Everyone has their fair share of moments when they contemplated on giving up. Artists getting shunned due to their seemingly inadequate portfolios, a fresh graduate getting turned down by countless job applications due to a less than stellar resumé, or the harrowing feeling of getting rejected by another university simply because your academic results did not make the final cut.
"Moving on might help you realise what you really want instead."
It gets to that point where you are left all alone with your thoughts, and no amount of tactful consolations from close friends or family can help you feel better. Why can't you just get it and move on and be done with it? Why is it so hard ? Some will say that there's always next time, you can always try and work harder again and so on as you wait for the next round of applications to open in the coming year. Then there are those who consider the practicality of you chasing these dreams. Perhaps you should consider other options for yourself. Invest your time in other things, and stop being so hung up over just this one, single thing. Moving on might help you realise what you really want instead.
You consider their advice given out of goodwill only after the endless amount of 'heart to heart' talks forced upon you when lunch or dinner meetings don't go your way and well-meaning texts that stretches out into the dreaded humongous chat balloon on Whatsapp or Telegram. Your stubbornness that hugs the ideals of protecting your dream start to give way after the routine is further stretched on, as more failures come your way. Another rejection letter, another interview gone as time speeds by like the sand in a hour glass. You start to accept the idea of letting it go, giving up on something that you've always wanted in hopes of finding something better and greater.
"Then you remember Stephen King was rejected thirty times by publishers, Jack Ma was rejected ten times from Harvard and Sir James Dyson went through thousands of prototypes before he invented the vacuum cleaner."
But you stop, because the possibility of you letting it go makes you think that it might be like how children lost their helium balloons that glint like rubber jewels under sunlight. They let go and the balloon never comes back. It just floats up and up and away as it's sucked towards the endless afternoon clouds and then it's gone. The string ends of that helium balloon is slowly slipping from the crooks of your fingers and out from the wrinkles of your palm. The taut string is shining from the cold sweat that you've broken out in, a few thoughts away from making it's final escape towards a blue void. Then you remember Stephen King was rejected thirty times by publishers, Jack Ma was rejected ten times from Harvard and Sir James Dyson went through thousands of prototypes before he invented the vacuum cleaner. It makes whatever you are going through now look like peanuts.
"They worked, and they worked hard. They hustled endlessly for the life that they are having now, even if it's not picture perfect."
So you hold on. And you realise that Rome was not built in a day, and bits and pieces are what makes a puzzle a complete picture in the first place. You need to tell yourself that you are allowed to take the time and resources to pursue what you want, to get what you want in life. If it's not available to you, you find a way to make it all work somehow - whether it's taking up that extra job or going to the library for affordable references to look to. Your parents didn't get to where they are by simply sitting around and talking to friends all day. They worked, and they worked hard. They hustled endlessly for the life that they are having now, even if it's not picture perfect.
It's not because you just like the idea of success, you want it. You want to live and breathe in it, because to you being good at what you've always aspired to do is the most amazing feeling you can ever get in this lifetime. You will work hard to make it happen, no matter how many times it takes you to do it. Another day, another week goes by. You use the time to read up on the things and do your research that will get you there. References at the old-school graphic bookstore at Bras Basah, the endless submissions of materials to relevant competitions and scouring past interview questions and experiences posted on forums that have their fair share of users who tried and failed again and again until finally, they succeeded.
Everyone has their fair share of moments when they contemplated on giving up. But the artists will get their recognition eventually, the fresh graduate will get a company that sees them as more than just a piece of paper and the acceptance letter will gladly arrive when you've done your due diligence to make up for what you are missing on academics with a sturdy portfolio. You will get the success that you want in life when you've done everything and anything you can for it to happen.
You just have to be the Rocky that you need in your life and try and try and try again.