Fall Down, Get Up, Triumph

"You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?"

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

I started Must Triumph in the spring of 2015. It began from a pull-out bed at City of Hope Cancer Hospital. It was almost a year that I lived and wrote out of that hospital room before my mom passed. In six years, I lost my sister, my father, my dog, my mother, and my father-in-law. Before I wrote a single article, this was the first line I wrote:

Dedicated to those we have lost, those who are sick, and to those who give care.

But I was really talking to myself...

 The last photo I took at City of Hope. Looks like a smile doesn't it?

The last photo I took at City of Hope. Looks like a smile doesn't it?

How did I survive these events? How did I survive exhaustion? How did I get up every morning to help my mom when I thought I had reached my limit? How could I keep a positive attitude for her? How could I keep her from feeling guilty? From feeling worse? I don't know. Whatever part of my mind that wanted to survive took over. Like a broken record, I kept repeating to myself, "Must triumph, must triumph."

Wake up, must triumph.

Feed her breakfast, must triumph.

Quit my job to be by her side, must triumph.

Watch debt rise, must triumph.

When hope fades, must triumph.

When problems compound, must triumph.

I am grateful to those who benefit from my posts and essays. But they are not just for you, they are reminders to myself on how to maintain a resilient mindset. I often get asked how I am able to write every day, but my answer is a simple one: I have to. There is a difference between wanting to write and having to write. Outside of college, I barely wrote—until I had to. I write daily because I need daily reminders to maintain my resilience. I'm talking to myself, to overcome what has already passed, and to prepare myself for all the new challenges that still lie ahead of me.

And the challenges never exhaust. I've had to pick up the pieces of my life more than once, more than I'd like to count. Watched careers, relationships, finances, and businesses I've started collapse. And I keep building them back up.

When the worst thing that could ever happen to you happens, the moments where your guts turn inside out and you feel both hot and cold with stress, adrenaline, and panic, ask yourself, "How can I make this the best thing that has ever happened to me?" Often it won't be the best thing, but asking this question will help you maximize the good that can come from it. But sometimes, the worst thing does turn into the best thing. That's also happened to me more than once. But it won't happen on it's own, you have to make it happen. Sometimes you have to brute force the positive outcome.

"How can I come out of this?"

"How can I come out of this better than I was?"

"How can I gain from loss?"

"How can I learn from this experience and make it impossible for a similar situation like this to happen again?"

"How can I be more resilient?"

You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Someone asked me recently if there is a mantra in one of my essays to keep the right mindset. I told him the name of the site is the mantra. Must Triumph. It's what I tell myself every day. When I feel like I've crashed into the bottom of a well; when I feel overwhelmed by how far daylight is...

Sometimes you can't decide what god-awful thing is going to happen to you. Why would you? It just happens. All you can do is decide how you're going to walk out of this. Because no one's going to wait around for you to catch up. Life's not going to wait for you. Life's going to go on, with or without you.

You can't go back in time. There are no redos, no matter how much you reimagine it in your head. No matter how much you fantasize a different outcome. Time keeps ticking and the longer you wait the worse it'll get. There is only now and tomorrow. No yesterdays. No could haves. No resets. Just one foot in front of the other, this moment and the next and the next. Every step is an opportunity. Take it. If you see daylight, seize it. If there's a glimmer of hope, rip into it. Seize every opportunity.

And what you've seized is not victory, it's momentum. It's inertia. Pushing you into every obstacle, and you have to duck and cover and evade as you go. You have to make it. You must push through. That's what you were waiting for. For a chance.

Pick up speed, break through the barriers. You have the force of your will on your side. The rush of all that you've overcome behind you. But fear, uncertainty, and doubt is still ahead of you, coming at you. Full steam ahead.

Will you overcome or will you be crushed? Will you prevail or will you die? The only thing you can count on is yourself. Your worst obstacles are in your head. It's you vs. you. It's always been you vs. you. There is no secret conspiracy trying to hold you back. The universe is not conspiring against you.

Shit happens. Shit happens to everyone. But you, only you can stop your own progress. Will you master your fate? You can't hope for a better life, all you can do is control what you do with yourself. No vs. yes. Can't vs can. Later vs now. Done vs. starting. Yes, you have the odds stacked against you. That's the reality of every individual. But you don't have to win every time. Only now. You don't have to defeat Goliath ten out of ten times, only once. Only for this moment. Then you can move on.

Maybe a hundred out of a hundred people will fail. That's fine. Not everyone has to succeed. Make it a hundred failures minus one. Make it minus you. The odds will remain what they are with or without you. That's the thing about odds, it doesn't care about you, it only cares about the numbers, and it will collect its numbers one way or another. The odds won't miss you. It won't notice. If everyone else fails, that only makes your odds to escape better. You won't be needed to maintain the status quo. You will be the exception, not the rule.

You must run. You must jump. You must fly. You must roar. You must triumph. No one can hold you back except yourself. And no one can help you except yourself. Others will care, others will do what they can, but it's still always up to you. What you can put out voluntarily. The amount of effort you consent to. No one can force you to help yourself. No one can make you go beyond yourself.

You're uncertain about your prospects? Let me clarify something for you: you will fall. That's not always in your control. But here's your new battle hymn: Fall down, get up, triumph! Shout it out. What does it sound like? What are you made of? Let the world hear the thunderclap of your heart. Let the gods take notice.

This is what I tell myself every morning.

And I get up.

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