Rejections, like packages, come in many shapes and sizes. Some rejections are wrapped in a polite decline. Others come in loud colors and a big red bow.
When you get a rejection, receive it gratefully. Don’t discard it. Instead, take it home. When you have quiet time, unwrap the rejection.
Inside you’ll find a gift.
Is the gift a warning? One Rejection Therapy player was rejected by a woman in a subway, only to see her drinking mini-vodka shots on the train minutes later. He wrote how relieved he was that she ignored him, saying “Man’s rejection is God’s protection“.
Does the rejection save you valuable resources (time, energy, money) you can reallocate more productively? Did the rejection include feedback you can use to improve your offering (your offering could be anything: yourself, your product or service).
Is it telling you to quit? That’s for you to decide. For aspiring writers, Stephen King says:
“Not after six rejection slips, certainly, nor after sixty. But after six hundred? Maybe. After six thousand? My friend, after six thousand pinks, it’s time you tried painting or computer programming.”
Perhaps this rejection is the motivation you need to prove others wrong. Rejection has a way of smoking out the unbelievers. You need people who can take you to the next level.
Whatever free gift is inside the rejection, accept it. It’s custom made just for you. Use it to your advantage. It will be something you can build on.
Accept, in the context of this statement, it means to “tolerate” or “to endure without protest or reaction” the consequences of inaction. It means either you make your own future, or accept sloppy seconds – and accept it with a smile on your face.
For example, can you bravely accept the consequences of not exercising? If the answer is “No, I can’t accept the inevitable depression/self-loathing/high blood pressure that will result from not exercising”, then you must act.
You can ask yourself this question on a case-by-case, day-to-day basis. Act or Accept. It’s a good axiom to live by.
Action Proceeds Motivation
Another powerful phrase I want to share with you is action precedes motivation. You awaken the motivation inside you by doing something, anything, FIRST.
Wish you had a better social life? Get off the couch. Stop being so comfortable. A small action will break your stink-think mindset and create sparks of motivation.
Once you’re in motion, keep the momentum going with another action, however small, and so on and so on.
Sparks become a fire, motion begets momentum which in turn begets more momentum… until you become an unstoppable force hurling full speed towards your goal. Your success starts with a single act.
Although there are many different story versions bandied about, the most believable narrative to Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard education has him as a brilliant hacker and social outcast.
And, as the story goes, Zuckerberg did not resign himself to being a social leper. Instead, he leveraged rejection to his favour. He used the extra alone time and motivation to build his own social club, one all his Harvard peers would clamber to join.
It would seem rejection was the catalyst for Facebook, the social network that is currently 500 million members strong.
How does this relate to you?Well, if you’ve ever been unemployed, then you know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. You found yourself with two options: get into another business or, like Mark, start your own business empire.
And then there is Mike
Michael Jordan is another prime example of the power of rejection. He was cut from the varsity basketball team in his sophomore year. There was no conspiracy involved. He simply wasn’t good enough.
He went home, closed the door to his room and cried is eyes out.
That single rejection became the launch pad in his basketball career. Pain gave Jordan that deep down, right to the cellular level motivation that Gatorade never could.
He practiced harder, played ferociously and didn’t stop for anything or anyone until he dominated basketball at the highest professional level.
Now his NBA records are as unreachable as his vertical leap.
Your experiences are likely similar to Mike’s. Maybe you didn’t make the local softball team, or spent more time on the bench than at the line of scrimmage. Don’t make excuses. You simply weren’t good enough. Time to be like Mike and work harder.
The lesson we can learn from Lance? Life can get pretty low, but that only means your comeback will be that much greater.
Like the Irish proverb says: You must empty a box before you fill it again
The Rejection Effect
There are many other exemplars of the “Rejection Effect”. Stephen King’s first book Carrie received so many pink slip rejections he threw it in the garbage (the book was later recovered by his wife Tabitha).
Aspiring writers know what rejection is all about. It’s not a condemnation of you. It’s an invitation to address the weaknesses in your wordsmithing and make it shine.
Sure, rejection is harsh. Rejections are a stiff uppercut to the ego. They knock us out of our comfortable bubble we inevitably settle in. They toughen us up.
But remember these icons of business, sports and entertainment who, rather than give up, decided to transform rejection into motivation to become not only great, but utterly dominant in their discipline. Look at rejection as the premium high octane motivation you can’t get anywhere else.