My recent encounter with adversity

The power of choice

Recently I got screwed by life pretty hard. Actually scratch that, I got screwed by my boss pretty hard, for a day I let myself feel so defeated, I felt cheated, I felt undervalued. And for a very short period of time I actually equated myself to that same lesser value, I almost led myself to believe that I wasn’t worth that much.

Then I remembered one quote that really hit home for me when I first read it, and it was that:

If you expect life to be fair at any point in time, you are kidding yourself.

Throughout life you will find yourself being cheated, beat up, screwed over, f***ed over, etc. That’s just the way it is, there will be people that treat you like crap and bring you down, other people will get promotions through connections, nepotism, or whatever. There are a million different ways that you will feel cheated. Unfair things will happen to you. It’s how you react to the bull**** that comes your way that will define you.

I could have been angry, I could have complained to all my coworkers about how unfair it was, I could have just chosen to dwell on it. But I consider that going on the defense, being angry is a choice, instead of complaining, and going to other co-workers talking about “this is so unfair!”. I chose to not whine and cry about it, because guess what, in this situation, everyone involved is accountable, the person that screwed you over, as well as the person that got screwed over. There’s a couple of options here, 1) you can complain about your boss, or 2) you can do something else like just take your talents elsewhere and leave. This is an offensive way of reacting to the situation.

Now hold on wait a minute, offensive? I don’t mean offensive as in offending someone, I mean it as in taking the offense, going on the attack, taking control. Take control of your situation. Not happy with where you are? Get out! Can’t get out yet because the next goal is out of reach? Don’t sit there and complain, take a step towards the next goal, inch by inch, until you get to that next mile. As long as you are moving forward every single day, believe me that is all that matters.

Your career is defined by your skills and how you’ve used them, not by any external measure of your progress. — Julie Zhuo

For a lot of people this is the hard part, imagine the goal is one mile, but everyday, you can only move towards the goal either an inch, or two inches at a time. A lot of people see this daunting path and realize it’s going to take them years, and then just give up. But from my experience, it amazes me how much we can accomplish as individuals once we put our minds to it. For one thing, any goal that can be achieved in a matter of days, is probably not worth it, and is probably barely a victory you’d be happy with. True victories are reserved for those who endure, reserved for those who persevere, reserved for those who are willing to eat s*** and drag themselves through the mud for 2–15 years, and then after all that work, live in victory for the rest of their lives.

Victory almost always comes to those who are patient. It took me a while to build up my patience, it took me a while to enjoy putting in the work, to put my head phones on with all the chaos going on around me and just get shit done. Every single day I get that inch, every single day I move forward, I don’t care how little I moved forward in a day. As long as I know I’m moving forward as much as I can, as long as I know I didn’t waste time. Some days your progress will be little, this could be due to something like trying to solve an algorithm you just could not solve, a feature you just could not implement into your project. But what really matters is, did you push yourself as much as you could? Do you have any regrets at the end of the day when you look back at what you accomplished and what you attempted?

Live every day with no regrets, time is limited, time is valuable, don’t waste it. Live life enduring, persevering, growing, learning, giving, helping, loving. Just move in one direction, and let that direction be forward.