The other day one of my Facebook friends shared a video with Will Smith talking about failure. How important it is to dare to fail in order to grow and develop. Today I took a lunch break and went out cross country skiing in an attempt to clear my head after an intense morning behind the computer screen. After a couple of kilometres we turned around and headed back to the car, and on our way back a thought struck me.
Failing, or falling as I choose to refer to it as, is going to be one of my goals for 2018. It might sound strange to make falling a goal, but after a little thought it makes complete sense. Let me tell you a story, and I’ll get back to this whole falling thing.
When I was three years old, my parents taught me to ski.
Our family was always up on the local mountain. Every weekend we made basecamp at the bottom of the hill and went skiing until we were too tired to stand up straight. When I was 7 years old, me and my brother got a snowboard. My dad taught himself to ride in order to teach us, and when I was around eleven or twelve, snowboarding was my biggest interest. I spent weeknights and all weekends snowboarding. We jumped in the park, went snowboarding in the halfpipe and tried all sorts of lines in the off piste.
I loved snowboarding and I was rather good at it. Then suddenly, one spring, I started to fall. I did what I had always done but I kept falling. I landed flat, jumped too far, got scared as soon as I got up into the air – and I crashed. Time and time again. After a couple of weeks of falling I stopped jumping. Scared to embarrass myself, scared of getting hurt. A couple of weeks turned into months, turned into years. I almost never fell while riding anymore, but something happened to my mindset with every week I didn’t fall. I got scared. Scared of falling.
After that spring I never really got back into it.
I have learnt to challenge myself in my riding again, especially during our winter in Canada, but I never got back into riding the park. For years I kept riding safe, too scared to fall, and riding just wasn’t that fun anymore. I dreamed of competing, but I never pursued any of that because I got scared of falling.
Then why do I tell you this story? Because my dad always told me: You need to fall in order to get better. If you always ride safe, you never learn anything new. When I was riding the park, before the spring of falling, I fell every now and then – but I was never scared. I knew that if I fell, I just had to get back up again. Some days I fell hard and it took a couple of days for my sore muscles to heal. But I knew that falling was never the end. So I kept doing things that made me better, I kept challenging myself.
Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten scared to fall. Not only while snowboarding, but in life. I kept going through life safe, so that I wouldn’t fall. The problem is just that it got boring to live. Life itself wasn’t all that much fun, because I stuck to doing things I knew I would be able to handle. But I don’t want to live safe. I want to fall. Often. I want to get back up, knowing that I learned something in that fall. Getting a little better every day. I want to challenge myself in life. Do things that scare the hell out of me, just to be able to walk out on the other side and feel that I tried. That I lived.
Falling more is going to be one of my goals for 2018.
I want to get better at skiing and snowboarding. Get better at my job. Write better, take better pictures and get even more creative. I want to walk out of this year and know that I tried. That I lived. When 2018 is over, I want to have fallen so many times that I am no longer scared of falling.
Ps. Another one of my goals this year is to get better at cross country skiing. There is classic or skate, today I tried proper skate gear for the first time and I loved it. Especially when you have a husky in front. It might sound like cheating, but staying on your feet in high speed is not the easiest thing. Great balance practice for sure. And you wanna know what? I fell today. Twice. And it was just fine.