You learn by falling

Last February, we had a strange warm spell in the Berkshires, and Daddy decided it was time to take the training wheels off of Kai's bike.

My eyes filled with tears, as I watched Kai teeter back and forth a couple of times, then find his balance and pedal forward all by himself.

It blew my mind!

This little being who once lay in my arms, unable to hold his own head up, was balancing and riding a two-wheel bike all on his own.

Watching my kids accomplish something new overwhelms me with joy and makes all those shitty little stressful moments of motherhood more than worth it.

For Kai, it was a new level of independence..... a new stage of self mastery...... a true moment of six year old glory....

And then he bit the dust.

I cringed, waiting to see if he was hurt or completely discouraged.

I heard my husband, Shaun, say "It's ok, buddy! You learn by falling."

I took a deep breath, as a smile crept across my face. First, because I was so grateful for Shaun teaching Kai this powerful lesson. Second, because I immediately thought of at least five areas of my own life where I could apply that very lesson in that very moment.

It's ok. You learn by falling.

We spend most of our lives trying to avoid failure - I mean, it rarely feels good to work hard at something only to crash and burn. But if we are going to live full lives, we have to take chances and walk to our own edges. Whether in relationships, work, parenthood, health, finances, or personal growth, failure is a positively inevitable part of the human experience.

What matters isn't whether or not we fail, but what we do with the failure.

When we fail, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves: How do I pick myself up from here? How do I choose to view the failure: as confirmation that I suck? Or as an amazing opportunity to grow? What can I learn from the failure? How can I do it differently next time?

Along the way, we find our strength and our courage, and we learn something profound about our deep rooted power to rise up again and again.

The field of positive psychology tells us that when we fall down in one way or another, there are three ways to view it: (1) you stay the same (2) things get worse for you (3) you grow from the experience and life gets better for you because of it.

"Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth, we are all the more likely to experience that growth." - Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage

In one research study, people were trained to use a new software. Half of the people were intentionally set up to fail early on, and they had to find their way out of their challenges. The other half were set up to learn the software easily, without the same obstacles. Those who were set up to fail ended up doing far better in the long run. Not only were they more efficient at using the software, but they also felt more competent and empowered.

This concept, called "Adversarial Growth" or "Post-Traumatic Growth," has been shown in people who've suffered heart attacks, survived breast cancer, served on the front lines of military combat or were physically assaulted. Even after a traumatic experience, it is possible to grow in a positive direction, beyond what you were before the trauma occurred.

Can you guess one huge factor determining whether people grow or not from their failures?  Mindset.

Each and every one of us gets to choose how we view each and every difficulty that comes our way - whether it's a day-to-day bump in the road or a gigantic, life-altering circumstance.

This remarkable phenomenon helps me to embrace my setbacks, rather than being defeated by them. I don't set out trying to fail, but when I do, I work hard to consciously choose how I view my setbacks, and I search for ways grow from them.

What are your thoughts? Can you think of a time when you've grown from falling?

Please share below and together we grow!

With all my love,








Reference: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
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