Our Obsession With Rejection
American culture is obsessed with rejection. That is to say, we’re obsessed with attempting to get approval for almost every major decision we’ll ever make in our lives. The Pioneer Spirit? Long dead, I’m sorry to say. Long gone and buried.
It’s ironic that just about the time when become full-fledged adults is when we start leaving our fates in the hands of so many other people.
We ask ourselves, “what should I do for a career?”, then we look up which college graduates make the most money, or think about what classes would be the easiest to get through. The correlation between success and education has certainly been shown to be false by the latest generation if nothing else. We are the most educated generation that has every walked the face of the earth and yet we’re immobile in the face of simple tasks and important decisions.
Can’t I pay someone to do this for me? Can’t someone tell me how to do this in a book so I wouldn’t have to learn through failure?
Every year, millions apply for universities in the hopes for the lauded college acceptance letter. A college acceptance, meaning someone has been granted the right to spend tens of thousands of dollars of the course of several years, is greeted with the same pomp and circumstance as winning the lottery. People record it and put it up on YouTube, as if to say, I did it! Life is smooth sailing from here on out.
All this in an era where super-inflated college loan debt has bubbled to become one of the biggest financial anchors for individuals of several generations and the economy at large.
We are a nation of applicants and candidates.
We finish college or that first job and settle for whatever job will pay us the most for the least amount of hassle. If you can even get a job offer anymore. That’s going away too. Most of the good ones have been eliminated or turned into computer programs. As a result of a whole economy’s hiring handed over to software algorithms that simply assign a “yes” or as is so often the case, a “no” because some keyword has been left out of a resume.
We grow older and look back and don’t like what we see. We feel like somewhere along the lines our lives started living us and not the other way around. Because…they did. We let other people make decisions for us based on disproven ideas such as: money makes you happy, promotions mean you are successful, being busy means you’re doing good.
What’s the answer? What can I do to stop making the same mistakes? If you’re mentally asking this, I’ve lost you. No one can tell you what’s right, no one can tell you what’s the perfect decision, what will be the path of least resistance. Because frankly, no one knows. There is no perfect choice, only what’s right for you. And only you can tell that. If you’re out of tune with that inner voice, like I am most of the time, that’s because you long ago stopped listening to it. When it speaks you shut it up because what the hell does it know anyway? That’s what most of us do.
As a result, jobs are something other people give you, acknowledgement of your mastery in a field is something other people bestow upon you, the power to take charge of your life and pick your own path is controlled by other people, because we put our choices in the hands of other people.
I’m personally sick to death of having to ask for the acceptance of everyone let alone anyone. Well, besides my girlfriend, but that’s something different.
I decided to start writing online and publishing my own books online because I wanted to and didn’t want to spend years getting told “no” by every outfit to whom I’ve sent my writing. Could my writing improve? Of course, vastly and by lengths measured in light years. But what better way to do so than to practice, to create without waiting for the pat on the head of publishers or editors or even the general public reading anything I’ve put out there?
When I am facing a decision or next stage in my life that is dependent on the whims of strangers is when I strongly question my path. My goal has always been to create and to do so independently and to do so in a way where it could furnish a life that was not spent pleasing endless people on an endless basis. I am getting there by mouse steps, but I am getting there. And that is something I certainly don’t need the permission of anyone to do and neither do you.
Further reading: The high economic and social costs of student loan debt via CNBC
Further reading: I’m a Smart Person — So Why Can’t I Get Hired? via LinkedIn