Not everything works out…. As much recognition I receive, it will never out number the amount of rejection. Over the past year I’ve had 23 rejection email between papers, book chapters, Jobs, awards, fellowships, etc. The ratio would probably 4 to 1 on the number of acceptances I receive. It’s hard receiving rejection. But over the past few years, I’ve got more used to it and using those lessons to improve.
Sometimes rejection is just a luck of the draw. There could be a bunch of other candidates exactly like you. Sometimes, you do subpar work relative to other people. Sometimes you’re not what someone is looking for, or maybe sometimes the odds are just stacked against you. And life or things you plan don’t always work out.
I was trying to think of the first time I realized things don’t always work out. My parents never got our hopes up, so they didn’t tell us we were doing anything. What we had to look forward too was only the things we had been doing. For example, I rode my bike last week, I can look forward to riding it this week.
Probably the first time I put work into something without seeing my highest expectation was our junior high basketball team. I wasn’t always the best basketball player but I was decent. Our junior high team was called the tar heels. We had the best coach that I’ve literally ever played for and probably the best coach out of many I’ve seen. He focused on fundamentals dribbling, passing and shooting. But he also helped me understand footwork, defense and basketball thinking. We put in work and won a championship for our league, a big deal in the moment. The next season we played, we put in the work. But fell short in our championship game. It was he first time I put in work but didn’t get my expected outcome. I didn’t cry like some of the kids on my team but I did realize nothing was guaranteed.
But I’m grateful for those moment of defeat because it makes me appreciate the victories. I also understand that hard work doesn’t always guarantee a positive outcome. The best I can be is thankful for today and the opportunities to become a little better.