I had this one hour conversation with a colleague where I was able to open up some of my rejections in life. And I realized how these rejections shaped me to face many more “no, not this time, not yet” in life. Since I feel generous, let me share two of my experiences that you may not know yet about me.
Let me start with my Pia Wurtzbach-like attempt in politics. No, this is not the politics that you may think of. This is just a simple high school student council experience. I’m not sure if I remember the positions I went to run for but as I have mentioned Pia, I tried three times. The only year that I did not run was in freshman year. Then after that, I tried my luck in popularity. I will use the term popularity because I don’t think politics is the right word – I just feel that it’s too heavy considering how I remembered my high school environment.
Guess what? I did not win even once. When I failed twice, I went for the “representative” positions in my senior year because I think I had more chances of winning since two will fill in those positions. But I was wrong, I still failed to win even the second spot. If I’m not mistaken, I finished second to the last. Maybe I wasn’t clear with my prayer – I wished to get the second spot – and voilà! I got the second spot at the bottom. So, please be specific wth your prayers and wishes. Lol.
Back then, I did not wallow that much on my third loss. I went on to focus on my studies and other extra-curricular activities. I was aiming for at least a good finish academically so I can get a scholarship and study in UST. And thankfully, I ended my high school as the class salutatorian. That time, it was an amazing second spot. The one that I felt God has answered my prayers for. And without any bias, I felt that it was sweeter. The last memory of my high school life was me graduating as the second highest ranked student and not the one who got the second to the last number of votes in the student council elections.
(Right now, high school achievements are just good memories. Not much of a help in the real world.)
Next that I will share is joining muliple essay writing contests and again, never winning one. I honestly can’t recall what were the topics that guided those contests but I just remember not winning even a third place at all. I was even quite teased by some of my classmates for joining multiple times and they comforted me by saying that maybe I’m always at the fourth spot. Usually, the top three contestants were given recognition.
This is quite ironic. How come I paid for having a wordpress account to write in this blog when I have all the reasons to give up? I had a few reasons but the best one is that I knew I am doing this not because I want to win or get noticed or receive any rewards. I am now doing this simply because I want to. Back then, I joined those writing contests because even if I don’t win, they’ll count as part of my extra-curricular activities. I ran for those student council positions because of the same reason. I wasn’t driven by the right reasons. Maybe that’s why I failed so hard. And I‘m telling you, I can laugh at them now but it’s not easy to face people when you lose. It’s much harder to keep people when you’re a loser.
After graduating from college, I can barely remember how many times I received a “no”. But I’m sure I got more of it than a “yes”. Real world is more harsh – adults always say this to us but obviously, we don’t understand yet – you need to brace yourself for the all the possibilities of getting a rejection despite doing everything in your capacity to make things happen. This blog post is not to suck all the motivation you have in your body but to remind you that life is life, it is not fair for everyone and shit happens.
So, whenever you do something, do it because you have a deeper purpose why you are doing it. Your “why” must be solid, it must not be something that can make you give up after a single failure. When someone says no, accept it and be tougher. And remember that rejections can also mean redirections. How you plan to get where you want will not always be the way you will get through. (Maybe I lost the elections in my senior year because I needed to focus more on other areas that can help me achieve my goal.)
If you recently got denied, cry for a day but live your life the next day. Take a rest and a few steps back if you must, but always move forward.
Note: I finally won last May 2020 with my poem entitled “Next Chance”. It was a sweet win because I had the right purpose. I did not join the contest because I knew there were prizes to be given. I just submitted my work because I loved what I did.