August 9, 2018 by Dymphna

How to bounce back from seven failures

Some failures are easy. Some take massive courage

There’s a Japanese saying that goes:

nana korobi, ya oki – knocked down seven times, get up eight

I love this saying. It’s a good reminder that the journey is going to involve at least a few knocks. The only way to get through unscathed is to gamble nothing – to not put your body on the line – but nothing great comes of that.

I can guarantee you that a life you can be proud of will contain at least a few failures.

But this is also more than just accepting that you’ll have a few misfires in life.

This is more than just saying that if you’re an entrepreneur, expect a few businesses to go bankrupt. Or if you’re in the property game, expecting a few deals to go flop at some point in your career.

These are relatively easy to shrug off. Once you’ve decided that property is your game and you’ve got a few successful deals under your belt, it’s no big deal if one doesn’t go well. You get back on the horse and off you go.

What’s harder is when you still don’t know what you are supposed to be doing. When you go and do a FX trading course, and then lose all your money. And then you go and open a café, and it flops. And then you break up with your 10th girlfriend and you wonder whether you are actually marriage material at all.

When you know who you are and what you’re doing, failure is easy. It’s just a cost of doing business.

But when you don’t know what you’re about and what your trajectory is, failure can be crushing. It feels like a big massive ‘no’ to the direction you’ve chosen in life.

And you’re stuck, lost in the wilderness. Wondering where you fit in and where you belong.

It’s moments like this where you need to summon courage – to summon that ya oki spirit.

Because defeat here means accepting a life that is too small for you – one that is written by somebody else. One that says, “Well, I tried to forge my own path, but I failed. Guess I’ll just follow the herd.”

Being your own person, forging your own path, living your own authentic life – these things are the hardest things to do in life.

And failure here is hard to bounce back from.

If you fail as an accountant, people say, “Oh well, you did your best.”

But when you open your own paleo doggie treats business and fail, people will say, “what were you thinking?”

But ya oki.

Get up and try again. I beg you.

Don’t settle for anything but the life that is waiting for you. Try and try again until the way opens up, and you find yourself living on your own terms.

Try and try again. Keep going. Cultivate the ya oki spirit or those times where you are lost and bewildered.

This is the essence of a courageous life.