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That old friend, rejection.

When you get knocked down, get back up.

Forrest Gump, would have you believe that life is, ‘like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’  I can’t find fault with that statement, at all, except, that if its a box of Monty Python chocolates, chances are, you’ll end up with a, ‘Crunchy Frog’ or ‘Cockroach cluster.’

If we all love approval, the emotion we get with rejection, is the very opposite.  It’s hard to take, even though, it might be in the guise of a ‘Fudge truffle delight.’

However it’s presented,  being rejected by any one, or anything, can be a real punch in the gut.  Whether it’s a publisher rejecting your first novel, a record label saying your demo is just the pits, or even a petty rejection from a guy or girl you like, it still hurts.  What you must do though, is accept the gut splitting punch, take a deep breath, straighten up, and move on.

I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, Mr Smart-Aleck writer, that’s easy for you to say.  After all,  you’re ok sitting pretty, in your comfortable home, typing words into your super-lite, super-thin, turbo boosted, 512GB laptop.  (Actually it’s only 8GB, but I have ambition!). Just like all those big names, you’ve had a soft ride from day one!

First of all, I’ll disagree about being a big name, but we’ll come to that later.  Let’s take a look at one or two of those “stars,” you say, have had an easy ride.

Walt Disney , one of the pioneers of animation, was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley, was told by the concert hall manager, that he was better off returning to Memphis and taking up his former career, as a truck driver.

Albert Einstein, the physicist, who developed the theory of relativity, didn’t speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven. He was subsequently expelled from school, and was not admitted to Zurich Polytechnic. Even so, if my memory serves me well, he came good in the end.

When Abraham Lincoln was young, he entered the army as a Captain, but came out as a Private. He tried to start up business after business, all of which failed.  He lost several runs for public office. Then, through dogged perseverance, he became, as you may remember, the 16th President of the United States. A pretty good one too, by all accounts.

There are many, many other, rejectees: Vincent Van Gogh, Steven Spielberg and Madonna.   Even Socrates, credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, had to deal with the big turn down, ‘for corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens,’ with his outrageous thinking.

No easy way up for any of them, then.

As for me,’ I’ve suffered the same ups and downs as any one else.   

Thing is, when you’re getting started, in any business, you’re scared and insecure. You don’t want to come off as some kind of arrogant, know it all.  You know for sure, that you’re a fair-minded individual and a fully paid up, Egalitarian.  You have the essential ability, to see the other man’s point of view.  So, you lower your expectations and assume the answer you’ll get is ‘no.’ Then, guess what?  This thinking gets you onto the fast lane to rejection-city.  Furthermore, if you continue down that road, the same thing will happen again and again, 

Rejection, will become an old friend.  If you persevere with this self-sabotage,  it’ll only make others, want to reject you even more. 

If that’s the case, change is in order!

“No, no,” you’ll say,” I’m me, I can’t change,”  Okay fine, but don’t expect other people to change either.  If change has to come, it has to come from you. Otherwise, you’re going to live with rejection for a very long time.  The way through is to embrace rejection and learn from it.  

Michelle Phan is an American makeup artist, entrepreneur and notable as a ‘YouTube,’ personality.  Phan’s, YouTube channel, has over 8.9 million subscribers, 1.1 billion lifetime views and 385 uploaded videos.  No mean achievement, but she didn’t achieve success without the disappointments and inevitable rejection.  

Phan believes, “that rejection is a blessing, because it’s the universe’s way of telling you that there’s something better out there.”

So the search is on to find whatever is out there.  That, ‘something better.’

From a personal perspective, as a writer, I’ve become hardened to rejection.  Not exactly immune, I am flesh and blood after all, but, I’m more able to handle it now.  To understand, to some extent, what the customer wants, while keeping some integrity, about my own writing ability.  That may sound pompous, but it’s not meant to be.  I was, after all ,’Mr Assume it’s a No,’ for some time.  Like we should all do, when things just aren’t working out, I decided to take a different road.

So, let’s cut to the chase.  You know rejection is rife,  but are there any hard and fast rules to follow, to help us onto that, ‘right road?’  No rules as such, but advice definitely, to take on board.

First of all, acknowledge your emotions, rather than suppress, ignore, or deny the pain.   Have confidence in your ability to deal with uncomfortable emotions head-on.

Second, realise that rejection serves as proof, that you’re living life to the fullest. If you never get rejected,  you may be living too far, inside your own comfort zone.

Next, be kind to yourself.  Don’t think, “You’re so stupid for thinking she could ever like you,” Give yourself more positive messages.

Also, don’t let rejection define you.  After all, there are other jobs, other chances to find love.  Keep a proper perspective.

Finally, learn from rejection.  See the upside.  Turn a sour experience into an opportunity for self-growth.  Grow stronger and find that something better!

If rejection for you, is an old friend, then you should really think seriously, about the company you keep!

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