Fall seven times, stand up eight.
— JAPANESE PROVERB
Happy Monday morning, friends! Whatever today brings you, I pray it is filled with great joy.
I don't know if our quote this week is real or not; so many "proverbs" turn out to be urban myths, kind of the way real Irish people don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco de Mayo is a non-event in Mexico. Regardless, we find value where we look for it, and I find it in this quote. Fear, I believe, is the most dominant driving force in our lives; by that I mean most of us are driven more by fear than anything else. And a great fear we all experience is the fear of failure. For some bad reason we have been taught to associate experiential failings with character failings, and nothing could be further from the truth. Last Monday on my weekly extended power walk I listened to a podcast interview of James Dyson, the inventor of Dyson products. His creative products didn't drop out of the sky or magically come to his brain. He affirmed that he failed hundreds of times in his efforts to make a better vacuum cleaner, yet each failure propelled him to new efforts leading to success. He fell many times, but got up one more. Another example? Bill McArthur was a student in my mother's kindergarten class many years ago in Red Springs, NC. He was a high achiever, entered the military, became a pilot, and rose to high ranks. He applied to be an astronaut; it is a very arduous application process. He was denied. He tried again. Denied again. Six times he applied, each time advancing, draining him emotionally and physically, each time failing. Just as his spirit was nearly empty, as he was prepared to retire unfulfilled, he was encouraged to try one more time. Wouldn't you know it? This time he prevailed! He rode on the Space Shuttle three times, and once spent six months on the International Space Station. His only failure would have been to stop trying. How many experiences in your life have you missed because your spirit drained and you stopped trying? What joy awaited your one more effort? What joy is still in front of you waiting on your next effort? How much greater will be your life when you overcome the fear of failure? You are no failure, I guarantee that! Get up and get after it, one more time than you fell down, and know the joys of determination and action. And have a great week!