Failing and Falling Down – A Lesson in Resiliency from Toddlers

Today while teaching a class on falling (an important martial arts skill) I had a funny exchange with one of my students; we talked about how much toddlers fall down in the process of learning to walk and be stable. Each time they fall, they get right back up again. Generally there’s no crying or interruption, except if they’re tired or hungry, and they just keep on going learning the process of walking. We laughed at how given the same circumstances an adult would probably write-off walking altogether: “I’m just not cut out for this walking thing. My talents must lie in other areas. I think I’m more of a sitter…”

As we age we easily let our resiliency go. We forget how long the process of learning to walk took when we were young, or the process of learning a new language, or a myriad of other skills that we truly master in our childhood. We come to expect that results will come quickly or not at all.

I think it’s a beautiful and hopeful thing to think of how much we learn when we’re young simply through continued trying. We are never discouraged because we put no expectation on ourselves, we simply know that we’ll get there eventually.