If you’re like me, you’ve fallen flat on your face more times than you’d care to recall. Some of your face plants may have been literal, like one I remember so vividly from my childhood, when I fell from the jungle gym in my cousins’ yard in St. Louis and landed mug first in the dirt.
Nobody got sued over that bloody nose, or any of the numerous others that preceded and followed, or over my head-first plunge into a thorny shrub in my own back yard in Des Moines. (If you look really close, I imagine you can still see among the wrinkles a little scar from a chance encounter with a tree branch one dark night in Windsor Heights.)
Those incidents and injuries had something valuable in common. As I have from the more figurative bumps and bruises and cuts and scrapes that come with being alive and trying to succeed, I learned something from each of them.
A column by Peter Orszag prompted this recollection. He wrote, in part, “Failure is not only survivable; it is also essential.”
I find that comforting. While not exactly looking forward to the next fall from the monkey bars, I can at least be confident about getting back up off the ground a little wiser. So can you.