On Falling Down and Getting Up
Have you ever let the feelings of what others think hold you back? Alternatively, perhaps you are so worried about failing that you procrastinate in moving forward?
These were the questions that went through my mind as Iaid on the cold, hard, damp ground on Boxing day 2018, numb from shock, pain and the elements after being involved in a road traffic accident while cycling. As bystanders started to gather around, staring at the spectacle, some rushing in with word of support “Are you ok?” “That looked nasty!”, “Do you need any help?”.
If you’d been with me only minutes earlier, you’d be cycling alongside my wife, Sarah, and I as we took our bikes out for a ride into York, to help burn off some of the Christmas dinner. The day is crisp without snow, rain or strong winds, and you are wrapped up warm in those extra layers, scarf and gloves as is usual for this time of year. While cruising at a steady 12 miles per hour into York, you see the side on impact, and my substantial body is thrown like a rag doll over the handlebars, spinning in the air before hitting the ground with an audible thud!
As we turn to see the perpetrator, standing there half shocked, half laughing, her hand covering her mouth in that way people do when they know their response is wrong, it is obvious what has happened.
“I am so sorry Martin, I was completely lost in the moment and forgot I was cycling with you!”. Yep, you guessed it, my wife turned right, right into the side of me in spectacular fashion.
The thing is that I was ok — nothing broke, no scratches, a bruised knee that was a little stiff after. Only my ego, pride and dignity took a knock. Otherwise, I was fine, jumping back on my bike and finishing a most enjoyable ride.
Some people may say “a man of your years needs to be more careful and play it safe.”. Others potentially “you should have known that would happen and anticipate it, it’s your fault.”. Alternatively, perhaps “oh, I do hope you are ok, that looked awful, you need to go to a hospital and perhaps give up cycling!” All of which is their opinion that they are entitled to, but that’s it, it is their own.
What would have happened if I had listened to them? Given up cycling perhaps and missed out on the enjoyment of riding, spending time active with friends and loved ones, let alone the positive health and wellbeing benefits. I could have ended up with unnecessary time off, medical intervention or other such complications perhaps? I may even have judged myself, my wife or others for the experience, causing hurt, anguish or different feelings of negativity.
Lying their flat on my back, not able to fall any further, the only option for me was to get up.
So, it was in that moment that the similarity of the situation and what I have observed from some business owners, entrepreneurs and employees struck me. They allow others to hold them back by accepting their advice (opinion) given with the best will in the world, to help or avoid hurt or failure. You may have heard that the most expensive advice is the advice that you get for free, right?
It has been stated many times by many experts that it is only through failure that we find success. Thomas Edison was reported to have failed to invent the battery around 10,000 times, yet from his viewpoint, he didn’t fail, he succeeded in finding out 10,000 ways not to make a battery. Babies are another great example, do we ever say, “sit back down, you don’t know how to walk, what do you think you are doing, you can’t walk?” No, we encourage them, pick them up if needed and say “well done, let’s have another try”, maybe “step and another step. You can do it!”
In fact, would you agree books themselves are full of the failures of others and the learning they took from it to succeed?
I’ve heard it said that those of us most likely succeed, are the ones who bounce back from failure the quickest.
So, will you not let the opinions of others hold you back from your greatness?
Will you look to find success in every failure?
Or will you bow to the pressure of the bystanders and give up even trying!
Here is a final thought: A knowledgeable person will learn from their mistakes, a wise person will learn from the mistakes of others and a foolish person will continue to repeat their mistakes.