“A stumble may prevent a fall” its a wonderful aphorism I perhaps overuse but it speaks to the enduring human spirit of tenacity, of trying and failing and then getting up and trying again. It speaks to perhaps the mistake or problem you just faced and how it may make you wiser more stronger for the next time. Sure I screwed up, OK, I didn’t do something the way I had hoped it would be done, but this mistake can help me be better. I can learn from it. A small misstep has just helped me avoid a giant one.
I think about this often when I mentor teenagers in my community and apply it also my own children if any of them are mulling over a mistake or problem they just had. For instance, in college, my son got way behind in his understanding of inorganic Chemisty, and he needed to do a lot of work over the summer to catch up. This wasn’t fun for him, but he did it.
it’s easier to keep up than to catch up
At the time, I felt annoyed that he had let the situation progress as it had. I then challenged my thinking, “A stumble may prevent a fall.” He learned something from that experience—that it’s easier to keep up than to catch up; that if you have time to do it again you have time to do it properly the first time. That avoiding a topic you would rather not think about, doesn’t make it go away.
These are important life lessons, and maybe my son learning them in college means that he won’t make the mistake in his career. Little mistakes, little missteps in life, can when used positively help us learn and grow so that we don’t make bigger mistakes later. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it is easy, but it may save you more pain, later.
Fall forwards always
When you make a mistake, what can you learn from it? If you continue to learn from mistakes and metaphorically ‘fall forwards’ well, that is all anyone can ask and you will be the better for it.