A few years ago, at a company I used to work for, I was applying for an internal promotion. I filled out the paperwork, got the required number of letters of recommendation from my superiors, and applied on the company’s website. The day of my interview, I got an email from HR stating that I didn’t quality for the position because of a disciplinary infraction I’d received within the previous 6 months, for coming to work not completely clean shaven. (I later worked to have this absurd rule removed from the draconian dress code, which also stated that women couldn’t expose their shoulders…seriously).
The interview had been canceled, but at the previously agreed-upon time, I donned my suit jacket and walked into HR for the interview. I was reminded that my interview had been canceled and that I could no longer apply for the position. I laid my packet of paperwork and letters on the HR manager’s desk and told her that I WAS applying for the position anyway, and that if she wished to throw my packet away and formally deny my application, she could, but that I was going to submit it, regardless. Obviously, I didn’t get the position, but in the end, I had chosen not to be among my own obstacles – not to accept defeat by my own means.
This has been a recurring theme in my life ever since, and no, it’s not always applicable (or graceful), despite my best efforts. I don’t fault people for believing in a master plan, a creator’s grand design, or good old fashioned fate. I don’t fault others for believing that what is meant to happen will find a way to happen, or that things will work themselves out according to universal laws beyond our perception or comprehension. I consider those things pieces of software that, for many, provide a positive framework upon and along which their thoughts and efforts more effectively grow… but I’m not among them.
I’m impatient. I’m determined to a fault. I believe, often to my own detriment, that I can fix anything with an adequate amount of hard work and sheer will. Perhaps my belief that I am in control of my own destiny is equally fantastical to you. It works a lot of the time, and a lot of the time, when confronting greater forces or those beyond my control, I end up on my ass.
I think it just happens to be the piece of software – the operating system – that best compliments my mind – my thoughts and efforts – and motivates me to be who I desperately want to be. For my part, I need to believe that tying myself to the big wooden steering wheel of the ship of my life, digging my heels into the deck, and turning into the wind of the unknown is a noble, rather than fruitless, effort.
I want to believe that every failure and defeat I suffer is my own to learn from, and likewise, every goal I reach was earned by every baby-step along the way. If fate happens to have in store for me the same future I aspire to, then I’ll meet it 3/4 of the way there. If it wishes the opposite, then it’d better bring friends to help drag me.
If I’m absolutely certain of anything, though, it’s absolute uncertainty. I’m just some guy, flying by the seat of his pants, and my mind is changing every day, and I’m open to it. It’s growth. It’s evolution. Maybe tomorrow I’ll learn to surrender to the tao and trust in fate – to have patience and faith… but not today. Today, I will try, and keep trying.