I strive to be an optimist. More often than not, I’m an idealist. But lately, I’ve been nothing more than a debby downer.
On Monday, I was invited to the second round of interviews for a highly competitive internship program in Chicago. Highly competitive equates to 2500 applications in just the month of March. Odds are not in my favor, or any persons, for that matter. So I’ve been sweating and obsessing and worrying myself into the most ridiculous ball of stress. Did I make a great impression? Were my answers clever? Was I bland compared to the hundreds of other interviewees? Was my thank-you sincere enough? Was my outfit too dressy? Was my briefcase too flashy? Was my hair too brown? Yep, one big ball of stress.
I expressed my concerns to a close friend, otherwise known as Mister Happy, and he was full of encouraging words. A great friend, indeed; but Emelia was in no mood for ass-kissing. I told Mister Happy, “Stop getting my hopes up.” His response was beyond wise:
“Em, that’s where your hopes should be.”
Up high, the highest of hopes. With big expectations and even bigger dreams.
He was right.
Within the same few days, I also ran across this thought-provoking statement:
“For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed.”
Having big thoughts, bold ideas, and daring to act on them — it’s not a crime. In fact, this is exactly what I should be doing. And to all my twenty-something friends, so should you.
We shouldn’t settle now, today, ever. But especially now. Right now, we should be hungry for opportunities, thirsty for adventure. We should take risks, fall on our faces, go dirt poor chasing our biggest dreams. So what if we don’t succeed every time. We shouldn’t punish ourselves for taking a chance, we shouldn’t keep bitter thoughts and bitter feelings. In the end, it won’t be failure that we hold in our hands. It will be experiences, life lessons, relationships, and gratification. We never stopped. No matter how high of a mountain, no matter how small the odds, no matter how great the risks, we gave it our all.
I know I’m not the only person who is sweating an interview. Or maybe it’s a final exam, a job prospect, a new relationship, your future, post-graduation? Whatever it may be, do me one favor: keep your head up, your heart open, and your hopes high.
Infinite x’s and o’s