Screwing Up

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About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. Arthur C says:

    Junot Diaz (see above) said it better than I ever could — spot on!

  2. Jim Parkevich says:

    Saw this one a few times..ANGER..out of control, raw, devestating my family.

  3. Doug Williams, writer/editor says:

    The question almost assumes we learn our lessons — even if they require a giggleZillion repetitions — and I’d say no, we don’t learn from them all. Maybe we grow a bit from them and undestand ourselves more and set ourselves up better for life’s next crossroads. I’d say my toughest lessons clump into a category of failing to trust my own gut instincts and ending up reasoning my way into an unhappy or an unwise choice. Not to go all Zen about it, but the lesson I’ve taken — or struggle to take away from those times — is to heed that inner sense as best you can. And if you blow it, be sure you forgive yourself, too.

  4. R L Pete Housman says:

    Anything you participate in building you can destroy. Building for all the work it takes is better- destroying is easier.

  5. David Josiah Harris says:

    i’m in no way strong enough or smart enough to run this life by myself. even with the wisdom of those who have come before me, making it meaningful is inconceivable. what do i know of life? all i really know is what it feels like, and i can try to avoid those feelings of disappointment, failure, guilt, self-loathing all i want, but it’s just like running from some shadow. i’d like to run toward something. something that will give my life meaning, hope, purpose and value. i guess that’s what this idea of being a good man is about; leaving a mark and being a positive influence on those i live with. but i know there must be more to live for than rowing my boat around in circles, trying to avoid crashes. i can’t really help anyone unless i have an idea of where we should be going. that’s why i put stock in this whole Jesus/God theory. it answers all the questions and then some, and when i follow it things work out. good enough for now.

  6. I’m seeing so many mistakes that I’m still making. The biggest one being being less than my absolute true self. It’s an ongoing process.

    I am interested to see Alexander Chee’s response here. I just finished reading “Edinburgh” last week. It was stunning.

  7. Alternately funny, trenchant, chilling and just plain dumb. Great cross section of men and a delightful array of answers.

  8. Rev. Matthew Smith says:

    Every time I’ve done something rotten; every wasted moment; every ruined relationship; every time I actively sabotaged my own dreams; all of these stemmed from believing that because I’m gay, the world’s hate meant that God hated me too, so I had better get with the program and hate myself.

    My greatest mistakes happen when I act like I still hate myself.

  9. My biggest mistakes always come from misjudging myself and allowing my own respite or insecurity effect my thinking. Then feeling starved, and allowing myself to get too emotional, over that which I feel like I can’t have, and then getting angry, and saying ‘f*** it’ and being an ass because I think it doesn’t matter anyway.

    Great article. So many of the answers say it so well already.

    Oh, and giving the keys to my moving van to a drunk 21 year old blonde in the hilly streets of San Francisco last weekend, thinking she would be more entertained by driving, and not lose interest on the way back to the hotel room. Let’s just the whole evening was a big wreck.


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  2. [...] Men famed and not admit their biggest screw-ups and mistakes on the Good Men Project. [...]

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