Today I had a meeting with my research advisor to give him my final report before submitting to a research contest tonight. I had been working on my submission for this conference for about two months, though it also coincided well with the research I was doing already. He asked if we could have a second meeting so we could go in depth over my paper and so that he could have a little time before the meeting to go over exactly what I needed to submit.
I arrive for my second meeting and he essentially tells me that he’s very sorry, but after going over what the contest was looking for, he didn’t think my work would be a good fit since I wasn’t able to complete the last major part.
While I do agree with his assessment, it didn’t lessen the sting of two months of work essentially going down the drain.
So I walked home in the heavy rain that had been falling all day and had two choices. I could remain hung up on what I saw as a failure and think wistfully about what could’ve been. I could beat myself up for not working on the contest more– for spending too much time on other classwork or with friends– and sadly eat ice cream while staring blankly at some rerun of Pawn Stars on television. Or I could let the bad things go.
What good would dwelling on it do me? Sure, I should learn from my mistakes–maybe adjust my time management skills and learn to prioritize different parts of a large project–but after that point, why bother thinking more on it? Why break myself down by mentally replaying again and again how I had failed?
There’s no point!
Everyone has failures, everyone has moments when they can’t keep up, so there’s no need to make yourself feel terrible about it! Instead, turn that energy into something positive! Double your efforts on a project you’re working on, some cleaning you need to get done, or a blog post you want to write ( 😛 ). That way, instead of getting sucked into those negative emotions, you can keep your positive outlook–and I truly believe that is the most important component needed to live a thoughtful, happy life.
Now I’m sitting by the window, watching the beautiful downpour outside and the river beside my apartment complex swell to amazing sizes, and though I’ve had my share of disappointments and I know many challenges are coming my way, I refuse to dwell on them. There are simply too many little things in life to find and appreciate for me to waste any time moping about what happened, or worrying about what may happen next.