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10 Things I Have Failed At (So Far)

10 Things I Have Failed At (So Far)

There are things I’m good at. I might even be great at one or two of them. I enjoy doing them and get a sense of satisfaction from doing them.

Then, there are things I am not good at. Mostly, I avoid them because doing things I’m bad at makes me look like a jackass. But, growth comes from diving in and facing your inevitable failures with a titanic fortitude.

There are also some things I suck at but I keep coming back to over and over again.

10. Dieting

I suck at diets.

I’ve tried a bunch of different diets. To be fair, there are still a bunch of them I haven’t tried. But, mostly, I suck at them and I won’t be doing them anymore.

Unless someone invents a fried chicken diet. I’d give it a shot.

These days, I’m not as worried about how much I shove down my food hole. I’m focusing on trying to shove better things down my food hole.

I might not be dropping the blubber, but I feel better and enjoy life more.

9. Two Careers in Sales

When I was 19, I spent four days selling vacation timeshare packages to majestic Branson, Missouri. In those four days, I had one sale. I also had multiple people tell me I should kill myself. The rewards to emotional trauma ratio was not worth pursuing.

Minor side note: I noticed, people who are good telemarketing are also baked. Legalizing marijuana might just save the entire telephone sales industry.

A few years later, I went to work as an inside sales rep for a different company. Inside sales is a whole different beast. I didn’t have to do anything but take orders from customers and type them into a computer system.

As easy as it should have been, I still wasn’t good at it. I was mediocre. I held onto that job by being the only person in the office who could maintain a computer.

They burned out computers  regularly. I do not understand why. So, I guess I wasn’t fantastic IT support, either.

8. Web comics

I have worked on three different web comics.

None of them were successful.

Guys. Web comics are hard.

If you have a web comic you enjoy, give that person all of your money. They’ve earned it.

7. Daily Exercise

I always start an exercise plan with the best of intentions. Despite being a dedicated fat guy, I enjoy physical activity.

My problem is doing it every day. I have a hard time maintaining a schedule involving exercise.

I think it comes from being a social butterfly. The only times in my life I have practiced regular physical activity have involved other people. I can talk on the phone and walk five miles. But, if you ask me to walk five miles just to walk it, I will laugh in your face.

The only time I’ve been able to lose weight has involve regular exercise. It is the one thing I know works for me. Maybe, what I need to do is create a meetup group for fat guys to get together and walk and shoot the breeze.

Not a bad idea.

If anyone wants to get together and walk while bullshitting, leave me a comment below. No athletes need apply. I don’t want to look bad.

6. Political Satire

John Stewart is the greatest gift to my generation. He didn’t just save the Daily Show from obscurity. He cultivated some of the greatest political humorists the United States has ever seen. His protégés include Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Mo Rocca. Not to mention countless others.

I am envious of everyone who has ever worked with John Stewart.

I like to think I’m funny and moderately informed. With a little coaching and guidance, I believe I could be a great political satirist.

Unfortunately, I’m not motivated enough to find the right mentor or coach. So, I stay unsuccessful.

Besides, these days I find I am much more capable of living a happy and healthy life if I bury my head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend like the political world doesn’t exist.

The day may, when I am called upon to rant poetic about the injustices of the world, but, that day will not happen soon. There are way too many people with way more talent ready to fill that void.

5. Marriage

Damn. I got all serious on you. Didn’t see it coming, did you?

I was a lousy husband. I’m selfish and set in my ways.

I don’t know how much more there is to say about that.

4. Zazzle

I doodle. Some people asked me if I would put doodles up on merchandise they could buy. I did.

I sold a handful of things, and then forgot I put things up to sell for the rest of time.

Some strange part of me had this idea that if I indulged in creating merchandise I would instantly become a billionaire. However, I did not want to put any work into promoting the merchandise or evolving and growing the merchandise.

Now, if I look at my Zazzle store, I want to travel back in time and kick myself in the nuts.

This is another area of my life where I could do better but won’t. I can’t bring myself to care.

So, you know, buy a T-shirt or something.

3. Podcasting

I have an addiction to podcasting. I love it. There is something empowering — no, arousing — about talking into a microphone just to hear myself talk.

I have been part of three different podcasts over the last 10 years:

The first was the Alchohologist Podcast. We recorded one episode and never published it. It was a damn good episode, too. Unfortunately, I think everyone in that room knew we could never replicate that magic again. So, we never recorded another episode, and we never released the one we recorded.

A couple of years later, Yeti Detective and I build on that original concept and created a second podcast. It had multiple names until we settled on The Half-Drunk Podcast. The basic premise was Yeti and I would go to dinner, he’d get blotto, then we’d record a podcast. So he was drunk, and I was sober. There was two of us. Half of us were drunk. Half-Drunk Podcast.

I enjoyed doing it, but, it wasn’t sustainable and I’m not sure more than a few people ever listen to it. There was gold in those episodes, but neither of us knew what we were doing or what we wanted to be doing. We literally had a podcast because podcasts were thing that existed and we thought it would be fun.

It turned out to be fun, so I’m counting it as a win even if it didn’t launch us into new and exciting careers.

My third podcast was the New Writer Podcast.

Every Saturday I spent ten minutes talking about being a writer. I liked doing the podcast and the people who listen to it seemed to enjoy it. The problem was repetitive content. It is hard to do a podcast about being a writer when you’re not a successful writer. I tried to maintain positivity when I was doing the podcast to be a source of motivation for my fellow struggling authors.

Unfortunately, from my perspective it felt more like I was spending every weekend complaining about my lack of success.

Then, around this time last year, I got hit with a small wave of depression. I tried to fight my way through it and used the podcast as an accountability partner to get myself motivated again. It didn’t work and the longer I went the more I felt like a phony.

I slacked off enough it disappeared and then my site got hacked.

I still love podcasting. If I was invited to be a cohost on a podcast, I would jump at the chance. If I came up with a sustainable topic to do on my own, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I don’t have either of those things. But, I might try again.

2. Fiction

It pains me to admit this, but I don’t know if I can keep writing fiction.

Every time I sit down to write, I get filled with a sense of pure apathy. I have no passion for it anymore.

It hurts.

I tied up a large chunk of my identity with being an author. I’m still struggling with what it means for me to accept it isn’t my calling. A few years ago I decided this would be my path. Now, I don’t know what path I’m on. I will try a lot of things for the rest of this year. I might even try writing fiction again if the joy of creating comes back.

But, I’m not making it a priority. Life is too short to dedicate myself to something I gained no satisfaction from.

Yes, that means I will take time away from the stories I had plans to work on. I don’t know what I’ll do in their place, but it will be something I enjoy.

1. Quitting

Which brings me to the mother of all things I suck at: quitting.

Despite being a failure at everything on this list, I keep trying most of them.

I might say I will never go on a diet again, but I still count calories in my Lose It! app. I’m not worried about how many of them I consume in a day but I can’t guarantee that will be true tomorrow or three months from now.

I gave up on ever putting together a web comic but I still doodle all the time. I’ve even been encouraged to doodle more and put them together more like a web comic. Just take some of the crazy random things I’m known for spouting and give them mediocre art.

I don’t worry about getting daily exercise but I wear pedometer. If I didn’t care about getting exercise every day, why would I measure my steps? I think my subconscious is at play here.

I may no longer be publishing my thoughts on the political system, but I still have them. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to avoid learning about the state of our government. And, the only way I can maintain my sanity when forced to confront the existence of politics is to make jokes about it. Sooner or later, I will publish those jokes on the Internet again. It is inevitable.

No. I won’t be getting married. I learned that lesson the hard way. Still, it would be nice to have someone to dry the dishes while I’m washing them. I should get a robot Butler.

I’ve already linked to my Zazzle store in this blog post. If you don’t want a t-shirt, you could get a coffee mug.

Anybody have a good idea for a podcast? Do you want my sexy dulcet tones? Hit me up.

No matter how many times I’ve quit writing over the years, I’ve always come back to it. This time won’t be any different.

There are plenty of things I’m good at. Something that might even be great at. I don’t know what they are yet. So, I will keep failing. I will fail at so many things your mind will melt from the sheer pathos of my failure pile.

But, I won’t stop trying new things.

In just the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried calligraphy and photography. I’ve tried writing about productivity and inventions from my childhood. I’ve tried being active and I’ve tried laying on my couch.

I have a small list of things I’d like to try. I might start a Youtube channel or take over Instagram. I might try wearing a cravat. Maybe even an ascot.

Don’t know. The world is my jungle gym. I could play with whatever I want.

Failure is the worst thing that could happen.

It’s not like I’m gonna get torn apart by dinosaurs.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.

One thought on “10 Things I Have Failed At (So Far)”

  1. Judy Hudgins says:

    Great post! Makes me want to take a look at all the things I suck at. But I think a 100 item countdown would be a bit boring. Ready to walk with you are.

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