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Failure is nature’s way of telling you to give up

2 August, 2012

As the saying goes “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again, give it one last shot, realise you are deluding yourself and then just chuck it in.”


There is a huge list of hobbies, pastimes and sports I have taken up over the years, and an equally huge list of hobbies, pastimes and sports I have chucked in. A few examples:

I got a guitar when I was about 18. I dared to dream that I could be half decent. I learnt about 3 chords, realised I was never going to be Jimi Hendrix, or Billy Bragg, or even that pissed tramp I saw in Bournemouth once who continually strummed one chord in the street so as to disguise his begging as busking and not be moved on. I still have that guitar, but never play it.


I was always rubbish at football as a child, and about six years ago some mates said I should come and join them for a weekly kickabout. I did. I was still rubbish. I was okay in goal though, which is handy as noone ever wants to go in goal so I took up the gloves regularly. But in the time I played, I was always rubbish. Around Christmas, it was cold, it was raining, and it occurred to me that i wasn’t getting any better, I was just getting cold and wet. I stopped going. Likewise cricket. I love the idea of playing cricket, but essentially I am rubbish. Same story – rubbish at school, started playing again a few years back, was rubbish, gave up. There is no enjoyment in turning up week after week and knowing you are the worst player in the team.

And don’t get me started on snooker. Or squash. Or badminton.


I met up with a female friend last night, drinks, chats, cinema. She is a good friend and really wants to see me paired of, happy, and settled. “Have you met any lovely ladies?” she asked me. “Yes, I meet loads of lovely ladies,” is my custom reply, “but they are always unavailable or uninterested.” She smiled and grabbed my hand and said how she would find someone to set me up with, and I made enthusiastic noises. But between you and me, the thought of being introduced to a potential other half while friends encourage from the sidelines makes me realise what pandas feel like when zoos try to get them to mate. I’m just not built to be a boyfriend/partner/husband/lover/fuck buddy, it’s just not in my DNA, it’s not me, it’s not my destiny. So for the however-many-it-is-nowth time, I am chucking this in too.


The only aspect of my life I haven’t given up on, have kept coming back to, am unable to chuck in, is writing. Occasionally I believe in myself, but I have long phases of self-doubt like any other writer. Usually I can still keep going. I don’t “work through it” in the sense of coming out the other side and my confidence returning, but I do “work through it” in the sense of I just keep writing, whatever my inner critic, my harshest critic, my most personal and damaging critic, tells me.  I have been writing since I was able to read, and will keep on doing it whether I’m rubbish or not. Read the strapline to my blog, that will tell you why.


  1. TheOthers1 permalink

    Sometimes I feel like you and I are more alike than either of us realizes. Maybe it’s a writing thing. We need to form a club to encourage us both to success.

    • i am coming to realise this too – i recognise alot of myself in your posts and i think what i say sounds very familiar to you. a club is a good idea, but i dont respond well to encouragement at anything – see my comment about pandas!

      • TheOthers1 permalink

        Lol. Yea, but sometimes you need encouragement more than you realize. It tends to buoy me at the most unlikely of moments.

        When is your birthday by the way?

  2. 1) You can spell “pastimes” correctly. That is more valuable than being successful at any sport, including that of settling down with a woman.

    2) Spelling well and using proper grammar are far more attractive traits than anything else. I’m sure you’d have no trouble using your writing to attract women, should you so desire.

    3) If your heart is married to writing, then write and forget all the rest. Nurture your relationship with your pen. Although, pen and guitar do play well together. You may want to at least learn a few chords. Women are also suckers for a guy with an acoustic and a sexy voice.

  3. Yay! Someone else with a guitar they can’t play! (Actually, I’ve two I can’t play. Well, I mean, I could play a bit once, but probably just that once.)

  4. As for the whole dating thing, I threw in the towel several times myself. One time I went on a 5-year self-imposed dating hiatus because I was so annoyed and disillusioned. It happens to the best of us.

    And I too have dabbled in many hobbies, only to discover that I really am no good at most of them. So I decided to just focus on the ones I really can do well, rather than banging my head against a wall repeatedly. It works out pretty well for the most part.

    • maybe my own towel is just temporarily left on one side, maybe it has been chucked in. i dont know. actually i do know. the very next sight of a pixie-ish smile and a cute nose, all my warnings to myself will be abandoned again.
      very wise advice re head/wall percussion. not sure i’ve really found a hobby i’m any good at. although if there was Egocentruc Self-pitying at the olympics i’d be up in london this week with no time to be posting 😉

      • If egocentric self-pitying were an Olympic sport, you’d have some competition from me on the US team.

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