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When someone else gets the thing you want most

What do you do when someone else gets the thing you want most? You take a step back and try to find a way to keep moving forward.

rocky balboa

How to deal with an unfair blow

Life’s not fair. We’ve all heard it before, but it doesn’t prevent the bumps, bruises and heartbreaks that come along with surfing through life. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want, or what we think is fair, but what do you do when you feel like you’ve been dealt an unfair blow?

You have to find a way to keep moving forward. An example? I’ll give you one that still bothers me and always will. Flash back to 2007. I’m hard at work on my Master’s degree and ready to take the final comprehensive exam: pass this test or wait an entire semester to try again. I’ve studied for countless hours. I can tell you film theory and English literature in my sleep. I’ve got this. I know I’ve got this because everyone tells me there’s no way I’m going to fail. What everyone failed to account for was the professor that had it in for me from day one because of an incident that occurred in class. I thought the issue was dealt with, but apparently not, for when I received the comments on my comprehensive exam, his comments dealt not with the exam at hand, but rather the classroom event.

Is there a reason you were passed over?

I knew then and there that this professor would never pass me. He would never accept my work as academic because he didn’t value me as a person, but worse, he didn’t value me as an academic. So what do you do when you don’t get the thing you want most; whether this is a job, a client, or a promotion? I’ll tell you what you do: you keep moving forward and find a way. Sometimes, all it takes a moment to breathe, take a step back, and assess the situation. Sometimes it takes more; changing paths, fields, or positions. Sometimes all it needs is rational thinking: is there a reason you were passed over? Were your feelings/qualifications made clear? Perhaps, as hard as this is to stomach this just wasn’t your moment.

When we see someone get promoted/hired/praised instead of ourselves, we can feel defeated, angry, hurt, and just plain nonplussed. What we don’t see is the hours of blood, sweat, and tears it took for the other person to get there. Perhaps they’ve sacrificed time with their friends and family to get ahead, perhaps not. Perhaps they worked overtime, perhaps not. Perhaps it was simply their time to shine and perhaps your time is right around the corner.

What I learned from the professor incident is this: the harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Some people seem to be born under the shimmering spotlight, others have to wait a while, but when you hit that light, oh how you’ll shine. The bottom line: life deals out more lemons than lemonade, be willing to take those lemons, zest them, squeeze them, blend them and make them your own. This is your story and even when you get presented with a handful of seeds: shine. Shine because when that light hits you, none of those seeds will matter.

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In the words of Rocky…

Remember what Rocky said, “somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or 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! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

Don’t blame the shadows; dance in the light.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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