Interview on Failure – Tim Samuels

Thursday 21 March 2024

Tim Samuels is a documentary maker who has covered a diverse range of issues, including the porn industry, immigration, and the treatment of the elderly. He has won 3 Royal Television Society awards, an Amnesty International commendation and MIND’s “Making a Difference” award.

  1. Can you describe any setback or failure you’ve had in your career?
    Well, a narcotics/hypochondriac-induced meltdown after leaving uni and before starting work – that culminated in some joyous panic attacks and mental wobbles. Really knocked the stuffing out of me for a while.
  2. What do you think was most helpful in developing resilience in order to work through adversity?
    Finding a great CBT shrink – who happened to have gone to St Andrews – to learn the basics of thinking in a different way, not to catastrophise and run towards your fears and not away from them.
  3. (Can you describe) anyone you have met whose resilience has particularly inspired you?
    A friend and former colleague who was left in a wheelchair during an accident in the army. He has an incredible ability to push on, never want an ounce of sympathy or to be held back, never whinges or feels sorry for himself, and now has a family. Total inspiration.
  4. Do you think there are different expectations about resilience for men?
    I think men are still expected to take life on the chin and not admit that they need help, or express vulnerability – which is hugely damaging, leads to men bottling up emotions, and not seeking help. The best thing is to take away the stigma that admitting weakness undermines any machismo ideals. So the more men – whether friends or role models – who admit to seeking help or not feeling great at time, the better.
  5. If you could give a message to yourself at 21, what would it be?
    Don’t take drugs! Don’t fixate on one plan or future – there are so many ways to live life, and often the best opportunities that come are the least planned.