We get to know the world and its challenges through a unique, personal experience, which nobody else can see, so nobody has a direct view of what’s easy or hard in the experience of others. We piece together what’s “normal” by observing how others, on the whole, seem to be doing at the same challenges.
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When we struggle with something that most people don’t seem to struggle with, we start to think there's something wrong with us. And we tend to live in ways that avoid making our struggles obvious: we avoid the situations in which we feel like we don’t fit and that prevents us from ever learning what exactly is happening.
Two people’s experiences of the same challenge differ wildly, beyond any desire, effort, and perseverance. But most of the messages we get about success (at school, at work, in the media) minimize everything else. Nobody can ever tell you how hard or easy something should be for you. They don’t have enough information.
Jordan Williamson, the highly recruited high school star and once lofty in the college football world as Stanford University's star kicker, missed twice during a football game and cost the team the game.
In the locker room, Jordan wept uncontrollably.
"For months I was depressed and did not want to go out in public."
It's impossible to please everyone. And rejection is a way to figure out who’s compatible with whom: getting axed from a social group gives you space to find folks that are a little more your speed.
You’ll more likely find people who genuinely like you for you, without having to adjust your personality to someone else’s to be accepted.
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