Competition. Commitment. Consistency. It just so happens that all three of those words begin with the letter C. For that reason we will refer to them as the three C’s any post graduate must become familiar with in order to survive the ever evolving jungle known as the real world. Let’s first off establish what world I’m talking about here. Not the world where your parents come in to talk to an official to move you up the ladder. Not the world where your hard work is guaranteed to give you the outcomes you aspire for. Not the world where failure is alright because you can go home to a nicely prepared meal and a warm bed and can try again the next day. I’m talking about the world that will chew you and your ideals up and spit you right back out just because it felt like it. The world that doesn’t need a reason to take away everything you’ve ever believed or worked hard for. The world that doesn’t care who died in your life because time goes on regardless of whether you can.
• Competition: There are many roles to be filled, but there are many more qualified candidates competing for those roles. You must get used to the idea that no matter how far you’ve gone during your job application or how interested the company may seem in you, it only takes a second for someone better to come along and steal your thunder. You WILL be dropped without a second thought.
• Commitment: You can’t fake it. There is no substitute for hard work and passion. So if you think you can postpone writing that cover letter you needed for the position at your dream firm, think again. There’s someone out there who’s looking over her essay twice and putting finishing touches she discovered from a cool website that she managed to stumble upon just because she put in that extra effort. The opportunity won’t wait for you, so I recommend you don’t wait either.
• Consistency: Understand that failure is just as guaranteed, if not even more certain, than success. You can’t let minor setbacks and shortcomings demoralize you. Jack Ma (Alibaba Founder) was rejected from every single job position he ever applied for, including McDonald’s and even the police academy, but not before he was rejected a position at Harvard business school 10 different times. Your mindset is the most important factor in determining if you can become successful or not. When you fail, take notes, acknowledge the feeling, appreciate the experience, then get up and try again. It will go right at some point. I promise.
I wish this was all there was to it. I wish I could tell you that this is all you need to do to succeed. I wish life was this easy and that the real world was this transparent. But I’m not going to sell you false dreams. There will be situations you can’t predict or expect that will knock on your door and let itself in whether you welcome it or not. The only advice I can offer you is this. Focus less on the situation and more on yourself. The way you react, and respond during the most difficult and trying times of your life will go a long way in determining who you will be in the long run. Be a master of yourself first of before you even think of trying to tackle anything else. Your emotions, your habits, and every little detail you can about yourself. Here’s my reasoning for this; if you don’t even know who you are, how will you know how to react when something unexpected happens? The answer is you won’t know. Causing you to panic, which in turn will just drive you down a path of confusion, frustration and anger which will either be directed at yourself or at those around you. You are now well on your way to developing symptoms of depression, which are actually more common in the average millennial than any other generation (please look it up). Now you’re closer to landing a spot in a mental institution than at the company of your dreams. Its fine though. Things don’t have to go that way, and in fact, things most likely won’t go that way, because you’re reading this, good job! So establish what your beliefs are, the type of person you believe yourself to be now and the type of person you aspire to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, and never let anyone or anything make you doubt yourself. Trust that as long as you are in control, then nothing can go wrong. And when things do go wrong, still have that belief at the back of your mind that you are capable of handling the situation, because you are! If you are successful in doing this, then no one will ever be able to alter your confidence and self-belief ever again, let it be Bill Gates or Barack Obama. So put on your lab coat, your hard hat, your badge, your uniform, or in my case, the suit you’ve kept at the back of your closet that you’ve been saving for your first day on the job, and go out there expecting the worst but praying for the best.