Boys, there are times when, no matter how hard you work, now matter how good you are at your job, nothing will ever be good enough for the people judging your work. And finding this out can be a crushing disappointment.
This is especially true if you are young and have spent much, if not most, of your life in school. It is even more true if you are young and Asian. The very hierarchical and regimented nature of the Asian mind, combined with the absolutely ingrained belief in respect for elders and education, means that anything less than top grades, or spectacular performance reviews, feels like a massive failure.
And, at some level, that is true. It is a failure.
Here’s the problem with that way of thinking:
You do not grow through success. You grow through FAILURE.
It took me a VERY LONG TIME to figure this out – far longer than it should have. And I paid a terrible price for my lack of foresight and understanding of this basic lesson. Part of that price involved leaving the USA and having to hit the reset button on my entire life and career.
It was, and is, miserable. But it was also necessary, in a lot of ways. I had a lot of growing up to do.
That is also why, these days, when I encounter failure, I don’t freak out. I just evaluate what went wrong and try to figure out whether it matters or not.
If you were raised as I was, then you believe that if you do all of the right things and keep your head down and just work hard and not raise a fuss, you will eventually be rewarded and get ahead. And that is simply not true.
The reality is that if you want to get ahead and be independent in your life, you’re going to have to take risks, make mistakes, do stupid things, and take serious beatings from life.
Not all of those failures, however, are critical. Many of them don’t even particularly matter and have no bearing upon the rest of your life.
Let’s take an example with which I am intimately personally familiar. Suppose you work on a consulting project, which has a bit of a twist – it’s an academic project run for an actual business client, but graded by professors. I’ve seen students work on these projects. Some students do better than others in these situations, but if you have a project spec for the final report that more or less sets you up to fail, and you barely pass, well, inevitably you’re going to be pretty pissed off, especially if you have actually put in the work.
Here’s the thing:
The opinions of the professors DO NOT MATTER.
In fact, YOUR opinion does not matter either.
The only opinion that matters, is your client’s. And if your client gets value and use from what you have created for him, then that is what matters.
You may not have told your client what he wants to hear. But you have told him what he needs to know. That is enough.
So if you fail in situations like this, ignore it. All that happened is that you failed to meet a fairly arbitrary (and honestly quite idiotic) set of constraints that have about as much to do with business reality as the dancing hippopotamuses (hippopotami?) in the original Fantasia have to do with actual ballet.
Never ignore true failures. If you do, you’re going to get bitchslapped REALLY hard by forces that you will not see coming. But you have to learn to distinguish between failures that actually matter (like what I’ve gone through, and overcome), and failures that are basically irrelevant to your long-term future.
In other words… learn not to stress the small stuff.
And now, since it’s Friday and I’m very much in the mood to turn lemons into lemonade – or, in this case, into melons – let’s get on with putting ourselves into the right mood for the weekend.
This week’s lovely lady is Liana Vasilišinová, age 24, from Czechia. Apparently she was a finalist in the 2018 Miss Czech Republic pageant (whatever that is), and now does… whatever an actually sort-of-legitimate model does on Instaham, I suppose. (Look, I just find the ladies, I don’t claim to have the first bleedin’ clue what they actually do, and nor do I particularly care.)
She does have a bit of a case of Resting Bitch Face going, though – which is unfortunate, given that when she actually smiles, she looks really quite lovely.
We do rather like the Czechs around here. (I mean, aside from the fact that their language sounds downright bizarre to anyone trained to speak and listen to Russian, that is.) They have rather lovely women. Personally, of course, I prefer Russians – they are actually much warmer and friendlier in general. Czechs apparently are merely polite and nice to you upon meeting you, but are much harder to get to know and befriend. Russians, on the other hand, come across as complete assholes the first time you meet them – but the moment that you win their trust, they are absolutely loyal, warm, kind, caring, and compassionate. They will literally give you the coats off their backs to keep you warm.
Happy Friday, gents. Hopefully your week has been better, more productive, and more useful than mine – I’ve been kind of out of it for the past few days for a variety of reasons, but I hope to be back up to speed reasonably soon. Get some rest, relax, and enjoy your God-given and much-needed days of rest.