Gratefulness Challenge Day 18

What a great start to the week! I love a good busy Monday filled with a mix of personal, professional, artistic and social events. Not even sure how all that fits into one day, but it did! Makes me even more excited to continue posting my Gratefulness Challenge over the rest of the week.

1. Productivity: So you know those lists I was mentioning yesterday? I got to check so many things off of them today! Such a great feeling when the number of things on my to-do list has dropped without ten more being added on. My head feels clearer, I feel calmer and my day today looks promising. I didn’t even feel bad when I stopped working early and watched TV for a little while last night. I even got a few things done that never even made it on my list. I’m sure that in no time my to do list will have become pages long once again, but getting a handle on things at the beginning of the week gives me so much drive to continue being this productive in the days to come instead of waisting time lazing around at home. What a great start to the week.

2. Multitasking: I know that neurologically speaking multitasking is impossible, but even if what my brain is actually doing is quickly jumping between tasks I think it is pretty awesome. Being able to cook dinner, do laundry, and research applications all at once is worthy of a pat on the back as far as I’m concerned. Now since I know that focusing on multiple things at once isn’t actually possible I do try and be careful with what I simultaneously tackle. There are some tasks that deserve your undivided attention to get done properly. When its just day-to-day tasks I am trying to get done though, doubling or tripling them up serves me really well. It also helps me have more time to focus on the more challenging things I need to get done. If I can get some of the more menial tasks out of the way I feel better able to focus on the more challenging things I have to do. I’m not constantly getting distracted by thinking about everything else I still have to accomplish. So call it multitasking, call it constant focus shifting, I’m just really glad that I can cook an egg and do the dishes at the same time.

3. Rejection: So I don’t exactly love this item on the list. I don’t get rejected and start jumping up and down in celebration. I am grateful though for what rejection teaches me about myself. Regardless of what type of rejection you’re experiencing having someone tell you that they aren’t interested in what you have to offer feels really shitty. But as long as it doesn’t send you into a spiral of self doubt and distress it can be quite helpful.

I once read this book by Gigi Rosenberg called The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing in which she stated that when you are applying for grants, you should be getting something out of it other than the potential of actually getting what you are asking for. Her thought was that applications take a lot of time and energy so if the only thing you can see yourself getting out of it is a positive response, then it just isn’t worth all that time. I think this concept can be applied to more than just grant writing. Whether you’re applying for a job, asking someone out or asking for funding the possibility of rejection is always high. So what are you able to gain from the experience regardless of the outcome?

But once the rejection letter arrives, what can you learn from that no that you could never learn from a yes. Whenever I get a no from someone and it is appropriate I ask for feedback. There are a million reasons why my application may have been not received as I intended and I want to know where I could use to improve. Its not very often that you can get fairly objective feedback so I try and grab it whenever I can. I also try and check in with myself in an objective fashion. Instead of blowing everything out of proportion, I try and focus on the facts. What were requirements that I knew I met, what were ones that I knew could be challenging. How could I present those facts differently next time to appear more advantageous. Their big, sometimes impossible, questions but the exercise of trying to answer them can be very helpful.

Last summer I heard artist Deborah Pearson say in regards to rejection that the best way to deal with applying for things is to submit your application and then forget about it. Busy yourself with the next application or project and don’t even think about that application you haven’t heard about yet. That way when the response does come if its good then you have a sudden pleasant surprise and if its bad you don’t mind as much because you had almost forgotten about it anyways. Its an impossible task, but I think attempting it can be really useful. The applications that I can’t wait to hear back about are usually the ones I don’t end up getting, the ones that I almost forget about tend to be the ones that surprise me with a yes.

I don’t think rejection will ever be fun. We would all like to believe that we are desirable and wanted all the time. Rejection does serve a very important purpose. It teaches us humility, acceptance and forces us to be introspective. Sometimes your bubble needs to be burst and rejection is just the thing to do it. I may never be happy about getting rejected, but I do appreciate the perspective it gives me.

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