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Life has a funny way of kicking us in the teeth when it feels like we’re getting too cocky.

I just wrote my “Worrying is a Waste of Time” entry, and I was feeling very confident in my whole it-doesn’t-matter-what-people think state of mind, and then today happened.

Queen of Hearts, which is the book coming out after Breathe With Me, is about magic. To be precise, it’s about a girl who falls in love with two different magicians…and the lies and illusions we tell ourselves when we fall in love. It’s also about my love affair with magic.

I thought it would be fantastic to get David Copperfield to give me a line about the book I could display on the cover. David Copperfield is the first magician I ever saw, and he’s mentioned a couple times in the book. After weeks of maneuverings and emails, Copperfield’s assistant wrote me back today to tell me that Copperfield doesn’t have time to look at the book. I don’t know if that’s worse than having him look at the book, not like it, and decline to give me a quote, but it still hurt. It was really disappointing. Do I need Copperfield’s validation? No, of course not. Did I want it? Yes, very much so.

Today, also, someone whom I recently met, and of whom I had grown fond, said some hurtful things to me. To make it worse, those hurtful things were completely unexpected, and so I was unprepared to hear them.

Why am I sharing these things? There is no profound purpose other than, yes, we may figure things out and have epiphanies, but sometimes nothing can prepare us for disappointment. When it hurts, it hurts.

And then we just have to pick ourselves up and keep going. And I’m writing this to remind myself.

From the Wall Street Journal: “In recent years, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth has studied spelling bee champs, Ivy League undergrads and cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. — all together, over 2,800 subjects. In all of them, she found that grit — defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals — is the best predictor of success. In fact, grit is usually unrelated or even negatively correlated with talent.”

That’s right. Grit trumps talent. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t get out of bed.

(Want to check your own grit? Duckworth’s test is here.)

So it’s not about failing. It’s not about trying to be invincible. It’s about what you do after you get hurt, after you feel like you’ve failed. Do you get back up and try again? Or do you crawl into a corner and lick your wounds?

Setbacks don’t discourage me.
 Very much like me
 Mostly like me
 Somewhat like me
 Not much like me
 Not like me at all

Guess which answer has the most “grit.”