failure & rejection are friends, not food

After 12 hours of chasing children, dealing with injuries, and handling screaming [sandwiched by incredibly high temperatures outside and painful bike rides], I didn’t expect to be in the best place mentally by the end of today.

But here I am, and it isn’t all that bad. I also didn’t expect to stumble across this article. And even though it doesn’t contain remedies for wild-behaving children or towels for the buckets of sweat that have left my body over the span of today, it shed some light and positivity on my current outlook.

For those not quite into reading the article, I think this quote from it sums it up quite well:

“The real cost of rejection isn’t hearing “no” that one time. It’s missing opportunities to try again because the original rejection is still echoing in your head.”

The article deals with rejection/failure, and how many Type A people [slowly raises hand] end up grappling with it. The whole point of the article was not to take rejection like a blow to the gut but rather, to take it as a tool to add to your arsenal of skills and experiences. The article even goes so far as to encourage that we have a daily dose of rejection in order to, despite the initial sting, build ourselves upwards and onwards.

Growing up, I never had a great relationship with rejection. I’m not quite sure when the perfectionist in me decided to hijack my brain, but it happened, and I’ve had bouts of minor rejection reduce me to tears over the years. Perhaps one of the most bitter cases was during my junior year of high school, during a rhetorical writing class. Walls I’d never hit before I started smashing into daily, and the pressure to perform felt like it was through the roof.

Nonetheless I found an intrinsic, angry, almost crazed resolute and intrinsic motivation to move forward, get past the comments, the remarks, the expectations, the red pen. I was beginning to do everything in my power to climb each obstacle and then–essentially–make it my bitch.

Perfect was not attainable, grades weren’t the end of the world, and remarks from others, positive or negative, ultimately urged me to think harder about every word, every sentence, every thought I was putting into the arena of a class that more often felt like it was the Hunger Games.

This article suggests that we should aim to fail. I know that sounds rather pessimistic and rather low in the bar-setting department, but in context it makes sense– it becomes this:

Make failure a friend of yours.

By merely getting used to the idea that you won’t hit the target every single time [though you aimed so intently] and taking care to count every single one of those failures to make them count, you end up setting yourself up for some hard-core learning and improvement. Because with failure comes discovery– something you know now you didn’t before. As Samuel Beckett would say:

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
It’s all about being open to the fall and then looking at your surroundings and ultimately where you landed on your face, making an evaluation [Thinking “huh, so that happened!”] and finally, moving on.

Though I don’t know if I’ll go out of my way to make a goal to “reach 100 bouts of rejection”, [or go out of my way to set myself up to fail] I will definitely try to be committed to the idea of not letting those experiences echo in my head and prevent me from throwing myself out there a second, third, fourth, or fifth time. Nor will I let those experiences slip away without hyper-analyzing them…and ultimately, starting a friendship with them.

thoughts on this post

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