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I'm a Failure!

I'm a Failure!



My career seems to be at a dead end. For years I've been training as an actor and struggling to get my first break, but every time I come close to a significant role something goes wrong and I miss out. I have tried every avenue I can think of, including changing agents, but it hasn't gotten me anywhere. I am professional, hard-working, dedicated and I believe I have talent (this has been confirmed to me by others too). But I am starting to think I simply wasn't meant to be an actor. Should I just come to terms with being a failure?


My friend, there is only one thing you need to come to terms with. You are not an actor. You may be good at acting, but that is not who you are--it's what you do. Stop identifying yourself by your career. You need to discover an identity that is beyond your work. That way, success and failure in your career will not spell success or failure in your life.

In our world of inverted values, a man is called successful because he has made a lot of money. He may have abandoned his third wife, be estranged from his children, have no friends and his dog ran away from him. But he's done well at his "career," and people say, "I wish I had his luck."

We achieve true success when we succeed in our relationships. If you are a caring friend in times of need, if you treat your parents well, if you are a supportive and understanding spouse, a devoted and caring parent, then you are a success. Those who contribute to the community, not just money but time and effort, those who have developed happy relationships with G‑d and man, they are real success stories.

As long as we identify ourselves with our profession - I am an actor, a sales person, an IT technician - then we are pinning our success as a person on our career success. But it's not true. We are not defined by our job. What we do to make a living is different to what we do to make a life. We work to make a living. But to make a life we must love, connect, serve a purpose and find meaning.

This is the gift of Shabbat. One day a week we step out of our workday roles and return to our true self. We are not staff members of a company of but rather members of a community; we are not employers or employees but rather brothers and sisters, children, parents and friends. We are not working for a boss to do our job, but rather working for The Boss to fulfill our mission.

You may be great at doing your job. Or maybe not. But it's more important to be good at being human. When it comes to being human, also a failed businessman can be the greatest success story, and a struggling actor can be a star.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
Artwork by David Brook. David lives in Sydney, Australia, and has been selling his art since he was in high school. He is currently painting and doing web illustrations. To view or purchase David’s art, please visit
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Discussion (40)
August 26, 2013
I Thought of Myself as a Failure, Too!
Your situation isn't unusual, because I went through the same thing!

I never held a job for longer than 8 years, and I wished that any job that agreed with me would be PERMANENT! I chose data entry and even "cleaned up" offices.

As for you, acting is NOT for everyone. I, myself, acted in plays as a child, but refused to deal with the stresses of show business. Very often, people have gifts they may not be aware of or may not see them as "special." Did you reevaluate yourself and your skills to see what you're best at? You may need therapy to help you figure it out. Good luck!
Providence, RI
July 23, 2012
I too am a failure, but I keep trying and I think that is a key attribute, don't quit trying.
November 16, 2011
I am a failure also
I am a failure. I can t do anything, I have no friends, cant find a job. I always did the right thing in life, but i am still a failure. I dnot know how to live this life. The only thing that helps me is knowing that God loves and cares about me.
Boring, wa
July 17, 2011
to 'almost 50'
Thank you for picking up on my post. Yours is a real terrible journey, so thanks again for sharing. A new manager has started and the results of my being in post 5 months have been good although I made several mistakes under pressure. someone said "you did it" and others have recognized my efforts. As you have responded to me I pray for you that this you are going through will be an achievement of character and personal growth for you and as in the scriptures people like Joseph, ill treated come out on top top in the end!
Minster, UK
July 7, 2011
almost fifty
i just wanted to say hi, dont have any answers to contribute, but know that feeling - lost my career, home, family, everything, tried all the self help courses, its a feeling and attitude a desire let god show u the way, but the more u loose the less u feel, been trying like always to pick up again and motivate myself, but come to the sorry state of just cant be bothered anymore given up really - had a business lost it, made people lots of money did not make a penny, moved to europe lost my job, set up a company partner stole the moneys, lost my home, best mate, ended up on the streets, just cant shake it anymore - wish i could offer you some advice only if it help i know what ur going through ur not alone.
dd arrow
london, England
May 20, 2011
im a failure
I am a Christian and I love you Jews because I feel you are the fathers that laid the foundations for the faith I enjoy so much! I have been going through a most terrible time in my job as the manager left and I have been left totally out of my depth covering this role and made many mistakes. I typed in 'i am a failure' & all yr posts came up. I was really helped by the post saying that u r measured by who u r not wot u do and I shall indeed read ps 121 etc. Thank u.
kent, england
January 8, 2011
To David
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness and they became hungry, Who provided manna? Was it not G-d? They did nothing to earn it. Yet they were fed. So many ills are cured when we stop trying to run the show and let G-d bless us. I have struggled with brain disorders all my life but was unwilling to take medications out of fear of addiction.

It wasnt until I placed my life in the hands of the one who knows all that I began to see my foolishness. I am now more able than ever to contribute to society, and my needs are cared for though not how I would like it.

I am happy with my life and feel I am a success. Now the shocker for you. I do not and cannot hod a job because of my disability.

Thats right. I live on the generosity of a loving G-d and his people. Yet I am able to also be generous and have been known for feeding those worse off than me.

I feel pity for you my friend because you have missed the point of life. It is to show love to one another as G-d loves us.
Garden City, 12
November 7, 2010
to Failure in Summerville, sc
57 years old is still young enough to achieve your dreams. There is a chance that a good quality you have did not sit well with your family and did not rise up at your work. Everyone has a deep beauty and everyone needs to see yours shine. Much struggle is a preparation and a waiting time. a waiting time to wait upon the Lord for your time to rise up. You have accumulated the ability to change others with your struggle to turn your life around. All of this was to make you stronger. Be strong and many blessings to you.
ma., mass
November 6, 2010
I feel as though I'm a failure too. I'm now 57 and feel I'l never be able to make up my life or achieve any of my dreams. I believe I've failed my parents, family, friends, wife, son, and myself. I've worked many jobs but have achieved little. Now, I think I'm just waiting to die. This article has given me some relief and I intend to pursue a more spiritual life, but I'm doubtful and fearful and weak. Sadness and depression have take me and I'm unsure I can escape.
Summerville, sc
June 9, 2010
Real success is being a good person while making a great career.
David R
Dallas, Texas