Practice practice practice — Redefining failure for yourself happens in action and takes time. The brain has neuroplasticity which allows for new pathways to be created and enforced. Just like going to the gym, the more you go, the stronger you get

The Fear of Failure is one of the most common restraints that holds people back from pursuing great ideas. Imagine if we could become totally free from the fear of failure. Imagine what we could then manifest and create. In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who can share stories and insights from their experience about “Becoming Free From the Fear of Failure.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ben Curtis.

Ben Curtis is an award winning actor, musician, speaker & personal freedom coach, dedicated to teaching men to love themselves and flourish in the areas of their lives that matter to them most. He’s been featured on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, ToughMudder, PEOPLE Magazine & more. Once best known as the Dell Computer Dude, he has transformed his life from PTSD, Addiction and Fsme to the “Wellness Dude,” teaching individuals and companies all over the planet the power of self care & mindfulness. Learn more at

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Well most readers probably will recognize me from “Marvelous Mrs Maisel,” “Orange is the New Black” or even more likely, the Dell Computer commercials “Dude you’re getting a Dell” ring a bell? Well I got arrested at the peak of my acting career, hit many bottoms, and was forced to die from mental illness & addiction OR turn my life around. After surviving 9/11, I chose the latter. Today I do what I love and help others do the same. It’s all thanks to self care, community & coaches. Now I’m honored to be a coach & speaker while still acting and touring the country playing music with my band Dirty Mae.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Getting arrested by undercover police officers for 3grams of weed in the middle of NYC while wearing a kilt with no underwear. I spent the weekend in jail. Was taunted by the officers “Dude you’re getting a cell!” It was even a headline on CNN breaking news.

Lesson learned?

Always wear underwear under your kilt in NYC 😉 Success can be stripped and you can be forgotten overnight. But we are greater than any one job or one opportunity. And everyone makes mistakes, so as long as you’re willing to grow from them, you can achieve anything

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Perseverance — I never have let any setback or failure get my down and I’ve never given up on my dreams
  2. Vulnerability & Emotional Maturity — my parents did an awesome job of raising me to be in touch with and communicate my feelings in a healthy way. This has made a HUGE invaluable contribution to all of my relationships and gifts as a leader
  3. Creativity — I’m always creating. Creativity unlocks endless possibilities in life

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the concept of becoming free from failure. Let’s zoom in a bit. From your experience, why exactly are people so afraid of failure? Why is failure so frightening to us?

I think people are afraid of failure because they think it has something to do with their self worth. There’s a misconception that if we become “successful” (or xyz…) we will then receive love and validation. If we “fail” then that must be something wrong with us…

Wrong. YOU are not a failure. You may have a failure in performance but you can LEARN from failure. I’m all about failing!

What are the downsides of being afraid of failure? How can it limit people?

It stops you from taking any action and then you stay stuck always hoping one day you might… but “one day” never comes until YOU create it!

In contrast, can you help articulate a few ways how becoming free from the free of failure can help improve our lives?

I don’t believe anyone is “free of failure.” I believe in embracing failure. Learning from it. Dare to fail! Embrace failure! Then ask, “what did I learn from that?” “What’s the lesson?” Test. Tweak. Polish

We would love to hear your story about your experience dealing with failure. Would you be able to share a story about that with us?

Absolutely. The day I got arrested and I was dropped from my $500,000 contact with Dell. I felt like I failed myself, my parents, NYU (where I was a student), my agents, my manager, casting directors, the folks at Dell, everyone… It was on CNN headline news “Dude you’re getting a cell!” Everyone told me “wow you really blew that one.” It didn’t help that I had just lived through 9/11 in my backyard of Ground Zero.

How did you rebound and recover after that? What did you learn from this whole episode? What advice would you give to others based on that story?

I didn’t rebound for a while. My life got very dark. Dell dropped me. Agents dropped me. Casting directors stopped calling me in. It was awful. I had PTSD from 9/11 and I was forced to take a job waiting tables because suddenly no one would hire me. However I got offered a lead role in my first ever feature film, “SPY: The Movie.” The writer had specifically requested me. Then I booked another commercial campaign. Same deal. The producer said, “we could care less about your marijuana arrest. That was BS anyway. You’re an amazing actor and shouldn’t let the arrest get you down.” A lot of people began to say this to me, including my friends. Eventually I started to believe it myself. I went back into therapy, I hired a coach, I did the Landmark Forum, I got sober, I began to meditate every day, take classes with casting directors, stay in touch with industry folks, and most importantly, I NEVER GAVE UP. In fact, I turned my story of the arrest into a one man show:

My advice is to never give up on your dreams. And take good care of yourself. You only get one life (at a time) and life is so short. Tomorrow is never promised. But if you don’t try to pursue your dreams, you’ll never have a shot at living them and chances are you’re living someone else’s.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that everyone can take to become free from the fear of failure”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Practice practice practice — Redefining failure for yourself happens in action and takes time. The brain has neuroplasticity which allows for new pathways to be created and enforced. Just like going to the gym, the more you go, the stronger you get
  2. Meditation & Visualization — Spend time imagining what it would look like if your dreams were actualized right now. What would that feel like and look like? Where would you feel that in your body? The brain doesn’t know the difference between real or imagined. It believes whatever we tell it, so practicing visualization and actualization leads to manifesting it!
  3. Choose your words — Your thoughts create your words create your actions create your world
  4. Focus on your wins — A gratitude journal or win journal can help you track the progress that you ARE making so that you can practice seeing the good you do for the world and not all the other stuff that your brain tells you
  5. Test. Tweak. Polish — Dare to fail. Practice failing. And learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself “what’s right about this that I’m not getting?”

The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” Based on your experience, have you found this quote to be true? What do you think Aristotle really meant?

I don’t believe in any one quote to be any one truth, but I can see where he might have been going with this.

You can fail a thousand ways, but if you try, you will always win because then you are never a failure.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A movement of love — positive reinforcement. Where everyone starts telling everybody else what they’re doing well. If we had more positive reinforcement in our lives, we would all be more kind, work together more and living up to massive potential!

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂 Yes, hi Oprah. I would love to have lunch next time you’re in Rhinebeck. You stand for so many good things in the world — racial justice, equality, healing and you know how awesome and needed sensitive men are. I’d love to share stories and learn from your divine wisdom.

How can our readers further follow your work online? — there they can follow me on social, book a free coaching consultation, find out about my mensgroup (The Lions Den), listen to my podcast (“Dude You’re Getting Well”), hear my band, or hire me to be a keynote speaker.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Thank you Savio! It was an honor and a pleasure!


  • Savio Clemente

    Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Media Journalist, #1 Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor

    The Human Resolve LLC

    Savio P. Clemente is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), media journalist, #1 best-selling author, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.  He coaches cancer survivors to overcome obstacles, gain clarity, and attract media attention by sharing their superpower through inspiring stories that make a difference. He inspires them to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. 

    Savio has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad.  His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.