By now I bet you're feeling pretty tired. You travel to work every day on the subway and want to cry a little inside as people who smell like feta cheese press themselves against your face. You check your back account statement every morning and search the couch cushions for extra quarters just so you can buy a cup of coffee. It used to be Starbucks lattes every morning, now you've settled for a $1.25 cup from a street vendor because times are tough. You remind yourself you're living your dream, and life is just starting. You go to your job every day. You're told it’ll take you far, that you're on the first steps of becoming the person you were always meant to be. You excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and cry during a break because big girls don't cry, especially not in front of their co-workers. Wait... you thought it would be easy?
You go through life being told that you're the best hairdresser/make-up artist/writer out of your group of friends. You've been spoon-fed affirmations in, "You're going places, kid," since the moment you became self-aware. So why is it so damn hard for all of us? Well, because from the moment we're set out into the world we're competing against people who have been told the same. Suddenly, we're not the best at what we do. Suddenly, we have to fight and claw and scratch our way: but it’s a place that feels something like failure. It’s in these moments that we have to keep going, that we have to keep fighting.
Once you leave the safe comfort of the people who raised you, it's us against a tidal wave. We'll slump home after a 13-hour workday with nothing but change rattling in our pockets and broken egos to mend.
Because when the world keeps telling you no, you have to shove back and remind it that you're in charge of your own destiny. That you alone hold the key to your happiness and success and not even a thunderstorm in the middle of a scorching NYC summer will stop you from getting there. The world needs to be taught a lesson. It needs to know you're not the person to mess with, that it can't just take and take and give nothing in return. You need to remind yourself that you're going to do what you set out to do; there is no option for failure. You need to go home every night and lick your wounds and stare into the mirror and stop being afraid of what looks back. You need to see a person who is transforming every day into someone stronger, faster and keener. You need to see determination in the eyes staring back at you and ask yourself, "Do you still have fight left in you?"
—Follow Shawn Binder on Twitter: @ShawnBinder