Lessons We Can Only Learn by Falling Down


Lessons We Can Only Learn by Falling Down

Falling down is just the one step towards getting back up.


Over 1 Million words.

That is how many words you and I have access to in the English language. You and I probably use about 1% of them, which is about 10,000 words.

Every day, our language grows as more words are added in the form of text abbreviations and words that are being invented by people like me. Thus far, I have invented one word, Crastination (Please go the page and give me a thumbs up right now). And yesterday my kids and I invented another word:


My definition for Spasmological is that life is both spastic and surprising. Spasmological recognizes that life is spastic and unpredictable, and also logical and holds surprises if we look for them. For example, a teenager is Spasmological… both spastic and surprising at the same time.

Life holds both of these realities in each moment. Each situation that we are in will be both unpredictable, and surprising.

Life is Spasmological: spastic and logical

Take youth soccer. My son’s team has lost more games than I can count. It becomes frustrating and disheartening at times. You want to quit and then you face a team that really beats you. As a parent, you run out of things and you can only think of cusswords. (No, I didn’t go there, but I felt like it). You wonder whether life is trying to kick you when you are really down.

When you take a moment, you realize that failing probably teaches far more than winning all of the time. Falling down forces us to get back up and try again because you don’t want to wallow in the loss.

Take public speaking. Yesterday, I shared my story of depression at the Edmonton event #yegsemicolon. When I spoke, the room of maybe 20 people was noisy and people were coming and going. Part of my brain wanted to conclude that my story was uninteresting and see it as a failure.

When you take a breath, you realize that if one person was encouraged that is what sharing our story is about. And each time you speak, you get a little better. I have to give myself some credit because it takes guts to share our story in public.

Lessons we learn by falling down and getting up

We all fall down. Getting up, we need to remember that life is Spasmological: the unexpected is also the moment of surprise. In recovery, we fall down; we take an exam and we do poorly; at work, our projects might not bring the results we wished they would; and our relationships can feel disappointing.

Falling down is just the one step towards getting back up.


Not every fall is a result of something we have done. Sometimes we play our best game and we are beaten. Other times, we prepare the best we can and the venue is not right for what we have to say.

Getting up quickly, taking some lessons from our loss, and all without beating ourselves up is how we move forward. If we know that life is like this – that it will involve continual trips to the floor then we can take it less personally and see it more as a process that will help us grow.

If we don’t fall down, we can never see how far we have come. As long as we get up, and do not wallow in the failure, in the gloom of our depression, in the guilt of a relapse or in the shame of what we may have said.

One million words. That is a lot to know. But thankfully, you don’t need all of them. Just one word can change your life: Spasmological. Life is both unexpected and surprising. Look for it and you will find.

Keep it Real

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