If you are over the age of 18 you may have experienced the angst of waiting for that letter. You know the one. The thick magical letter of acceptance from your dream school. You may have gone through the hours of checking the mail for weeks. You may have spent time praying for the wait to be over and to know your college fate. Sure, we all have that back up school waiting in the wings. The school that responded quickly and with vigor to our request for admittance. The letter was so thick with paperwork and information that it may have received a slight tear from the post office processing machinery. But this letter you are waiting on is the one that contains all of your hopes and dreams for your future. It is the dream you perceive to be perfect for yourself.
Only after an excruciating wait of roller coaster emotions, it arrives. The first thing you notice is how there is no slight tear in the letter and it feels a bit light. You begin to fool yourself that maybe its just different there. You think to yourself, “they probably don’t send all the stuff like the backup school does.” Your delusion continues as you can’t bear to fathom all the weeks of waiting will end up in a rejection. Yet, you feel the letter and know your destiny. One last breath before you rip open your university fate. “Thank you for your application” you read as the letter goes on about how many applicants there are and how your interest is appreciated. You are torn between disbelief and sadness. You have been weighed, and measured, and you have been found wanting. Frustrated and angry you want to know why with no answers available. Friends, parents, and teachers may have consoled you and you put on the good face to make it through this trial. But why? Why am I not good enough?
The scariest aspect of this system is that we have accepted this form of measurement on our children, our friends, family, and ourselves. We have exalted those institutions that reject the most applicants and who are extremely tough to gain acceptance. My question is why? Why do we see this as OK? Why do we accept this system of sorting humanity? Today, I heard the amazing story of Barry Kaufman. Barry is a leading researcher and psychologist who is pushing the boundaries on redefining intelligence and emphasizing the importance of creativity.
Barry received a thin letter from Carnegie Melon – rejected. He didn’t measure up. Yet at the same time, he met and performed for their vocal performance program. After his performance he was offered a scholarship. What happened? Was he all of a sudden special and acceptable? No! The failure was that we have subscribed and promoted a system of standardized testing and checklists of accomplishments that attempt to categorize, sort, and box an individual into the worthy and unworthy category.
In the end, we must realize that we have gifts that cannot be measured by any system. We may be rejected, dejected, and categorized as something we are not. We are misunderstood and maligned by this system and we believe we must live within it. However, I believe that it is time to RISE. Instead of allowing it to have a negative impact, we use it to energize us. We take the adversity as fuel to find our passion and fully engage in it. We must stand strong in who we are and KNOW that we have INFINITE value that no system of admissions can measure. Your talent, your gift, your passions impact those around you daily. Whether it is a college, employer, social group, or anything else that may attempt to measure your worthiness, KNOW that you MUST be YOU. If they cannot see what you have to offer, that is OK. Your path is meant for a different direction. Your purpose is not enhanced or diminished by this acceptance or rejection. It remains the same. When all is done and our trip on this rock is over, it doesn’t matter who has accepted us. What matters is the positive impact we make on others by fulfilling our purpose.