Rejection Comes with the Territory

April 20, 2009
By Maralys Wills

This morning I was turned down for a corporate speech. Another rejection. I should be used to rejection, but I’m not.

You never get used to it. You never just pass it off. Not entirely. Still, you don’t scream and yell. You don’t run around telling people how bad you feel. Instead, you tell yourself, I won’t let this ruin my day, and you give yourself a few minutes to feel rotten, and then you think about something else.

But the rejection is there, like a thorn, from time to time giving you a small stab. No, we never get used to it. But above all, we never “get even,” we don’t turn on the people who rejected us. We thank them and go on. If you learn anything in life, it’s the futility–the stupidity–of burning bridges.

When rejection overwhelms you, and it does occasionally, you think about Abraham Lincoln, who was rejected endlessly–who “lost” at least once, in nearly every political office he aspired to, yet became such a venerated man his inspiration has lasted over a century.

My response to rejection works for me. I say to myself, “What do THEY know?” and tell myself–actually communicate with my soul–that some day that person will wish he’d taken me on, that eventually I will surprise him and he will regret the day he turned me down. I take the “long view.”

And you know what? Most of the time the “long view” comes true.

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