A bird ran into my house the other day. I was sitting in the living room, working, and all of a sudden I heard this tremendous thud. I open the door, and this little bird was on his back, totally stunned but alive. I wanted to find out what kind of bird it was, but gave up after an extensive round of Googling and decided to just name him Charlie. I went to get some kitchen gloves (avian flu is no joke) and ran back to tend to him. By the time I came back from outside, it had flipped over. Charlie was gathering his wits about him, I think, clearing out the cobwebs from his collision.
We hung out like that for the longest time. It was so existential in a weird way, seeing a wild creature in a moment of total vulnerability. Finally, after enough time had passed, and thankfully since nothing was broken, Charlie got up and flew away. No harm, no foul. Pun intended.
Here’s the moral of the story. In life, and in your career, you’re going to get doors slammed in your face. You’re gonna hit a wall. Honestly, the better you’re doing, the more doors are likely to hit you. If there are no door slams it just means you’re just kind of sitting around watching reruns of Facts of Life or getting lost in the wormhole of Instagram. You’re not really getting into the game of life.
What we always have to try to do, like this little bird, is learn not to take failure personally. Charlie didn’t. A bird isn’t sitting around saying, “Who put that door in my way?” He just took the time necessary to regroup and go back to doing what he was made to do: fly.
We aren’t entitled to anything. Doors are everywhere. A few might open, most will not. You’re going to get hit — figuratively and sometimes literally. It’s going to happen. It’s life.
So we can’t take it personally when we encounter setbacks, even when they are painful, jarring, and disorienting. At a certain point, everybody experiences door slams in their life. We think once we’ve made it, we’ve gotten the big whatever — we’re movie stars, we have millions of dollars — doors will open, and it will be easy passage for the rest of time. But that isn’t the case. The idea that once you get the thing you always wanted, it’s all going to be easier, is an illusion. The doors still shut but now they might just be a bit more expensive and maybe heavier. Get my drift?
These door slam moments are part of what makes you who you are. When we acknowledge that those moments are part of the bigger picture, we are freed from anger and resentment, and you can get back on track that much faster. And once that happens, like Charlie, you’ll fly.