June 17, 1994: a profoundly important day in my Life that I’ll never forget.
I remember this particularly sunny Friday afternoon well. I’d lived on pins and needles for several months, waiting to find out if I’d been accepted - or rejected- by the good folks in the admissions office across town at the USC School of Film and Television near downtown Los Angeles.
Right around lunch IT arrived. Like a ravenous squirrel grabbing the last walnut before winter sets in, I tore into the envelope, flipped open the enclosed sheet of paper . . . and upon confirmation of my formulaic denial from the university - ouch - an immediate surge of agony bore in deep as I experienced the distinct sensation of tumbling away into empty space . . . into nothing.
I went weak in the knees. My face flushed, beads of perspiration popping up across my forehead and neck. With my heart pummeling away at a furious rate, I wobbled to a nearby armchair where I spent the next several minutes - it could have been hours for all I knew - gazing absentmindedly ahead of me. In this singular unfolding moment, my young Life - all 22 years and 9 months worth of it thus far - had screeched to a grinding halt. The only thought I could muster went something like this:
“What the hell was I going to do now?”
As if ordained by some higher power, at the very second that notion crossed the landscape of my mind, a local TV station broke in to announce that Hall of Fame football player turned actor O.J Simpson had been accused of double homicide and was now fleeing the police in a white Ford Bronco. And as if that weren’t already bizarre enough, it was all happening live for the entire world to watch. WTF?
And so I - like everyone else in Los Angeles with their sets turned on - spent the rest of that day glued to the tube while the mayhem unraveled. . . slowly, agonizingly so, until the ‘Juice’ finally surrendered late that night at his home in Brentwood. Funny thing though . . . the whole time I was following the action - or lack thereof to be more precise - I don’t remember festering one bit over getting nixed by USC earlier that day. Compared to what O.J. was going through, getting that rejection letter didn’t amount to a hill of squat. And therein lies the revelation:
That BIG problem of yours probably isn’t much of a problem at all . . . unless you decide to make it into one
I’d say being accused of murdering two people qualifies as quite a hefty problem. But not getting into an over-priced university program? That’s not much of anything really . . . except maybe a minor bump in the road . . . at most.
In fact, when looking back, I’m convinced that being rejected that day was actually a blessing in disguise, like when I got laid off from my cushy corporate job as a TV producer back in the summer of 2007 . . . the very blessing that would eventually lead to my launching OM Made Studios a few years later.
No doubt my Life would have likely taken a drastically different route had I graduated from the film program at USC, but would I necessarily be more fulfilled today? Who’s to say if my Life would have been better or worse - relative terms no doubt - but in all honesty, I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am right now.
Think back on a moment of ‘disappointment’ in your own Life . . . in hind-sight, was it really as bad as you once thought it was? Come to think of it . . . does anything that happens to us warrant the negative label we sometimes assign to it? Or is it all just in our minds?
Now if that’s true - which I believe - then you know what that means right? It means you’re always in control of how you react to the many ups and downs of your Life. What’s that saying, ‘When Life hands you lemons . . .’ Yeah, you know the rest.
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