Now, I know I’m not a licensed life coach, but bear with me.
Growing up, as millennials, we were always winners. We received trophies for participation. For effort. For improving. Even for just trying, sometimes without even trying.
We were winners even when we were losers and (un)fortunately, times have changed.
We are losing, (occasionally.)
We’ve been rejected.
We’ve failed exams.
We were passed over for the job we wanted.
We didn’t get our dream internship.
We’ve been dumped, for God’s sake!
All without having a gold medal placed around our necks telling us what a wonderful job we did.
I mean, I don’t know about any of you, but I have never had a gold star placed next to the enormous “F” on my Art History exam. Nor did I receive a scratch and sniff smiley face sticker on my summer internship rejection letter.
Times are changing, and for the first time, failure isn’t being sugar coated for us. And it hurts. Bad.
But for this incredibly alarming wake up we are now having to live with, we have to remember that failure is not the end of our path to success in our future or lives, but is actually a major part of it.
Just ask them:
- H. Macy (you know, the founder of our favorite department store) had seven startup businesses fail before he found his success.
- Walt Disney not only was fired by a news editor early on in his career for having “no imagination” but also had several failed start up businesses before creating his unforgettable character Mickey Mouse.
- J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 different publishers.
- Marilyn Monroe was turned down by many film producers because she was not “pretty” enough.
- Oliver Stone, the three time Oscar-winning filmmaker dropped out of school to write his first novel that was rejected by every publishing agency, until one day it wasn’t, but was received so poorly that he went off to teach English to the Vietnamese. Which resulted in him joining the army, and inspiring his three most popular films.
- Steven Spielberg didn’t get accepted to his dream college, University of Southern California. In fact, he was rejected three times.
- Jim Carrey was denied a role on SNL.
- Bill Gates had many failed businesses with Microsoft before he had his big break.
- Vera Wang didn’t make the U.S. Olympics, instead, she became an editor at Vogue, and was actually passed over to be editor-in-chief.
- We’ve all seen Stephen King’s terrifying movie Carrie, but did you know that the book that inspired it was rejected over 30 times?
- Elvis Presley was fired after his very first performance.
- Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage the first time he performed stand-up.
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from one of her first reporting jobs because she was not “fit for T.V.”
- Dr. Suess’ first book was passed over by over 25 different publishing companies.
- And of course, it must be mentioned, that Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team.
My point: we don’t always have to be successful to become successful, because absolutely every successful individual has experienced heartbreaking failure.
It’s not only a part of life; it’s a part of victory.
Not achieving something you want may seem like the end of the world. It might force you into bed to watch reruns of Friends and eat heart-shaped chocolates. It might force you to consider quitting reaching for your dreams, but it shouldn’t. Because you know what, you’re on the right path (believe it or not) and you are going to make it.
Our fellow successors have proved that time and time again.
Well, we could conclude this with one of those “one door closed, one window open” type of thing, or I could just tell you to pick yourself up, because the world isn’t done with you yet.