Enough of This Meant to Be Nonsense

You didn’t get the job. You got fired. They broke up with you. Your company went out of business.

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” right?


What if it could’ve been, but you failed. What if it could’ve been, but a global pandemic got in the way.

Too often when we’re dishing someone the “meant to be” card, we’re doing them harm.

We’re robbing them of the lesson. We’re helping them dodge responsibility. We’re contributing to the notion that the world revolves around them.

And we might even be setting them on the wrong path because it didn’t appear to work out right away.

If You Fail, It’s Your Fault

In my business, I’m historically impeccable in the sales process. I’m organized, I do my research, and I show up early to meetings.

Along came a potentially game-changing international corporation who wanted to chat.

Sure enough, I looked at the clock the day of the meeting and realized it was in an hour. Big problem though: the drive alone was two hours.

I called asking if they could delay an hour or reschedule, but they passed on us altogether.

Maybe it “just wasn’t meant to be?” It was the universe saving Top Hat from its worst client to date, right?

Nope — I botched it.

And sure, it could’ve been our worst client ever. But the point was that I failed, and I had to own that.

And you do too when you screw up.

You Control Your Destiny

The danger of the “meant to be” crutch is that it can dissuade us from our dreams.

I know someone who once really wanted to move to Toronto. It was their dream.

They scored the interview, they nailed the interview, they got the job, and they got the apartment.

But a week before they were going to move, the company eliminated their position. A lot of selfish people — you know, family and stuff — told them they just “weren’t meant to move to Toronto,” and they ultimately believed that.

I really don’t think that’s what happened though.

The company just did what companies do and experienced a sudden structural change. The person just had to take matters into their own hands and go find another job.

And I know. The job search isn’t fun, but if they want to go to Toronto, they still can. They just need to keep trying.

Can you imagine if anyone famous mistook failure for “Meant to be?”

The most successful people in history had their fair share of Torontos.

They say Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before the lightbulb happened.

  • I wonder how many people between attempts 1 and 999 told him “the world just wasn’t meant to have better lighting.”

Steve Jobs got fired from the company he built before returning to send it into its glory days.

  • What if he accepted the firing as that he “just wasn’t meant” to work at Apple?

If you have a goal, go get it.

Did something or someone fall through?

You have to ask yourself one question, “How bad do you want it?”

If you want to make it happen, don’t stop until you do.

The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You

“It wasn’t meant to be” can contribute to the idea that the world revolves around us.

Sometimes things just happen and sometimes they have nothing to do with you. Although they can certainly effect you.

But as human beings, we make a habit of putting ourselves at the center of the universe.

“That person was rude to me because of something I did.” No, in reality they were just having a really shitty day.

But Also … We’re Not Alone Out There

You also have to realize that other people are out there pursuing their dreams as well.

Sometimes their dreams are competing with ours. Unfortunately sometimes they’re doing it better than we are too.

Just because we exist, and we have dreams, doesn’t mean those dreams are going to happen right away. We have to be aware of the landscape, the competition, and we have to work until we can win.

The Bottom Line —

Stop blaming the universe for your problems.

Take responsibility for your failures. Let them hurt.

Learn from them, and see how you can be better next time.

And if you have a dream, don’t give up until you achieve it, or until you discover a better dream.

To Work