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If I Stumble, If I Fall: 5 Tips When Failing

As a toddler, we learn to walk not by walking, but by falling.

We push ourselves up, we take a few tentative steps, then we fall down.

Some might say we fail, over and over again. But a parent looks at their baby trying to walk and thinks, “Look at her trying to walk! She’s doing so good. Look, she made it three steps further this time.”

No matter what you call it, learning something new involves taking risks and risking failure. Not just once, but over and over again. It is something that we’re born into — it’s not something we choose.

Of course some of us learn more easily than others. But for most of us, it’s a hard, sometimes trying process. It may result in failure time and time again, just like a little toddler learning to walk. But unlike the toddler, we often criticize our failures as adults — we’re stupid, we’re not good enough, we can never do anything right.

Toddlers don’t think that. They think, “Hey, this walking thing is kinda cool. It’s what grownups do and I’m doing it! Ooops, I fell again. Well, I’ll just get back up and try again.”

6 Comments to
If I Stumble, If I Fall: 5 Tips When Failing

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  1. Thank you so much for this GREAT blog!
    What a wonderful comparison to have in mind when trying hard to achieve success at something that might cause (or require!) us to fall down in the process. I am thinking of therapy as well as work and study situations.

    Focusing on and celebrating the successful steps taken, and even embracing the falling down as part of the whole process, would feel like success and would be encouraging to keep going.


  2. I say grand kudos to anyone who’s fallen – and brushes themselves off and tries again. It takes incredible courage and stamina to endure what we so often do. Of course, before trying again we ought to have a look at the initial boo-boo and make some informed, reasoned, and realistic changes. But onward we go, ’cause that’s the kind of folks we are. Accepting defeat is not an option.

  3. Excellent post! Refreshing reminder of reality. Stuff happens – we still need to go on. Accept it, learn from it and try, try again. We’re never failures until we *stop* trying! ;>)

  4. Generally speaking, true. But some toddlers will never walk. Some adults spend a lifetime trying to succeed and never do. I was an honor student, educated to an MA. But in life? Can’t figure people out, can’t read between the lines, always say the wrong thing, can’t understand human interaction…
    At some point continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is nuts. Then what? The insurance companies own the damn politicians so if someone has paid for life insurance for 12 years and goes nuts and takes their life, the family gets nothing. But catch an “okay” disease, like cancer, and the family gets the money they paid for for all those years. Some times you just can’t get back up, despite all the happy thoughts from well meaning folks.

  5. Thank you so much, this really helps me. I have been applying for jobs 8 times now and I was always rejected, and it really frustrates me because I really need job, but upon reading this irealize that I can still do it and I am willing to take another challenge weather I failed or not. And I am glad that I learn a lot from my failures and I believe it will make me even stronger. Thank you so much.

  6. Thanks for the great thoughts. I am now in one of the darkest times of my life. Speaking only for myself, I came up from nothing- less than nothing. I was horrifically impoverished and sometimes homeless as a child, and constantly brutally beat down mentally from my father. I never spent a single day in school, even though I begged my father to let me. Yes, truly- not one single day. Somehow I am now in the Guinness Book for my sport, and have been for a long time. I have since broken my back, but I can still walk. I have a wonderful woman in my life, and she is one of my biggest blessings. I did well financially for the last 10 years, but due to an unbelievable sequence of events in the last few months, including things stemming from my own mistakes, I have lost almost everything. I need to learn how to get up from this. I hope I can. Thanks for the positive words.



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