I’ve been a little sick lately and was lying in bed the whole day. So I got into this loop of thinking about how my life changed after learning to stop self-rejecting.
Flunking in School exam
The first example that sparked this musing was almost failing my final physics paper in the last year of school. I was (and am) extremely bad with this subject, and I knew that I would fail anyhow. So I started going through the compartment paper and realized these are even tougher. It was around 6PM a day before the exam, and I had two choices -
- Somehow, study the whole night and pass.
- Self-reject and sit for the compartment paper a few months later, after decent preparation.
I came up with the theory of “What’s the worse that can happen?” The worst that could happen was even after studying my ass off, I would flunk. That’s it. But I wouldn’t have this guilt that I didn’t try. So that’s what I did. I studied like crazy and somehow passed the exam.
Getting an Internship Referral
I’ve been pretty active on Twitter since 2019, and last year, someone from Apple posted that they are hiring interns for summer 2020, and their DMs are open for a referral.
As an international student, I never dreamt of getting in because of the fierce competition, competing with aspirational students worldwide. I nearly passed on this opportunity as I knew that I wouldn’t get selected anyway, so why I should waste their time. My sister somehow convinced me with the same theory that the worst that can happen is that they would block you.
So I took my chances, sent them an introduction, and got a mail a few hours later that they want to interview me. I didn’t get selected, but I’m so glad I took the jump instead of self-rejecting myself.
Getting an Internship Referral, Again
A few weeks later, someone from my dream team in the same company tweeted that they are hiring full-time engineers. Even though it wasn’t mentioned anywhere regarding internship, I still took my shot as I was fearless from the past experience.
There wasn’t an iota of doubt because the worst that could happen was getting blacklisted by this company. I know, I overthink a lot.
But I did end up interning with them!
Here’s another Twitter tale. Someone posted on this microblogging platform about a junior iOS developer’s role for 10–12 hours a week. As usual, I was hesitating to DM them. But I wanted a side hustle as well, because why not? It’s the trend in 2021. The worst that could happen was I wouldn’t get the opportunity. That’s it.
I researched that country’s standard contracting hourly rate from my friends, and I pitched them that price. And, they agreed! Before this, I was working at 1/5th of this price, writing the SAME level of code.
And then it hit me like a truck.
Transitioning into a Writer Role
After interning as a software engineer in startups, and big companies, I realized that this isn’t my cup of tea. Instead, I wanted to write, and the best way was to use the existing knowledge and become a technical author.
But, I had no idea how to make it a full-time career. As a result, I had been self-rejecting myself a lot — the 42 unpublished articles rotting in my drafts on Medium are solid proof of it.
Slowly, I started writing small 3–5 minutes posts, applying the theory again. The worst is Medium removing my article. It never happened, and I hope that never happens.
Few months of persistence and fighting my own self-doubts, I have almost made the transition!
If I had self-rejected myself, I would still be where I was. And I wonder how my life has changed drastically in the past year by just following a simple theory. I have stopped judging myself so much. Instead, I started to focus on how I can improve myself.