In the path of any endeavor, there will ultimately be four things you must do in order to succeed: you must reject the bad things the world offers you; you must seek out the good things the world has to offer; you must reject the bad things in yourself; and you must improve the good things within yourself.
You can apply this philosophy to anything. Looking for a great life partner? You must reject the ones that aren’t healthy choices for you, while simultaneously actively seeking people who may be great partners. At the same time, you must work to improve, becoming a better partner yourself by overcoming your weaknesses and building your strengths.
Looking for a great career? You have to reject bad jobs and not waste your time with them, but actively seek out great opportunities. Simultaneously you have to become a better fit for the jobs you want by killing your bad habits and building your skill sets.
All four components are essential. Sadly, there’s a common mistake I see – people focus on just one of those four tasks (and often get it right!) but expect that it will carry them across the finish line.
Most commonly, this is “rejecting the bad in the world.” People will decide which of the world’s various offerings of partners, jobs, homes, lifestyles, mentors, etc. are bad for them, but think that if they just reject enough bad stuff, their life will magically improve.
Let’s say there’s a restaurant that only sells mud. You (correctly) declare that you’re too good to eat mud, and eating mud is beneath you. But you exclusively go to the mud restaurant for food every day. Each time you go, you order nothing, saying “I’m too good to eat mud!” Yet eventually, you’ll cave. You’ll be so hungry you’ll order mud, because you’ve given yourself no other options.
You can’t just reject bad stuff. You have to seek out good stuff, and then give that good stuff a reason to link to you, because you’ve made yourself equally good.
Rejecting all the losers that want to date you is a great first step. But then you also have to actively seek out winners, because they aren’t lining up just because you rejected the bad ones. Then, when you find the winners, you have to be a winner too – which means that right now, during your search, you have to be working on yourself.
I see this with people job-hunting dang near constantly. “I’m too good to work the minimum wage food service job,” says the person who’s been unemployed for 14 months, has zero skills, and never applies to any other jobs.
You can’t build a house by rejecting bad wood, nails and tools. And you can’t be successful in life just by saying “no” to bad opportunities.