You failed but you are not a failure

comments 9
Brand You / Inspiration / Motivation

Many of us have experiences in our past that, for whatever reason, we have felt ashamed, guilty or embarrassed about, that we want to hide from the world and even ourselves.

We keep our failures in the shadows.

Why do we hide it? Because deep down we believe that whatever mistake we made is something to do with our character or ‘personality’ (a word I’d like to see banned from the English language). This is why we hide things and bottle things up. We are ashamed of it and don’t want people to see our (self-) perceived ‘true’ characters.

Your past mistakes do not define you.

You are not a failure because you once failed. Sure you failed. You made a huge, stupid, ugly, moronic mistake maybe. But those failures don’t make you a failure as a person.

If you cannot accept a past mistake/s, what you are actually doing is making that failure a part of you, rather than viewing it as something external that taught you something.

What you need to do with each and every one of your past failures and mistakes is bring them to the surface rather than hide them away. Accept and own that you made a mistake. You don’t need to tell everyone, but just be clear with yourself that you take responsibility for what you did.

Now failure becomes wisdom rather than a trait of your ‘flawed personality’. You might even be able to laugh at failure. In fact, you should. Laugh at your failures. They don’t control you.

Victims don’t want to admit their failures. That failure owns them. They are ruled by their fear of revealing that failure. Victims cannot bear to tarnish their egos.

Winners say: “I failed and I learned something valuable from the experience”.

They own and use their failures positively, like badasses should.


The Author

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.


  1. 南淳惠 says

    I decideed to achieve a big goal two weeks ago. After reading this article, I feel powerful, and dare to challenge the failure.
    Thanks a lot!

      • Catherine says

        With something that happened a decent while ago – where the embarrassment or whatever has had time to subside – & the learning has been digested and built from 🙂

        • Alex Mathers says

          I’ve failed (at least in my perception) a lot growing up when it came to speaking up and contributing. Fear of what others thought of me kept me continually hesitant.

          However, with the attitude to failure that I talk about here, I’m getting better at this kind of thing all the time, accepting and owning past mistakes, and continually striving to grow all the time.

  2. the storm before the dark says

    meh. this is nonsense.

    i am not a failure. i have worked hard every day of my adult life (approaching 20 years of it now), with the mantra in mind that those who work hard and put in the effort will be rewarded for it. yet i’m stuck in a job i now hate on a low (for this industry) salary with no chance of promotion or a pay rise, and not a single relevant job to even apply for. i live in ireland which is a backwater run by corrupt bankers and failed teachers turned politicians whose economy failed in 2008 and has not grown since, where the cost of many essential things is the highest in europe, where most young and middle aged house owners are in massive negative equity and where unemployment is approaching 20%. every day more businesses fail and nothing new springs up to replace them because there is less and less money in the economy. every cent of our relatively high income tax goes to pay off bankers gambling debts. ireland will soon be the detroit of europe.

    i am not a failure, yet i have failed.

    i am not a failure because the world has instead failed me.

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