It’s said that the measure of a man isn’t in how he avoids failure but how he’s able to recover from it. And there’s a certain amount of truth to that. There will be days that wouldn’t go right if you held a gun to it’s head. Then there are the times when life becomes an absolute disaster.
Failure is an intensely personal thing. We all define failure differently; to some, the end of a relationship is a failure. To others, it’s watching your business start-up crash and burn before your eyes. To still others, it’s the time when you reached for your dreams… and found them slipping out of your grasp.
I remember what was easily one of my biggest failures in life. In 2004, I had what I thought was the perfect life. I had a dream job that paid me obscenely well and had me working with some of the most talented artists in the country – including several who’ve gone on to work at Bioware and Marvel. I was dating someone I thought was the perfect girlfriend. I’d just landed a distribution deal with Diamond1 which meant that my graphic novel was going to be in comic stores around the world. For one brief moment, I had everything I ever wanted.
Of course, irony, not gravity, is the strongest force in the universe, which meant that I was fucking doomed. I may as well have stood on a mountain and yelled “GOD’S GOT SHITTY AIM.”
I was fired from my dream job. Two weeks later, my perfect girlfriend dumped me. The week after that, I got the call from my Diamond representative who gave me the final kick while I was down; my comic’s sales were abysmal and they wouldn’t be carrying it any longer. All I was waiting for was my apartment to burn down to complete the blues musician superfecta. In the span of two weeks, I’d had almost everything I ever wanted yanked away from me. I knew it could be worse – I wasn’t in immediate danger of being homeless, for example – but at the time, it was pretty damn brutal.
Sometimes life will knock you flat. You will try your hardest and still watch your dreams end in failure. It can devastate your ego, shred your confidence and leave you feeling like a quivering mass of shame in the vague shape of a man. But as much as failure may hurt – and it may well wound you to your soul – it doesn’t mean that you need to let it scar you for life. Failure can be one one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever be given… as long as you know how to recover from it and move forward.
- the only major comic distributor left in America [↩]