Have you been rejected, told you don’t have what it takes? You’re probably doing something right.
Pretty much every famous person you can name risked rejection to get where they are, and got plenty of it. Any time you’re doing something different, some people just aren’t going to like it.
Among writers, it’s common to wear rejection letters as badges of honor. Being told you don’t have what it takes can be a good motivator to prove the critics wrong.
Kurt Vonnegut, author of the bestselling Slaughterhouse-Five, held onto his rejection letters for years. They’re now on display in a museum dedicated to him.
J.K. Rowling, who wrote the hugely popular Harry Potter series, has been open about her extensive history of rejection, even posting some of her rejection letters to Twitter as inspiration for other writers. One publisher suggested she sign up for a writing class.
Being told you’re not good enough can reveal as much about the biases of the person telling you that as about your work. Still, even if you understand that intellectually, rejection can sting.
That’s why entrepreneur Jia Jiang decided to desensitize himself to rejection with his viral “rejection challenge,” where he committed to 100 days of making far-out requests that were sure to get turned down. The surprise lesson from the project wasn’t how how many times he got rejected, but how often people went out of their way to indulge his requests -– including a Krispy Kreme employee who created doughnuts in the shape of the Olympic rings for him in under fifteen minutes. When you seek out rejection, you also open the door to unexpected success.
In this Ask the Therapist video, Marie Hartwell-Walker and Daniel Tomasulo answer a letter from someone who’s been told he doesn’t have what it takes. They give some incredible examples of famous people who were rejected and some advice on what to do if you’ve been rejected and are having trouble getting your confidence back: