Today, the first day of the year 2023, I went on a date with a girl from my yoga class. We had a good time and I felt there was chemistry so I leaned in for the kiss as we were saying goodbye. The girl stepped back and said no, I was shocked yet strangely amused and upbeat about it. I grinned and said goodbye.
It's the first time I've been rejected a first kiss, and I write this not to boast but to illustrate my aversion to rejection. I only lean in for the kiss when I'm sure it will be corresponded, but I was clearly wrong this time. I always thought I would be devastated if this happened, but as I rode my bike back home I couldn't stop smiling.
When one has not been rejected (in romance, on the job market, in academia, etc...) one has not taken enough risk. The risk aversion happens because you are protecting your ego. A bright student might avoid applying to the best university because it's better to think "I could have gone to Yale" the rest of your life rather than to think "I was not good enough for Yale".
The spiritual approach is to accept and surrender to the outcome as a matter of fate. It was meant to be that way. The student will not dwell on being rejected, he or she will embrace the university that accepted them because this is what life wanted for them. A kind of faith which is uncommon even in religious people, because we think God will give us exactly what we want, not what we need.
May 2023 bring more rejections, because that will mean there were more risks taken.