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Recognizing Myself as a Failure is the First Step to Overcoming It

I am not an organized person. I am about as focused as a broken movie projector, and it is really starting to hamper my ability to get things done. I know I have talked about my chronic procrastination in the past, and I’ve found a couple of ways of doing things that have really helped me stay productive in my day job, but for the most part, I’ve been ignoring them in the parts of my life that really matter. The career I want to pursue and the goals I have that will get me away from a boring, hopeless life spent in monotony.

I have too many pokers in the fire, and pretty soon something has got to give. I’m going to have to spend some time seriously analyzing my current projects list and trimming the fat from the things that aren’t working, or need more attention than what I can give to make work. I have to spend the time to find my priorities, or everything is going to come crashing down around me. Once you fall too far behind, there is no catching up. There is no pushing the break through and making the big play that saves everything. Some things just get dropped and left behind, no matter how little you want to loose them.

That’s the story of my life, though. I’ve always pushed myself to do everything on my own, and never allowed myself to realize that I can’t keep going like that. I just push myself, a little harder, a little longer, and then one day, I just give up.

Here’s the thing, though: this time, if I give up, it isn’t on a project or a hobby or a craft idea. If I give up this time, it would be loosing the dream I’ve held onto my entire life.


I don’t know how to get better at what I am doing. I feel entirely like I’ve hit a brick wall, and that no matter what I try, it just doesn’t seem like there is anyway around it. I think the problem stems from the fact that I am built inherently wrong for living in the modern era. I love and embrace the culture of the Digital Age, and I can see the world I was meant to be part of on the horizon, but we aren’t in that world yet. I was built to live in some sort of utopian society like Star Trek, where people live lives based on their own personal pursuit of happiness, and the resources are available to keep everyone going in what they were meant to do.

We don’t live in a world like that, though. We live in a world where someone is allowed to do what they are meant to do if they can find a way to make money from doing so. That is the only thing that makes our world go round, and for a person who’s mind lacks any kind of business sense, it is pretty much pure hell.

I hate money.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily believe in the ideals of a communism, and I don’t begrudge capitalists or the like. I just can’t find it in myself to care enough about money to really push to go after it. I really would just be happy if I had enough of it to do the things that make me happy while keeping a roof over my head and my stomach full.

Some people might say that I lack ambition and greed.

I suppose in some ways that I do, and that might be my own downfall. I just can’t bring myself to care. I think my fatal flaw isn’t a lack of ambition, it’s a complete ambivalence towards the ideas for a goal that most of the world sees as “success” or “failure.” I don’t think I see those words as being defined the way that the rest of society sees them.

I believe myself to be a failure.

The reason for that is simple: I had a goal when I started my blog, and I have not achieved it.

I didn’t go into writing thinking that I was going to become rich and famous inside a year, but I did have a pretty defined goal in my mind as to what I wanted to achieve.

It was simple, there were milestones, and on a reasonable timeline I might add, and I let them go because I didn’t have it in me to push them to far.

I was supposed to have a book finished and ready to publish by now. I was supposed to have hit the 100 subscribers plateau. I was supposed to have accomplished so many things, and I just didn’t push to get them done.

I procrastinated.

I’m still procrastinating.

By writing this article right now, I’ve put off working on the things that will help me grow as a person.

So, yeah, I think of myself as a failure, because the most important goal, the one where I taught myself to achieve goals and move forward is the one I let drop.

I’m not growing, I’m stagnating.

That’s pretty much the same thing as being dead.

I refuse to be dead anymore.

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.

12 thoughts on “Recognizing Myself as a Failure is the First Step to Overcoming It”

  1. Stereo.* says:

    I can’t agree with you. I see you as FAR from a failure. I think so many people start blogging with the aim to attract legions of followers and somewhere tucked in the back of their minds, they have Dooce or Pioneer Woman or even Chuck Wendig. That you write everyday (often more than once); that you are dedicated to your doodling and your writing is such a huge win to me, I can’t even properly express it.

    This is the reason I get the sads when I make these big o’ goals. Because I fail to see the little wins along the way. Head up, Matt. You’re getting there. Be proud. 

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Thank you, Stereo.* Honestly, there wouldn’t be a blog if it wasn’t for the massive support and friendship I’ve found. I need that to keep myself going at times.

      The truth is, I have a lot of anger and resentment still loading up the back of my brain with a foul, black ink, and I can’t seem to find any other way to burning it away than to write it out. The real failure is that I let it ooze and seep into the rest of mind enough to keep me from really reaching and exerting myself to achieve the goals I want to achieve.

      We all have our personal demons, and mine are the ones that tell me continuously that I’ve never actually been good at anything because I’ve had it too easy my entire life. The moment I try something with gaining immediate recognizable success, it festers through me and crushes my desire to keep going.

      I’ve been giving into that lately, or more accurately, I had been, then I sat down and wrote this post. It did it’s job, really, and covered those nagging voiced fuckers in napalm.

      At least for the time being.

      It broke the silence in my mind.

      1. Stereo.* says:

        Fuck those voices. They’re lying. I have the same ones niggling away at me too. Bastards, aren’t they? All I can say is keep doing what you’re doing because you do it well. And I for one will continue to read because not only are you my friend, you;re funny as shit and YOU DREW ME AN OWL WITH A TYPEWRITER. 

        1. M.A. Brotherton says:

          THAT YOU’RE NOT USING, MIGHT I ADD!!!!!

          1. Stereo.* says:

            IT WILL FIND ITS WAY INTO MY NEW DESIGN SOMEHOW! BE PATIENT!!!!

  2. Mark says:

    Matt, you are so not a failure.  You think, you dream, you cast about you and capture life and put it to paper in for form of doodles and the paper of the internet by blogging.  Depression has a serious way of skewing the view, our view, of the world.  It distorts mirrors, makes all reflections and moments of contemplation a funhouse mirror….

    Stereo* is spot on, chin up.  You’re closer than you think.

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      I think the best way I have to deal with depression is to just bitch about it with words. I should probably keep all of that in my analog journal, but sometimes, I just feel like it’s more honest to let the world, and my readers, know what is running me down.

      A lot of people out there are suffering the same way, and sometimes it’s easier to suffer together than to suffer alone.

      Maybe I should think about how it comes off, though. I worry that it looks like I’m begging for attention, and I guess in some ways I am. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t be blogging in the first place, but I need to focus away from my own problems and more on my goals.

    2. M.A. Brotherton says:

      Oh, and thanks, Mark. It means a lot to have friends around, even if they’re digital.

      1. Mark says:

        My hope is that this will change when I come to KC next month for Planet….which should be a real geek-gasm….

        1. M.A. Brotherton says:

          I am extremely looking forward to it.

  3. Tracy Mangold says:

    In the words of the awesome, Dan John, “The goal is to keep the goal the goal.” You and I like to do too many things. We have too many interests. We need constant flow of creativity and knowledge. But we also need to remember to focus and find one main goal that we want to accomplish and focus on that. What is your MAIN talent? What is your BIGGEST dream? Follow that first. Go after the ONE thing with gusto and DO it. You aren’t a failure, you just want to put your arms around everything that interests you and grab it up into a giant bear hug. It’s impossible to do. Hug one thing at a time. The rest will line up for their hugs. Move forth, my friend and be proud of yourself. You’ve come a long way, Baby!

    1. M.A. Brotherton says:

      This is definitely the issue I was trying to work through in this post. I have to start looking at what has to be dropped right now before I drop everything.

      I guess in some ways, though, I feel like they are all my babies, and abandoning one would be tantamount to child neglect.

      Hmm… there might be a psych issue there.

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