What I Learned From Falling During an Interview

“Alright class, who can tell me what ‘leap’ means?” I asked. I had previously had the class read along in their readers with me. Leap was one of the words I had to check to make sure they understood. When no one raised their hand, I explained how leap was like “a biiiiiig jump,” and got ready to jump.

For those unfamiliar with Taiwanese culture, when you go inside, you typically need to wear slippers. This was actually a culture point Japan brought to Taiwan when they had control over them long ago. Now if you go to a cram school, it varies as to if you can wear your shoes, socks, or if you need slippers. Some pairs of slippers have very nice traction on the floor, while others resemble ice skating.

And off into the air I was, a magnificent leap. Perfect form, all eyes on me. The kids were “oohing” as they saw their foreign teacher jump across the room. As my feet landed on the ground, I suddenly realized that these slippers had zero-traction (a late realization I know). My feet slide several feet, and then back into the air as my body fell back. Luckily my butt broke my fall.

Of course, all the students thought it was funny and were laughing. And of course, I was embarrassed. Not because of the kids though. I do all sorts of crazy antics teaching kids. The embarrassing part was that in the room with us were the head of the cram school, my hiring manager, and the teacher that actually teaches the class. Yes, I had completely fallen on my ass during an interview, my mind thinking oh greaaaaat. I just screwed this up big time.

Now why do I tell this story? Because there are a few things to learn about it. First of all, a screw up does not mean the end of the game. Most people if they have a major setback, they think that it’s the end of the line. No point in continuing anymore, right? WRONG! You need to finish what you have started. Why give up halfway? Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean you should give up.*

Secondly, sometimes it’s not about whether or not you make mistakes, it’s about how you handle those mistakes. If you take realize you made a mistake and you try to hide it, you are essentially a coward. If you get in a really bad mood over the mistake and take it out on other people, you have the maturity of a little kid. You have to own up to what happened and do what you can to fix it. You made a series of decisions that led you to the situation where you are now. While yes you cannot always choose what events happen in your life, you can choose how to react to them. Will you hide mistakes? Blame someone else? Get mad? The best thing is to brush it off and keep moving. Not only does it show you can handle setbacks, sometimes it makes you look more impressive than if you didn’t mess up. It shows that you are reliable when s*** hits the fan, even if you caused it.

So as I was on the floor, I knew that the kids found it very amusing. Although my skin started to feel hot and tingly from embarrassment, I nonchalantly brushed my hand through my hair, and doing the “cool kid snap my fingers into pointing” at the kids I smirked “and that is why kids, we need to look before we leap. Especially when wearing slippers.” I then got back up like nothing happened and proceeded to the next vocab word.  What happened once the company was done interviewing candidates? They told me that they liked my personality the best and that the kids reacted more with me than with other candidates. Don’t let mistakes get in your way.


How to Get Started

I was hanging out with a friend the other day talking about self-improvement. Exciting topic, I know. Surprisingly though, having someone to talk to about self-improvement does make it easier to stay focused and in the game. Anyway, we were talking about how we think everyone should spend some time on self-improvement. A lot of people say they want to improve themselves, but no one actually ever gets started. At that moment, we realized what the most important part of self-improvement is: starting. That’s right. Starting.


Think about part of the 1st law of motion “An object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” You aren’t doing what you should be doing. You sit there and look at a bunch of different videos on Youtube or scroll through your Facebook feed instead of putting in work that needs to be done. “One more webpage” you say to yourself, until you realize you 10 more tabs open by the end of that one page. And then a few hours pass and you realize that you did none of what you originally set out to do. Your work is at rest and isn’t moving forward. You have to push that ball forward and build momentum.


Think about the next part “An object in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an unbalanced force.” Your procrastination keeps moving on and on and on and on until it is going so fast that it’s hard to stop. You try to slow it down by saying “one more video” but it really didn’t make a difference. No wonder why everyone has a hard time stopping the nonsense and starting the work.


I’m guilty of it too. The “one more” mindset in this case is holding all of us back. Which leads to the question: how do we get started?


The cliché goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, I wholeheartedly agree. Any work that you can get down before turning on your computer should be done before you turn on your computer. If this isn’t possible, then when you turn on your computer, you’ll want to get any work done that can be done without internet. To make sure you don’t go online, use some kind of internet blocker. I use Freedom to help me. When I bought Freedom it was a one-time purchase but now they seem to be doing a subscription based service now. It blocks the internet and is very helpful in preventing me from going online when I shouldn’t be.


Sometimes though our work doesn’t always allow us to not be online. What then? Luckily, there are still blockers that stop us from going on certain websites (It seems Freedom now does this too. I haven’t bought the new version so I’m not sure). Start one of those and you won’t be able to go to Facebook, Youtube or any other website taking up your time.


But alright, let’s say you are already caught in the trap. You have already wasted an hour on random videos and websites. What then? My suggestion, immediately shut off your computer. As soon as you catch yourself in the trap, save what needs to be saved and restart the computer. Doing so will stop the ball of procrastination from continuing its path of destruction. While you wait for your computer to reboot, you have some time to recollect and get the other ball (your work) rolling. So kill procrastination fast and then start doing work.


The good part about the second part of this law of motion is once you get started on work, it’s easier to keep going. So sometimes in order to get started, we have to make starting the goal.


A common strategy I hear a lot is to break up your goal into something so ridiculously easy that once it’s done, there’s no reason not to continue. For example, if writing is your goal, don’t worry about writing a whole page. Just write one sentence. If you need to run, run a lap around your house. Once you do these ridiculously easy small goals, you’ll keep going cause it will seem dumb not to keep going.


To recap.


  1. Do any non-computer work first
  2. Do any non-internet work first
  3. If the internet is unavoidable, use a blocker to block websites
  4. Start your work by doing a ridiculously easy part of it.
  5. If caught in the trap. Restart the device.
  6. Work


Hope this helps!