On Quora, a girl asked:
“I was recently rejected from Harvard (I’m a high school senior). I’ve worked harder than anyone I know to make it – everyone has told me for years that I would get in. I don’t know what I could have done to improve, and it feels like I’ve just wasted my entire life and still come up short.
People will say that I’ll go where I was meant to be and everything, but I just feel inadequate and frustrated. How can I feel better about this?”
This is how I responded:
What’s so cool about Harvard?
I barely got into my community college.
They said they wouldn’t accept me if I didn’t find my High School degree. Do you know how long that took to find? I’m 29 years old, and I was in community college.
Lame, isn’t it?
Well, I have difficulty getting into anywhere. I have not only been rejected by everyone, but also by every single thing as well.
I wanted my grandpa to live forever. He got Alzheimer’s, forgot who I was and then died.
I wanted to be loved. I made the worst possible friends.
I wanted to live comfortably, but my mom lost everything, so we could only eat rice with soy sauce and a single egg once a day.
I wanted to be with this girl I fell in love with. She stole my Louis Vuitton wallet and ran away.
I wanted to be with my best friend. She pushed me away.
I wanted to get my wallet back. My friend who was dating her sister stole it back for me. Wow, I actually got something back!
I wanted to marry the girl who stole my wallet. She left my life and rejected me.
I wanted to make a business. I piled myself into a ton of debt.
I wanted to pay off all my debts. The bill collectors kept calling and harassing me, because they knew I couldn’t.
I wanted to make $600k a year in real estate. The housing market crashed and the banks didn’t care that they said my loans were approved a month prior.
I wanted to be a big time stock broker at an investment fund. The stock market crashed.
I wanted my boss to fix my car like he promised. He got me sued instead.
I wanted to make $4k a month plus commission at AXA Equitable. I couldn’t pass the tests.
I wanted to eat a $45 steak. My electricity went out because I couldn’t pay my bills for six months. Have you ever taken your microwave into the hallway of an apartment complex just to warm up a hot pocket you bought five minutes ago from 7-11 with money that you were supposed to use for rent?
I wanted to spend the rest of my life with my Louis Vuitton wallet. I lost it on a drunken night while I was in a complete stupor, after dropping food all over my clothes.
I wanted to be rich. I ended up poor and losing my car and my home.
I wanted my grandma to stop yelling at me. I got the worst job in the world that paid $2,300 for nine months worth of work. That comes out to about $255.55 a month. Minimum wage is $1280. Oh, and my grandma didn’t stop yelling at me.
I wanted to move back to LA. I lived on a sofa. I didn’t even get my own room.
I wanted to make a nightlife based startup. My programmer ran off with everything, even the money we paid him, without delivering a single product.
I wanted to move to this amazing home on South Miracle Mile. The house was leased a day before I submitted the paperwork.
I wanted to go to a grassy field with a tree in the middle to unwind. I ended up going to a desert and almost died falling off a rock, then had to be rescued.
I wanted to run a bar. My investor went to jail.
I wanted to enjoy my time with this girl in my hotel room. She kicked me out and ordered a love kit on my tab.
I wanted to go die. My ex took that away from me too by coming to save me.
I wanted to celebrate my birthday with a cigar. There was a sheriff levy on my bank account and my account was drained due to the lawsuit I was sued for prior. I couldn’t buy the cigar.
I wanted to go to bed because I was wasted like no tomorrow. Instead, I broke two bones in my ankle and was out of commission for three months.
I told my best friend that I will always love her no matter what. She vanished and disconnected herself from the whole world.
I wanted to make a clothing line. My business partner called me crazy and quit. It was originally her idea to start the business.
I wanted a promotion at the job I was at for the past two and a half years. I’m still in the exact same entry level position I started at.
I wanted to meet this amazing woman from London. She called me mad (which means crazy) and disappeared.
You know what I did to fix all my problems?
I remembered a quote my old mentor told me.
He said, “Without expectation, there is no disappointment.”
So, I stopped expecting results from the actions I made.
I stopped wanting things.
Then, the world stopped rejecting me.
After I stopped caring about what I could take from the world, I decided what I could give back instead. And, I was able to be happy again. Things started to come my way.
So, what’s so bad about not getting into Harvard again?
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media