Confucius said, “The greatest glory doesn’t lie in never falling, but in getting up every time we fall.”
When we to take our first steps as babies, we often fall; as teenagers, we run only to fall; and as adults we fall to live. In our journey through life, we never stop falling as the sun never stops setting.
These powerful words of wisdom by China’s greatest philosopher have impacted my life more than any philosophy ever did before. Our natural reason for belief tells us not to fall, but we must fall in order to learn as humans and grow and mature better as individuals. We won’t learn from our mistakes if we do not fall, and we won’t improve as individuals when we’re unable to learn from these mistakes.
The magnificent leaders in history are the ones that have fallen hard, which is what made them so successful. After being fired as CEO by his own board of directors, Steve Jobs came back more powerful and stronger when he steered Apple from imminent destruction. According to Jobs, if he hadn’t been fired from Apple, the company would not have been what it is today because like a start-up company, he learned how to be more creative and more resourceful.
To date, my greatest personal tragedy was the loss of my oldest sister Laura to ovarian cancer. While her death was very painful to me, it has also been the most inspiring and strengthening of all my experiences. Her death has inspired to pursue my passion and dreams. After Laura died, I left my high paying job in New York and moved to Los Angeles, where I created my own company. Laura’s shining inspiration is always with me–my compassionate angel and the yang to my yin. When she struggled heroically during her most difficult chemotherapy days, she said that God always provides a person with a cross they can bear, and in regard to her cancer, she felt this way. During the last few days of her life, she understood that her fall in life would carry her to heaven in the afterlife. The moon rises after the setting of the sun.
Most of us have certain falls in life, sometimes big, sometimes small. When something bad happens in life, such as a job loss, a divorce, a death in the family, or a major physical injury, be kind to yourself. Give yourself some time to heal, whether it’s a few days, a few weeks, or several months – take time to heal and ponder about life. During this time, perform things that will put you in a peaceful and meditative state. This may involve reading some of your favorite books, yoga, or hiking — whatever gives you the inspiration to reflect and clear the mind. You will find the greatest disclosures in your life at this time and this will encourage you to move ahead and believe in the endless possibilities your future holds. So, be kind to yourself and take time to heal.
While falling in life is a prerequisite to spiritual and emotional growth, equally important is rising from defeat and tragedy – this indeed is the greatest glory in life.