I read about a man who'd been sentenced to die, saying or thinking, the hour before his death, that even if he had to live an ocean somewhere high up on a rock . . . with all around precipices, an ocean, an endless murk, endless solitude and endless storms — and had to stand there, on those two feet of space, all his life, for a thousand years, eternity — that it would be better to live like that than to die so very soon! If only he could live, live, and live! Never mind what that life was like! As long as he could live!
So you think that you’re a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What’s wrong with that? In the first place, if you’ve any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.
One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways.