You are not a failure

You Are Not a Failure

When I was a little girl in the first grade, I brought home a short essay assignment I’d written in class about two obscure characters having an animated and heated conversation (argument).

I don’t recall what the essay (or argument) was even about.

But I certainly recall my parents’ reaction to my essay (more on that in a second).

I was 6 years old and I was already writing essays.

I was extremely proud that I had very proper and legible penmanship for a 1st grader.

This essay was my very first attempt at spelling two big words I’d barely ever uttered out loud before–and certainly had never written down before on paper.

The first word was “sensitive.”

The second was a different type of word spelled with “tion” as a suffix. Like “attention” or “imagination.”

I spelled “sensitive” correctly. Six years old and my first ever attempt at spelling a word with more than 5 letters and I nailed it.

However, I spelled the “tion” suffix word incorrectly.

I spelled it with “shun” at the end (e.g. attenshun), which is pretty common for young children who are learning to write, speak and enunciate using phonics.

My teacher gave me a big, fat, shiny silver star and a happy face for the word “sensitive.”

Then she gave me a teeny little red ink checkmark next to “attenshun” or whichever word it was I spelled incorrectly.

She hugged me and was thrilled that I spelled a big word like “sensitive.” She even used my essay as a glowing example for the rest of my 1st grade class on how hard it is for 1st graders to learn to spell.

That evening, I took the essay out of my backpack and showed it to my parents.

My mother smiled ear-to-ear and was very proud of me for spelling the word “sensitive” correctly.

She eagerly brought the essay over to my father to show him how well I spelt my first big word.

He immediately said, “Yeah, but you spelled ‘xxxxxx-tion’ wrong.”

I rebutted, “Yes Dad, but look, I spelled the word ‘sensitive’ right. Aren’t you proud of me?”

“Once again, you spelt ‘xxxxxx-tion’ wrong. It’s T-I-O-N not S-H-U-N. ” he said tersely and raised his voice.

He absolutely did not (and would never) acknowledge that I spelled one of the two challenging words correctly.

Instead, he sat there for 10 minutes grating me and raking me over the coals because I spelled one of the two biggest words I’d ever tackled in my 6-year old life wrong.

I was in the 1st grade and I’d just barely begun to learn how to read and write.

And it was my very first real lesson into learning exactly how losers think.

Giving Up is Guaranteed to Make You a Failure

From that day forward, I knew exactly what to expect from my father.

He spent his entire life giving up on everything and yelling and screaming at us, his wife and children, that we should do the same.

Some might think it’s harsh for me to speak of my late father in such raw and unforgiving terms.

I’m 42 years old and I’m still having a very difficult time processing how unsuccessful my father was solely because of his negative attitude–from his gambling (and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars), to his inconceivable cynicism and overall misanthropy and ultimately, the lessons he taught me about money and personal finances when he died penniless.

My father was a very smart man. But he let the hate he had for the world consume him–and cloud and completely derail his better judgment.

You’ll notice I don’t even remember which word it was that I spelled incorrectly.

But I will always remember the first big word I ever spelled right. I refused to let him or anyone else take that small moment of immense pride and triumph away from me.

Over the years I had to commit to teaching myself how to deprogram my entire frame of mind from thinking like my father.

If I had listened to my father and his perpetual acrimony and seething venom, I would have given up on everything a long time ago.

Truthfully, I had. For a long time, I was a very negative person.

I spent my formative years being surrounded by negative people who never praised me for any of my talents, my human curiosity and my dreams of becoming somebody in a house full of miserable nobodies.

Instead of giving up on myself, I instead decided it was time to start giving up on the losers.

Make no mistake. The losers everywhere around you are constantly going to try to convince you to give up exactly the way my father did.

What you need to do is start giving up on listening to them and start 100% believing in yourself.

You Are Not a Failure but That Might Be Hard for You to Accept

I suffered emotional and verbal abuse from both my parents.

I won’t lie. We were pretty bad kids for a long time. I’m unsure if it’s a “chicken or the egg” scenario of my parents not parenting well enough or we were just unruly heathens with a mischief gene that made us constantly act out.

My older brother, the unruliest of us all, completely turned his life around and became a highly successful professional athlete. So perhaps somewhere down the line, my parents did some things right. It’s true, no family is perfect.

One thing I can’t fudge or exaggerate is the fact that I did grow up in a dysfunctional household full of losers. How could it not be even marginally dysfunctional with people like that around?

That’s right, dysfunctional people telling me my whole life that I would never amount to anything because “that magical dream life” I was always dreaming about wasn’t for average people like me.

“You will never rub elbows with rich, educated, snobby people, Melissa. You are working class. Get used to being a nobody.”

Regrettably, it wasn’t until I got older, and much, much wiser, that I no longer bought into their distortions and lies.

I realized broke, unsuccessful people (even if they’re your own parents) don’t possess any real authority nor any sound judgment to even begin preaching to people about money and success.

Let this be the same litmus test for you:

Is this person successful?

Does this person have money?

Does this person have an enviable lifestyle?

Is this person someone whom a lot of people look up to and want to emulate?

If the answer is a resounding “no” (which I can 100% guarantee it is) why on earth would you listen to anything they have to say at all?

Learning to Adapt to Criticism From Unsuccessful People

Rule #1: The jeers and boos always come from the cheap seats.

The losers are the ones resigned to creeping in the shadows and hanging out on anonymous message boards crapping on the people who catapult themselves out into the world in the hopes of making a difference and having an impact.

The only real way to adapt to criticism from unsuccessful people is for all of us to make a concerted effort to stop listening to them altogether.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen big popular accounts on Twitter (with 10,000+ followers) get rattled and completely lose their minds over some cartoon character avi loser’s 12 follower account and their infantile trolling.

I get people in my Twitter mentions every single day who spew aggravated nonsense. I do not and will not ever acknowledge them nor will I even read or listen to a single word they say. They have 10 followers. They don’t even exist.

Do they have anything going on in their lives besides their constant bitching and whining?

Once again, if the answer is no, and it is, why would you waste a single second of your time lending weight to anything they have to say?

Criticism from unsuccessful people means absolutely nothing in this world.

They’re unsuccessful for that very reason. They. Do. Not. Matter.

Adapt by acknowledging they don’t even exist.

Always Remember You Are Not a Failure

It’s true. The way my father treated me my whole life convinced me for years that I was a failure.

If he was alive today, I can honestly say that I don’t believe for one second he would be supportive my newfound success and my million dollar lifestyle.

I went out into the world and did the exact opposite of everything he ever taught me.

People don’t like it when you refuse to follow their rules.

You will learn this very quickly when you decide that you are not going to embody someone else’s failure.

You will learn very quickly who truly loves you and cares about you when you flip on that internal SOS switch and decide that being a failure is no longer an option.

You will learn very quickly that the only way to stop being a failure is to go out there and win.

My whole life, I had the entire world working against me.

If I can truly wake up one day and prove to myself that I’m not a failure by becoming successful, so can you.

Be Well

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