You will not succeed if you quit!

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight” is an ancient Japanese proverb related to our attitude towards failure. Master Tatutso Shimabuku, the founder of the Isshin-ryu Karate system, was fond of saying this to his U.S. Marine Corps students. It means not to let ourselves be beaten by failure. But instead, to see failure as just another chance to stand up and try again. It expresses the idea of sticking to a task with tenacity until it is completed. You do not always have to win, but you must never quit.

This tenacity is a quality found in many military members, both men, and women. It is a quality that JD Cordell, the main character in my novel, Serpents Underfoot, shares with his father, Curtis, and his mother, Mai. Several who have reviewed the book say that they really like that many of the characters, both good and evil, stand on their own two feet as individuals. They meet life on their terms.

Sometimes I feel like our society has lost that sense of individual strength and personal responsibility. It seems like it takes a village to cross the street these days!  But I digress. Let me get back on track! This post is about never quitting and never surrendering. It is about seeing your endeavor through to the end. Perhaps it is a bit extreme, but I used to ask my karate students this question about the Samurai Code.

If you approached every task in your life as if your life depended on it, how often would you fail?

The answer I most often got was, “Not too often!”

So, whether you want to be a successful blogger, mechanic, author, chemical engineer, teacher, welder, martial artist, or hamburger flipper, you should pursue that goal like your very life depended on it. And… if you fell down seven times but got back to your feet eight … what would be your chances of success?