If You Don’t Fall, You Aren’t Getting Better

The new issue of SUCCESS hits newsstand today! This issue features our cover story with Michael J. Fox on What Really Matters.

No Pain, No Gain

My dad taught me to snow ski when I was 6 years old. By the time I was 8, I was skiing on my own. At the end of a full ski day, I eagerly announced, “Dad, I didn’t fall once all day!” My dad replied, “If you didn’t fall, you didn’t get any better.” What? This was the opposite response I was expecting and hoping for. The bewildered look on my face compelled him to elaborate, “If you are going to get better, you have to push yourself. If you push yourself, you are going to fall.”

My dad was a former university football coach, so we had a full Olympic standard weight set in our garage. On the wall he had painted, “No Pain, No Gain.” To build bigger muscles, you have to inflict pain on them, literally tearing down the fibers of the muscles and bringing them to the point of failure. That’s actually the goal. Then in recovery, the fibers will rebuild bigger and stronger than they were before. Building a muscle is a lot like the process of building success in life.

I owe much of the success I have been able to achieve to my dad and this philosophy. My dad taught me it was not only OK to fail, but it was proof you were improving. I never saw setbacks, obstacles, rejection or even pain as things to avoid; rather, they were markers on the journey toward greatness and should be appreciated, even celebrated.

This issue is packed full of real-life examples of those who, because of obstacles and setbacks, became stronger and, ultimately, more successful. Les Brown, who was born in an abandoned garage, given up by his mother at 6 weeks old and labeled “educable mentally retarded,” rose to become one of the most celebrated personal-development speakers of our time. Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely and struck by polio as an infant. She didn’t walk normally until she was nearly 12, but she went on to be called “the fastest woman on earth” at the 1960 Olympics. Rudolph explained it beautifully: “The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.”

Ben Hogan had a head-on collision with a bus, was told he would never walk again and continued on to become one of the greatest golfers of all time. Montel Williams, while at the top of his career with fame and fortune, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His journey of overcoming both physical and emotional debilitation has enabled him to become a guru on the topic of living well (listen to my interview with him on the SUCCESS CD inside the magazine – terrific!). Above all, read our cover feature on Michael J. Fox. Stripped of control over his own body, he sums up the outcome of his struggle: “For everything this disease has taken, something with greater value has been given.”

This issue was designed to prove to you that your circumstance, setback, obstacle, fear or failure could be the very thing that enlightens, emboldens or helps you break through to a new level of success and abundance in life.

Never let a day go by without falling. Several times.

Darren Hardy
SUCCESS Publisher and Editorial Director


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

Leave a Comment