Member Rara Avis
When I was fifteen, my older brother convinced me to drop out of Golden Gloves competition because, as he said, I would never be able to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. I looked at Mike, three years my senior and as graceful in the ring as a dancer, and believed him.
Several years later I again entered the ring, this time in the Marines. I did okay. Some thought better than okay. I wasn't greatly more coordinated, either, but I had discovered most matches were won between the ears, thus finding a different path to the same goal. And I realized that allowing my brother to compare our relative skills, to essentially determine my successes and failures by his own arbitrary yard stick, had been a terrible mistake.
People tend to judge the ability of others based only on their own skill set. In fact, it's really all they have. My brother had been fast and graceful, and that was his key to success. Therefore he saw as it THE key to success. That my success might lie along a different path was inconceivable to him. And I was foolish enough to listen to him.
No one can ever determine your ultimate success or failure except YOU, and that's especially true in a field where success and failure are so nebulous. A poem might fail to meet your expectations, a story might fail to excite you, but those are never YOU. Those are just stepping stones, along a path that may yet lead to incredible success. It's a path ALL writers must walk.
The only person who ever failed was the one who quit trying. And I think in every single case, it was because they listened to someone else.