Each of us… every single one of us knows what it’s like to fall down. We’ve done it. It’s not something we can “relate” to because we’ve seen someone else do it. It’s something we’ve done: as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult, as a middle aged individual and (unfortunately) sometimes as an elderly individual. One of the greatest things about Earth is gravity; and one of our realities of life is that gravity sucks. We fight it all our lives. When we trip, lose our balance, etc. we fall. Thanks, gravity. But falling is different from getting knocked down. One is our fault; the other results from someone else’s actions. Is getting back up from both the same?
I don’t think so. I’ve done my share of falling down. Usually, after I hit the ground in whatever truly uncoordinated fashion I’ve done so, I stop for a moment to assess what does or doesn’t hurt. Was any serious injury caused? This is a concern that grows as we age but so far I’ve not been seriously hurt from a fall. What hurts most is my pride; my ego. But falling down can be blamed on no one but the guy in the mirror. I slipped, tripped, got off balance, misplaced a step, whatever. It’s something no one else did to me. Once I know I’m not hurt I get up, brush off and move on with whatever I was doing before I so gracefully proved I can’t beat gravity.
I’ve also been knocked down. Whether it was playing sports, as a soldier, as a parent (yeah, that happens), as a police officer or just as a person in the world who happens to get impacted by something (like the mirror on that pickup truck that just barely missed running me over), getting knocked down is a bigger surprise than falling down. The fault isn’t your own and the chance of injury is two-fold: once from the impact of whatever/whomever hits you and once when you hit the ground. The feeling, as you’re on the ground, isn’t one of embarrassment and incompetence. It’s one of anger. It’s one of shock and surprise at the audacity someone or something had to knock you down. Getting up after that isn’t just getting up and moving on as you were before. It’s one of getting up and DRIVING on even stronger than you were before… whether it’s to accomplish a goal or simply to drive through whatever is in your way.
Both of these experiences, falling down and being knocked down, can serve as analogies to challenges we face in life. Sometimes you stumble in life. You make a decision that wasn’t the best. You miss an opportunity. You don’t perform like you should. You do something that angers someone you care about. This is falling down. It’s something you do, or have done, and you need to “get back up” and move forward. You need to change the decision if you can, or re-establish that opportunity and take it… or whatever. You can take the necessary corrective action which is the equivalent of getting up, brushing off and going on about trying to accomplish your goal.
Then there’s getting knocked down. These are those unexpected events life throws in your face and they always seem more significantly challenging than those times you stumble and fall. When life knocks you down you get both of those impacts: being hit and landing when you fall. It’s a double shock and can make you pause a little longer than when you fall all on your own. That said…
AFTER you’ve paused it’s more important than ever to get back up, brush off (time allowing) and move forward, not just as you were but in an aggressive and motivated fashion. You have to show life that it cannot beat you. You have to take everything life throws at you, absorb it, brush it off, push it aside and keep driving forward. When life knocks you down you have to get up stronger than you were and perform better and harder than you were before you got knocked down. You cannot let life beat you down… because it will never stop.
Life is the most awesome blessing we ever get and it’s the worst bully you’ll ever have to face down. Bullies are only bullies until someone takes their power away. That’s done by either hitting them back or showing them that they absolutely have zero power to impact your day in any way. Life is like that. You can’t hit it back so drive forward and show life that it has zero power to impact your day in a negative way.