Success is not final, failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts.
I. Rejected from Seven Universities
When I was 18, I wanted to be a computer scientist. So I applied to seven U.S. universities known for computer science. MIT, Cal Berkley, Georgia Tech, etc. But I got rejected by all of them.
Soon thereafter, a high school guidance counselor told me to apply to The University of Central Florida in Orlando, which had a rapidly growing computer science and engineering program. Out of desperation, I did. And I got accepted and received a scholarship.
And when I settled on Orlando, the move changed my life.
I met Angel there – my wife and the love of my life. And I met a professor, Dr. Eaglan, who convinced me to switch from the school of computer science to the school of computer engineering, with a strong focus in web design and technical writing – two skills I use today to run the blog you are reading now (a website that makes me happy and financially supports my family).
If I hadn’t been rejected by those seven computer science schools, neither of these priceless encounters would have taken place.
II. Your Writing is Not Good Enough
While in school, I began to enjoy my technical writing classes so much that I decided to take a few creative writing electives too. I absolutely fell in love with writing inspiring stories and expressing myself in prose.
So I applied for a part-time editorial position at the school newspaper. I sent them five articles I had written along with my application. Two days later I received an email which cordially explained that my writing was not good enough.
That afternoon, I went home with a bruised ego and told Angel what had happened. She hugged me and said, “Regardless of what anyone says, if writing makes you happy, you should keep writing. Because that’s what happy writers do. They write.”
And after a bit more discussion, she added, “I like writing too. We should start our own little writing club and write together.” A few minutes later, Angel and I turned on my computer and registered the domain name www.marcandangel.com, and our blogging days began.
In other words, if my five articles hadn’t been rejected by the school newspaper, the article you’re reading right now would never have been written.
III. Fired for Doing the Right Thing
After college Angel used her business degree to land a head store manager position at a major retailer. She was in her twenties and she was running a $40,000,000 store all by herself. Although some of the regional executives thought she was too young, she was doing far too well for them to do anything about it.
Until one day in 2009, when one of her floor managers got a DUI on a Friday evening and went to jail. He didn’t have enough money to post a $600 bail, so he called Angel to let her know that he would not be able to make it to work the next day. Angel decided to lend him the $600 he needed. The regional executives found out about this and fired Angel the next morning without a valid explanation.
Suddenly Angel had a lot of free time on her hands. While she looked around for another job, she spent her afternoons marketing our blog. She learned all about social media marketing, and opened accounts for us on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites – the primary source of traffic to our blog today.
We didn’t know it then, but the traffic was going to grow exponentially over the next three years, and by January 2012 our blog would be making enough money to completely replace Angel’s lost salary, allowing her to work on it full time and get paid for being happily passionate.
If Angel hadn’t been fired, none of this would have happened.
Failures Along the Road to Happiness
As our friend Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
The truth is, it happens just like that. What seems like the end of the road may just be a cul de sac. It feels like rejection. It feels like failure. But it isn’t.
You simply ran out of road on that route. Time to back up, turn around, and look for a new route to get where you want to go. And as long as you keep smiling and moving forward, the road ahead is going to be far better than you can imagine. Because eventually, through all its twists and turns, it leads to happiness.
So if you’re currently struggling, hang in there. Remember, sometimes the best thing that can possibly happen to you in the long run is not getting exactly what you want right now.
Photo by: J.T. Noriega