Falling On Your Face

    Photo by Budgeron Bach

    I have no idea if you have.

    If you have not, I hope you never do because the face plants of my life I would wish on no one.

    Still, they each slapped me into better behavior - just to survive. I suspect, that's how it's supposed to work.

    There is a rumor going around that the more you fail, the higher your probability of success. I buy into that if just for the fact that if you've survived all those failures and can still play, your odds are remarkable.

    Then, there's the cumulative wisdom of all of that pain and loss which goes a long way to sharpening our wits so, we don't get fooled again.

    The trick is to perform. Win or lose, perform. You get better and the better you become at transforming failure into gain, well... add it up.

    This is typically hard for us to remember but, as a small child, when we were first starting out in this world, it was all failure. We knew nothing. Had no skills. Didn't have a clue. If we were fortunate, we had parents and family that helped us along, showed us the ropes and, watching us fall, knowing that life is a face-plant, helped us back up and let us try it again. 

    If we didn't have those folks, somehow, for anything we learned along the way, we did this for ourselves. Even if we were raised by wolves, by falling on our face we would learn by doing. This is the very heart of self mastery.

    Try it. Succeed or fail. Try again. Eventually master it.

    Tying shoelaces, riding a bike, learning to play a musical instrument - everything in life is chock full of its own, unique details. If we want to learn, we have to learn the details. That's why little kids love to find cheats and hacks and secrets that let them blast through the barriers of playcraft and nail success without really trying. It is, after all, a victory.

    Real life victories, particularly the big ones, like self mastery, have no cheats or hacks. They require a direct investment of our effort in the act of facing the unknown and learning to deal with it correctly - that is, learn the details of the interaction personally.

    We pay full price for this. There are no discounts. Anyone who becomes truly masterful at their chosen skill enough to make it an art have acquired their prowess through the mistakes they've made to get there. One of my most important teachers had a consultancy named M&M Consulting. That stood for "My Mistakes." He was a master.

    Our creative life is forever the journey we have been on since our conception:


    • to engage a world we know nothing about,
    • make mistakes as we do that,
    • fix the mistakes and
    • move on further into the mystery of our existence.

    When we accept that the cosmos we play in is simply breath-takingly beyond our comprehension, we get this is a growth curve that never runs out. There is always a new mistake to be made. There is always more to learn.

    One of the things we know about those of us who have a poor sense of self worth is that we're terrified of confronting the un-knowable mistakes of our future. If we suffer from this low self-esteem, we tend to be very risk-adverse. We will not take chances - not in the things we do, not in the ways we feel. We stick to our known territory as best we can.

    Unfortunately, the pressure of the unknown encroach upon our safe little world from all sides. It forms all boogeymen and terrors in the night, What we have not become, what we are afraid to become is the realm of nightmares.

    If we wish to raise our self estimation, if we wish to feel better about ourselves, there is a sure-fire solution: go forth and fall on our face.

    Walk straight into the maws of insecurity and say, "I'm coming through!"

    Then, be prepared to watch the waters part. We do this by confronting the unknown.

    It doesn't have to be a big thing. In fact, it should be something just beyond our current grasp; something, that if we actually extended ourselves beyond the scope of our current skill and understanding, we just might pull off.

    If we fail at that, we won't lose much. Maybe a little face. Probably nothing that hurts us. And if we make the effort to try it, we'll typically see the thing we missed, recognize our mistake and, in most cases, see what needs to change so that we can succeed.

    When we do succeed at taking this manageable risk, we add that gain to the arsenal of our skills. We now know more. It is no longer a challenge. That risk becomes known territory - we now tie our shoes without a second thought. It is something we do and can do whenever we choose. We acquire this asset by failing - by falling on our face.

    So, there it is. Falling on our face is the road to success.

    What could be more rude? What could be more true?

    Try it. This experiment constantly awaits everywhere. Just set your compass on the skill you wish to acquire, the situation you wish to master. Learn about it, Imagine doing it, then, do it. You will win or lose.

    Either way. New knowledge seeps in. You Inevitably grow. You will make it yours.

    Facts are facts. You were designed from the beginning to succeed - to grow into something more.  Ever since you were a little child, you have only had one imperative:  go into the unknown, play well then play better.


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