#MondayMotivation: Getting Up After Failing Is Life-Changing
The most important day of my life was the day my legs could no longer support my own body weight.
The lens that I saw my world through shattered. No longer was I an energetic, fully able young adult. Instead, I was 22, my muscles deteriorating rapidly from a late-onset muscle disease, which is a form of muscular dystrophy.
I don’t share any of this for pity — after all, my condition is not life-threatening. There is no denying, however, that my disease turned my life upside down, forcing me to confront failure in a physical sense.
In fact, it nearly derailed my dreams, and everything I wanted out of life. It came perilously close to destroying me emotionally. But fall enough times — whether on brick, grass, asphalt or gravel — and you have to make a choice. You can stay on the ground for good — or commit yourself to getting back up.
One day, hands bloodied, fueled by frustration, I chose the latter. Little did I know how that decision would change my life for the better.
Now, I still struggle from time to time emotionally, as my disease is progressing steadily. There are still days where I am grumpy, but to go from being unhappy every single day to once or twice a month — I’ll take it.
In its own way, a fall equates to a failure. It’s a reminder from my body that I can’t do what I used to. That first fall on the most important day of my life — it devastated me. Now? I won’t say that I am a bundle of joy when I fall, but I see it for what it is — temporary. As long as you get back up, a fall becomes a success.
In short, falling taught me how to fail.
No longer was I terrified of presenting to a client. No longer was I afraid to fall in public (although I’d obviously still prefer not to). No longer was I afraid to raise my hand in class to answer a question and have it be wrong.
That’s right — I’m in class now. Most important, no longer was I afraid to go back to school despite my limited physical capacity. I’m writing this as a full-time MBA student at Boston College. If you told me five years ago that I’d be going back to school, I would’ve thought you were crazy.
To not be afraid to fail is incredibly liberating. Put failure in its context, learn from it and move on. Get up and dust yourself off. If in the future I apply to a job and don’t get it, it’s just another fall.
I often wonder — what if I learned this lesson back in high school, when I was consumed by this very fear? I remember being terrified of getting a bad grade on a test or paper. When I didn’t get into my top choice school, I thought the sky was falling. I even remember quitting track because I was the slowest kid on the team (of course, having an undiagnosed muscle disease will do that).
I believe given the right support system, the earlier someone learns how to fail, the better off he or she will be in life. Kids should be encouraged to fail at an early age. It will build self-esteem in the long run. After all, Michael Jordan failed. Abraham Lincoln failed. The most successful people in the world often point to a glaring failure in their lives as the catalyst for their success.
I hope that no one who reads this has to go through what I’ve gone through. But if you find yourself, for whatever reason, on the ground physically or emotionally, commit to getting up.
We can’t avoid failing in life, and we can’t avoid falling. Often they are intertwined. Learn to fail with determination and a smile, and you will always be on solid footing.
This article was originally posted in the Hartford Courant on September 23, 2014.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CHRISTOPHER ANSELMO
Originally posted 2014-10-06 08:00:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter