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Failure isn’t falling down, it’s staying down


World renowned mentor David CM Carter take a look at how adjusting our perceptions of failure can lead to a life awash with success.

My all-time favourite film clip is the legendary scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker goes off in search of the Jedi Master, Yoda, to be taught about ‘The Force’. Luke, of course, has imagined a great warrior as his mentor and teacher and is somewhat underwhelmed when he finally has to accept that this funny little creature is in fact Yoda, the Jedi Master.


There are just so many amazing lines in the film, but I used to make my kids watch this particular scene over and over again. The punch line comes at the end of the scene. Luke has only managed to raise the rocket halfway out of the swamp before giving up — and Yoda then lifts it out entirely, using only ‘The Force’.


When Luke says, ‘I don’t believe it!’, Yoda responds with the immortal words, ‘And that is why you fail.’


And that is also why WE fail! We TRY! And we give up too easily. What do you need to change to rocket out of your ‘swamp’ — to make a BREAKTHROUGH?


We have inside ourselves all the resources we will ever need to overcome any obstacle and achieve any aim we have in life, no matter what our age, background, color or gender. True persistence pays off every time, in every circumstance. Persistence will fight off failure faster than skill or luck ever could.


Unless you take a ‘never quit’, ‘no exits’approach — you probably won’t achieve too many of these BREAKTHROUGHs in your life. Or they won’t be sustainable. And what will come up is your old defensive behaviours and justifications.


You’ll blame the circumstances of your life.

You’ll decide that the BREAKTHROUGHs in this book don’t work.

Or that having a mentor can’t add any value to your life.


If you recognize any of this in yourself, or your buttons have been pushed right now, I’ve done my job. Just like my mum did for me when she inadvertently reminded me how often I was falling down. Ouch!


You now have a choice. You can recognize how you make yourself ‘fall over’ — how you sabotage yourself. And you can stop and decide to learn to do something different. Remember, falling over is not failing — it’s simply a learning opportunity. There are two ‘L’s in ‘falling — they stand for ‘Living’ and ‘Learning’. Failing, on the other hand, has only one ‘L’ — there’s no ‘Learning’ when you believe you’ve failed.


When you ‘get up’ — rather than ‘give up’ — you become a stronger, even better version of your Self.


Always be — and do — your best. Even if your ‘best’ means taking time out for a while to regroup. Whatever happens, get back on your bike!


Who needs dragons to slay when there are endless undreamed of adventures to be had?