Day 57: Why I never joined the Colombian Space Program (NASA?)

What if I’m not good enough?

I have always been fascinated by the concepts of failure and success. What makes someone a success, and what makes someone a failure? What makes you, me, or the people around us good enough? This challenge has always been on my mind, for as long as I can remember.

When I was a little kid, I had a dream: to be the first Colombian astronaut to land on the moon.

Becoming a Colombian astronaut was a pretty big challenge in the early ’80s, so I spent a lot of time reading about space. I was fascinated by the Challenger, the Voyager, the Apollo crew, … and most of all, Buzz Aldrin.

He was my ultimate hero. The second man on the moon, who flew the Apollo all the way there. In my book, being the pilot of the mission was a much bigger achievement than being the commander, like Neil Armstrong.

However, at the age of 14, I discovered that Buzz became an alcoholic after his moon landing. As an aspiring astronaut with an alcoholic father who had left when I was seven, this was pretty devastating to me. How could such a winner become such a loser? At that time, every famous alcoholic immediately became a nominee in my list of the biggest losers ever.

I was angry and upset, because for years I had admired someone who didn’t turn out to be very impressive.

Did Buzz fail?

Was he a winner?

Was he good enough?

Unable to answer those questions, I stopped pursuing my dream of flying to the moon. The Colombian space program wasn’t helping much anyway, so I went off to university to study literature. I indulged myself in the classics: Goethe, Nietzsche, Balzac, Zola, and my all-time favourite, Ernest Hemingway.

I wanted to be like Hemingway: travel to Cuba, watch bullfights, drink whiskey in Paris, explore the snow on Kilimanjaro.

After writing A Moveable Feast, a memoir about his years in Paris, he retired to Idaho. There he struggled with his deteriorating mental and physical health, until, on the morning of 2 July, 1961, he committed suicide with a rifle. He was sad, famous, divorced, alone, and had a Nobel Prize under his belt.

Was Ernest a winner?

Did he fail?

Was he good enough?

For years, I asked myself those three questions:

What makes someone a winner?

What makes someone fail?

What makes someone good enough?

Traveling around the globe made me realize that my childhood heroes were all just one thing: humans who failed. Just like that, I stopped trying to find heroes.

Nobody is an overall winner.

Nobody is an overall failure.

Nobody is ever good enough.

The reality is that we are all born to fail, and we all fell 10,000 times before we learned to walk. As humans, we are fragile, dependent, and not self-sufficient. This fragility and mortality is a compulsory aspect of our existence.

You, my friend, are useless in the real world. You can’t find your own food, and if the internet stopped existing, you’d be a hopeless mess (with no tools to fix it). You wouldn’t stand a chance in the wilderness. No skinny lattes or gluten-free tacos? It would be the death of you.

Our everyday life is a constant collection of failures. Every single action usually ends in some type of failure — eventually.

We choose the wrong partners.

We lose money.

We eat too much.

We choose the wrong movie at the movie theatre.

The problem is not that we fail, but that we think of failure as something external. However, it is a necessary internal process to achieve success. Nobody is good enough when they start: you become good enough by improving your previous failures.

As Samuel Beckett said:

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Can you battle failure? Sure, but why would you? Rather than battling failure, why not be okay with the fact that you are not good enough? The fact that you’re not good enough right now doesn’t mean you can’t become good enough in the near future.

The excuse “I’m not good enough” is directly related to the fear of failure. Once we realize that we consider failure a reflection of who we are instead of the potential of who we can be, we can turn things around. As soon as we realize we are looking at things the wrong way, we open the door to eliminating excuses and failing without fear.


You just read Chapter 2 — of Zero Excuses


Day #57 Stats Goanna Social

Hours worked: 9

Overal Hours worked: 363

Team size: 6

Clients Pending : 1

Active Leads: 3

Proposals sent: -

Feeling: Okay

33 days go to

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