As babies, we fall to take our first steps; as teenagers, we fall to run; and as adults, we fall to live. As the sun never stops setting, we never stop falling in our journey through life.
No other Asian wisdom has impacted my life as much as this powerful one by Confucius, the great Chinese teacher and philosopher. Our natural rationale tells us not to fall, but as humans, we must fall in order to learn, mature and grow as better individuals. If we do not fall, we can’t learn from our mistakes, and when we don’t learn from these mistakes, we can not improve as individuals.
The greatest leaders have fallen hard, which is what made them so successful. Steve Jobs, who got fired as CEO by his own board of directors, came back stronger and more powerful when he took over Apple from near destruction. He said that Apple would not have been what it is today unless he had been fired, because it taught him how to be even more creative and resourceful like a start-up company.
My greatest fall to date has been with my oldest sister Sun (yes, that is her real name), and not being more compassionate when she was fighting ovarian cancer. While Sun’s death has been the most painful moment in my life, it has, at the same time, given me the most strength and inspiration. Her death has taught me the greatest lesson to pursue my dreams and passion. After Sun’s death, I quit what I was doing in NY and moved out to LA, where I started my own company. Sun’s shining ray is always with me–my guardian angel and my yang to my yin. During her hardest chemotherapy days, Sun said that God always provides you with a cross you can bear, and she felt this way about her cancer. In her dying days, she knew her fall in life would bring her to heaven in the afterlife.
We all have falls—small and big. When you have a traumatic fall, like a death in your family or a divorce or the loss of your job, be gentle on yourself. Give yourself time off, whether a week or a month, to heal and reflect. During this period, do the things that put you in a calm, meditative state–whether that’s hiking, yoga, or reading your favorite books–whatever puts you in a state where you can clear your mind and reflect. This is the time when you will find the greatest revelations in your life, which will inspire you to forge ahead and know that the possibilities of your future are endless. So be good to yourself and take time off.
As it is important to fall, it is just as important, if not more, to rise—this is your greatest glory. So embrace falling and rising, like the ebb and flow of life.
By Moon Cho, Creator of YING & YANG LIVING