From “For my brothers and sisters in the failure business”
still… a perfect description/metaphor:
This child’s presence called up both in Vronsky and Anna a feeling akin to the feeling of a sailor who sees by the compass that the direction in which is he swiftly moving is far from the right one, but that to arrest his motion is not in his power, that every instant is carrying him further and further away, and that to admit to himself his deviation from the right direction is the same as admitting his certain ruin.
p.213 in the Modern Library Edition
From Anna Karenina, Levin talking:
“This is how I used to shudder and blush, thinking myself utterly lost, when I got a one in physics and did not get promoted; and how I thought myself utterly ruined after I had mismanaged that affair of my sister’s that was entrusted to me. And yet, now that years have passed, I recall it and wonder that it could distress me so much. It will be the same thing, too, with this trouble. Time will go by and I shall not mind about this either. ”