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Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall. — Confucious
I am not interested in the story of the person who has never fallen down.
That is a myth, not a true story.
That is a fairy tale, poorly told.
Nelson Mandela said, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
I am interested in the story of the person who gets back up.
In 1978 at age 28, Diana Nyad first attempted to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West. She had covered about 76 miles, but not in a straight line, when team doctors pulled her out of the water and ended her attempt after 42 hours.
On July 10, 2010, at the age of 60, she began open water training for a 60-hour, 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, a task she had failed to finish thirty years previously. When asked her motivation, she replied, “Because I’d like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams.”
Much of her adult life, Nyad was angry. Fueled by her anger, she swam with a vengeance because her high school coach had repeatedly sexually assaulted her through her teen years.
In 2013, on her 5th attempt, in the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — at age 64.
When Jim Carrey was 14 years old, his father lost his job and his family hit rough times. They moved into a Volkswagon van on a relative’s lawn, and the young aspiring comedian took an eight-hours-per-day factory job after school to help make ends meet.
At age 15, Carrey performed his comedy routine on stage for the first time—in a suit his mom made him—and totally bombed, but he was undeterred.
The next year, at 16, he quit school to focus on comedy full time. He moved to L.A. shortly after, where he would park on Mulholland Drive every night and visualize his success. One of these nights he wrote himself a check for $10 million for “Acting Services Rendered,” which he dated for Thanksgiving 1995.
Just before that date, he hit his payday with Dumb and Dumber. He put the deteriorated check, which he’d kept in his wallet the whole time, in his father’s casket.
Nothing could stop these people from reaching their dreams, because they forged ahead even when their lives depended on it.
Even when they were running from a haunting past.
Even when they lost parts of themselves or people who were irreplaceable.
They got back up and kept going and didn’t stop until they reached their destination.
If you stop in the middle, you’ll never reach your goal.
If you fall and stay down, you’ll never know the joy of reaching the top.
If you believe that you are finished, you’ll never write your own ending.
JK Rowling said it best: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
So no matter how many times you stumble, ALWAYS get back up.
The School of Greatness Podcast
Continue Seeking Greatness:
- Music Credit: pop liquid drums edm dubstep piano by Rohan Manohar
Did you enjoy the podcast?
What is the most inspiring story you’ve heard of getting back up?