Being rejected can be a very debilitating experience. But never allow yourself to think that you are worthless just because you have been rejected.
We met a gentleman the other day. A good HR professional and a very sensitive human being. In his early 50s now, he has been asked to leave an organization that he had barely joined a few months ago. This was the third job that he was having to quit in the last three years. We were informally counseling him on how he could cope with this phase of his Life. Although his age and experience had imbued in him the maturity to know that such phases do happen to all of us in Life, his eyes kept welling up every time he talked about the manner in which some people were treating him. He was suddenly finding that all his experience and professional abilities were being viewed warily. He had been repeatedly rejected by his last three bosses and employers. All this was hurting him and he was finding it difficult to hold himself together.
I can relate to and empathize with this person’s situation. I too have struggled with being rejected. It really, really hurts; especially when you have put in your best, when you are being pushed to a corner and are told – without logic or reason – that you are not good enough. But over the years, through severaI experiences, I have learnt to deal with the grief that follows rejection. I have realized that grief is a very self-serving emotion. All it does is that it makes you depressive. Yes, it is natural that when you are rejected by someone, you will feel sad. And depressive. But wallowing in that depression is of no use. It will pin you down. It is like being locked up in a coffin that’s dumped into the sea. Now, you – and I – are no Houdini to stage a great escape. So we sulk, pine and suffer.
There’s a way to deal with rejection though. That way is to never take the act of rejection or the person rejecting you personally. Let’s understand, accept and appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion, their choices and their decisions. If someone exercises their prerogative with reference to you, they have only done what they are entitled to. Their choice need not necessarily be viewed as a judgment of your ability or character. Well, it may be possible that you can learn from the experience of being rejected and you may want to improve yourself. But in any case, don’t let the experience of getting rejected get to you. It is just another situation in Life where you have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate strength of spirit and character. Don’t get obsessed with rejection and use it as a benchmark to measure yourself. “Oh! I have been rejected by 100 employers. This is the third job I am losing in as many years. I am a failure because so many people have told me so.” – all these are self-demeaning perspectives. Feeling sorry for yourself and grieving is not going to make you feel any better or even get people to accept you. What can help you is your moving on and trying again. Chances are you may get rejected again. Then you move on again and try one more time. It is as simple as that!
All our lives have fragmented phases when things don’t go to our plans. Unfortunately, there’s no Life Defragmenter that you can run to fix such phases. You have to endure such phases with patience and poise. Feeling frustrated, humiliated and sorry is of no use. Instead remember that what you are going through, whatever is happening to you, is no reflection of who you are or your ability. With time, every phase passes, everything changes and nothing lasts – not even tough times!
Don’t judge anyone unless you have walked their path.
Judging people comes easily to all of us. And at times we judge people about whose lives we have no idea. We just go with popular opinion – either agreeing or disagreeing with it – while passing judgments about such people. I believe each of us must develop a responsible and compassionate attitude towards others instead of being reckless or fickle.
I have a confession to make. I am not a fan of Chetan Bhagat. Not because I have read his book(s) and ended up not liking what he wrote or his style. I simply chose to not be his fan because there were many I knew – some of whom had read his work(s) – who disliked him. My opinion of Chetan Bhagat was an acquired one and not based on personal experiences or preferences. This opinion was acquired way back in the 2004~2005 timeframe when Five Point Someone was released. I was definitely not as evolved as I am today, back then. I have never read Five Point Someone, till now, though I understand (having been told so by some of his die-hard fans) that it is Bhagat’s finest work to date. Over the years, even as Bhagat’s stature and popularity grew immensely, somehow I preferred to ignore every time Bhagat the person, his work, or his columns, popped up around me – on TV, in the papers, in social conversations, on social media and such. “Chetan Bhagat, no, thank you,” would be my sub-conscious, even pre-meditated, response each time.
|Picture Courtesy: India Today/Internet|
And then, this week, the latest issue of India Today hit me! I have worked for the magazine in the 90s and I know that if my former boss, and India Today Editor-in-Chief, Aroon Purie, clears a story to go on the cover, it – the subject or the person – has to have some serious merit. The magazine has changed a lot since I left the India Today Group in 1995, but I know it still stays rooted to some strong values and principles. And what hit me this week is that Chetan Bhagat is on the magazine’s cover! I read the story written by Mini Kapoor completely. I am not going to comment on the quality of the story or the pictures or the layout. I am simply going to share what I learnt from it – from understanding Bhagat’s Life and his path to success as a writer, better.
My learnings could not have come at a more opportune time. Just this past month, in August 2014, Westland published and released my first Book – “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money”. As a first-time author, I am trying to understand how publishing works, how the book trade works, how a book is distributed, what drives people to pick up a book, what kind of people read the kind of book I have written – these are just some of too many angles to consider while you work towards your book going out, reaching people, touching their lives and, hopefully, making a difference. Even as I am grappling with these aspects, I read Kapoor’s cover story on Bhagat in India Today. I just realized that in a decade-long career as a published author his books have sold eight million copies! I knew he was a banker who had kicked his white-collar job to follow his bliss as a writer, but I had never paused to understand why he did that. Now I know that it was a phase of darkness in his professional career that impelled him to write, to share and to express himself. I saw a parallel there to my Book’s birth – it came in the throes of our Firm’s bankruptcy and our personal cashless situation. I read his interview in the magazine and was impressed with his vision for being a change agent – by using his connect with young Indians, to invite them to be the change that we so urgently need to see in India. I could relate to his sentiments about changing India completely. Thanks to what I read, and what I internalized, my respect for Chetan Bhagat just went up several, several notches.
I may perhaps never be his fan in that sense – because I don’t read fiction much. But I read the excerpt of Half Girlfriend, that India Today has carried, and I felt his story-telling is good and he caters to the reading-ability and the social sensitivity of his target audience well. I paused to reflect and ask myself why was I not willing to even consider Bhagat’s existence until now? And why this sudden transformation in my attitude towards him? That’s when I realized that I had just been swept by popular opinion and I had been, I must admit, judgmental. Without reason, without a personal experience. In my Book too, in the context of our Life, I have championed the need to stay away from judging anyone unless we have been on the same path that they are on. Only when I turned an author and got on to the road, on which Bhagat is several light years ahead, I realized how challenging his own journey must have been and I truly understood the value he has created for those people who have read his works.
Every time an urge to judge someone or pass a random – often rabid – opinion arises in us, let us pause and ask ourselves – Do we know them? Do we know their story? Have we been on the same road, the same journey as them? Do we have a personal experience with them that substantiates the opinion that we are beginning to see form in us? This is one way I am learning to stop being judgmental about people. And at such times when I do have a personal experience driving my opinion, I still ensure that I keep my sentiments to myself or I share it with the person concerned. This is how, I believe, we can make our world a better place for all of us to live and thrive peacefully!
As much as is possible, stay opinion-less and don’t judge anyone. For, anything can happen in Life to anyone – including you – at any time!
As the Aarushi Talwar whodunit continues to flummox an entire nation, a CBI court, in perhaps a first of many sentences to follow in this case, holds the parents guilty and has awarded stringent punishment for them. This is a case where it’s common knowledge now that crucial evidence has been either lost or destroyed and where the investigators have evidently, consistently, bungled. The latest issue of Outlook magazine runs a cover story titled Everybody killed Aarushi! The story details how several gaps exist in the CBI theory, how, mysteriously, evidence has gone missing, how, curiously, the CBI court refuses to ask pertinent questions and how everyone – the media that has thrived on sensationalizing the case all the time, the inefficient UP Police and CBI teams and the public at large, who have been recklessly pronouncing judgment from day one – has contributed to the trial being driven more by popular opinion than by intelligent, evidence-based reasoning.
In the midst of all this, one can’t even imagine what the dentist couple, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, must be going through. Whether the Talwars are guilty or not should have been ideally determined through an unimpeachable investigation and an unchallengeable judicial process. From all that is available in the public domain, it just appears, at least to many, that the Talwars did not get a fair trial. Yet, I am not going to invest myself in dissecting the case more than it already has been. Instead, I invite you to consider another opportunity here. This bizarre (ongoing) episode can teach us something about the nature of Life – if we care to pause, reflect and learn from it!
If we look at ourselves, we will realize that all of us have opinions about anything and everything under the sun. Further, we like to offer these opinions, freely, with complete abandon – often when they are never really solicited. Worse, we rush to judge people and events based on hearsay or on what we imagine or, as sadly is the case these days, on what the media has to conjecture! In an urban, educated, tech-driven world, ruled by nano-second social media virality, trial by the people, by popular and ill-informed perception, is as irresponsible as it is instantaneous. Really, of what use are opinions that don’t concern us? Why comment on someone or something, without knowing the truth, just because you want to make a statement, and, more important, be seen as making one?
All of us are a product of the time that we go through. What is happening to the Talwars can happen to anyone – not so much in terms of the specific context but in terms of being put in the dock with nowhere to go to or hide! Life can be totally unfair and can sock you again and again and again – without respite – leaving you no opportunity to even find your bearings or gather yourself. You can go on beating your chest and keep crying from rooftops saying you have been dealt with unfairly. But since Life never guaranteed anything, and most certainly does not promise any fair-play, it will simply go on. Life’s events and course have no logic or explanation. For instance, you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and may be implicated in situations that you did not bargain for. Or you can invite a situation because of your actions. Either way, you have to endure what the cosmic design has ordained for you. You simply can’t escape it. People with a different perspective will refer to the cosmic design as destiny and explain it by way of Karmic theory. Without refuting such thinking just because we don’t necessarily understand it, let’s remember that Life’s just the same, inscrutable and unpredictable, for everyone – no matter what the packaging looks like with respect to each person’s lifetime and what the individual label reads.
Judgments and opinions have no place in a Life that spares no one! So, if you are the Talwars, you stand accused and, now convicted, for murdering your own daughter. Or someone can call you a cheat simply because your business sank and you went bankrupt. Or someone can say your marriage failed because your spouse suspected you of infidelity. The stories are endless – as many as there are people on the planet. And each one will have a twist of its own, its own tale of Life’s vagaries and, often, injustice. Each and every one of us has to live the Life that’s already cast and is in store for us! Remember though that each Life event or encounter is not an accident. It is there by design – to teach us something new, while making us better, stronger and humbler.
So, just because your Life-changing crisis hasn’t arrived yet, just because you think nothing dramatic will ever happen to you, it’s probably not a great idea to let your opinions and judgments about others run amok. A simpler, and definitely more peaceful, way to live will be to wish everyone well. Don’t judge anyone. Don’t offer an opinion for the sake of making one. Let people live their lives per their unique designs. While you live yours knowing fully well that the Master Plan has no flaws!