“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~Dalai Lama
A year ago, I hit rock bottom. Until that point, I had put all my energy into my dream of becoming a physician. Last year my life slammed into a brick wall, and my plans seemed to be torn into pieces.
After high school, I took every opportunity to immerse myself in the medical profession while maintaining my grades in college.
During the summer of my freshman year, I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and practiced being a first responder during medical emergencies. Over the next three years, I woke up at 6:00 AM on the weekends and drove an hour to work as a Patient Care Assistant on the Trauma floor at Parkland Hospital.
However, none of my hard work, experiences, or ambitions seemed significant last year when I didn’t gain acceptance to medical school.
All the work I had put into achieving my dream meant nothing. The energy that I had expelled to become a physician felt meaningless. I was a senior graduating from college, but I no longer had a life plan.
After a challenging year, I finally let go—and then I got into medical school.
I feel grateful now to share how hitting a brick wall can make you stronger. In fact, it could be one of the best things that could happen to you.
1. When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.
After a huge disappointment, fear of failure disappears. Once you hit a major low, you realize that any action you take must lead to something better.
This mindset gave me the conviction to search for other ways of utilizing my passion for medicine. After speaking with a mentor and doing some research, I decided to apply to a Master's program that could prepare me for medical school.
The Master's program was a challenge of its own, but considering where I had been the previous year, I hit a point of no return and thought “Bring it on!”
2. Hitting a brick wall gives you the chance to realign your focus.
Usually, when our plans don’t play out as we want them to, we tend to look within ourselves. We think about where we went wrong, what we could have done differently, and what we can change about ourselves to make sure we never end up in the same position.
Giving myself a reality check pushed me to work smarter and aim higher than I had before. Everyone makes mistakes, but learning from our mistakes can radically change our lives.
3. Even the slightest improvement in your life gives you confidence to carry on.
When faced with a speed bump on your journey, the second you get back on the road, your self-esteem gets a boost. Without the speed bump, many people may not even appreciate the smooth road ahead.
Although you may be taking little steps on your way back up, every step counts. As you practice staying committed to taking a step every day, you will begin to trust yourself in a way you may never have learned to otherwise.
4. You learn things to prevent mistakes in the future.
When things don’t pan out as you hoped they would, you develop rules and values to help guide your future. You may gather lessons or develop a mantra to live by in order to move on stronger and more prepared.
Once we come to terms with the message, we tend not to make the same mistake again. When aligned with our intuition, a level of pain resurfaces if we come close to repeating the same mistake.
5. Your “should do” becomes “must do.”
When you face the reality of missing out on your dream, taking action is not just a choice. It becomes essential. You realize that life is short, and if anything is going to get done, it needs to get done in the present moment.
As a result, you focus to align your actions with the life you want to create. You no longer wait for luck to come to you. Instead, you take the reins of life in your own hands and create your future.
6. You pursue your goal and work hard even when not rewarded.
When changing your values and realigning your focus to recover from a setback in life, you become accustomed to giving your all. No matter how much more challenging than before, this becomes a habit.
After a while, you realize that one of the greatest pleasures in life comes from simply knowing that you are doing your best every day. At the end of the day, knowing that you are moving one step closer to your goal is what brings satisfaction.
7. When you overcome the challenge, nothing seems too big to handle.
Once you create something positive for yourself, regardless of that thing that didn’t work out, you will feel that you’re ready to race any challenge that may present itself.
Overcoming barriers in life may take time, but patience and perseverance make you a more resilient person.
It took me a year of pushing myself to reach my goal. I didn’t plan it that way, but I’m grateful for what that year gave me.
There will always be challenges in life. Confidence comes from accepting and facing those obstacles and letting them make you stronger.
Photo by PVT INC