It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.
Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.
Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:
1. Take five
When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen
2. Put things into perspective
Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.
3. Assess what went right
You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.
4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve
After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.
“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda
5. Remember, what will be, will be
Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.
The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.
They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.