"Fall seven times and stand up eight"

On Deck’s Quote of the Week:

Fall seven times and stand up eight.
—Japanese Proverb

This deceptively simple proverb comes from the Zen tradition and upon first reading it appears to be a quote about resilience. It does speak to the importance of persevering in light of the various “falls” and failures dished out by life.

However, the quote also stresses another theme so common to the New Year—that of transformation and evolution as an athlete and a person. It is foolhardy to try and explain all the permutations of meaning around something like a Zen koan, but here is one interpretation: if the quote had said, “Fall seven time and stand up seven times,” then resilience would be its exclusive point. Yet, after falling seven times the quote calls for one to stand up and extra (eighth) time—this “double stand” after so many falls is the thing that breaks the pattern and completes both the sentence and the hypothetical person!

To change oneself by making a double stand and altering a tide of negativity is to become more complete in all aspects of life; it is to make a resolution and not only stick to it (which implies that you are separate from it, like gum “stuck” to your shoe), but internalize it, be it—evolve. So make your double stand in 2019!

Fall seven times and stand up eight - Japanese Proverb.