The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. — Unknown
Okay. You failed—you fell flat on your face and now you’re in a deep, dark place. I get it. I’ve been there. But here’s the thing. Failure is not the end. Not even close. It is not even remotely near the end of your story. In fact, in many ways, it signals a new beginning.
Now, I know. Failure hurts. It stings. And to put it bluntly, it’s embarrassing. You put all your hopes and dreams on the line, telling all your friends and family members that you were going to be the one to make it. You were going to be the one to succeed.
Instead, you failed. But here’s the thing. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Now, this quote has been attributed to many people. But the truth is that the origin is largely unknown.
But here’s the point. When you fall, you must rise again. Like the cliche goes, the phoenix does rise from the ashes. Yet, just because you failed, it doesn’t mean you need to let that moment burn you for a lifetime. Use it to fuel you. Not to hinder you.
Okay, failure sucks. Let’s not sugarcoat things. I know you’re not here for that. But understand this. Inside of you, there is a light that is burning. It’s a flame of hope that will glow ever so slightly just as long as you’re alive. Your job is to tap into that flame of hope.
Years ago, when my life came crashing down, I had two choices. I could quite literally end it all, which would have been perfectly fine by me back then. Or, I could choose the latter and keep going. Something compelled me to keep going because I knew it wasn’t the end of my story, just as I know it’s not the end of your story.
If things feel bleak for you right now, please know this. Everyone fails. EVERYONE. One of the reasons why I post here so often is to remind people of that. When I failed in such a cataclysmic way that it shattered my world, I realized something very potent—everyone fails.
In fact, it was that same epic failure that led me to discover just how some of the most famous and successful people failed the most times. These are people you and I know as being the most successful in history. Yet, they battled failure. Not once. Nor twice. Not even hundreds of times. Some of them endured failure thousands upon thousands of times over.
Go read the stories and see for yourself. And know this—you must rise every single time you fall. You see, our greatest glory in living has everything to do with failure. Not success. Success is great and all, so don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t dig a firm foundation. It only bolsters ego and self-gratification.
However, when you fall, you create a foundation that will support you well into the annals of success and straight into the halls of fame and fortune. Of course, nothing in this life is guaranteed. So don’t expect that to happen. But you can expect to win as long as you don’t give up.
There’s a Japanese proverb that goes like this—fall down seven times, stand up eight. Failure is a part of life and always has been. That much is for certain. But what the ancients knew about failure still rings true today—failure is part of the process. But every time you do fall down and fail, you must get back up and try again.
That is the only way to embrace the true abundance that you’re meant to have in life. If you keep jumping ship and crawling away with your tail between your legs every time you fail, you will never live the life of your dreams.
Instead, you must dig in your heels and stand tall. Let life throw its worst at you. Then dredge through that storm with power and grace. Do not relent. Keep pushing and striving until you get what’s meant to be yours in life. There is no other way to attain glory.
Most people ask this question after failing—how many times should I fail before I give up or try something new. But here’s the thing about that. You should never change your goal. The only thing you should ever change if your plan to achieving that goal. That’s it.
The truth is that if big goals were easy, everyone would achieve them and there’d be no differentiators in life. Big goals are hard and they take time. So don’t expect it to happen overnight. And when it comes to the question of how many failures should you endure? The answer is as many as it takes.
Look, there have been plenty of incredibly successful people in the world who’ve endure endless failures. But they didn’t relent. They kept pushing and they kept going no matter what. Just understand that if you’re struggling or going through tough times right now.
Some say that this quote originated from Nelson Mandela. And you can see why someone like that would say that the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. He certainly endured some dark times.
After spending 27 years in prison for being a political activist, he was elected in the first fully-democratic election in South Africa. He then worked to dismantle systematic racism in the country. But can you imagine what those 27 years in prison were like for Mandela?
Originally, he was sentenced to life in prison. But political pressure forced the president to release him early. He entered prison at 43-years old. Can you imagine the fear and the sheer terror going through his mind? He’s certainly someone who rose after he fell.
So what gets someone like that through such a difficult period in life? After being jailed by his enemies, he didn’t emerge from prison to seek revenge. He emerged to make real lasting changes for the future of his country and to help end apartheid.
Mandela found his meaning in life. He knew where he was going. And no matter what came in his way, he always knew that his greatest glory in living was not in never failing, but in eventually rising when he emerged from that prison.
Regardless of who originally wrote this quote, you must ask yourself the question—what do your goals mean to you? If you’re going to ultimately emerge from this darkness in your life, you need to find real meaning. The truth is that without real meaning, you will eventually give up.
If Mandela lacked meaning he would certainly not have endured 27 years of harsh imprisonment. But he had meaning. The question is, what do your goals mean to you? And, do you even have empowering goals? If you haven’t set goals, go here and learn how to do that right now.
Once you have real goals, all you need is a plan to get you there. The plan should be malleable, and it might not work out at first. So be prepared to change it. But don’t be prepared to change your goal. Never, ever, change your goals, even if they’re monstrous, gigantic goals. Only change the plan.
The truth is that if you believe, you can achieve. If you don’t, you’ll just come up with excuses for why you’re not able to get there. Don’t live life as an excuse. Live life on purpose. Go do big things and don’t listen to the opinions of others who say you can’t do them.
One thing I’ve learned in life is that discipline is the strength that helps you persevere through the worst of times. Without discipline, it’s easy to go back to bad, limiting behavior. You don’t rise when you fall if you have a lack of discipline. You go straight into a downward spiral.
Without discipline, bad habits rear their ugly heads. Addictions take center stage and you lose all sight of your goals. If you allow that to happen, you can kiss your chances of living your purpose and achieving your dreams in life goodbye.
The question is, are you disciplined enough to rise when you fall? Because, if you’re not, I can assure you that you won’t do what it takes to succeed. Since 95% of what we think, say and do is habit driven, without discipline, it’s impossible to keep going.
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