If I fail to fail, does that make me a failure?

This question highlights an error of thinking.

Doing or not doing something cannot change who I am.

One is about activity, whilst the other is about my very being.

I woke up this morning believing I was a failure.

Feelings of shame and inferiority settled on me like a mourner’s shawl, and for a few minutes, I fell for it.

Until I looked closer.


I had intended to achieve a multiple-night wild camp in Northern Wales.

I had a raft of hopes invested in this adventure.

Yesterday morning I set off at 7 am, drove 6 hours, parked, ascended the mountain and had a change of heart at the top (Who does that!?).

I descended, returned to my car and drove another 6 hours home.

My Mum called me “a funny little bunny”, which I happily received and lifted my spirits, and my wife threatened to put all my camping gear on eBay, which made me laugh.

However, by the morning, thoughts of being a failure had returned.

What an excellent opportunity to spotlight these thoughts and feelings and see if they hold up under scrutiny.

Spoiler: They do not.

Life is full of moments when we do not gain the results we hoped, planned and aimed for:


      • Exams and tests

      • Our own rules and boundaries

      • Relationships

      • Ideals for our children

      • Career paths

      • To-do lists

      • Body image

      • Relapses of many kinds

      • So many other goals and aspirations

    To fail means that I tried but didn’t achieve my goal.

    The above sentence describes a course of action, an intention and the action’s result.

    It does not comment on WHO I AM.

    Who I am, is my essence, core self, and true identity, which cannot be increased or decreased by achievement or non-achievement.

    I am the presence intentioning the attempt.

    I am not the attempt or the result.

    I am who I am, not what I do or don’t do.

    Failure is something that happens ‘to’ us and which we can learn to guard against better.

    My support structures can let me down.

    These include a virtual toolbox wherein I keep the tools I need to get stuff done.

    My tools include:


        • Knowledge and understanding, 

        • Thinking

        • Resilience, 

        • Skillsets,

        • Ideas and creativity,

        • Fitness,

        • Humour,

        • Reward systems

        • Patience

        • Relationships

        • So many more it would be impossible to list, but you get the idea.

      These are my tools.

      My tools are not me.

      If I have tried and failed a task, one or more of my tools must be improved or added to.

      They say a poor workman blames his tools, and I will suggest that the “poor” adjective is a comment on the work and that his tools include his abilities and attitude.

      My toolset needs constant review, regular upgrades and maintenance.

      I should look to add to my arsenal of resources wherever possible.

      Changing my mind about a course of action can be okay and may reflect an ability to move freely with the winds of daily living.

      Making an effort and trying hard is a success in its own right, regardless of the outcome.


      Failure brings opportunity for learning. 

      I am not a failure.

      I am a beautiful being, fearfully and wonderfully made.

      My resources are limited but growing.

      Sometimes I fail in my attempts.

      I’m good with that.

      TOP TIP:

      Be very careful completing sentences which start: “I am ..”

      Be slow to dole out judgements upon me and others. We’re all doing our best with the tools at our disposal.

      Love and peace