The Power of Believing
Having risen through the ranks in my company, I was very proud to have been trusted with a management position in an acting capacity recently. The reason I haven’t been able to assume the position formally is my lack of a master’s degree. I have toiled finishing a master’s degree for quite some time, and nearly managed to finish, but work commitments simply prevented me from devoting full time attention to my studies. I knew that the only way I can finish my master’s degree is if I take it up while on study leave. With the volume of work we deal with regularly, my superiors are quick to point out that they cannot simply give me the time that I need to finish.
Coupled with the frustration of hitting a glass ceiling, and the fact that I could not finish my master’s without the financial support of my job, I began looking and applying for scholarships abroad. I felt that I need a change of pace and a renewed sense of purpose. As with all scholarship grants, competition is fierce, and in the back of my mind I felt that I have a very slim chance of getting accepted. True enough, my applications were declined.
Then one time I came across a fully-funded scholarship grant in Europe. I resolved that this is the last application I will ever fill out. Having complied with the requirements, I began psyching myself up that I will get the grant. I began telling my friends and loved ones that I will be going to Europe to study even if I have yet to pass through the initial screening process. Soon enough, everyone in the office would greet me and ask me about the status of my application. I would always answer positively, saying I’m just waiting to be called. Instead of entertaining the idea that I would get humiliated if I get turned down, I maintained an optimistic attitude. Soon enough, my colleagues started planning their work schedule around my impending “leave of absence” – it’s like they themselves believed that I will get the grant!
Then things started to snowball. Two months after I filed my application I got called in for an interview. A week after that, I learned that my government is endorsing my application. A month after, I got accepted in the university I was applying in. Another two months after, I was asked to complete my grant requirements for submission to the embassy. And then a long lull came where I received no news at all about my application.
One lazy afternoon while visiting my local bookshop, I came across The Secret book. I have seen it several times before but did not really give much notice back then. But some mysterious force urged me to pick up the book and head over to the counter. I thought, “This must be one of those interesting New Age books that would be good bedside reading.” Needless to say, I stayed up very late at night finishing the book, and felt energized at the prospect of changing my attitude on things.
Just by being grateful at the start of the day, everything seemed to flow like a well-executed production. Work gets finished early, challenges seemed very easy, even getting along with difficult people is a breeze. When one of my colleagues would ask me about my study plans, I’d just say, “Oh, it’s on its way.” When something I needed to buy seemed out of budget, I’d just say, “I can afford that.” When subordinates complain that they have too much work and they can’t finish on time, I tell them, “That’s easy, we even have time to dine out later on my tab.”
Then one morning in July, amidst tons of paperwork, came a thick envelope. I normally open mail when most of the morning’s work is done, but I had a different feeling with this one. Seeing the official seal of the Embassy, my heart raced. I thought, “Rejection letters don’t normally come this thick”. Upon opening the envelope, I nearly collapsed with disbelief upon learning that I was one of the recipients of the grant, despite heavy competition worldwide.
So now I’m set to leave for Europe this September on paid study leave for a year and a half, to finally finish my master’s degree.
When people ask me how I did it, I’m quick to say, “The universe is my catalogue. Come, I’ll help you order what you want.”