There are times in your life where you clearly know you missed the target, even before the rejection is real.
You are in the middle of the job interview and you fumble over one of the key interview questions. You can tell from the change in tone of the interviewers or the subtle shifts in their seats that, that one answer cemented your failure for sure. There is no coming back from it and no chance for retribution; they may as well end the interview right now.
But you don’t, you persevered and finished the interview, held your head high and shook all your interviewer’s hands, while maintaining eye contact.
You are in the middle of a dinner on a first date and you make the wrong joke. It’s a joke that you did not mean to say, but you are nervous and it came tumbling out of your mouth before you even knew what was happening. You cannot take it back now and the reaction or lack of reaction from your dinner date shows you that they will not be texting you later tonight to make sure you made it home safely. You may as well pay your tab right now and head home to eat ice cream.
Instead, you apologize for your crude joke, ask them some questions about their upbringing, carry on positive conversations throughout dinner and shake their hand, after paying for your half of the bill.
You are at the bank, applying for a loan for your big business venture. You have filled out all of the necessary paperwork and have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. You are completely confident that your loan is going to get approved. The bank manager asks about your credit history and brings up a loan you avoided payment on for years, but that was ages ago. Their brows furrow a little and see that the pace of their keyboard strokes has lessened. Their lips transform into a straight line and they say they will get back to you by the end of the week, but you already know that you are not getting that loan. You should just run for the nearest exist here and now, saving yourself any further humiliation.
You maintain your ground though, stay composed and follow through with the rest of the meeting. You collect as much information as you can and try to maintain a positive demeanour; it is not over until its over.
You have been training for this half marathon for six months and you are physically and mentally prepared. The day of the big run arrives and you burst out of bed, ready to go. You get to the race grounds and you are jittery, but you know that this is all nerves. Your corral time is up and you are at the front of the line, ready to start your big journey and make your dream time. You run the first few miles and your pace is strong and good, but around the sixth mile, you get a stitch in your side. You try to ignore it, but you know you need to stop, stretch it out and continue the race. You eventually are forced to stop and know, while you are stretching that there is no way you will make your dream time. The race is over and you are not even halfway done.
You know the race is not over though and you keep going. You discount the fact that you have missed the mark, find your stride again and focus on finishing the race.
You focus on finishing what you committed to completing.
These situations happen in life all of the time. They make us or they break us. They are the worst situations to go through, in the moment, but they are our best lessons of our life.
They make us stronger.
They make us more resilient.
They make us handle stress, pressure and rejection so much better.
These situations sometimes make us crumble a bit, after the initial blow, before we get back up and start again, but that is okay too. Sometimes falling apart is all part of the process and that is okay; it is all part of a bigger process of self-improvement.
When your upcoming failure is finite it does not deter the experience in any capacity. This can be a very hard concept to master, but every experience, where you give it your all, matters. Each job interview, terrible first date, rejection letter, and ‘better luck next time’ note are all worth their weight in gold. They make you stronger and more prepared for the next great opportunity.
Every failure I have had has been a building block for the success I received in the end. Sure, in the moment, the impatience of not getting what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted it was infuriating, but after some time, when I was calmer, I can see the learning moment more clearly.
Every failure helped me correct a weakness as well. It helped me dig that much deeper when the next opportunity presented itself. It helped me see my areas of improvement and afforded me the time to work on them, before my next big hit. By being humbled by my rejection, and spending the time learning from where I missed the mark, I was able to come back stronger and more reformed the next time.
The next time you feel the urge to quit before you have started, quit while you are ahead or bail before you are rejected, remember that those of us, who stay, stick it out and experience the whole process gain infinitely from it.
Those of us who are willing to be humbled, sometimes humiliated, and have our character crumbled a bit rise up ever so much stronger.
It can be very hard to put yourself out there. When you ask someone out on a date, apply for a job, start a blog, try and start a family, try to lose weight, or ask for a promotion you are putting yourself out there and that is daring. You have to remember that for every time you put yourself out there, there is ten times the number of people who are not putting themselves out there and are making themselves smaller even smaller, for fear of failure. We are not the ones who are losing, even though rejection does feel like losing, but it’s not.
You do not lose when you try, you only lose when you do not even attempt to better yourself and your life.
Do not be afraid to try because when we stop trying we are laying down and telling life to walk all over us. When you stop trying you are telling the universe that you no longer care about yourself and when we do not care about ourselves how can we possibly expect others to? If we are not willing to fight as hard as possible for ourselves and our own future, how can we possibly expect betterment in the days ahead?