Fall down seven times get up eight

Kris Lee Tattoo

Inspiring, no?

People keep using this quote (a Japanese proverb) to tell me to persevere no matter what. No matter how many times life knocks you down, you’re supposed to take it and get up again, right?

I have just a few problems with this.

First of all, who stays down? Short of suicide, of course you are going to go on. It’s a basic human drive to survive. So why do we need a saying to remind us?

Second, if you fall down seven times, there is something wrong. Maybe you have vertigo. Maybe your spouse is beating you. Maybe you’re just not paying attention to where you are going. Maybe you subconsciously like falling down. If you fall down seven times, you should really examine the cause of why you are falling down so much. Maybe you can fix the problem rather than just getting up only to fall down yet another time.

Finally, even if the message is that every time you fall down, you should get up again, somebody here has a math problem. If you get up after each fall, then after seven falls, you will have gotten up seven times. Now you’re up. So there is no way to get up an eighth time unless you fall down again.

Question everything. Especially cliches.

5 responses to “Fall down seven times get up eight

  1. lmfaooooo you’re such a wonderful grump.

    the math actually does work because they’re counting that first time that you stood up, before your first fall. and i’m going to keep hanging onto this cliche because for me it’s not about whether or not you’re going to stay on the floor, it’s about whether or not you are going to keep pushing yourself to take risks, and the vast majority of folks don’t keep taking them. learned helplessness is a terrible, and pervasive, thing…

    1. Nobody in a normal frame of mind would count the first time you get up. Would you say “If you fall down, get up twice” ?

      I love your optimism and perseverance, Laura, you are a wonderful person. But I think you are stretching an explanation to fit this since it is a favorite saying.

      Learned helplessness is indeed awful. And I am flattered at your calling me a “wonderful grump” because I think that fits me so well . . . .

  2. Even the familiar “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” has an extra “try” – maybe that’s just been extrapolated to the 8th “get up again”

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