If you’ve ever watched a skateboarder that’s really good, or if you’ve ever watched the X-Games, Street League, or some other kind of skateboard contest or event, you’ll notice that not only can good skateboarders do a lot of cool tricks, but they’re good at falling when they mess up. They go really fast and launch off of stuff, jump down stairs, hop on a handrails, then mess up, do a little tumble and can get right back up and be hardly phased by it. Falling is just as much of an artform as is landing the tricks, and it takes just as much practice. The better you are at falling, the more you can fail and try again. And as I have watched and experienced this, I’ve noticed that it’s not just in skateboarding where this pattern occurs, but it is in just about all of life. Progress is always met with some kind of resistance, and that resistance will often knock us over and win a lot of battles, but what marks a talented and successful individual is the ability to deal with those failures and not be discouraged by it.
Thomas Edison was Good at failing, it took him 1,000 tries to finally create a lightbulb that worked, and he is famous for saying, “I did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” And Dr. Seuss’ first book was rejected by 27 publishers. These two people were master’s of failure, no matter how many times they failed, they never got discouraged and gave up. Anyone that aspires for progress and greatness, must go through failure’s obstacle course, filled with things that will undoubtedly knock us over. The ones that make it through though, or the ones that become master’s of not being discouraged, not master’s of never failing or falling over.
A skateboarder won’t have as much fun learning and progressing as a skateboarder if he or she can’t learn to fall, they’ll just take a couple falls and be over it. A person that is good at falling, can fall over and over again, and never lose the joy of skateboarding. A person that is not good at failing in real life, will never be able to move forward or commit to anything. They’ll try it a few times, fail, then walk away from it with their head down and never care to try it again. In order to really progress in life or achieve greatness, we must learn to fail and get good at dealing with it. Otherwise, we would still be relying on candles for our light in our homes, and no kid would have ever discovered a favorite bedtime story, “The Cat in the Hat.” Failure will always be there to knock us over, but we must learn to master it. Overcoming failure takes skill and practice, just like the skateboarder has to learn how to fall. So the next time failure comes creepin up on you, embrace it and consider it an opportunity for growth. As it says in James 1:2, “Count it all joy brothers and sisters when you encounter diverse trials.”