No one likes it when it happens, but there are quite a few things to learn from rejection. We've all been through it. We get our hopes up and suddenly our dreams are shattered as someone tells us no. Turns out rejection isn't so bad, if you don't take it personally. With so many wonderful things to learn from rejection, the next “no” you get may become your greatest triumph.
1. Chance to Improve
One of the most obvious things to learn from rejection is how to improve. Anytime you're rejected for a job, a loan, a date or anything else, kindly ask why. Perhaps your resume was unprofessional or you're using too much of your credit limit to get a loan. Once you know why you've been rejected, you can fix the problem. Take some time to fix whatever is wrong and try again.
2. You're Not Perfect
After a few successes in a row with no previous rejections, it's easy to let everything go to your head and feel like you're perfect. You stop trying to get better. When you suddenly encounter rejection, your perfect world shatters. Don't let yourself fall to pieces. Instead, remind yourself that no one is perfect. It's okay to fail sometimes. It motivates you to improve instead of letting yourself become stale.
3. Know Who Has Your Back
We have friends and then we have those friends who we can count on to bail us out of jail at 3 AM with no questions. Encounter rejection and see who has your back. Some people will tell you to give up. Others will encourage you to try again. These are the people you need to keep around. These are your true friends and they'll stick by you whether you succeed or not.
4. What We Really Want
My first article was rejected and so was the second. It wasn't until the third that I was offered a measly $3. I had to stop and think if writing was really worth it. Was I prepared to face rejection often? After you meet with rejection, ask yourself how much success means to you. The answer will help you discover if your goals are something you really want or if it's time to go down a new path.
5. How to Be Respectful
When someone ruins your day and possibly your dreams with a big, resounding “No,” it's easy to let them know exactly what you think. If you're trying for a specific goal, you may find yourself dealing with the same people over and over again. Rejection is a great time to learn how to be respectful, even if you feel less than happy with someone's response. If you're respectful, that person is more likely to consider saying “Yes” the next time around.
6. Try More Options
I see so many writers give up after their first rejection. They never try any other venues. For instance, I had one friend who kept trying to submit to a magazine they liked, but they kept getting rejected because they had no clips to show. Instead of branching out and working their way up, they simply gave up. When you're rejected, it's a chance to try out different options. Success often comes in ways we don't expect, so it pays to try as many different options as possible to achieve the desired results.
7. Handling Rejection
This one might sound obvious, but one of the most important things to learn from rejection is exactly how to handle it in the future. Those first few times are tough. It's easy to sit down, binge on ice cream and bad sitcoms and feel sorry for yourself. What you quickly learn is that rejection truly isn't personal. It's just something that happens, much like a mosquito bite. It might annoy you for a few days, but eventually it goes away and life goes on.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but confidence often stems from rejection. When you decide to keep trying, you often feel more confident with each attempt. When you do finally succeed, your confidence level skyrockets. If you succeed right off, you don't fully realize the true value of your success. It's not fun to get rejected, but the confidence you gain in the process is worth it.
9. Value of Patience
As you already know, we're a society of people who want things now, not later. Often times, we miss out on great things simply because we're not patient enough. Get rejected a few times and you learn how important patience really is. I'm not a patient person by nature, but I'm much better at taking my time, seeking out the right opportunities and waiting for results. It helps relieve quite a bit of stress and by being patient, I've managed to turn a hobby into a career.
No one is immune to rejection. I wish I never had to encounter it, but the lessons I've learned have helped me become a better, stronger person. Even after years as a writer, I still get rejections, but I keep writing and improving. What are some of your worst rejections and what did you learn from them?