When someone says, "No," do you accept it? I never have. No to me just means try harder. Just because I’m told no, I don’t give up.
For example, I had been accepted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and hoped to start my school year in January. I don’t remember why but I was late and classes had started.
I had a meeting with the dean of the English department. He said, "No, you’re too late. You have to wait until September to begin your studies."
I was furious. I wasn’t going to wait 7 months to start school. So, I picked 6 courses being offered. I introduced myself to all 6 professors and told them my problem. I asked if I could join their classes albeit late. I received a note from 4 agreeing to my request. One class was closed and another was studying Beowulf in the original and that didn’t interest me.
I returned to the dean with my 4 notes. He had no choice but to allow me to begin my school year.
Two years later, I was in Israel learning Hebrew on a kibbutz. Half the day, a group of us studied and the other half we worked on the kibbutz. My favourite job was working in the apple orchard. I loved the trees and the fruit I ate even in their infancy.
Two crotchety old men worked in the orchard. Both had survived a difficult past but found peace on the kibbutz. I loved those men and asked to be permanently stationed in their orchards. Both men believed that I couldn’t handle the work and said, "No."
My response was, "Give me a chance. Give me any job and I’ll prove to you that I can keep up."
For the next week, I had every difficult job. I had to weed the base of every tree, I set up the rows and rows of irrigation hoses and even checked each tree for disease. Those jobs took hours and were back-breaking.
But at the end of the week, the old men gave me brilliant smiles and accepted me. We became good friends and I have many happy memories of working with them. They strongly followed the beliefs of the kibbutz and taught me well. It was inspiring.
So don’t tell me, no. I will just take it as a challenge.