Last year an English comedian, Eddie Izzard, ran 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa. He did one marathon for each year Nelson Mandela spent in prison. I watched a touching documentary of Izzard’s reflections as he ran through the country that Nelson Mandela called home. During the documentary, I was truly touched by something Mandela had said,
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. – Nelson Mandela
I truly believe that it is important to highlight our failures, not let them be brushed under the carpet. Because, it is in our failures that we learn more about ourselves, and when we pick ourselves back up, we are closer to success. Mandela hit the nail on the head when he asked to be judged by the times he got back up again not by his successes, true success is overcoming.
So here are 3 reasons to ‘Keep on, Keeping on’:
- We are on a journey – Life is a journey. The sun rises and then sets again and each day we encounter tasks to accomplish and problems to solve. By the time the sun sets again we have encountered so many different things, people and we have learned new things even if we are not aware of it. Some days the journey feels painful and is a struggle, however the sun still sets on the day and then rises on a new one. When we fail, we can become upset and discouraged. When we pick ourselves up after failures, we can also pick up new skills. We carry on the journey so that we learn, develop and grow. A long journey leads to success, however, Steve Jobs sums it up when he said, “The journey is the reward”.
- We are in control – We might not feel it at times, but we are in control of at least SOME things! The journey is not predictable, it may turn when we want it to go straight, it might start to go uphill when we are not expecting it, however, we do have some control over it. It is up to us how much energy we put into our journey. It is up to us whether go over hurdles or whether we turn back the way we came. It is up to us whether we take the steps forward or not. We do have control of the major things, so when it feels unpredictable we must remember that the choice to get back up is ours!
- We have lots to learn – There are many things we have yet to experience, many things we have yet to see. We don’t know it all and we will never end our education. If we forget that we are not yet perfect, that is when it is hard to pick ourselves up when we fall. When we ‘keep on, keeping on’ we are dedicating our journey to keep learning.
So, when the journey feels hard, let’s pick ourselves back up and remember that it’s a journey. I will pick myself up and keep going because I want that to be judged not by my successes but by how many times I failed but didn’t give up. How about you?