— 9 min read
return new Promise.reject(`It's not the end of the world.It doesn't mean you are not good enough`);
Let's be frank. Rejection sucks. Everyone hates rejection. And, it's also completely normal to be sad about rejection.
I'm 22 right now and I can clearly say that I've received much more rejection that I couldn't even count the amount of rejections that I've received compared to acceptance/success/milestones in my life.
In this post, I would like to share how my journey on handling rejections over the course of the last four years of my university life.
Looking back on my academic and career journey so far, I think there is no single milestone I've achieved that comes easily without a single rejection. Let me mention every single event that I've achieved through the last 4 years:
The following section contains what I consider my life achievement through the last 4 years with the failures behind it. Feel free to skip to the next section since I'm going over some details here.
Before my admissions, I actually had failed a lot and got a lot of rejection as well. My dream was shattered exactly twice during high school. It broke my confidence and self-esteem for awhile. It took me a long time to finally pick up myself and be kinder to myself. Outside of the rejections I mentioned above, I also received tons of rejections as well (academic, career, love, social, etc.).
I'm grateful for all of single milestones that I've mentioned above, including all the rejections I got. It teaches me to always stay humble. Without all those rejections, I think I would not reach this far as well.
Every single rejection feels like a direct stab to my self-esteem. I always thought that I was never good enough for anything. I felt small. I felt hopeless. I felt despair. I even felt like giving up on life. I used to feel that I'm a failure and not a good-enough person after a rejection. And it's really hard to pick up myself and move forward. I used to blame my situation and background for everything as well.
Rather than seeing it as a direct stab or attack to my self-esteem that makes me feel that I'm not good enough, I prefer to think that a rejection means that I'm still not yet a good fit for the opportunity/anything related to the rejection. Sometimes, and often, the reason behind our rejection is not caused by our weakness or shortcomings. Often, the reason comes from external factors that we can't control or foresee at all.
Rather than blaming ourselves for the failure and rejection, blaming ourself for not being good enough, or regretting anything related to the rejection, I prefer to see it as a life lesson that helps me build my resilience. It's completely normal to be sad about a rejection, I myself still get sad when I get rejection, but I try not to let them affect my self-esteem anymore. I try not to define a failure or a single rejection to define me, my journey, and my life.
I came from a background that are not privileged enough to prioritize education in life. My dad is a farm owner and didn't attend university, while my mom is a full-time housewife who didn't even graduate middle school. Early in my school life, I used to think that being smart is something that have to be born with. Obviously, I'm not the brightest in my class (until now, actually), and I struggle a lot with my studies. During high school, I tried to study really hard to compete in Competitive Programming and struggled a lot because I always doubt my ability and see myself as an incompetent and not-so-smart person.
In the end of the day, you only need a single success despite of tons of rejections that you receive. That single success either can make you really happy (if you truly appreciate and be grateful for it), and build your momentum forward.
I do think that luck takes a lot of part in every success. But you know what? You can get better at being lucky! Yes, even though it still depends on probability and external factor, but you can rise your chances and you can become better at it. How? Check out this awesome writing by my friend here about Getting Good at Being Lucky.
TL;DR: Take more chances! Take that first step and just do it (not sponsored by Nike btw, hehe). How to take more chances? Get over a rejection, get accustomed to failure and rejection. Tell yourself that you don't know what's going to happen next, because nobody really knows!
If you asked me exactly 1.5 years ago that whether or not I will work at Google/Facebook/Stripe/or even abroad in an unknown startup, I would not even dare to think of it. Nobody, no one, and not even myself, foresaw me getting offers abroad would be a thing. Personally, it actually still feels magical to me!
A long time ago, somebody who I respected a lot and whom I consider to be quite successful in the same career told me that "someone like me would not go far in this career". I tried not to take it personally at the time and tried to ignore it and my inner thought as a result of the quote. That was before my Google internship interview.
If someone is telling you that you won't succeed, whoever they are, even the ones that you consider to be a quite successful person, don't listen to them! Screw their negativity. Everyone does not even know what will happen in their life 1 minute from now, so why should you believe what they said negatively about you?
Before closing this post, I'd like to summarize by sharing some practical actions that helped me overcome my failures after countless rejections:
Getting accustomed to rejection and not taking it personally.
Make a reflection notes / log.
Don't stop trying.
Be kinder to yourself and stop measuring yourself against others.
Your career is not a single race track, and the people running beside you don’t even have the same finish line as you. - Joma
For you who are all reading this post and maybe is receiving a rejection right now, don't let a single rejection to define you and your life. Just like every single rejection has helped me to build my resilience and momentum going forward, I'm sure you can get through this one as well!
To close this post, I would like to share a quote by Epictetus that I found from my mentor's blogpost here.
Try, also, to be as kind to yourself as possible. Do not measure yourself against others or even against your ideal self. Human betterment is a gradual, two-steps-forward, one-step-back effort. Forgive others for their misdeeds over and over again. This gesture fosters inner ease. Forgive yourself over and over and over again. Then try to do better next time.
That's it for this post about my reflection on how my journey to accept rejection over the last four years. I wanted to write this before graduating soon from my university. I hope it can be some kind of useful to anyone who reads it.
Feel free to always reach me out and I'd like to hear from you about this writing!