Probably the most famous rejection stories are the ones about highly successful authors.
Chances are you’ve read one of the “Chicken Soup” books. When the first, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, was presented to publishers by authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson, it was rejected more than 130 times!
There are now more than 250 titles of Chicken Soup books, they’ve sold more than 110 million copies just in the U.S., have been translated into 43 languages, and have sold more than 500 million copies world wide. They are a huge success, and were rejected by so many book publishing “experts”.
I met Jack Canfield at an authors’ conference in Philadelphia in 2011, three years after he and Hanson sold the Chicken Soup book franchise for a substantial amount of money. It was fascinating to hear how he and his co-author continued to be optimistic despite having their book rejected time and time again by so many publishers.
They had both quit their jobs, were maxing out their credit cards, and were at a point of near desperation before a small little-known publisher took them on.
He was at that conference to give wisdom, insider knowledge, and encouragement to writers who were facing the challenge of finding a publisher. I was in the process of writing my book “The Success Myth” at that time and hadn’t yet begun to submit anything to a publisher. What I learned from Jack that weekend helped me find my publisher a year later.
We’ve all experienced rejection of many kinds. Jobs we applied for and didn’t get. People we had crushes on who didn’t feel the same way. Promotions we wanted that went to someone else. Financing we applied for that was declined. People we thought were friends who we found out were not friends when our backs are turned.
It’s how we deal with rejection that makes the difference in our lives.
Rejection is actually opportunity. Although it may not feel like it at the time.
It’s an opportunity to re-think a decision we made. To walk through a door we would otherwise never have found.
It’s an opportunity to view a situation differently.
Rejection is also enlightenment. It’s the realization that those who rejected us don’t matter. And we shouldn’t let them matter. It’s realizing that they were too biased, ill-informed, lazy, or incompetent to see the value in us. And we don’t allow those who reject us to take away our confidence in ourselves.
Rejection helps us see that the world isn’t fair, and that it will never be fair. Fairness exists only in the opportunity; not in the outcome.
And ultimately, rejection helps us realize that where we eventually end up could be exactly where we need to be.
Of course the flip side of all this upside is that rejection hurts. It hurts our egos. For some its a hurt that never goes away. I think rejection is what created the phrase “living well is the best revenge.” Because it is.
When you’ve been rejected, move on and fill your life with good things. Your success at doing that shows those who rejected you just how wrong they were.
When I left the corporate world in 1992 to open my own ad agency, I went to three different banks with my business prospectus and 3-year plan. The bank where I was a customer rejected me. But a bank I had no dealings with took a chance on me and gave me the financing I needed.
My business was successful. I paid back the five-year loan they gave me in three years. I put all my accounts into that bank, personal and business. It is now 2021, almost 30 years later, and I still have accounts with that bank. They took a chance on me which I will always appreciate.
When you get rejected for any reason, think about all the hugely successful authors like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Dr. Seuss, Agatha Christie, and Jack Canfield who were turned down time and time again when trying to get their first books published.
Remember, rejection isn’t about you. Its about others not being able to see the value in who you are and what you do. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself. Don’t give them that kind of power over you. Keep going and take advantage of the upside of rejection. Live well! It’s the best revenge.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.Charles R. Swindoll
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