In one of my banking jobs in Missouri, I worked with a Business Development Officer named Roger. Roger was one of those people that you wanted to hang around. He was always positive and every time you left a joint call with Roger, you felt like you had grown an inch in your own character development. Everyone liked being around Roger, since he always made those around him, better.
Roger was also very positive. He once told me, “Phil, I am never down. I am either up, or getting up.” It is in that statement that one of the most profound truths in life reside.
The first thought that came to my mind is the scene in the movie Chariots of Fire, where Eric Liddell is in a foot race and is knocked down by another runner as they go around a turn. The movie slows down as it shows Eric rolling to his feet and then running as fast as he can. Soon, he reaches the last runner and then passes him. One by one, each runner is passed by Eric until he passes the last one and wins the race. By the way, if you have never seen this movie, why haven’t you?
There is a temptation to look at those who are successful and think they have had it easy, that all the breaks have gone their way. We use terms like “lucky” to describe them. This view is incorrect. Successful people have the same challenges, struggles, and problems as the rest of us have. They have been knocked to the canvas, or stuck out more times than they can count. We should not consider them immune to the struggles that all of us experience.
The difference is the winners refuse to wallow in self-pity on the canvas when they are knocked down. They just simply get back up. And when they are knocked down, they get back up again. It reminds me of a saying by Winston Churchill, “Success is going from failure to failure with great enthusiasm.”
Every one of us gets knocked down. It is not a matter of if you get slammed to the ground, since we all will be there. The question is what are you going to do once you have a severe blow. Will you just lay there? Or will you say, “This defeat does not define me. I am to get back up. I am to enter into the arena again.” It is those people that are successful.
Calvin Coolidge once stated, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Persistence is getting back up after you are knocked down. Then it is getting back up again when you fall.
Remember, both successful and unsuccessful people will be knocked down, have obstacles, and fail at times. We all have these and we all will. It continues as long as we are alive. The question is, do we get back up? So I encourage you to be like my friend Roger. You can be either up, or getting back up!