In Wisdom

Fall seven times, stand up eight is a Japanese proverb. It shows resilience of the human spirit and the capacity of human beings to learn, grow and transform the way they pursue their dreams in order to achieve them. Here is an inspiring story.

In 1865, Edward Whymper, a British citizen, was the first man to summit Matterhorn, the iconic Swiss mountain near Zermatt. It was Whymper’s  eighth attempt. He had failed seven times before succeeding. In” High conquest”,  a book published in 1941 and very much the first anthology of mountaineering, James Ramsey Ullman tells us how Whymper did not repeat the same route but kept studying the mountain and trying new ways. It was the very beginning of mountaineering. The equipment was quite different from what we have now and the maps incomplete or inexistent. The dark side of the story is that four climbers of the summiting team fell and died during the downhill, and we will probably never know why. . But Whymper’s tenacity succeeded. With passion and probably some ego too, he pursued his mountaineering career in Europe and South America.

What is true for explorers can also be true for us in our daily life and profession. Our world is in constant transformation. Our goals may evolve or the way we attempt to reach them. Failures are part of success when we keep pursuing our dreams from a place or heart and passion, deep sense of self and service for others.

Can you reflect in your own life how you have fallen seven times and got up eight?

Photo: It is not Matterhorn, but Grizzly Peak above Aspen!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Richard de Campo

    Nice to hear that proverb (Nana korobi ya oki ) again! I’m printing your post and sending it to Topher for inspiration.

    This is probably inappropriately long, but I thought it was a logical follow-up: quoting Garr Reynolds: “A concept related to the saying “Nana korobi ya oki” is the spirit of gambaru (頑張る). The concept of gambaru is deeply rooted in the Japanese culture and approach to life. The literal meaning of gambaru expresses the idea of sticking with a task with tenacity until it is completed—of making a persistent effort until success is achieved. The imperative form, “gambette,” is used very often in daily language to encourage others to “do your best” in work, to “fight on!” and “never give up!” during a sporting event or studying for an exam. You do not always have to win, but you must never give up. While others may encourage you to “gambatte kudasai!” — the real spirit of gambaru comes from within. The best kind of motivation is intrinsic motivation. For the benefit of oneself — and for the benefit of others as well — one must bear down and do their best. Even in good times, behaving uncooperatively or in a rude manner is deeply frowned upon. In a crisis, the idea of complaining or acting selfishly to the detriment of those around you is the absolute worst thing a person can do. There is no sense in complaining about how things are or crying over what might have been. These feelings may be natural to some degree, but they are not productive for yourself or for others.” – Garr Reynolds

  • Catherine Cussaguet

    Thank you Richard, this kind of wisdom is indeed part of every ancient philosophies.
    Hope Topher enjoys!

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