When optimism gets beaten down
Freshly graduated from college, most people set forth with anticipation in their shoes and optimism in their hearts. A month or two goes by and the only thing they’ve found on their trails is a string of unsuccessful job applications. As anticipation wears away day after day, the fear of failure creeps forward to try and steal optimism’s place.
What is the fear of failure about?
Not yet achieving what you want and never achieving it are two completely different things. So different they might as well be on two different planets. Nobody gets it together right away. Everybody has a period of unemployment and that fear of failure is existential dread getting fat by feeding on itself.
What is failure?
Failure is the lack of an attempt. That’s all it is. And the very fact that you’ve been rejected by anything means you tried. And it means you learned. You’ve only ever really failed if you learned nothing and didn’t change up your tactics in response. Every job rejection isn’t simply a rejection, it’s just a lesson on how to improve. So improve!
Just another no
This advice works just as well for dating as it does for careers: the worst anyone can say is no.
“No” doesn’t mean “you are destined for dismal failure and life as a disappointment to your parents.” “No” just means “not right now, not here.” That’s all. You can apply again later. You can apply somewhere else.
Maybe you got beaten out by someone more prepared and experienced, maybe you weren’t a right company fit, maybe the other candidate had more experience. The point is, “no” is just a word. Don’t worry about it. “yes” is another word, which you’ve got a 50% shot at every single time you give it a shot. So just keep shooting!
What is the future?
The future is everything from right now until you die. Every second, every minute, every day, all contained in that word. When existential dread leads you to say things like “I have no future” stop and think how ridiculous that is.
One job rejection when you’re 22 has nothing to do with the vast majority of that winding, twisting path ahead of you we call “the future.”
The only thing that can put a roadblock in front of that future and cause delays and setbacks is you if you’re not doing your very best RIGHT NOW. And Right now is all you’ve got control over. So go ahead and control it.