rebelling against low expectations

What the Ocean Taught Me About Rejection, Persistence, and the Future


The ocean is a mysterious, yet intriguing part of nature that continuously surprises me with the analogies it presents.

I have learned a lot from the ocean, just by sitting and watching the waves touch the shore. No matter how many times the water gets pushed back and rejected, without fail it returns each time. It’s a personality filled with persistence, courage, strength and resilience that stands up for its beliefs.

Perhaps the calmness of the ocean’s surface tells its own beautiful story too. On a cloudless day painted with blue skies, the water reflects the serene atmosphere. However, beneath the surface, the invisible depths create a darkness that echoes a quiet, distant, and lost place, almost forgotten.

Or maybe the rough waves angrily beat against the shore. The clouds cover the sun, the darkness arrives, and the storm hits in full force. The waves climb high while the wind creates a cooler atmosphere and the ocean insists it is left alone, before it eventually calms down once again.

Consider the way the ocean remains beautiful no matter the situation. Whether you are sitting on the sand awestruck by its beauty or whether you are chatting away with friends oblivious to the water, its beauty remains.

Think about the incredible vastness of the ocean and the way it stretches farther than the eye can see. Picture the horizon and the way the sky never fails to kiss the ocean – the mystery of what lies beyond.

There is something about the unknown that can be rather intimidating, yet captivating all at once.

So what if we applied this to our everyday life – these simple lessons that I have learned purely from the ocean? What would that kind of life look like?

I see a life where we are not scared of rejection.

A life where we are constantly trying and never giving up despite the challenges and the outcome. A life in which love is limitless. Where we aim to love others like we have been loved. To love our friends unconditionally, but also love those who have hurt us. To show love toward our enemies.

I see a life where we don’t take things at face value.

Where we stop judging others for their appearance, occupation, skin color, level of education, income, or background. Where we begin accepting others for who they are and embracing our differences instead of faulting them. A life without competition or inequity, where we are all positioned on an equal and fair playing field lacking pedestals in which some human beings are placed above others.

I see a life where we are allowed to be upset.

Where our feelings are not criticized and we don’t feel like we have to act a certain way. A life where we can be open, honest, and transparent. Where we can feel hurt, upset, angry and frustrated yet not isolated and ashamed. Where we can talk about our emotions openly, but also listen to others. A life in which those who are struggling are given a voice, rather than silenced. Where we are not shut down for having opinions, but given opportunities to share our perspectives. A life where we can overcome challenges together, by listening and supporting one another.

I see a life where beauty is not defined by the amount of likes on an Instagram photo or the social media following acquired.

A life in which being quietly confident is seen to be beautiful, rather than the attention received from pride and arrogance. Where this quiet confidence trumps a loud, unapologetic ego.

I see a life where we are excited about the future and the potential for new opportunities, instead of dwelling on the past and not rising above heartache and challenges.

Where the unknown is epitomized by the ability to grow as an individual rather than a scary hurdle we would prefer not to face.

I encourage you to pause for a moment and acknowledge your surroundings. Often we can learn the most from what is simply around us. We can be the positive product of our environment, but only if we let it shape us.

And only if we are willing to learn and grow from it.

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Photo courtesy of Dillon Delvo and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Jessica Shipton

Jessica Shipton is a twenty-year old student finishing her third and final year at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. She is studying a Bachelor of Communication completing a double major in Digital & Social Media and Public Communications (Advertising). Jessica has loved writing ever since she could pick up a pen and enjoys travelling, whether it be on holiday or serving on a mission trip


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By Jessica Shipton
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →