Lower your criteria for success.
There are poor-ass tribes out in the middle of nowhere Africa who can celebrate and be happy dancing around a fire. They don’t have jobs at large institutions that pay anything, they don’t have any possible job interviews lined up, they don’t have college degrees to propel them, they don’t have nice condos, cars, or flushing toilets.
Yet they can be happy, while you’re sitting here miserable. Why?
Because they have a lower criteria of what they need to have to be happy. If no one they know dies from diseases or wild animals this week, that’s reason to be happy. If they manage to stay full of food for a day, that’s reason to be happy.
Most people are inherently very negative. We’ve been brought up in a society that’s told us we’re never good enough. You finished Junior High? Awesome, but you’re not successful yet, you have to finish High School. You graduated from High School? Awesome, but you’re not successful yet, you have to go to a good college. You graduated from Harvard? Great! But don’t be silly, of course you’re not a success yet, you have to get a high-paying career to be a success. You’ve got that career? Shit, that’s great…but now let’s look at the rest of your life…you don’t have a BMW yet. You don’t have your own house yet. You don’t have a wife yet. You don’t have kids yet. You don’t have 6-pack abs yet. You can’t be a success until you have all those things!
The problem is even if you achieve all those things, you’re still just another guy who spent his life basing his self-worth on external things.
You can’t be happy until you’re being highly paid doing a job that you specifically want, and even when you get it all you’ll do is transfer that onto something else. Bob beside you will be making a few thousand dollars more and you’ll be miserable about that. Sally at another company will buy a BMW and you’ll be miserable that you can’t afford one of those and if you can just get a few thousand dollars more salary and a BMW THEN you’ll be happy. THEN you can finally be a “success”!!
…except you’ll just keep adding more and more silly external goals to shoot for to keep yourself in a state of misery…until you learn to base your happiness on smaller things, and learn to get your self-validation internally instead of externally.
I just ate a steak. It wasn’t steak from The Keg or anything, it was just from the grocery store, and it wasn’t even technically a real T-Bone steak or anything, it was a pork steak shoulder. But it was delicious. For me, today is an awesome day, I got to eat a steak! That rules and as far as I’m concerned my day is awesome.
My criteria for success is very low, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. That doesn’t mean I don’t strive to achieve big goals, but I approach them in a positive optimistic way full of tons of little successes instead of beating myself up the whole way for not achieving one huge success. You and I will both achieve our goals, but your day to day is full of and mine is full of It’s naturally easier for me to achieve my goals because I go “shit, I didn’t get the job…that sucks, but hey, at least I have one in the meantime, and I can apply for another one at another place later in the week, and hey, I have this delicious steak! Life ain’t so bad!” so I get right back up and try again without it negatively affecting my psyche for more than a couple minutes.
You’ll probably get a job if you just keep applying. But if you don’t get a job, it might be time to reconsider what’s really important for your self-worth. This is pretty much the whole message of Fight Club’s first half with the guy’s Ikea furniture burning up. “You are not your fucking khakis.” and all that jazz.