JK Rowling shared with her Twitter audience the rejection letters she received from publishers when she was an aspiring author. It was her way of comforting aspiring authors who often toil over the written word and try over and over to get published.
The effects of rejection on individuals has only been studied by psychologists in the last 15 years. Whilst there is still lots to learn, one thing is for sure. It is impossible to go through life without experiencing rejection. Sometimes on a regular basis and no one is immune to it.
Charles Darwin gave up on having a medical career as he was criticised for being lazy and a day dreamer by his father. Darwin actually wrote himself “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect.”
Walt Disney was sacked by a newspaper company because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Oprah Winfrey as well as suffering from a difficult childhood was sacked from her job as a TV reporter for being “unfit for TV”.
Rejection has long featured in our evolutionary past. In tribes, rejection meant losing access to food and protection making it very difficult to survive. Therefore it is in our DNA to fear rejection. Indeed physiological studies have shown in MRI scans that rejection lights up the same part of the brain as physical pain.
But all is not lost. Rejection can spur you on to achieve bigger and better things only if you don’t let the fear of rejection paralyse you.
- Make you more determined – how many times when someone has told you that you can’t do something that you have thought ‘ha I’ll show them!’
- Give you teeth – If you want something really badly then you will not give up. Great things don’t come to those who wait, it comes to those who show up, work hard and keep going.
- Build your character – The making of a person is how often they can dust themselves off after a setback and keep going.
Don’t let rejection (or the fear of rejection) stop you from pushing yourself further and harder than you ever thought possible.
Nothing great was ever achieved standing still!