Failure. The word alone makes your butt clench up with horror, doesn’t it?

How many of your daily decisions revolve around avoiding failure? How many calls go unmade? How many projects remain dormant? How many big dreams play out only inside the fail-proof space of your imagination? How much bullshit do you endure purely because you know you can be really, really accomplished at bullshit and because it’s reassuring to have your name on an embossed business card with a fancy title underneath:

John Doe
Managing Director of Bullshit

How to avoid failure.

If you’re determined, you can go to extraordinary lengths to avoid failure. Pursue a boring career and marry a person you don’t love. Add to that a mortgage for a suburban crapbox, car repayments on a 4WD that’ll never leave the city, a few dull friends, and a yappy dog that pees on the carpet, and you can be unpleasantly distracted for an entire lifetime.

Keep telling yourself: “This is good enough, this will do,” and learn to tolerate the chronic sadness that nags from the core of your heart.

That way, you’ll never have to fail.

But really, isn’t your whole miserable life a failure, John Doe?

So ask yourself this:

1. I’m afraid to make a fool out of myself.

Let’s say your epic plan blows up in a spectacular mushroom cloud and now you have to face friends, family, and coworkers with a sooty face and singed eyebrows. Everyone will see you’re a loser. Sucks to be you.

But guess what? Other people don’t care. They’re too focused on their own plans, fears, failures, and shortcomings. Stop playing out cocktail party conversations in your head starring you as the subject of mockery. “What a loser that guy is! Ha-ha-ha! Oh, dear, I just laughed so hard that I squirted Cristal out my nose.”

Nope. That’s not happening in real life. You’re not that important. It may seem earth-moving to you, but your failure will be an insignificant spec of dust among 7 billion people.

Nobody cares. Get it? So remove your tail out from betwixt your thighs and stop rolling around in the stink of your self-pity.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
―Thomas A. Edison Click to Tweet

2. I’m afraid of being wrong.

Perhaps there’s someone in your life who will give you a hard time if you fail: A husband or wife, a boss, a parent, your talking parrot Petey. “Gahhh. Loser! Loser! Gahhh.”

This person doesn’t believe in you and if your plan fails, you’ll give them the satisfaction of being right. Right?

Listen up: These people are assholes. Let them do a pathetic mocking monkey dance until they fall and drown in the cesspool of their jealousy. Their energy is toxic. Associate yourself with positive, supportive enablers, cut the naysayers from your social circle, and practice quick-drawing your middle finger to those who say: “Ha! Told you so!” Read more about naysayers here.

“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”
― Steven Wright Click to Tweet

3. I’m afraid to discover that I’m not awesome.

Uh-huh! The truth comes out. If you try and fail, you will arrive at an ugly reality: You’re not The Most Amazing Person Who Ever Lived. You’re a standard, floundering, fleshy human being who is not perfect. Fantasy = popped.

You may enjoy telling yourself: “It only appears as though I’m a single guy who sits on the couch all day watching reality TV while scratching my balls, but I’m actually The Most Amazing Person Who Ever Lived. However, I’m just going to keep that little secret to myself.”

You’re fooling nobody—not even yourself. This kind of delusional thinking breeds jealousy and resentment, and in order to feed your starved ego, you’ll end up knocking down others like the naysayers mentioned above.

A failure can be a harsh reality check, but without risking it, you’ll never see what you’re capable of. And if you take a chance and give it everything, you may get a different kind of reality check: You’re more amazing than you ever imagined. So let go of your ego, the TV remote, and your nutsack, and see what happens.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
― Henry Ford Click to Tweet

4. I’m afraid of ending up in a worse place than where I started.

Sure, you can lose the gamble. You can lose your investment, the time, the energy that it took to get your enterprise up and running. That would be a shame. But do you know what’s an even greater shame? You’ll never, ever know true success.

In the end, we’re all going to fail epically. We’re going to die. What you do between now and then will define your time on this earth. Don’t settle for being John Doe, Managing Director of Bullshit so that you can pretend you’ve never failed.

“… rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
― J.K. Rowling Click to Tweet

Here are two people who are not afraid to fail:

Christine and Drew Gilbert are the most ambitious people I’ve ever had the pleasure of stalking online.

With their son Cole (plus a new baby on the way), they travel the world and live in exotic locales while supporting themselves through a range of online projects. They continually bite off more than they can chew, and then somehow manage to chew it. I have no idea how they do what they do. Just watch them pack their suitcases in this Kickstarter video, and tell me you don’t feel like napping afterwards.

Right now, they’re working on a  documentary about a new generation of people who are taking their careers online in order to travel the world. They’re asking perfect strangers for $35,000 in order to finalize the project. Clearly, their fundraising plan is idiotic and they’re most certainly going to fail. Nobody can raise that kind of money from strangers and …

… oh, wait, they’re almost there. Help them to the finish line.
*UPDATE* They did it! 

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101 Response Comments

  • Lindsey  August 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Thank you thank you thank you. It’s such a basic concept, but as a society we’re all too comfortable and scared to leave that comfort to pursue what we really want. This spoke so much to me, because where I’m at right now has a huge potential to fail, be the wrong thing, or put me in a worse place than now. But I’m going to do it anyway. Because I can, because I’m pushing myself off the proverbial ledge and taking a leap of faith. Pretty much because of everything you’ve outlined above, though I’ve never been able to put it so succinctly.

    Next time someone comes up with doubts and reasons to stay average – be it towards my plans or their own – I’m just going to point them here 🙂 I loved this post!

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Yes. We suffer so much when we don’t go after the life we want, but when you break it down, the reasons we avoid failure are all pretty absurd. Good luck!

  • Dara  August 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Delurking to say that this is really great! I think one of the most important life lessons is that failure is really a prerequisite to success. By avoiding failing, you’re avoiding trying at all! How boring. My biggest fear has always been “but what if someone out there in the world won’t like me??”, but really, not being liked by every person ever is inevitable anyway. 😛

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:17 am

      “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” – Andre Gide

      Simple in theory, but terrifying in reality.

  • petra  August 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    thank you. great post. but I’d like to read more about being afraid to succeed. a friend asked me that a couple of years ago and I just laughed it off. who is afraid to succeed? we all want to be successful, don’t we? I now start to wonder if she knew (knows) me better than what I gave her credit for. because I do think it’s both. fear of failure as much as fear of success. because nothing is more alienating than even just proclaiming you want to change/to be or do more/to do x,y,z. being mediocre keeps you safely within your friends’ and family’s comfort zone and thereby part of it. any thoughts on that???

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:27 am

      Good question, Petra. I’m facing that at the moment. My book is going to be published in 2013 and I’m experiencing a range of emotions and fears on what is to come. My fear of success is much greater than any fear I had of failing when I first set out to write a book. In success, you cannot hide and be deliciously insignificant. The limelight is on YOU and your opportunities to fail grow out of control.

      So I’m scared to succeed with it, but I’m also scared to fail. This leaves me standing here, looking towards next year like a deer frozen in the headlights. Check back in mid-2013 and find out if I’m still alive or if I’m smeared all over the road.

      I just keep reminding myself that it’s all a part of the journey. Success is scary, but it’s yet another adventure to experience in life.

      “… being mediocre keeps you safely within your friends’ and family’s comfort zone” — In truth, people DO reject you after you succeed. It’s sad to witness, but in the end, this is how you sort the duds from the shining stars.

      • joe  October 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

        I wish more people knew that by sharing and being supportive in others successes will bring positive energy to them.
        I have also heard that people who reject you after you succeed do so because they see in themselves their own mediocrity. You did it and they were unable. Good luck.

  • Bex  August 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Oh Torre – what a great post, thanks! I am completing my first novel/memoir and live in that perpetual fear of failure…so this article is a breath of fresh air. Love the bit about naysayers…yes, rid life of them and surround yourself with positive people.

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:28 am

      At least you’re aware of the fear and you’re doing it anyway. That’s what counts! Good luck, Bex.

  • CJ  August 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you! This was just what I needed to read today (and everyday). While my husband and I aren’t sailing round the world, we do voluntarily move to a new state every few years (which seems to rank in the “crazy” category with a lot of folks, esp since we’ve got two kids). We’ve only recently stopped pathologizing and apologizing for this and begun to embrace it as just how we want to live our lives, but that doesn’t mean we’re not hounded by fear that we’re making the wrong choice. So, like I said: this post is just what I needed to read, and thank you for posting it!

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:35 am

      My pleasure, CJ. I want to know more about this state-to-state adventure of yours!

      • CJ  August 28, 2012 at 2:03 am

        I’m working my way up to a blog post about it, once I get clear about what deciding to be nomadic really means in practical terms for a family that’s not buying an RV (or maybe I’ll just wait until I get tired of trying to figure out what it means and blog about it anyway).

  • Jim  August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for another funny and inspirational post – I’m going to do my best to be a failure, and who knows, I might find success along the way!

    • Torre DeRoche  August 28, 2012 at 1:40 am

      If you set out to become a failure and you get there, then really, you’ve succeeded! 🙂

  • Victoria  August 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Great post Torre. It really hits home for me at the moment as I’m going to be back in London for a day next week. I have a connection there on my way to some travel blogging conferences, and am going to stop by and see some family. Every time I speak to them, they ask how my “holiday” is going. They believe I’m on a permananent vacation and have no idea how much I’m working despite my protestations. I learned a long time ago not to rise to them, but it can be hard not having the support of family – it can feel like a sort of failure – but you’re right that it’s best to ignore them. I huess it will be a good exercise in grinning and bearing it!

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 7:47 am

      I think a lot of digital era “kids” are having this problem. If you’re not getting a steady pay-check, there will always be those who think you’re being self-indulgent!

      My family are quite alternative and also very supportive, but even they were a little confused when I took two years off my career to write a book (though selling it to publishers made it seem less crazy in the end).

  • Christy  August 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I love this. We tried and failed (because we trusted someone to make our product correctly) but life does go on. And sometimes failing is just the universe telling you there is something better out there for you. I miss chatting with you, Torre! I hope you are doing awesome.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

      I’m still sad over your loss with that. Hard to believe. But I’m so proud of you guys for giving it everything and getting to that point.

  • Josh Brown  August 29, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Nice post! I particularly enjoyed the part about the naysayers drowning in the cesspool of their jealousy 😀

    As the great Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

      That Dr. Seuss was one smart cookie. (BTW, did you know that he was slightly afraid of children? Ha!)

  • Patricia Sands  August 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing your wise (yes, really!) thoughts and the quotes of others. I agree with Josh that Dr. Seuss says it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
    We are all eagerly awaiting the new release of your novel and will celebrate your success no matter what … honest, we will still love you when you are on the NYT best-seller list. No further butt clenching with horror over failure, please.
    When you get to my age (67, going on 40) it becomes very clear that way too much time was wasted in years past worrying about success or failure. From now on it’s all about maintaining an attitude of gratitude for every single day and full steam ahead with every dream. I know that’s easier said than done when you are young but it’s well worth a try … and Drew and Christine Gilbert are a fine example of this. How exciting to watch them move on to Sundance!
    It was through their blog that I first discovered you!

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Thanks, Patricia. I would like to worry less in general! Too much of my life is spent worrying about all the what-ifs.

  • Carolina  August 30, 2012 at 8:28 am

    this is so honest. i love it.

  • Susan @ Travel Junkette  August 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Yay, love these ideas! I think there’s a little voice in everyone’s head that warns them about failure, and what that entails, but you just have to squash it and remain POSITIVE. That kind of energy will change the world (and your life)!

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

      You’re right: the voice never go away. But you don’t have to listen to it!

  • Vacay Girl  September 1, 2012 at 2:15 am

    You’re thoughts are so fitting to me as well. I hate failure. In fact my life has been pretty cush and I’ve never really fallen on my face. But next year the leap I take could land me in a big muddy puddle. Hopefully my back up plans (someone who is afraid of failure always has a back up plan) will carry me through if things do go sour. But failure is always lurking behind every step of the way but it is up to the us to ignore it and proceed on and give it the last laugh instead. To all that feel what she’s saying in her blog just remember it is okay to fail. It’s all about how you come back from it. Maybe your plan just had a few holes in it. Patch it up and move on.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Yes, true, and don’t be too scared of it. If it happens, it happens. You won’t die. Good luck with skirting that muddy puddle!

  • Wandergirl  September 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    That was awesome.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:38 am


  • Pippa  September 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I am really sick of hearing that one has to be travelling from country to country if one wants to live life to the full. I want to have friends for longer than a year and I want to be near my boyfriend who does not have a wireless compatible career or skills – does that make me average? I wish my parents hadn’t dragged me across the globe when I was young, I might’ve been able to continue ballet, study computer science, be part of a Doctor Who fan club.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Pursuing whatever it is that makes you happy doesn’t make you average! Travel is a great way of life if (and only if) it’s an activity that you find exciting. It’s not for everyone! Don’t apologise for your likes and dislikes. Anyone who says you have to travel to be fulfilled in life is an idiot.

  • Carmel  September 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    This is just what I needed to hear today.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Happy to hear it!

  • Gina  September 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    You have no idea how much I needed this reminder today. I’m writing a business plan tonight.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:34 am

      How’d it go?

  • Lauren  September 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Hello snazzy writer whom I do not remember the name of even thought it is everywhere on this site. I was wondering how you made your website and if you had to pay for it?
    – future blogger person

    • Lauren  September 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      crap that little linky thingy popped up it told me to put the website so i did… so yeah.

      • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:34 am

        Ahh … it’s a little too complicated to explain over a comment! I made the site myself, but with the help of 10+ years of web and graphic design experience. Google ‘How to set up a WordPress blog’ and go from there.

  • Rose Wintergreen  September 10, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Ha! Gorgeous post! Thanks for this. I’ve been spending a lot of energy learning how to ignore my fear of failure over the last few years but it’s always very useful to have a reminder pep talk from someone else 🙂

    A few months ago when I was working on a couple of big things in tight timeframes and was struggling and not sure I could make it, I said so on my Facebook status and asked people for encouraging nudges. One of the most useful things someone said to me was “remember, it’s just a series of little tasks”. I put up two big sheets of paper on my wall above my desk: “I CAN do it!!!” and “It’s JUST a series of LITTLE tasks!”

    In the last few years I’ve also become very ruthless about who I make time for in my life. I prioritise the people who make me feel like anything is possible, who make me feel excited and vital. I still have people I love and spend time with who don’t, but I make sure they’re not my dominant influence.

    And you know what? I’ve been having the craziest, fun, creative ideas since I’ve made these changes. It’s hard to think big when you’re shutting yourself up in a little “scared of failure” box.

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Thanks for your comment, Rose. You’re right—big accomplishments ARE just a series of small tasks. This was a very reassuring reminder for me when I was sailing the Pacific. It’s an enormous ocean to cross, but remembering that we were doing it mile by mile made it seem accomplishable.

  • Ryan Gargiulo  September 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Excellent article! I think one of our biggest issues in life is that we care what other people think of us. Now, we should all care about what people think to a point but most of us take it much further than that and allow it to control what we do in our daily lives. BIG NO-NO!

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 2:56 am

      Life is the art of caring *just* the right amount to make sure you don’t leave the house wearing hotpants, Crocs, and oversized fanny packs. A fashion crime like that would get you executed.

  • Jaana Kulmala  September 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Greetings from Gdynia, Poland. We are waiting for a ferry here, just finishing up our Europe motorcycle tour.

    I love this article! As I’m just moving my work online to be able to travel more, I was delighted to find Gilberts too! Thanks.

    I lost your blog for a good while, but just found my way back here and I am so glad to hear about your book deal. Congratulations!

    • Torre DeRoche  September 14, 2012 at 2:50 am

      Hi Jaana. Thanks for the congrats. Can you tell me more about your motorcycle tour?

      • Jaana Kulmala  September 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm

        Hi Torre,
        thanks for asking.

        This was just a month’s trip. We are a bit time-restricted, as my husband Kari is still a corporate slave. I resigned last spring.

        We drove at leisurely pace from Finland to Mediterranean shore in Italy and back. This time it was about 6000 kilometers, as we took a ferry from Finland to Sweden, from Sweden to Germany and now from Poland to Finland. Kari wanted to drive the mountain passes in the Swiss Alps and they sure were a delight. He drives and I just sit in the back, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

        As we love Italy, we stopped there for couple of weeks, mostly going around Piemonte area. The area is famous for its food, and boy, did we stuff ourselves with fine food and wine! The Italian people are lovely too. At some point I definitely want to live there for a while.

        When we reached the sea, we took a nice swim and started the drive back home 🙂

        Everything went fine and the bike needed only minor tuning – Italian Yamaha-service did the work for free! This time we avoided the poor-condition eastern countries’ roads and the route was just perfect. We got all the accommodation on the run and only once we hit a town that was so full of locals that we had to drive on late at night.

        Europe is so fun and easy to travel around. What we miss is the weather you have there in Thailand…

        • Torre DeRoche  September 16, 2012 at 3:57 am

          Sounds AMAZING!!! What kind of Yamaha? Was it a new bike? Do you have the pictures up online?

  • Rease  September 19, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Wonderfully put. Sometimes you take a risk and it all works out beautifully, other times it just blows up in your face, but risks are still work taking. Sometimes the “failure” teaches you something. Risks just make you a more complete person, one willing to work towards being the best they can be.

  • joe  October 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    one thing though. Fear is also their to protect you. I would be all for going for things and over coming fear but only if the consequences of failure are managable. Many people dont do things, out of fear of loosing all their money. Fear of dying. Fear of living on the street if they bomb. I wish their were more articles comparing the two types of fear.

    • Alep  October 31, 2012 at 11:33 am

      In order to make awesome things come true, you need to go all out. People who achieve extraordinary success often times lay everything on the line, their life savings, even their life sometimes. Entrepreneurs who believe in their product, film-makers who won’t get funding and they go into debt to finance their vision. Someone extra-extraordinary is Robert Rodriguez, the director of El Mariachi. He went into debt and subjected himself to experimental medical testing and used the funds from both to finance his movie. This effort and investment led him to become big Hollywood player, making movies with Tarantino. Ellen McArthur, the fastest solo round the world sailor saved every penny since she was eight years old to buy a boat. In the process of saving money she lived under the boat in a shed during construction of her boat. She’s now a millionaire and most respected member of the sailing community. There are lots of examples like this out there. This people did indeed face prospect of having no money left or losing their lives. But their passion for their projects was greater than their fears, and in the end, they succeeded. Not everyone succeeds, but even in failure one learns valuable lessons. If you want a safe, predictable outcome, then your choices will be limited to everyday jobs. Which is fine if that if what one aspires to, but you you want greatness, you’ll need to take some risks and accept the outcome, either good or bad.

  • Amy  October 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

    The story and video of the Christine and Drew Gilbert is amazing! So inspirational! It’s great to see people not only working whilst travelling, but doing it with a baby (and another one on the way? what????)!

  • fivefootfive  December 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I’ve lost two jobs this year and feel like a big loser. I don’t really care what people say nor am I afraid to make mistakes. The economy isn’t doing too well in my part of the world but I still think I’m entitled to a decent job.
    My only feat of the past year is turning a close friendship into love. It is the biggest gamble I have ever taken and I’ve never been happier. Losing her might be my only fear in life, otherwise I’m bullet proof.

  • Sarah  May 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I’m afraid of failing myself i actually want to fail so i don’t have to forgive myself I dont have to hurt i don’t no what to do if all the pain goes away im scared of whats going to be left.

  • Antonio Hajden  May 31, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Very inspiring read. I think many of us are conditioned from early age, by our surroundings, parents even, to place great importance and crazy amounts of energy on not having adventurous spirits. Society would like us boxed in for the sake of “progress”, and we quell our passions for it and reinforcing the 4 thought mechanisms your brought up.

    I’ve just started work on a personal project that I’m passionate about, and it’s quite a ride. Jumping from fear to feelings of “this is so awesome, I love doing this”.
    Thanks for helping me focus my energy where it matters! 🙂

  • imran  July 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Wow this blog is just great opened my eyes really i was all of this but up untill now.thanks for putting some sense into me

  • Danniella  August 23, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Torre? Did you write this, yes? I’m here…bawling my eyes out at the sense of relief that’s overcome me. Sad..I know. I’ve been scouring the internet for anything….anything at all that could help me (for the sake of my wonderful family), and the power of your words – well, it’s tremendous. I’m waking up tomorrow and arranging an interview for this job I have my eye on. I’m so deeply sad and afraid to get out there, but this is time I feel I can. What honest, wonderful words. Thank you so very much. xxx

    • Torre DeRoche  August 23, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Aww, Danniella, that’s gorgeous. I wish you the best of luck. xo

  • Maya  August 30, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Any thoughts on what to do if your dream/passion is inherently not a money-earning endeavor, i.e. non-commercially focused arts, or wanting to be devoted to self-education/spirituality/higher understanding?

  • Kimberley  September 8, 2013 at 5:21 am

    This was such an awesome read, thanks Torre. I started a new career recently, way out of my comfort zone and involving a lot more creative thinking than I’m used to. I’ve been so paralysed by the fear that my ideas might fail, or that I might make a mistake, that ironically I spend so much time worrying about it that I can’t think creatively or work productively! Brains can be such a pain in the arse sometimes 😉

  • Fionah  September 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Thank u so much,1st for telling it like it is.It really helps that your not sugarcoating anything.
    This is exacttly what i needed to hear & snap out of it..yo awesome

  • e.  October 26, 2013 at 3:48 am

    thanks for the tough love.

    it seems to me that as kids or younger adults, we ARE fearless. we try things, we take the plunge. i’ve moved to the other side of the world without ever thinking i might fail. i knew i will make it, and i made it. but it became so easy to forget this journey when i got older, and put down by my boss or other people’s opinions. in my case, i simply forgot who i was and how i got where i am now. it may sound weird, but it’s true. i had to remind myself of my own strengths, and stop letting doubters bring me down.

    so thanks again!

  • Hannah  February 12, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Love this article. I read something that said, “Once you leave your comfort zone, you’ll realize it was never all that comfortable.”

  • Robert S Moulds  March 10, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Sadly what if one fears being the under dog , fears working from the bottom up , fear conformity, fears the working class or even strangers and wishes they had a faithful nonjudging friend by ones side.

  • Jacinta  April 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I’m just another little voice jumping in here to say you’re awesome.

    I’m full of big ideas, but lately I keep running for cover any time one of them flies out of my head. I just quit a great job (well, it would probably have finished in three months anyway) last week because I realised that I had become so uninterested in what I was doing that I could no longer do my job well. But even though I had a smart plan (to do what I love) when I quit, I had to stop myself looking through job ads this evening. I had even stopped looking at good jobs and started looking at jobs in rural areas that I thought *no-one else would want* because then I could reduce my chances of wasting time writing a job application. At some point before the *worst location possible* search I had begun writing a job application and then stopped when I realised I just couldn’t be bothered talking about more stuff that I just don’t care about. The fact is I’ve saved enough to keep me going for at least a little while without worrying about this stuff, but I’m still scared that that isn’t enough of a guarantee!

    Anyway, I shall persevere in trying to make the right moves to freedom and love, despite running backwards every now and then!

    Good luck with your book!

  • Mortimer  July 20, 2014 at 3:00 am

    What I actually do fail at everything I do?
    What if I am always wrong?
    you get the point, here’s something I wrote elsewhere.

    I’m here to explain how I’m a failure in life, these days whenever I look into my future I see either a lonely life of sorrow and misery, or an eventuall suicide.

    I was born in a country I don’t belong, and I’m sure I’ll fail at getting a citizenship elsewhere. I was recently accepted at a university in the uk and am starting this september, and I’m sure I’ll fail at the foundation year let alone the actual degree (yes I’m not from the uk, though I look Caucasian somehow even though my parents don’t).

    I suffer from extreme social anxiety and am completely terrified of social events, just walking on some sidewalk is hard work. I can’t even speak to my family anymore. I’m such a failure I can’t even write an application without doing something wrong.

    My writing hand is bad, I stutter, I speed walk in public fearing sounding foolish over making small talk and avoid eye contact fearing harmful thoughts or misjudgement from people.

    I doubt every action I do, as I fail at everything. Everyday I wake up wishing I had died in my sleep. Even while writing this I’m sure someone out there is thinking “what a pathetic wimp.”

    Thanks for reaching this far.”

    I always get jealous from hearing about some prodigy from a poor family who’s the smartest person his country ever saw. and I should be because I could never excel at anything and that’s not just negative thinking that’s just the me.

    here’s how I think my life would turn out.
    1-I’d fail trying to get my bachelors and commit suicide.
    2-I’d graduate and either go straight to graduate school or work for a year first, either way i’d end up either committing suicide after failing or living a life of lonely misery..after failing.

    I’m below average because I am just that, no chance of getting any higher. i’m pathetic. and right now i’m absolutely sure whoever is reading this thinks the same of me.

    The End

  • Tyra  September 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    The first paragraph is hilarious. This comedy together with, practical reality checks have tickled my spirits and I’m a little higher in my well of funk. Thank you for this piece, I’m going to continue reading other posts.

  • Fiona Barnes  September 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Dear Torre, I love this piece! I’m sending my book to the printer tonight. It should be ready for sale by Thursday. I’m secretly praying my heart will just stop beating. You nailed it, suddenly I feel like I want to embrace my invisibility.
    Does it get better? Please say yes!
    Thank you….

  • D Joe  September 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for this. I keep telling my 5 year old ‘well done for trying’, but could not tell that to myself. Last year has been one of repeated failures in exams. And its not easy when your wife tells you that ‘you dont have it in you anymore’.

  • cell phone spy software australia  September 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

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  • Love  October 7, 2014 at 9:11 am

    this was great but what if you fear isn’t only because of dissipating someone. It wasting their money. Like my mom a single parent paying for a 60,000 dollar school as I study theater!! What if I don’t make it as an actor and my mom working two jobs and working her ass off is nothing. What if she’s says told you so you should of done nursing

  • swathi  October 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    hi..pls clue me on this. i dont know if it makes any sense, but my excuse is that i may be lazy and hence afraid of hard work. though everyone tell me dat i got so much potential and compare my past and wonder why i am average.

  • Himanshu  November 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    superb, what else could have been better than this

  • limbo  December 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Ehh, this did not help at all.

  • Shawn  January 3, 2015 at 2:31 am

    You made me facepalm when I saw the reasons why I avoid failure. I wish I could meet people like you, Torre, seriously. Thanks.

  • phil schmitt  January 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

    That story is awesome! My wife and I roil and toil. We wont give up. I’m a journeyman electrician that lives to draw portraits. Art is my real love, but you have to live til you’re discovered, or appreciated. Are there truly any Angels out there?

  • Akbar  January 31, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Hi there! Awesome reality-check article.

    Right at this moment, I’m in the intersection between the prospect of a lifetime mediocrity (by staying at my job) and the uncertainty (by quitting and focusing on my project). Thinking about these two choices and consequences, I am starting to feel stressed. Mostly because I can’t seem to see any fail-proof plan. There are always possibilities of things went south, no matter what action I take.

    In the midst of all this, Your article give me a brief reminder of why I want to do all this. Main reason is just for ensuring the me-in-the-future able to look at the past without regrets for not trying. Thank You!

    Warm Regards,


    PS. I’m living in Bali. Looking forward to see you and have a chat in Bali. 🙂

  • rajesh  February 4, 2015 at 9:56 am

    i don’t no what to say,and what to write. beacuse i fill like a low BP. my mind , my heart totally fill veary veary low BP. my thinking is comes in my taired from my self.totally upset .iam married man.iam 44 . 3daughter. i don’t like my work. i have to work in presser from boss.and iam not earnig enough salery allso.and iam away from my familly. i love my familly. i don’t have money to do some thing. and i like to live with my family.but not possible for me. i can not get job their.and nothing to make bussnesse. iam totally afraid from boss i can’t face him life totally lose .i fill to cry…..

  • d  March 4, 2015 at 5:51 am

    you may have just saved my life really, i am doing a vehicle mechanics course i love cars and bikes it all i talk about with friends but i have failed every exam i have taken and firstly it was cause i was lazy and i know i need to focus more im also around people constantly telling me that im a failure my sister who have degrees with honors my parents who dont know what im going through, some of my friends, who think they are more important than me, the rest of my friend dont even care, but i kind of realise i need to pull my finger out and work properly, but im afraid what my lecturer will say when i go back considering i failed my last exam, and what should i say to him i dont know but i am feeling really down and i dont know what to do

  • Leoné Jade  March 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Wow I like this post.
    I started a blog about my YA fantasy novel. Every time I post a chapter I get so scared and nervous. It’s like im giving a piece of myself to the public to judge and scrutinize.
    It’s a nerve wrecking feeling knowing that the work you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears in will be judged and you don’t know how people will respond.

    • Anonymous  August 6, 2015 at 3:04 am

      I have some of the biggest weeks of my career coming up yes it may be nerve wracking and scared to fail so I can just make an excuse for myself to be average but guess what? I aint gonna be averae Im gonna be better then those guys and will show the world who i am where i belong to play Ive worked harder then anybody this is my future this is my destiny if i fail i will keep goin till i die..

  • Colton Jackson  March 6, 2016 at 4:13 am

    This was very useful. I have been trying to figure out why don’t I want to commit to something so great?! Is it the people slowing me down, is it the situation that I was raised in? Or is it my own head..? I have been going to war in my own head for 6 months now on what I should do with my life. I’ve asked my mom for it. I asked my dad for it. After asking them so many questions, I’ve finally woke up my eyes and realized that I was the one who slowed myself down for what is right for me. Now that I have finally realized my problem, I googled, “Why am I afraid to fail.” This will be the website that will change my life forever. If there is a way that I can stop second guessing myself, I would love to hear your answer. This website should be advertised because this is one of the best articles that I have ever read.

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  • SickOfYOURBullshit  May 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Not everyone has anything TO GAMBLE WITH.

    Not everyone was born with a silver spoon up their ass like you clearly were.
    I’d LOVE to see you fix MY life. Tell me, genius, how can someone with no job (and no ability to work due to THREE mental disorders that I can’t afford ANY treatment for) no savings, no support network other than my roommate who is supporting us both on a PIZZA PLACE manager’s salary and putting most of her income to rent and a car?
    We have no assistance, and no ability to get any, we live at the poverty line, one fucked-up paycheck away from homelessness.

    Let’s hear your GENIUS response, Mr/s. Fucking Knowitall

    • Torre DeRoche  February 8, 2017 at 1:19 am

      You’ve obviously got a lot of anger about your situation, which is understandable. Please know that the difficulties you’re facing go beyond the advice of a blog post designed to appeal to the common denominator. It’s impossible for me to write anything that speaks to all people in all walks of life. I’m sorry you feel forgotten or left behind by this article and, perhaps, the world.

      I understand that you’re searching the web looking for help and that speaks for your desperation. I don’t want to sound dismissive or unsympathetic, but I can’t fix your life. Nobody else can. That’s the truly disappointing thing about being an adult; we have to find a way to survive, even though horrendous circumstances, and most often we have to do that on our own. I have no fucking clue as to why you’re suffering the way you are, but I feel for you.

      My two cents is that taking your pent up anger out on others achieves nothing and will put off anyone who might otherwise be able to help you. I might have a silver spoon up my ass, but I also have empathy because I’m a human who knows pain and suffering and disappointment too; who will, one day, like you, die. This means that, despite any privilege I might have, I – or others like me (in real life) – do have regular human emotions like you do and are therefore able to offer you warmth, comfort, guidance and a sense of belonging if you’ll let it in. But nobody is going to want to do that if you are biting, angry and sarcastic at first contact. Anger scares people away.

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with such terrible circumstances and that the world is such that some people seem to have it all while others have little. I hope you don’t give up on yourself; on trying to find moments of pure joy wherever you can. The game is not over and the tables could turn in your favour, because as long as you’re alive there’s still hope. Remember that wealthy, privileged people kill themselves sometimes and that seemingly tidy lives are not always as tidy and idealistic as they might seem. Keep trying. Keep searching for solutions. And try to soften your anger and aggression so that others might be able to get closer to you in order to help.

  • Desiree  June 2, 2016 at 4:39 am

    omg true words of wisdom, i guess i won’t withdraw from my class 🙂

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  • Jamal mahmoud  August 23, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    We live in a capitalistic society; it’s difficult at times to succeed when greed is at every corner. The truth of the matter is that 90% of wealth is controlled 5% of the populations. In other words, trying to be successful is not easy as you think it is. Unemployment rates, violence, drug epidemic, many issues that we Americans are facing today.

    With all these conditions, it’s no reason why people cannot go after their dream; it is just going to be a bumpier road. Those who have the will to sail in uncharted waters will make it, and those that fear life will just stay stagnant.

    It would have been nice if you allow your readers to leave back links to their website, what happened to “community”? Your network is not what you have in your bank, its what you can do for others!

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