“You will fail at some point in your life, accept it. You will lose, you will embarrass yourself, you will suck at something” -Denzel Washington. This general reality is something we are all aware of. We all know failure is a part of life because we are constantly reminded of it. The pain that comes with embarrassment and lack of top performance can be seen from two lenses. The first: pain is a sign of inadequacy and lack of strength. The second: the pain is telling you try again in a different way. These two perspectives are subconsciously to everyone, thus leaving the individual with a choice. Choosing the second perspective requires a sense of hope and confidence otherwise difficult to find. “I continued to fail, and fail, and fail,” Washington explained. How can we adopt that mentality, where failure is not debilitating but motivating?
Gaining perspective is the conscious decision to process information in a manner that is conflicting to one’s own nature. By telling ourselves to fall forward, the negative connotation that comes with failing is eviscerated. The phrase automatically suggests that the hurt is a sign of progress. It’s growing pains. If the positive is not visible right away, it eventually makes itself known in the future and anyone that has experienced life can attest to that.
The perspective of the youth in Ridgewood is very different compared students outside of our town and school. Our culture promotes financial success and reaching the highest step on the social ladder. Among the teenagers, however, it is Ivy Leagues, varsity sports, and stellar report cards. Rejection from a university leads to a reevaluation of entire lifestyles, losing a game leads to a letdown, and a C on a test is essentially equivalent to the sky falling. Looking at these different scenarios, what if that initial rejection leads to a path where we meet the people we spend the rest of our lives with? What if losing that game is the very thing that pushed everyone on the team to work twice as hard? What if that C was just in line with the phenomenon of simply being human?
Fall forward because we do not know where that misstep will lead us. Fall forward because the only alternatives are staying put or moving backwards. Fall forward because with each scratch and ache is the formation of a new scar. These scars are pieces of our character and moral code. Constant updates are what evolve our personalities into the ones that can easily gain the perspective that we need to yet again fall forward.
Graphics: Jessica Chang