Defined by Resilience: Why Our Attempts and Persistence Matter More Than Success

I Am My Resilience

..nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” -Rocky Balboa

I tell each of my clients that success, the potential outcome of one’s efforts, isn’t as significant as the attempt, because it is the attempt which defines you, the attempt defines your character. And, as would be expected, I’m often met with a barrage of reasons indicating how absurd I must be, telling me how impossible it is to measure a man by his tries, and how ridiculous I am for even trying to. But, then sometimes, something happens; after my client collects him or herself, he or she asks, how can it be? Why would the attempts matter more? How could they be as important?  Society doesn’t seem to think so. And, this is where I agree. I’d say, “You’re right; society doesn’t seem to think so, but you can.”

In my semi-lengthy journey for acceptance and prestige, I’ve failed countless times, and have been rejected countless more. I suppose that this blog post is even more pertinent to me today, as I was rejected twice this morning, the first time was for a job I coveted and the second was by a prominent psychological website which rejected my application to become a freelance writer for them. As angry and hurt as I was, I instantly remembered that it didn’t matter; and it didn’t, at least not as much as it used to.

My former self would have been devastated, and I would’ve called myself every nasty name I could think of; I would have blasted myself for my incompetence, criticizing my ability to write or even think. I would have called myself stupid and worthless, and told myself that I wasn’t ever going to matter; yep, this was the old me, the me I can vividly recall, the me who now only faintly exists.

Somewhere in my journey, along the long road of heartbreak and failure, I learned how strong I was, realizing how much it meant to me that I kept trying. Through an intense period of introspection, I slowly, and painfully, arrived at a phenomenal conclusion, one that would forever change my beliefs about myself, and one which would alter my very core-being! I realized that what made me me, what made me valuable and special, wasn’t the fact that I had succeeded, or considered myself to be a success, which I hadn’t and wasn’t, but it was my resilience.

It was then that I became aware of my persistent inability to accept rejection, and it was then that I realized how my early fear of rejection morphed into an intolerance of it, one might even call it a hatred. And it was then that I understood how my perception of myself was wholly in my own grasp, having never left it, not even for a second. What our society tends to leave out, as they’re teaching us about the necessity of hard-work and professional esteem and achievement, is that the person whom you embody, and the person whom you become, is directed by your director, the one and only you!

And it’s with that secret knowledge that I’ve come to face the world and the rest of my life, accepting my responsibility for creating my own self-perspective/image, reminding myself of who my worst enemy was. (It’s you against you, as Rocky would say.) And, my present standpoint indicates that success is fickle, relevant to multiple factors which only include effort (they don’t comprise it), as luck and social connections tend to play significant roles in its attainment; but, my attempts, and my efforts, will remain stable, as long as I allow them to be.

For, I am my efforts; I am my character; thus, I am me. So, later in the day I reapplied for that same position with the above-mentioned website, but pitching to them a completely different theme for a blog. Whether or not they accept me is irrelevant, because, in the end, I accept myself and my tenacious spirit.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill


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