I used to be an achiever when I was a student. I seized every opportunity that the world would open up for me. I participated in several local and international events for the youth, representing my school and the country. I excelled very well in my academic and student leadership life. Though I knew that finishing college wasn’t everything, I thought it would be enough to bring me closer to my dreams.
This year, it has been three years since I graduated college. Slowly, I am starting to feel that I am a nobody again, trying to put color on my empty canvass, fighting hard to reach my dreams.
The journey to our dreams is a painful process.
Most of us have this fear of being rejected at one point. There are times when we opt not to try so we can save ourselves from being too hopeful, ending up brokenhearted.
My personal email is the sanctuary of my life’s rejections lately. Here is where I receive messages that tell me I did not qualify for the opportunities I wanted to pursue. Reading through the messages have made me feel that I am not good enough. Here is where I see a cloud of the words, ‘sorry’, ‘we apologize’, ‘next time’, and ‘thank you’.
It is frustrating that, when I look back to my University life, everything seemed to be smooth-sailing. I got the opportunities that I wanted, grew through those learning experiences, met a lot of people. Everything just fell perfectly like how I wanted it to be.
Now, for a millennial like me, I am passionate about exploring new things and learning new perspectives and strategies to improve my performance in the workplace and in further empowering myself. Yet lately, these opportunities that I wanted seem to be impossible to achieve.
As I reflect on the recent rejections, I thought that maybe I had my shortcomings in the application. Probably I lacked substance with the essays I wrote, or my proposed action plan was too elementary level, or I submitted my application half-baked and didn’t really invest too much to perfect it.
I realized three important things:
- Reaching our dreams requires investment
We all want everything to be instant nowadays. We easily lose our patience when we cannot control things. Whether we admit it or not, at times we want others to adjust for our own convenience. However, this is not the way to reach our dreams. Our dreams require investment. Investment not only in terms of money but more importantly, experience and time. I am 21 and at one point I know I want to be a leader in the workplace someday. Yet looking at it, it would also mean that I have to upgrade myself as a professional—take my Masters Degree, undergo executive trainings, and of course, master myself better and uphold my values better as a person. We cannot achieve our dreams overnight.
- Our human effort should be as hardworking as our prayers
I will forever remember the person who told me, “If you want something, pray for it.” I believe in God and I know He can overcome seemingly impossible things. In as much as God can work in our lives, we also have to exert human effort to make things happen.
It can’t be like praying hard to God to give you the opportunity, yet you didn’t submit an application. We have to exert personal effort and dedicate our time to carefully accomplish each requirement.
I have learned that one reason why I probably failed on my applications is procrastination. I became overconfident on how I would accomplish them. I’d complete the essays hours before the deadline and this it gave me very little time to think things through and give more substantial and relevant input.
- Trying has no limitations
If I got accepted today in one of my applications, I might be in Korea now participating in a youth leadership workshop. Yet here I am reflecting on my rejection. If there’s a nugget of wisdom I got from failure, I think it is the beauty of not having any limits when it comes to trying. Even if today I received bad news, I know this does not ban me from trying again. There is always something new to gain from rejections.
As I jump over the hurdles in my career, I realized that life is not a walk in the park. How I see myself is just a tiny particle of a vast universe. What I might be doing now is very basic compared to what others are doing, probably a reason also why I get rejected. No one in this world can be proud of himself and be complacent.
As I mature through the years, I am starting to learn how to calm myself and be patient with the delays of my blessings.