As a student, freelancer, and job seeker, I’ve dealt with my fair share of rejection. And while you never really get over hearing no, or not hearing anything at all, you start to build up a tolerance. It’s not so much that it gets easier — it doesn’t — but it becomes routine. For every one acceptance, you’re likely to get five or ten rejections. And the absolute worse thing you can do is take it personal. The school or job doesn’t have anything against you as a person, you just don’t fit what they’re looking for at that point in time. In other words, it’s not you, it’s them.
I believe, even though I am loathe to admit to just how many things I have been rejected from, that rejection can be a good thing. Here’s why.
- When you succeed, you can take comfort in the fact that you proved your rejector wrong. — Some of the bestselling books of our time were rejected repeatedly by publishers. Carrie, Gone With the Wind, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, to name a few, were rejected multiple times before they found the right publisher. The books then went on to sell millions of copies. If that isn’t a great big middle finger to the publishers that turned them down, I don’t know what is.
- Rejection motivates you to try harder. — This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first reason. If someone tells you you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough, you’re going to want to prove them wrong, right? Their doubt is the fuel that pushes you to work harder, train harder, whatever it is to show that you CAN do it and you ARE good enough. And then you get to rub it in their face that you succeeded. HA!
- Rejection humbles you. — If you’ve been rejected multiple times, or even once, when you finally do get accepted, you’re going to be ecstatic. But you will remember that rejection and (hopefully) be humbled by the experience.
- Rejection means you tried. — Even if you don’t get that job or get into that school you applied to, at least you tried. And that’s more than some people can say. Those who are afraid to try will know neither success nor failure. And what is life without a little trial and error, and those devastating rejections that make the acceptances even sweeter?
What other reasons should students and job hunters embrace rejection? Do you agree or disagree with the reasons I’ve given?