There was an incident at my workplace on Saturday where a length of rail flicked out and snapped the ankle of a supervisor. He will be undergoing surgery and physiotherapy for six weeks. The accident could have been avoidable by a more vigilant individual, but what is done is done. What is considered important now is how he recovers. More importantly, how he chooses to recover. Whether he complains and attempts to make himself the object of pity, or shows fortitude and recovers with dignity and conviction. That is how we find his measure in this matter.
I have weak ankles, the result of old injuries and ignoring warnings from medical professionals. I am on the path towards remedying this but I still suffer twists and sprains every so often. I recover from these with resilience and composure. When I twist and fall, I get back up. I stand until I can move, whether it’s a manageable limp or slow walk. I do that until I can move normally. I don’t bemoan the situation, seek pity or use it as an excuse for laziness. I soldier on, as the saying goes. I have to.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes I fail, scarcely missing victory or at times I barely even approach it. Incorrect methodology, lack of power or a mere poor stroke of chance is all it takes to success to elude me or you. The smart person will recover, learning what lessons there are to be learnt, laying the foundations towards greater success. Conflict is a powerful way to grow because we have things to overcome. Failure is merely something else that we cannot let get the better of us.
In times of failure, our recovery is paramount. The true defeat would be allowing a moment of loss to to take its toll on your strength, sapping your willpower and confidence. When outside forces or chance overcome you, it is a momentary failure, a lack of power. When you prevent yourself from succeeding, that is the worst kind of defeat. The self can be the greatest enemy of the self.
My boss is a firm believer in that a man can be judged by how he recovers from failure; whether he takes responsibility and fixes it, or attempts to shirk responsibility and lay the blame on others. His opinion of a person can change significantly if he sees a poor recovery. When anything bad happens on the job, he’ll say “It’s not how we fall, it’s how we get back up.” It’s a view I agree with.
Pain comes in many shapes and forms. Painful experiences aren’t always in our control. How we manage it is how we’re known and judged.