Limitless Monday – The beauty of rejection
If you let it, rejection can haunt you. On a positive note, it can also be amazingly empowering.
Whenever I reflect on my life, rejection is never far away. Here are a few prominent moments of rejection that regularly feature in my thoughts.
Whenever we discuss or contemplate rejection there is always a tale involving the spurning of an advance or three. I once asked a girl who I had a major crush on for a dance at a local disco. Upon asking her the potentially life defining question, she predictably turned her attention away from her friends. Less predictably, her face displayed a look that you would expect from someone who had been approached by a turd that had sprouted legs. I didn’t even hang around for her answer.
As a teenager I had my heart set on joining an elite tennis squad. I didn’t even make it through the trials.
I yearned to land a job as a stockbroker after college dreaming of money, women, and glory. I failed even to apply for the one trainee position advertised by the college. I assumed everyone would be applying, and my application wouldn’t even receive a second glance.
Why do these memories stay firmly ingrained in my mind?
Because I have always used rejection as a motivator. I can’t deny that at the time of these rejections, I was upset, depressed, and left questioning my future potential. Would I ever find the girl of my dreams, would I become a top tennis player, would I land a high paying challenging job and lift myself up from the pain of mediocrity?
Rather than allow myself to linger in self pity acting as the victim I chose to dismiss the feeling of rejection quickly.
The girl – I reasoned there were plenty more fish in the sea. She couldn’t exactly be my dream girl if she didn’t feel the same way, I concluded. There was ample time to find the right partner, I was only 16!
The team – I reasoned I just wasn’t good enough. I had two choices: improve or find another sport to excel at. I took up martial arts. Later, and to my surprise, I was selected for the tennis team. By then, however, I had lost interest in the game. I was never going to be the best, I accepted. I would focus on martial arts instead.
The career – I learned a powerful lesson here. There is always a chance that you will be successful. It doesn’t matter how small the chance, even if there is only a 1% chance of success, you must pursue the opportunity.
There was a 1% chance that the girl at the disco would have said yes. There was a 30% chance that I would have made the tennis team, and there was a 25% chance I would have landed that stockbroker job. Now I try for everything as long as there is a chance. Eventually the odds will fall in your favor. If you don’t try, the odds are zero.
The lesson I learned from rejection is; it wasn’t meant to be, at that particular time, anyway. Never say never, however. It may still be possible. Keep trying. Be ready to pivot to an opportunity or endeavor that is better suited to you.
Try to maintain a flexible fluid mind that is able to look at situations objectively, rather than reacting with anger and becoming blinkered which will prevent you from stepping back and working out a new and better path.
Some of us use rejection as a way of proving ourselves, to show the subject of their rejection that they made a big mistake. It drives them to greatness, to work harder, train harder, and get better.
It was once said that the best form of revenge is massive success. Take rejection and learn from it. Don’t look at it as rejection. Look at it as a lucky escape. You weren’t ready. You will be next time, and when that time comes…
Banner Image: Rejection. Image Credit – Jakayla Toney