A few years back I landed an interview with an organization that I had admired for some time. I arrived and left the interview with quite a bit of confidence, feeling certain I would be offered the position -- overly so.
It was a situation in which the interviewer asked all the right questions, and I was confident I had all the right answers.
Oh, the naivety of college youth.
A week later I received an email that read something along the lines of, “Dear Cole, Thank you for taking the time to come in for an interview and the interest you have shown in our organization. The position has been filled by another candidate whose credentials were a better fit…”
Upon processing the disappointing news I was frustrated. My immediate reaction was to allow my pride to swell up in my chest like a prized fighting cock, thinking to myself, “Whatever, I am better off without them…”
After further digestion I realized just how fucking arrogant and ignorant I was being. I was a college student, who had done nothing of major significance yet to prove that I was better off without them -- ‘them’ being an organization that did millions of dollars a year in revenue and worked with top brands across the U.S.
I was being a pretentious prideful asshole and recognized it. After cooling off, I swallowed my pride and sent the hiring manager a thank you email and asked for constructive criticism.
Fast-forward a couple years. The wisdom and feedback that the hiring manager shared with me on that particular day changed the way I went about attacking future interviews; and was instrumental in building me into a better, stronger and more humble individual.
This person has since turned into a mentor that I hold in very high regard; whose actions, authenticity and compassion I try to emulate every single day.
All because I chose to swallow my pride and not burn a bridge.
Why You Should Avoid Burning Bridges
We have all experienced the painful slap of rejection in some form or another. Whether it be heartache, a missed opportunity or a job we wanted but were not offered; it hurts, like hell.
But why does it hurt? It hurts because more times than not we take rejection as a straight shot to our pride, and pride is something men and women protect with their life. We take rejection personally, rather than objectively.
In order to protect our pride, we burn bridges, we get even. We remove ourselves away from the place of vulnerability.
My first piece of advice -- stop being so prideful. Being right all the time is a very lonely place.
My second piece of advice -- stop burning bridges. I get it, I have done it, but it is self-destruction at its purest form.
Society is to blame for the bridge burning movement that has become more prevalent today -- cultivating this “Fuck You” mentality in regards to adversity and rejection that is terribly unhealthy and self-limiting.
Dealt a bad hand? Throw your toys. He/she doesn’t want to be with you anymore? Scream and shout. You didn’t receive your dream job? Toss a few birds to sky, you will feel better in the morning.
Life isn’t about the plans you make, but rather the shit-storm that knocks you on your ass when you are doing the things you’ve planned. Success in life comes down to how you choose to face said shit-storm.
In other words, how you choose to face rejection.
Having the “Fuck You” mindset along with a burnt bridge or two will only leave you further behind tomorrow.
If I can make you one promise, it’s that the storm of adversity will always be staring you in the face in the morning. Always.
Would you rather face these shit-storms of adversity with a corner full of allies or a pathway full of enemies?
Start building, stop burning.