impelled to take the time, so feel free to e-mail some wisdom over on my way πŸ™‚

  12. Your blog won’t let me “like” it. But I do. And who says priests can’t be gay and drink and swear…have you been to church lately ? πŸ™‚

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