Educación, Psicología & Ciencia

Let´s talk about failure: Your Ego must try “Humble Pie”

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Rejection is just part of the landscape for all beginning artists. Some think that there are just some pre-ordained Golden Children who get everything, and that’s really not the case – Monica Byrne


Nowadays we are being bombarded with success stories and triumph. – Don´t get me wrong, I am not saying that is something bad, it is just unreal. Somehow it is a fantasy, a play, a sweet cupcake that feeds our Ego. The problem came when we started to feed our Ego with prodigious amounts of sugar, losing slowly the awareness of reality. Linkedin, Facebook and all social media provides to our Ego a good tool to get more calories. Taking in account that most of the emotional problems are based on irrational thinking and wrong “beliefs” about how the world works. – What are we doing?

Photo: Street Art. NYC (2015). Kevin. S

Thanks but no Thanks

I knew that I was doing something wrong when people at work started to tell me “You can´t give me an advice, you have everything you wanted” or “It´s very easy for you, don´t talk about it”. Last week, a 19 years old girl told me “I can´t do this, I am not like you”, which struck to me so badly.

I ate a beautiful humble pay this morning, and I have to admit that “I´ve failed many times”; But honestly, many times.

What people don´t see for example is that I have applied to many fellowships and I was always a finalist, I didn´t get them. I don´t safe all my rejection letters (with some I did a small bonfire). I wrote many articles which are, technically, collecting dust in the drawer, and even two novels and a book full of poetry. My relationship with universities always have been as “forever bridesmaid but never a bride”, I got some honors but my battle with Universities is still on process. Of course, if some academic is reading this and wants to invest in my “brain research” related with Executive Functioning and Learning, I am always here. Well, this is what I meant.

What people don´t see for example is that I have applied like 30 times to the United Nations Program before get one opportunity. Really, I think they made fun of my proposals every year. But I was there. I am thinking to make a formal propose to my other friends who are fighting for a » fair job position” to write a book about rejection. We are almost experts. What people don’t see is that I have applied five times for my current job, and the last time I took two flights to do an interview, of course without sleep. But I am here.
I also made a lot of funny mistakes; but honestly, a lot of mistakes. I remember my first day at work in UK, or my first public speech in English, – Okay, I am not giving here more details. Even some day I got confused and I booked a flight to Budapest instead of Bucharest, really in English both words sound pretty similar “in my ears”. I do everyday a lot of mistakes while writing and speaking English, but what people don´t see is that I was educated in Galician, Spanish, Latin, Portuguese and French, never in English. – Can you imagine how many mistakes I do every day and in formal contexts? So, even more. The “fear of shame” led me to make a decision:

– I´ve decided purposely to write in English every week. Here I am. 

Last week I decided to start an online course at Sydney University related with neuropsychology. Well, during the online classes I touched some «devilish key» on my laptop and suddenly I found myself in a video chat with some professor, in pajamas and with my dog sitting on the couch. This is what I meant.

But much worse, I always forget my best friends´ birthday, thanks god I have a phone and good contacts.

As dancer, as writer, as student, teacher, psychologist and as human being I was wrong a bunch of times, lucky and unlucky, a winner and a loser. Yesterday I realized that these aspects of resume maybe show more about us than the “true one”.

– What have you tried and never got? That´s a pretty good question to do.


Photo: Street Art (2015). Random messy street art which I love.

It hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year: We’ve all been there.

We have been doing some activities in «Our School» regarding with how to transform a relationship through vulnerability. “As we grow up we take pride on being strong, on being self-sufficient, on being independent and on being usually right”

The most beautiful things I have experienced in my life came from vulnerabilities I have; a kid´s smile, the breathless runner who finish a career, my brother playing a bagpipe, to feel my feet while dancing, feel the ink on the paper, the smile of my mother and pride of my father, my grandparents´ stories, to watch a play, to share time with an artist, look at the hands-sway of a sculptor, listen a different language, get lost in other continent, freedom, an ill person who recovers, the feeling of create something, discover something, make science, make justice. To find someone who I lost, to miss somebody I loved.

So, I think it´s a good time to put our Ego on a diet and talk about our failures instead bottled up them inside. To be humble, “our trajectory has been far to be perfect and – what? I am here”. I´m almost sure that everyone should be rejected at least once in their life because it gives humility and loads of perspective. I like experienced people.

To use humor, I think it helps (even I am really bad making jokes). Don´t dramatize too much small problems because they will become a destructive giant. Like Godzilla but worst.

As one of my best friends used to say “All is well, All is well”

Please, do not caste blame on others, in the end of the day it´s your life and your responsibility. Don´t be unfair. Identify the benefits you gained thanks to failure, I mean “Have you learnt something?put in action these new skills, and always feel proud about what you accomplished.

I could write about this all morning, but It´s taking too long.

Thanks for reading, wish you a beautiful week ahead

Big Thanks to Kevin and his photos 🙂

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Autor: Lorena Álvarez

Psicóloga, activista, trotamundos y una apasionada por la ciencia y las letras.

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