Big Victories, Little Defeats

Today was almost an outstanding day. As it stands now, it looks like it will end up just a really good day. And that right there is life for you.

A bit more on what happened. Today was the first day back-to-work for everybody at the office (I work for a video game development company) since the Christmas holiday. Soon after I arrived to work, I learned the tremendous news that a proposal for a game development project that our company had been waiting for months to hear yay or nay on was going to get funded. This was very big for the whole company. I had a huge hand in the proposal, as well as a lead design role in creating the prototype game that accompanied the proposal. And the timing could not be better, as this award is a nice feather in my cap as I prepare for annual performance reviews in the next couple of weeks.

So, I was on cloud nine all day and the whole office was energized, a hell of a way to kick off the new year. But then, right before shutting down my Dell and heading to the gym this evening, I got an email informing me that one of my comic submissions had been passed on by the first publisher I sent it to. Major bummer. My mood swiftly soured.

For a moment I got bitter. I was positive my submission was kick-ass, commercial, and would do very well for the publisher, and almost succumbed to the temptation of mentally trashing other people's work that had been accepted previously as inferior to my own. But, as I've discovered (or re-discovered) in my personal life, putting down others to make you feel better does the exact opposite. My submission was not accepted. All that is, is a little defeat.

One publisher that receives thousands of submissions each year decided my submission did not meet their editorial needs at this time. One publisher. That's it. Now, it would have been nice to receive a little more feedback as to why they were rejecting my work, rather than the standard form letter I received. To be honest, I had a sneaking submission I was out of luck, simply because that publisher has been getting a reputation for oversaturation with zombie comics, and my submission was, unfortunately, a twist on zombies.

But as I said...little defeat.

However, human psychology is funny thing. We tend to take set-backs far harder than we enjoy achievements. Today was a case in point. My great mood from winning a huge contract at work was nearly canceled completely by this one rejection of my comic. Pretty ridiculous, if you think about it. I mean, the contract my company won today has basically ensured that everyone at my company's job, including my own, is safe in this troubled economy. That is a big victory. It's a big deal to a whole lot of people. Whereas this comic...I still have it. There are plenty of publishers out there that might still be interested, I could self publish, or worst case scenario, I chalk it up as a great first experience of collaborating with a good artist and a really nice guy to make a comic I enjoyed making. Boo hoo.

So, to put on my preacher hat for a second, I'd encourage any readers to consider that my day today is just a microcosm of life in general. Life is a series of big victories and little defeats.

And sure, it's hard to see that when you're right in the middle of one or the other. Those big victories don't always seem so grand at the time, and those little defeats certainly don't seem so little when you're facing them.

Case in point, losing someone you love. Unfortunately, most of us have had this experience. And when it's happening, and you're caught up totally in the sadness and grief of a major loss, it can seem like the biggest thing, the only thing, in your world. But the truth of the matter is, losing someone you love...that's the small defeat. The big victory was having someone to love, and love you, in the first place.

There's an old saying that comedy is tragedy plus time. Think about the stories you tell the most...I'm willing to bet a good deal of them seemed like absolutely awful experiences at the time. Hell, one of the most frequent stories that comes up when my friends and I recount are middle school days involved me getting jumped and knocked out by a gang of kids after school one insane day. At the time, that was probably the worst thing that ever happened to me. I wasn't seriously injured, but it was scary and awful. Yet, even that was a little defeat. The big victory was heading back to school with my bandaged head up high, finishing out the school year, and graduating with the highest grade point average in the whole damn school. (Okay, I'm bragging a bit, but humor me, I just admitted to getting my ass kicked.)

My point is, I wouldn't be able to laugh off that story or any of the other stories I enjoy telling that involve the crap I've gone through in my life if they were anything but little defeats. Being able to laugh at those moments, to tell those stories knowing full well that you're okay now...that right there is what I'd call a big victory.

1 comment:

Tut said...

Very well said, my friend!

For example, that one time I walked home for four hours in the blistering cold...hah...your birthdays are the best!