One Simple Way to Live a Successful Life


“Whenever you fall, pick something up.” ~Oswald Avery

There are plenty of people in this world who know how to be successful, but how many of them know how to fail?

When you fail, that’s when you become stronger—you learn to pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and move on.

These are also opportunities to learn and to help others as you come back up. As the quote above says, when you fall, pick something up. I would add that when you fall, you should pick someone up too.

I used to envy other people, thinking them more successful than I may have been. But I have done a lot in my life, seen a lot of things, worked with lots of different kinds of people. I have been successful and I have failed, and I think it is this that has allowed me to be a more grounded human being.

I have learned that it takes all kinds of people to run the world, and that the ones running the world are not always the smartest.

I have worked underneath supervisors who make you wonder how they graduated from high school, and I have met truck drivers out on the road who are smarter, more educated, and more widely read than some of our recent US Presidents and CEO’s of fortune 500 companies.

These people are truly the salt of the earth.

I am convinced that some of the greatest minds this world has ever known are working quietly in their own little corner of the world, in relative obscurity, quite happy to be who they are.

Truck drivers, janitors, food service workers, quietly contemplating how and when they’ll finally have their Walt Disney moment. When they’ll break loose from obscurity and explode upon the world with new ideas and fresh approaches to life.

But the reality is the world is full of obscure geniuses who no one will ever hear about. Look at the homeless on the street—many of them undiscovered and unnoticed geniuses.

Everyone has a story to tell. The homeless looking man on the subway has a story to tell. He may have been a genius, but world wars and the ups and downs of life have beaten him.

So no, I don’t just look to the “successful” to learn about life. That’s life, in its most distilled form.

In their stories, you can learn not only joy but also about pain. Life is about both. I would love one day to talk to some of these people and write down their stories, find out what their childhood dreams were and what they have to teach.

In a way, everyone is inspiring, if you just have ears to hear and eyes to see.

Life is hard for all of us, and sometimes people feel trapped and have nowhere to go. But there’s no one on this planet who can’t teach us a lesson or two.

We often have this individualistic mindset that says everyone is on their own, and if they can’t make it then they must be lazy or stupid. What we need is more compassion. Everyone, no matter who they are, desires one thing: love. Sometimes a little love is all someone needs to get back up on their feet.

All I want to do is to spread more love and compassion, throw it around some, and hopefully some if it will stick. That’s successful, to me.

I say be inspired with your life.

Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Be compassionate and loving. Tell someone who desperately needs to hear it that they are special. Listen to their story and share what you learn.

A lot of times, people get hardened to the issues, but when you put a human face on it and tell a story it can make all the difference in the world.

We are all just human beings and we are all the same. We can all be successful if we focus on that.

Photo by bernavazqueze

About Brian Flatt

Brian Flatt is just a dude who loves his fiancé, his children, computers, the internet, reading, music, and the Big Bang Theory. He listens to Radiohead, Neil Young, the Silversun Pickups, artists and prophets. Visit his blog here.

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  • indi9

    a little kindness goes a long way,
    and waking up breathing is a brilliant start to the day

  • primaltoad

    This article is lovely. I will no doubt be spreading this article around – every living human being needs to read it. Thanks!

  • Brian Flatt

    Thanks guys. Now that I've written the article, the important thing is to live it.
    Brian Flatt

  • Very nice..

  • Amen to all of this. We are all in this life together whether we admit it or not. So all around us are others 'us' humans showing us that we can be succesful but it can come at a price or challenge, of mistakes, failures and knock backs. If it happens to us and we can pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down and get back on the road of life with heads held high, we inspire naturally others to do the same. Words are princely but, in this case, then actions are king

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  • Copprado2009

    i love dis site…thanks for the inspiration

  • Shalini


  • Sedona Cole

    Loved the wisdom, and practical tips to
    creating success. Especially ‘when you fall, pick something up’! What a waste
    if we don’t. The best thing I ever did was get the support of a coach, as I
    found a pattern of self-sabotage repeating itself. I read a quote on a site
    that really hit me, it said ‘The definition you’ve placed on yourself – or have
    allowed others to place on you – is precisely why you have what you have, do
    what you do, are what you are and act how you act’. (Source:,
    a wonderful mentoring/coaching site, and who I used). I’ve since consciously
    found the pattern, and avoid the cliff to no-where! Great post, thank-you for