What We Learn When We Fall Down

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fall down

Have you ever fallen down? Can you remember the last time you fell down? How did it happen and how did you react? We all fall down sometimes. That is an aspect of being human. No one is perfect and there are obstacles we don’t account for in our everyday lives. Though falling down happens to everyone from time to time, it is how you react which sets you apart.

As a kid, I am sure you fell down often. My son does it all the time. When he falls down and hurts himself, he usually composes himself and gets right back up. He doesn’t require that I pick him up and hold him. Most of the time, he doesn’t even cry.

I tell him the same thing my parents told me. “You’re OK, just pick yourself up and keep going.” Those words stuck with me, not only because the advice is solid, but it pertains to more things than actually falling down. How you react to stumbles can define how you will react to all things not going your way.

my debt fall down


I remember clearly my debt fall down. I wasn’t too careful and followed the wrong crowd to the debt playground. Ridden with hidden pitfalls and opportunities for injury, the debt playground is a familiar place for many. No matter how we got there, I am sure we didn’t want to stay too long.

Unfortunately, some just keep toiling around that playground and falling into the traps. I spent four years there and I fell down many times, but I always pulled myself back up and kept going. I was pushing harder to get away from that playground and not go back. It was an evil place.

I consider the playground the time we hold our debts. We got there in our own unique ways, but then at some point, we decide that we want to leave. Unfortunately, that is not how the debt playground works. You have to go through all of the playground challenges in order to leave. Not only go through them, but complete them. When you are on your debt repayment journey, you might feel everything is going right.

Then, all of the sudden, something breaks and you have to pony up the cash to fix it. You don’t have any extra money, so you have to incur more debt to fix it. This is considered a fall on the debt playground. What do you do when this happens?

Get Up and Go or Stay Down and Pout


I’ve learned already my son is going to be one who never stays down when he falls. No matter the circumstance, he will get up, brush himself off, and move forward. He will have goals and will try to reach them. He gets that from both myself and my wife. We fall here and there, but we never stay down. I don’t give up on the fight, no matter the opponent. I have felt outmatched before, but I worked harder and faster than my opponent. I bobbed and weaved to stay in. I fell, but I always got back up. My parents taught me that lesson and I will teach my son the same.

We are defined by how we react to adversity. If you get knocked down or fall, but decide to stay down and pout about it, then you might run into a lot of hard times in your life. Life is like walking around a construction site full of dangerous elements and pitfalls. You have to be vigilant, keep your head on straight, and when you do fall, just pull yourself back up and keep going.

Paying off debt or having money concerns is the same way. There is no issue with asking for help when you fall, but you shouldn’t resign yourself to not getting up without it. A helping hand might not be around all of the time. We learn when we are small to dust ourselves off and keep walking.

Your debt free journey is the same way. Keep your eye on the prize and focus your attention on handling your money woes. You will feel better at the end and you will have also learned a valuable lesson in dealing with life’s ups and downs.

Have you spent time on the debt playground? What do you do when you fall down in debt or in life? Who models resilience for you?

Photo courtesy of: iamshaheen

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

Latest posts by Grayson Bell (see all)


  • Sometimes people play in that debt playground and don’t even realize how dangerous it is. I was reading a blog the other day where they are paying debt but thought nothing of putting $1000 on the line of credit in order to purchase $500 birthday gifts for each other. I can understand doing this inadvertently if you are not watching your money, but if you are, how could this be justifiable?

  • “We are defined by how we react to adversity.” LOVE that, Grayson. It’s not the mistakes that matter: it’s how you handle them.

  • Kirsten says:

    I think I went to the playground thinking it would be a good experience (student loans, after all) and then found out I was not on a playground, I was at a military boot camp obstacle course! It has not be fun at any point. But I do think we are committed to shouldering on and getting out if this obstacle course as soon as we can. It helps to blog about it and know people are watching me and wanting to see results.

  • When I “fall down” with my debt, I try to make sure it doesn’t happen again by changing something. For example, I could be on the 30 year student loan pay off plan and just pay significantly more per month. But I’ve tried that and something comes up. So, instead I stay on the 10 year plan, even though there’s more interest every month, because I actually have to pay it if it’s a bill.

  • My son is a great inspiration for me as far as dealing with adversity. I am a naturally optimistic person and the longer I live, the more I see the balance in life. I have fallen down numerous times personally and financially; however, I know that I never stay down and I know that every challenge is never permanent, especially if I brush myself off and work hard to learn from it and move forward to better things.

  • Kim says:

    I fall down all the time, literally. Always have been a clutz, but I jump back up because it’s embarrassing to fall and I don’t want anyone to know. I think that philosophy doesn’t work so well with debt. If no one knows, you are less likely to try and hop back up. I think we fell down for about a decade, but thankfully, we’ve finally found a way to stay on solid ground.

  • My challenge now is complacency. Once I have accomplished what I set out to do I start running life in neutral and while I am not falling down I am not being as aggressive or assertive and by not gaining I am falling behind.

    We always have two choices in life. We can fall down and stay down or decided that we will not be defined by our mistakes and move on and learn from them.

  • I fell down last month – I went over budget by $300 – but instead of crying about it, I got up, took a look at what went wrong, and I will fix it this month.

  • Falling down is definitely painful and I can’t say I enjoy it, but at the same time when I pick myself up and get my momentum going – what happens next is often more than worth the effort it took to pick myself up. I think one the best lessons we can teach our kids is that everyone does fall down but you also have the power to pick oneself up and move forward. I see a lot of parents who instead of cheering their kids on, do the work for them when they fall.

  • It’s definitely a slippery slope and for most, the falling down is gradual and almost imperceptible. Even now, I see some of those signs in myself, which is really scary. But when we fall, we pick ourselves back up again.

  • Amy says:

    What an inspirational post, especially for someone working to get off the playground now.

  • I fall down, I get up. Is there really any other choice. Either we get busy living or we get busy dieing (yes, I stole that quote). Do we really have any other choice?

  • Michelle says:

    The falls do get to me, but I try to learn from them and adjust where necessary. I love experimenting, so if one thing in my debt repayment plan or budget doesn’t appear to be working I try something different. You’re working with so many moving parts with your money. It’s not just the money and your budget, it’s you and your emotions in that playground too. You have to be able to have a cry, then get right back up and not wallow in it. Great post! 🙂

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