Stilts vs. Crutches

And how to walk without them.

Katelyn Won
3 min readFeb 9, 2021

I’ve learned a lot these past few weeks. I reflected a lot too.

I believe that reflection helps one identify their mistakes. Reflection helps solidify what you can do better next time. Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s true. I learned this lesson from reflecting:

“You can walk with stilts, but you can’t hobble on crutches.”

In literal terms, stilts are elongated sticks capped with foot rests. They’re often worn in theatrical performances or to scare children at Knott’s Scary Farm or even for fun!


Stilts lift you from ground level. I think of “stilts” as the support systems in my life. I talk to the same groups of people every week, sometimes even everyday to exchange lessons we learned from experiences and to reflect on our days.

More importantly, we support one another. Even if we can’t provide the best of advice, maybe due to lack of experience and relatability, we still listen to each other’s struggles and current obstacles.

Sometimes the most you can do for someone is listen. Sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes you need encouraging words from others to uplift yourself from rock-bottom. The groups of people I meet with daily and weekly have become my stilts.

On the other hand, literally speaking, crutches are support for those who can’t walk on their own; a person needs to lean on the crutches in order to walk with them.


Some people cannot walk on their own. They need to depend on their crutches to get them from Point A to Point B.

If you’re going to depend on someone to hold your hand and spoon-feed you, what are you going to do when they’re gone?

You can’t depend on others all the time. You cannot have your support systems become your crutches. There are going to be some moments in your life where you’re going to have to be independent.

Take college applications for example: you can’t have someone tell you what to write for your personal statement about how you overcame a hurdle in your life. You are the only person in the entire universe who knows the raw story.

Think about depending on your parents. I am one year away from being eighteen years old and by the time I walk out that door, I’m going to be alone in the real world. My bubble of a life is going to pop and there’s no way I can undo that rupture unless I rush back home.

Eventually, you have to come to a conclusion that in life, you are alone. You as an individual have to look out for yourself and not depend on others for security, comfort, you name it.

I believe that one must learn how to be independent in order to mitigate the impact of falling when you are walking without your crutches.

And did I say you have to be completely independent?

No, I did not.

You just have to return your crutches and trade them for stilts.

Thanks for reading!

Find me on LinkedIn or contact me at if you have any questions or want to reach out.



Katelyn Won

Hi there! I am a 17 year old biotechnology enthusiast from Southern California. Feel free to read my articles on emerging technologies, innovations, & much more