Aaron Sorkin – Get Back Up

Aaron Sorkin encourages us to take risks and dare to fail, because “the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it is one fewer than the number of times you get back up”.


Make no mistake about it, you are dumb. You are barely functional. There are some screw-ups heading your way. I wish I could tell you that there was a trick to avoiding the screw-ups, but the screw-ups they’re a-coming for you. It’s a combination of life being unpredictable and you being super dumb.

I was there. I lost a decade of my life to cocaine addiction. You know how I got addicted to cocaine? I tried it. The problem with drugs is that they work, right up until the moment they decimate your life. Try cocaine and you’ll become addicted to it. Become addicted to cocaine and you will either be dead or you will wish you were dead, but it will only be one or the other.

My big fear was that I wasn’t going to be able to write without it. There was no way I was going to be able to write without it. Last month, I celebrated my 11-year anniversary of not using coke. Thank you. In that 11 years, I’ve written three television series, three movies, a Broadway play, won the Academy Award, and taught my daughter all the lyrics to Pirates of Penzance. I have good friends.

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit. Things that are easy. Things that are free. Things that you can do every day. Civility. Respect. Kindness. Character. Develop your own compass and trust it. Take risks. Dare to fail. Remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt. Baseball players say they don’t have to look to see if they have hit a home run, they can feel it.

So, I wish for you a moment. A moment, soon, when you really put the bat on the ball. When you really get ahold of one and drive it into the upper deck. When you feel it. When you aim high and hit your target. When, just for a moment, all else disappears and you soar with wings as eagles. The moment will end as quickly as it came, and so you’ll have to have it back, and so you’ll get it back no matter what the obstacles.

Don’t ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has. Rehearsal’s over. You’re going out there now. You’re going to do this thing. How you live matters. You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.