I have recently been hit by the thought that you can dream and work as hard as you want but you must consider the reality that your success is a two way street. Yes, ultimately the measure of your success relies on how hard you push and keep persevering, but you also come down a road that requires someone else's power to allow you to keep going. Whether this is a college admissions advisor, a hiring manager, how many 'likes' and page views your website gets etc. Because the last ingredient needed for your success is the approval, respect, views, and the decision of others. Because it is those things that drive your success right after the hard work and the love. Your success relies on how many people believe in you and it comes down to whether society allows you to make it to the top. That is the one thing that you cannot control and it has been through experiencing rejection a bit too many times that really made me rethink this perspective and consider the best way to tackle it. It's to let it go. Not the persevering and the love and the continued effort, you keep pushing for those. What you let go is the fear, the feelings of rejection, failure, and the pressure you put on yourself.
It's difficult to come to terms with, especially when you are so passionate and in love with what you do and you have that desperation of wanting to be recognized for your work. But you must stop worrying and realize that there is only so much you can do and only so hard you can work. You can prepare the best portfolio you can present and send as many thoughtful packages of your work to prospective jobs, but the decision whether or not you will be admitted to this institution or given the job of your dreams, comes down to the moment whether they want you or not. Once you understand this, you will know that it's not a mistake on your part, there is nothing wrong with you. I know this because the moment I get rejected for anything, my immediate thought is "What did I do wrong?"
I am also speaking on a grander scale of things. For example, I want to be a writer. My dream job is to be an editor of a publication. That is my 'big picture' goal. Now getting down into the very specifics, I have a decision to make for which publication I'd want to be a part of. But after being rejected a few times I have learned that you can't really choose which magazine you become an editor for. You can choose the ones you apply to, but the publication makes the decision to accept you or not. My big picture goal is still the same whether I apply for a publication in Los Angeles, Portland or New York City. Maybe I think applying to a publication in NYC is what is right for me but it actually isn't meant to be. That's what you have to let go. You thought this one job was going to be the one for you, but it's in fact not where you are supposed to end up. I strongly believe that God never tells you no. He says to you only three things; 'Yes,' 'Not right now,' or 'Wait, I have something better.' He will place you where you are meant to go.
Let go of the things you cannot control and allow life to run it's course. Do not lose hope when you are consistently rejected; let go of the feelings of failure and persevere through the hurt. It didn't work out because that possibly was not meant for you. Do not let go of your perseverance, I'm telling you to keep pushing. But don't put so much pressure on yourself to get a certain amount of attention.
Photograph by Chris Ozer