I grew up with this mentality: If it’s meant to be then things will just work out.

Sure. Things do happen like that. When we are on the right path, the projects and people we put our heart and soul into give us back that energy. I’ve said it before, and I truly believe it: the universe rises to meet our expectations.

But that mantra is not an excuse to stop when things get hard. The world is not telling you something because the life you want (job, person, house, etc.) requires that you fight for it. The rewards we obtain most easily in life are not necessarily the rewards we need most.

Take for example my academic life and career. Hate me if you’d like, please, but school and work were never hard for me. I didn’t study once for a test in the fifteen years of schooling I received. Communications, writing, basic science and math all came so easily to me. I never hated school but I don’t really think I learned a ton, either. I did the subjects that were easiest because I thought natural inclination meant divine intervention.

So following that process through to a career, I went into corporate communications. I got a prestigious internship in Dallas at Southwest Airlines and then went to work in marketing and administration. I was so good at it. It came easily to me, and the accolades kept the little voice in my head from getting too loud for awhile. Again. Natural inclination meant to me that I was born for it. Born for a job I didn’t love in a career I was terrified would be my life. How depressing.

So you can see how the background beliefs I let dictate my life for so long have molded the way failure hits me. In my head, failure isn’t just something that happens because of fixable problems. No, the issue isn’t that I didn’t study hard enough or work hard enough or put this thing as a priority. In my head, the issue is that I am a constant Icarus, and my dreams are the sun. I am left consistently burned and disheartened

We did GISH last week, and of all the things, a stupid rocket cake woke me to the fact that failure hits me way too hard. Our friend Roxy built this cake for us and we were supposed to figure out how to launch it six feet into the air. I didn’t really help at all. I just said, Hey Zach this will be cool, make it work!

So to nobody’s surprise, the rocket didn’t work. I still couldn’t tell you what goes into making a rocket because it didn’t come easily to me so I left it in Zach’s hands. The failure hit me so hard because it didn’t feel like something I could fix. It felt like this stupid rocket cake was a message from the Universe: You’re not smart enough, funny enough, creative enough, etc. to be doing things like this.

The truth though, is that it didn’t work because I didn’t do anything to help make it work. The truth is that sometimes we get rejected (in acting like every week) because of small changes we can make but haven’t yet. Hence, me taking more classes this fall and working with an acting coach. Because I think I have given up on the lie that failure is more than just a chance to learn.

Instead, I’m learning from those failures and not discounting the dreams these failures are working toward. There are so many successful people that have come before me who paved their own roads with learning experiences. So, don’t give up yet and I won’t either. The easy way is usually not the right way, and you deserve better than the life comes without trying.