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A Winning Failure

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Most people think there’s absolutely nothing good about being rejected, but the truth is things can work out for the best because of it.


It reminds me of when I was in high school. Everyone always says the third time’s a charm.

Seeing the crowd of teen girls huddled together in front of the P.E. office, some excitedly hugging one another, others walking solemnly away, I weave my way to the front, palms sweating and butterflies in my stomach. My heart is pounding all the way up to my throat.

“Please, Please,” I’m pleading under my breath. Two years ago getting in would just mean dancing and being a part of the fun “in” crowd, but now it would also prove my hard work had paid off.

My heartbeat starts racing faster, but my breath freezes.

Up and down, I’m carefully scanning names over and over.

Mine is missing.


Quickly wiping away tears that appear out of nowhere, I go look for my friends. My cheeks grow hotter from pangs of embarrassment because, yet again, I didn’t make the cut.


That day I found it hurts so much when effort isn’t rewarded, whether it’s making this team or later on in life when I didn't get a job offer after the interview. I learned that sometimes persistence doesn’t pay off, and that practice may not make perfect in the eyes of others.


It’s lousy every time.

But many years later, when I tell my spiritual friend about my “Tryout Saga,” she reasons you get rejected sometimes because it isn’t for your highest good and your life journey is meant to go a different way.

It sounds far-fetched, but as she speaks, flashes of memories come to mind of friends, clubs, people, and wonderful life events which happened when things didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped.


They only happened because I didn’t get my wish.


Those alternate experiences created the life I have now and I’m so grateful.


In the end, I learned a rejection can lead you on a different path that takes you to the best things that happen in your life.


And I call that a winning failure.



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