How To Use Rejection To Your Advantage

When Andy Kessler wrote a piece on rejection in the Wall Street Journal recently I resonated with it immediately. After all, we all experience rejection at some point, and many of us in creative fields experience on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. So we have a choice: Wallow in it, feel bitter, and let it hold us back, or follow Andy’s advice. Here it is:

So how do you handle it? In one Ted Talk, a psychologist named Guy Winch suggests you “apply emotional first aid,” and if that doesn’t work, try to “boost feelings of social connection.” That sounds like a first-class ticket to Depressionville. My advice? Ignore the namby-pamby voices telling you to forget it, let it slide, move on, or pack up your troubles in your old kit bag. And don’t waste your money on books filled with motivational gobbledygook, like Norman Vincent Peale suggesting, “Change your thoughts and you change your world,” or Tony Robbins’s insight: “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

Instead, embrace rejection. It’s a power boost. Grab it. Internalize it. Feel it. Swirl it under your tongue like a single-malt scotch, or a Mountain Dew Baja Blast for you high-schoolers. Own it. Then use it—like an actor before his scene thinking, “What’s my motivation?”

Some more free advice: If you’re bitter, be fitter. You don’t get something for nothing: You’ve got to get out of bed every day and work hard, feed the cows and milk the chickens—forget it, he’s rolling—and do something above and beyond the ordinary. Use that gift of rejection to be extraordinary.

Some will tell you that you have a chip on your shoulder. So what? It beats having no ambition and living in quiet desperation. Of course, don’t end up like Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver,” asking a mirror, “You talking to me?” Resentment, let alone obsession, is not a healthy emotion. Just use that rejection motivation as rocket fuel. Outwork everybody.

Here’s the entire article. It’s terrific, and something I have fully embraced. And as Andy says, “So, what’s your motivation?”

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