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  • Writer's pictureBrian Reaves

Falling...with style!

Updated: Mar 26

Have you ever failed at something? I think it's safe to say we all have at one time or another...but it's when we can fail without someone noticing that we really get good.


When I was in high school, they had a regional talent competition that one of the other students was competing in. They brought the student up during an assembly and had her play the piano. I vividly remember she started playing this complex piece, then she hesitated and kept going. She hesitated again, played some more, and kept the cycle going for a few more minutes. I enjoyed the piece, thinking it was cool how it had those pauses built into it.


And then I noticed she was crying. She stopped, put her hands to her side, and just openly wept. One of the teachers came and walked with her off the stage. Apparently, she had forgotten the piece and was having trouble playing the whole thing. That's why she kept stopping and starting. It wasn't written that way at all, but I had no idea.


Here's the thing: I would have never known if she'd just finished and walked off the stage. Her technicality of playing was tremendous, and I'd never heard the piece before, so I had no idea what it was supposed to sound like. I would have just thought she had pulled off some really hard song with pauses built into it.


In the movie Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear says he can fly and sets out to prove it. Through a series of coincidences, he actually manages to sail around the room and come back to where he started. One of the other toys says, "He's flying!" while Woody says, "No, he's not! He's falling with style!"

Falling with style

Have you ever let one mistake or failure stop you from trying something new or difficult in your life? Maybe you stretched yourself with something you'd always wanted to try, and it didn't work out like you planned. Maybe you had an idea for a project at work that didn't succeed. Maybe you honestly wanted to better yourself with something you were doing, but you couldn't do it.


Today, I want to challenge you to fall with style. I believe we often fail to realize how few people actually notice when we make a mistake. If you're not some well-known public figure and haven't become a meme, chances are good the mistakes we make aren't as noticeable as we'd think.


One of the earliest rules a magician learns is that if the audience has no idea what you're trying to do in an illusion, they cannot know if you have to change something during the trick because it didn't work. As long as the end result is something magical, they think you did it just as you'd planned!


Don't allow a mistake or failure in your past endeavors to keep you from trying new things. And next time you are trying something new and it's not working as planned, pivot and see where you can land with it. Maybe the end result won't be what you initially pictured, but it can still be a success--and possibly even a bigger one than what you were shooting for!


If things aren't working as planned and you feel yourself stumbling, don't quit. Others may be watching, and that's okay, too. Bring it all home as smoothly as you can, and then act like you planned it that way the whole time. That's not being a fraud; that's being flexible!

brian reaves

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