Rejection, like most things in this world, is a neutral construct. Rejection doesn’t suck, our feelings about it suck. What matters is our response to it. Think of it as a spectrum. On the positive side of rejection, we can choose to stop counting, grow accustomed to it, learn lessons from it, own it as part of our character, turn it into a game, convert the energy into fuel and ride it like the wind until a yes comes our way.
REJECTION BUTTON — Responding to setbacks with an optimistic narrative that we can profitably channel
Ask yourself, is this a huge setback or the rejection of a lifetime? The other option is to take the low road. Here’s how that spectrum of rejection plays out. We stop caring, grow emotionally numb, get cynical and untrusting and resentful, seek revenge on people, conclude that we are useless, give up completely, shrink back from life and sliding towards a toxic, black hole of despair. Ask yourself, who are you if you don’t wake up with this rolodex of people that you resent? Who would you be without any bitterness?
Instead of letting my rejection feelings to globalize and calling myself an incompetent schmuck, I try to remind myself of a few things. One, it’s okay that you’re not good at these things. Two, you’re not the only one who struggles with these kinds of tasks. Three, people will still love and value you despite your weaknesses. Four, there are so many other things that you’re superbly talented at. Five, there are plenty of people nearby who possess complementary skillsets who would love to jump in and help. Telling ourselves these kinds of stories about our our weaknesses can fundamentally change we work. Once we can identify the narratives that we have adopted that limit our ability to bring our best, there’s no reason our strengths can operate unfettered.
The point is, as long as we stay in the game, we’re going to be rejected. And how we respond to it is the determining factor of our greatness. What story do you tell yourself every time you receive another rejection?
Build emotional calluses
Recover from failure faster
Build resilience in the long game
Take rejection less personally