During writing my thesis report, I become familiar with one word, Rejection. In term of membrane filtration, rejection is—most of the time—a good signal that your membrane has high throughput capacity. In reality—the real life I live on—rejection, however,  can mean something entirely negative. In my case, it would be so mean when you are applying for a job or something that you are trying to achieve, but you failed. It can be really so frustrating. In the end, I often feel that I am not capable of, or I am not that good at all.

Until I read a book titled “The way we’re working isn’t working” written by Tony Schwartz I realized one thing. When you feel frustrated about something, it is your mind that is creating that idea. The problem becomes a problem when you see something as a problem. Tony Schwartz said in his book that “we—as human—have an extraordinary capacity to shape our reality, for better or worse”. Moreover, he added that “most of us believe that we see things the way they are that we call this lens a reality. In truth, each of us sees reality through a fixed lens that selectively filters our view of the world.”

Image credit: Amazon

Therefore, when we see something as a problem, we should learn to switch our fixed lens to a broader range of alternative lenses. Schwartz in his book explained that there are three types of lenses: a reflective, reverse and long lens. Here I summarized each of lens as follow.

  1. The reflective lens. It requires us to ask two very simple questions to ourselves: 1) what the facts is here and 2) what the story is that I’m telling myself about those facts. When we feel bruised by someone else’s words, we typically assumed that the person intended to hurt us. Instead of settling down for our stories so quickly, we should remain curious and give doubt so long as there is any doubt. So, when we are irritated with someone else, we can say that maybe it’s just their habit or their personality.
  2. The reverse lens. It helps us to look at a given situation through the eyes of your perceived antagonist. The first question to ask ourselves might be “What is he feeling and how does that make sense?”. In short, we should learn to have more empathy for others. Almost certainly, when we value another person, that person is likely to value you back.
  3. The long lens. The question that we can ask ourselves is “Regardless of how I feel about what’s happening right now, how can I learn and grow from this experience?”. This lens triggers us to imagine a better future by narrowing perspective of the present.
Image credit: Dayne Topkin

In my experience finding an internship place, I tried figuring out my problem to see something different outside my fixed lens. From 30 companies I applied here in Germany, most of them were rejecting me except one. What embraced myself is that I got the compliment from the HR that I actually had a good resume. However, I couldn’t take the chance they gave since they offer a project in my country, Indonesia, and my scholarship provider obliges me to do it in Germany.  Hence, I need to gave it up. At first, it made me very depressed. However, I encouraged myself to see some advantages.

First, when people know you for the first time, they will certainly judge you based on their previous experience. To be honest, discrimination is everywhere dude! It’s even happened in my country, Indonesia, that has a democratic policy, but certain groups still have a hatred for another race, religion, etc. I decided to put my photo on my CV is to screen which companies will accept a woman wearing a hijab. Based on my experience, from 30 companies, only one company accepted me. Not bad at all! With this experience, I realized that there is still certain people who have open-minded thinking. So, let just be the way you want to be, not the way people want you to be!

Second,  become a minority in one place you will face a challenge to show your competence. You need to be extremely qualified to be accepted in their community; otherwise, you will just become a looser. So with these many rejections, I become aware that I need to improve my quality. There will be a time when your efforts are worth.

The last but not least, when you have tried hard to afford something. Let your destiny decide to where you go. It’ll be less stressful and you can enjoy your life much better. At least, you have tried it! 🙂

To end this notes, I remind myself to the song “Heal the world” created by the legendary singer, Michael Jackson. Let’s make a better place for you and for me and the entire human race. If it’s not our responsibility, who else?



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