How You Handle the Fall

Doing anything at all in life comes with the risk of failure. Your chance of experiencing failure increases proportionally with the number of times you attempt to do anything, and the magnitude of the failure you risk is proportional to the greatness of the thing you are attempting.

But failing at something does not mean that you are a failure. In fact, if you’re not experiencing failure, it means you aren’t attempting anything worthwhile. Failure while striving is far better than mediocrity standing still.

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.

—J.K. Rowling, 2008 Harvard commencement address

The road to success is almost always a series of failed attempts followed by a successful one. If falling down is part of learning to walk, the most important question is, how do you handle the fall? Does it result in defeat, or do you persist in failure?

Success is not the result of backbreaking labor in secret isolation, finally emerging to the world with your perfect result. It is the eventual product of the experience and lessons learned from a string of failed attempts.