The Failure of Success


Dear Seamus,

There are many deities that we can choose to worship in our modern society. If we are not worshipping an individual, then we are worshipping concepts.

These concepts can be extremely powerful as they drive us, fuelled by desire, onwards to a place where we believe we will be ‘better’ or ‘happier’.

The concept of failure and success is particularly good at motivating us.

An Australian University recently surveyed 700 of its students to discover that half of them were stressed and anxious. One of the researchers commented that it reflected a lack of confidence in dealing with the transition into adulthood given finances, independence from their parents, debt and their ability to secure jobs at the end of their qualifications.

To me these comments about the results was simply another reflection of the fear laden environment in which we live. We feel the pressure to succeed.

In High School, along with the emotionally poisonous view I held of myself, I feared for my future after the end of year twelve. Even though I was deeply unhappy at school, the experience was a known one. I knew the pressures of doing well in my final exams and assessments and that those numbers allocated to me had the strength to direct my life path. My marks were average but the current system was to compare every student in the state for a tertiary entrance score. I ended up with a very low mark out of 100 and I allowed the shame of that to define me. I had not succeeded so therefore I must have failed. I saw myself as the failure. Lacking the confidence in myself to pursue a creative path, I sidelined any day dreams of doing an arts degree at University and decided I would take what I could get.

I did get accepted to do a Nursing degree at a western Sydney University which my Father decided against on my behalf. I will never know why he made that decision. Perhaps he saw my lack of confidence and vulnerability as a liability should I be living away from the family. Perhaps he just trusted his intuition. I did not question him at the time. Now that he is dead, it shall remain a mystery.

The New Year was 1991 and it brought the fall out of an economic recession with an unemployment rate similar to post-war Australia. I was unqualified, both educationally and emotionally, and spent much of that first year on government benefits while I looked for work. More failure.

I existed and experienced life within a narrow mental concept. I spent a good deal of time defining what it meant to be successful. I borrowed from the ideas of those around me and depending on who you spoke to or what you read, there were plenty of different translations of success.

I didn’t have a job. Failure. I wasn’t studying at University. Failure. I didn’t have any money. Failure. I didn’t have any real direction for my life. Failure.

However, the greatest failure, was that I believed it and continued to believe it for the next fifteen years. The circumstances may have changed but the sense of failure did not. I recall experiencing such confusion when I achieved something that fit my definition of success. I had the expectation that I would be happy if something unfolded in a certain way, yet when it did I felt strangely empty.

That is what these concepts are, they are empty shells creating a space that can never be filled. Do not be fooled into climbing into this tiny confining place.

You are limitless. Your energy cannot be confined, it is impossible. You are potently mighty with endless potential that exists far beyond the boundaries you might define yourself by.

I unshackled myself from these concepts and allowed the freedom and liberation to flow through every cell in my body.

Seamus, there is no success and there is no failure. These are flimsy attempts at defining the indefinable. They do not exist. Close your eyes and there you will find your true existence, ever present. There is no success or failure there, there is only love.

“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are”Eckhart Tolle


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Melanie Rose Killick

Melanie Rose Killick writes to her baby son Seamus about life, death and the amazing gift of cancer.

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