Failure ≠ Self Worth —

Editor’s Letter : July 2019


 There are few certainties in our lives, but the push and pull of good versus bad is very real. Nothing is all good or all bad. This dynamic is the see-saw that drives us forward. After a few months of these overly-philosophical musings known as my “Editor’s Letter”, I’ve even grown slightly tired of constantly intellectualizing everything.


Instead, I want to talk about how I feel. “Wow, Eugene talking about his feelings.” That’s a bit of a rare one for those around me. The first few months of 2019 were rough. A lot of stuff imploded, and I soon found myself looking at a dwindling bank account. MAEKAN continues to be a slow, manageable, but meaningful grind—the manifestation of a sheer desire “to make it work.” Why? Because sometimes as a creative, you do irrational things out of a belief that it’s important enough for the world.


Alas, I had to find other hustles to make ends meet. We are already into the latter half of the year and things have changed their course. I can now put behind certain failures that left me broken and destroyed. It’s a shitty feeling when people expect stuff from you but you let them down. Charis told me something along the lines of “you need to disconnect personal worth from failures.”


I told her that she couldn’t tell me how I could and should feel about things, but she was also very right: Failures should never been seen as permanent, but rather a part of the process should you choose to embark on something truly challenging. It’s taken me a few months to get here but it’s also taken me some time to be comfortable enough to talk about all this.


If you had spoken to me anytime between now and the start of the year, I was brutally honest. Things weren’t going well, but I can now look back and reemerge knowing that the push-pull of it all is something so fundamental to life and growth that there’s no reason to fear it. Every situation, good or bad, is just one step away from doing a full 180. You may feel you can do no wrong, and then something out of your control changes the game significantly.


Likewise, at the depths of despair is a reversal pattern that sees you force your way up, gasping for air. At least that’s how it felt like for me. It’s less that I dread talking about failure so much as being misunderstood and thus unable to give a complete story. Having the ability to share face-to-face took the uncertainty out of it. But here I am hoping you and all of us can take comfort in knowing that just like the art of creativity, building something new or doing something on your own is incredibly tough.


Most importantly, it’s not a clean straight line to the top. It’s messy, and there are overlapping circles as they double back on one another. But if you step back far enough, it’s beautiful chaos. My story is far from unique and I’ve yet to hear it from anybody else who hasn’t “gone through some shit” on their path towards building something for themselves and others. We’re all going to endure some sort of shit in our life; it’s not a matter of if, but rather when.


And when it does pop off, literally millions of people who have endured and survived are now willing to offer a hand and provide valuable feedback to help you weather the storm. Until next month,

Eugene Kan


Eugene talks about our recent strides with reinvigorating our creative processes and continuing to move forward, even as the challenges we sought to solve and the world around us continue to evolve.