We all dread rejection. And failure. But sometimes, rather most of the times, the price you pay for not getting ready for rejection is way more than getting rejected itself. I have just stated something which is common sense but I doubt it is put into “common practice”. What I want to share here is that rejection is good for you. I am not talking about the “mistakes are good, failure is the stepping stone to success” theory that we all know. I am taking about the lighter side of rejection. And the future of rejection that can be extremely different from the present.
Without getting into detail, I can assure you that I have got rejected many times in different fields of life. At all ages. Sometimes even in things that I am supposed to be good at. You would have too. Nothing new. I have walked into interviews thinking I am gonna crack it only to be told “We will get back to you”.
There are a couple of funny incidents from my past that I would like to share regarding interviews and rejection.I find them funny now: back then I was “daypressed”, i.e. depressed for a day. Depression and the “I am depressed” syndrome is a topic for another day, but it does deserve some space. Back to the incidents.
The first one is when I had just passed out of college, had an offer and got another interview scheduled at a big company. Big on the outside. After getting grilled on C programming(which is something I didn’t like) for about 45 minutes, and probably not looking “needy” during the interaction, I came out and sat in the reception area. Since the interview had laster for a decent 45 min, I was confident that I have made it through this round. I had that “virgin” confidence that you have initially after passing out. After about 5 min the pretty lady at the reception gently waved at me and asked me to come over. I confidently went to her only to be told “You may leave now Abhishek! We will get back to you”. This was the first time I had come across this omnipresent rejection line, and took the statement literally. So I asked her “When?”. She did not have an answer and managed to say next week. I obviously went back with pride only to realize next week that I was rejected. Someone out there had the guts to say it to me over phone that I had not made it past that round. Since I had no past of love-life/ girlfriends by then, this was the first time I felt truly “rejected”. One was the actual rejection of not getting selected, since the salary was 1.5 times of the other offer I had. The second reason was the real one. During that 5 min period that I had waited in the office lobby, I had foreseen some friendship/romance with the pretty lady and had planned few things as well. All in vain. It was a double blow to me.
Looking back at and sharing this incident right now gives me more joy and fun than the “daypression” I had gone through back in 2004. At the end of the day I feel good that this “rejection” happened to me. Only that we fail to realize this fact at that point in time. Trust me these incidents happen for a reason. First up, they get your confidence level in the right zone & secondly so that you have stuff to laugh about with others.
Another incident is related to running. I mean “running”, the sport. I started running kind of seriously in 2009. Amateurishly, but seriously. One of my friends Naveen had run the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2009 and had finished it. He somehow motivated me to register for the 2010 edition of the race and I did. Although I knew that 42km was a monster of a distance, I did not train for it as much as a first timer should have. So I had not done any long runs. I did not know how the world felt at km 28, 30, 34 etc. The longest distance I had run on whim was 26km at the Bangalore Ultra 2007 and had got fever for a week post that. And cramps. Without knowing that those were called cramps. But I did run(well, walked most of it) the 2010 mumbai marathon and took some 5 hr 38min to finish it. My friend Naveen who had encouraged me took around 6hr 20 min. When we reached the finish line, we were bruised. More mentally than physically. Our “male” egos had been crushed since many females(of all ages) had “overtaken” us during the run. One good thing that happened as a result of this ego-crushing is that the male chauvinist in me died that day. We realized that it’s all about how much you put in and not about your gender. That’s one amazing thing you can learn from running.
So we trained better next year. We ran many 32km runs and would not miss our runs for VIP relatives as well. Saturdays were our long run days. We used to do 40 loops of the Queen’s park at Cubbon park. One loop being roughly 800m. As a result of which we did way better at the 2011 mumbai marathon. Naveen took 4 hours & I took 3:56. Not sure whether we were elated, but we were definitely relieved. Although Naveen had taken 4 more minutes than me, he somehow got more accolades. You know why? Because he had improved from 6:20 to 4 Vs I from 5:38 to 3:56. That temporarily “daypressed” me. You know what I wished at that point? I wished I too had taken more time the previous year. That why did I not do worse last year. This year’s performance would have looked rosier.
The point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t matter. You never know how your mind can conjure up reasons to feel good/bad.
Rejection or failure is just an event. Be happy and proud of your successes, but make sure you laugh off your rejections. They can be very funny, albeit later. Have some patience for the humor though. It will come.