How To Consistently Fail At Life

Live the first 18 years of your life rather innocuously. Get bullied in high school. Develop an eating disorder. Be too sacred to overachieve at things you actually enjoy, like drama, because you’re too obsessed with your feeble attempts to fit in with the ‘cool’ kids. Never fit in with the ‘cool’ kids, even though you get really skinny and dye your hair like Christina’s in “Come On Over.” Accidentally excel at academia anyway and get into some prestigious course at university.

Do your prestigious course half-heartedly. Meet a boy half way through and decide to defer your studies so you can go and live with him in the far-away location he comes from. Be miserable as a piece of furniture in someone else’s life, but persist because you’re in love. In fact, continue to always persist with relationships when you’re unhappy because you believe in love. Believing in love and doing ridiculously grand things “in the name of love” is the best way to fail at life.

Go home and finish your prestigious university degree. Start working in your prestigious field but find it miserable despite the sweet pay check. Quit. This is also a good habit to get into if you want to fail at life—just quit everything that you sort of don’t really like that much. It will often leave you penniless and with a sinking sense of dread in the pit of your stomach.

Use the money you saved working in your prestigious job so that you could buy a house to go white water rafting in Slovenia instead. This is the third most important characteristic to develop in order to fail at life—pissing money onto a wall. Say things like “You can’t put a dollar value on these experiences,” even though you’re not some hippie chump and you realize full well that there is a very prominent dollar value on all your “experiences.” Pretend that you’re going to settle down somewhere and get a job, but spend another two months travelling around Europe some more, lighting all your hard earned cash on fire.

If you want to fail at life, you have to make many spontaneous decisions that rationally make little to no sense. For instance, with dwindling savings, decide to move somewhere to “chase your dreams,” which should involve some kind of artistic endeavour. New York, LA, London, Sydney, Copenhagen, Paris and Japan are all good starting points because they’re probably the most expensive places a struggling artist could go.

Struggle as an artist. Live in rooms with no windows and forget what the outside world looks like. Quit struggling as an artist for a while (quit your shitty bar job too because you hate it) to binge on drugs and party all the time. Get home in the morning and wake up in the evening, be dissatisfied and listen to Bruce Springsteen a lot. Realize you’re failing. Instead of doing something sensible, go traveling again.

Sleep with your best friend. Who is also best friends with your ex. Sleep with someone your friend likes. Sleep with a guy you met once before and give him your heart even though you’ve only known him two weeks. Be reckless in love, yet again. Pursue the unattainable. Fall for people in different countries. Be sentimental and poetic. Eventually take your broke ass and chipped heart back to the city where you hope to find your dreams and try to settle into life.

Drink too much. Quit another lame bar job. Ruin good things by sending unsolicited, drunk text messages after midnight. If there’s any way to undo a lot of hard work and good progress it’s with a drunken text message. Never learn your lesson about this, even though you are now in your late twenties. Start thinking about getting a tattoo because it’s too late to go back to professional life and isn’t that what struggling artists do anyway?

The key is to repeat. Keep making spontaneous decisions. Take a match to what little money you have. Treat love as a wild adventure and throw yourself into it every time. Smash against words late at night when you’re drunk and lonely and armed with nothing but a mobile phone. Make a million and one mistakes and just keep making them over and over and over again because failing at life is all in the repetition.

Look at your mistakes like battle scars and love each one dearly—failing at life is also about adoring your failures because they are etching you out as some sort of person. And even if you’re not entirely sure who that giant failure of a person might be, you’re pretty sure you like them, and besides, it’s been a whole lot of fun becoming them, which is the most perfect way to fail. TC mark

image – Natalie Nikitovic


More From Thought Catalog

  • Tyler

    This was brilliant.

  • Annie Highley-Smith

    This article should be renamed “How To Consistently Succeed At Life”.

  • Giancarlo

    I love this so much.

  • Sophia

    I can’t figure out whether you’re warning against making these kinds of “mistakes” or encouraging them.

  • Sophia

    I can’t figure out whether you’re warning against making these kinds of “mistakes” or encouraging them.

  • macgyver51

    In other words, be as self centered as you can? Man, I’ve been doing it all wrong!

  • None

    Isn’t all this self loathing getting a bit tiresome? 

    • FangsFoo

      It’s not self loathing it’s extreme humblebrag. OMG MY LIFE SUCKS AND I MAKE SUCH STUPID GLAMOROUS DECISIONS.

      The absolute worst part though is that these decisions aren’t glamorous, they’re cliche as fuck. The title of this post should have been “How to be a living cliche.”

      • FangsFoo

        And a note to all readers in their late teens/early 20s:

        As you get older you will notice that many of your friends with grand aspirations of certainty will unexpectedly abandon their choices. This will almost always be followed by a story of moral or personal truth that justifies their decision. That story is now who that person is, it is their mantra for accepting failure. Keep in mind that there are many people who are able to keep their shit together and your who discover religion/harmony/truth/love didn’t transcend corporate banality, they  simply buckled under pressure.

        The moral of the story is don’t make up stories for your decisions. Move on to the next thing and focus on the future. Don’t be one of those people who stay up at night thinking about how best to compress their life story for cocktail parties. Doing this will turn you into linkedin version of that guy who opens every conversation with “I was addicted to heroin, but now I’m not.”

      • FangsFoo

         fucking typos on an unregistered account

  • Darragh McCausland

    Love it until the last paragraph which just rings false, like an attempt to convince herself what she isn’t true. But if she keeps writing stuff as true as the rest she might see real success. But hey, maybe I’m just an old cynic.

  • Darragh McCausland

    *knows* isn’t true

  • FangsFoo

    It seems like everyone these days has an eating disorder. Why not just own your chubbyness instead of needing an justification for it.

    • a.

      Because eating disorders are just *SO* cool… oh, wait.

    • NoSexCity

      Because all we see is how much better looking/wealthier/desirable we’d be if we lost that last 5-45lbs.

    • TurningTables

      That’s how they work, exactly, you nailed it man. Congrats. 

  • flipside of a memory

    Hmm I wish my failure at life entailed a European sojourn, but never had the money to waste and I still don’t have it. 

    • macgyver51

      She forgot the part about all of that credit card debt.

      • flipside of a memory

        Oh.. hah, how true!

      • Rm_pic

        And havng it picked up by someone else

  • guest

    i’m jealous…i want to fail

  • a.

    “How many times can one person make the same mistakes without learning a lesson?”

    This read like my life (sadly enough).

  • Patrick

    <3 Kat George

  • who

    hitting home

  • Mage

    Sounds decadent.

  • Vicky Rose

    You’re lucky it all went so well for you.

    • 371747


  • jd

    Just following the hipster playbook to the letter.   

    I am shocked there was not an engagement to “the boy” at 23 or 24.

  • Confused

    If that’s failing I wonder what mine is :( 

  • bee

    Wow. This was self-indulgent … 

    I love some of the articles on this website but others … well, I wish everyone could have your problems. 

    • bee

      Okay wait. I have just seen who wrote this and am now embarrassed about my prior judgment as I think it may be ironic… ?

  • elizabeth

    ” be too sacred to overachieve at things you actually enjoy”

    spell check fail. more proof that thought catalog has no editing process. 

    • Squee

      she is an editor…

  • 371747

    you are one lucky piece of shit, Kat George

  • Bar Raise Timez

    You can do better than this guys! I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. Maybe we should only have posts from each author every once in awhile. Let’s raise the bar back up!

  • squee

    I feel as if you are rubbing your privilege on my face, like it is a
    moist chunk of shit, and asking me how it tastes. when really that slab
    of shit you are squishing between my lips and up my nostrils is a
    fucking delicious, freshly baked eclair. And i have never had an eclair.

    you are young, well educated, well traveled, and employed as a writer living and working in a city, nay a country you weren’t born in and judging by previous articles you come from a good, loving family. It appears to me that you are passing life with pretty good grades, Kat.

  • Collin Winn

    and these are all things of a very privileged life.

blog comments powered by Disqus