Lately I’ve been wondering if it’s possible that I am, in fact, The Worst.
Recently I’ve had a string of “failures.” I use quotation marks around failure, not because I didn’t fail, but because in the grand scheme of things they haven’t been epically disastrous cessations of necessary activities or projects. It’s just rejections and, as hiring managers and editors like to put to it, “just not being a good fit.”
Life is, in a lot of ways, pretty fail-tastic.
I was slowest in the race. I didn’t get the job. And, man, did those people really, really, *REALLY* not like my story. Not just a hard pass. If they had a choice between cyanide and reading my story again, they’d pause to think about it.
I think all that stuff happens to most of us at one point in our lives and, if it doesn’t or hasn’t yet, then maybe it should. Kind of like how everyone should work in the service industry at some point: It’s really hard to be an unsympathetic asshole to your waiter or sales associate if you’ve been a waiter or sales associate. It’s really hard to pontificate about how lack of pay off automatically equals laziness or worthlessness if you, yourself, have experienced rejection.
I read somewhere that the key to success isn’t really talent so much as it is “grit,” where “grit” is defined along the lines of “the ability to dust yourself off and try again in the inevitable event of criticism or adversity.” I think that’s probably true. Look at Jay Leno: Not the best, brightest, funniest, or most popular, but no one doubts his persistence and work ethic. It must be that persistence and work ethic that have made him so successful because, good Lord, what else could it have been?
I tell myself that I’m just going through a “gritty” period in my life and if I just focus on my work ethic, persistence, and resilience I’ll come out the other side sooner or later and maybe even earn a blissful hiatus where I’ll only have to be as gritty as “The Big Bang Theory.”
But here’s the thing: There is such a phenomenon as being an unrealistic idiot. You can’t *really* be a princess when you grow up. You’re not going to discover the cure for cancer if you refuse to go to college. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between a lofty, yet achievable, goal and delusions of grandeur.
So I find myself wondering if I’m failing so much lately because life is about “developing character” or because I am, in fact, The Worst. Maybe it’s both. I suppose even The Worst can develop character, so maybe trying is a good thing in and of itself.
I’ll hang on to that idea, I think, at least for the time being.
If even The Worst can develop character, then no matter what, some good can come out of rapid fire rejections followed by suiting up for what will most likely be more of the same.
Gritty is better than bland, anyway.
Can someone teach me to cross stitch? I need to put that shit on a pillow.