Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't let the bad guys win

Photo courtesy of
We first learn about rejection as children. Whether we are the last to be chosen for sports teams, are assigned to the chorus instead of the starring role in the school musical, or earn a “C” instead of an “A” in a class despite putting forth our best effort, we learn what it means to “fail.”

Then it gets personal. The boy you desperately wanted to invite you to prom asks a cheerleader instead. Your spouse has an affair with a colleague. Your best friend ditches you when you make a decision she cannot handle.

But the patterns of our youth do not have to become the truth of our adulthood. The actions and opinions of others have little bearing on who we really are.

Unless we let them.

Those of us who aspire to be traditionally published authors set ourselves up regularly to be rejected. Just for fun, I invite you to take this little online quiz.

But rejection is serious business. When I contemplate the word rejection, my body reacts physically. My chest tightens up; my breath becomes shallow. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Rejection can do one of two things: it can make us stronger, even more determined to succeed, or it can destroy us, giving us an excuse to achieve far less than we are capable of. “I never do anything right,” we tell ourselves. And we don’t. “Some things never change,” we sigh, and that becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.

One thing is for sure: rejection feels like a door slamming you smack! in the face. But Alexander Graham Bell, who failed countless times before finally succeeding with that little contraption we call the telephone, said, “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Yep. If we hang our heads in shame and slink into a corner every time someone tells us we are not good enough, we are sure to miss our next opportunity. Which might even turn out to be a better one. 

Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.
~Ross Perot

Maybe you have tried out the past six years in a row, but what if your next audition will be the one to get you a solo part in your church choir’s Christmas cantata? So you have filled out a hundred online job applications; what if the next one is the one that results in you landing your dream job? Maybe you have gone on blind dates with a dozen horny toads, but what if the next guy you meet turns out to be your Prince Charming? So you have a drawerful of rejection letters; what if the next editor you pitch to falls in love with your story and wants to sign you for a multi-book deal?

I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.
~Sylvester Stallone

Wake up, my friends. Get going. Never. Give. Up.

Author: Pam Asberry


Megan said...

Pam - That quote from Alexander Graham Bell really kicked me in the gut... in a good way. I used to do that - watch the closed door with regret. It took me a long time to learn not to regret and to keep in mind that life keeps moving, so keep moving with it, keep trying. The quote you shared is a great reminder. Or as the characters in Yo Gabba Gabba sing: "Keep trying. Keep trying. Don't give up. (Don't stop!) Never give up. (Don't stop!)"

Pam Asberry said...

It's true, Megan; sometimes we really DON'T know what's best for us. But who or what is Yo Gabba Gabba? Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to YouTube I go...

Playground Monitor said...

In my case the "bad guy" is my recent divorce. Two years of therapy have helped, but I'm still struggling. I guess admitting you have a problem is half the battle, huh? LOL!

I have a little framed drawing in my kitchen that says, "God never closes a door without opening a window." My mother gave it to me decades ago and it sat unframed on the window sill in one house and on the baker's rack in another. When I moved out and into an apartment, I wanted to frame it. But it isn't a standard size. We tried doing a custom mat in a standard frame, but that still didn't work. So that $2 drawing is now in a $45 custom frame. But it's a constant reminder of that open window.

Great blog!

Marilyn who also has no clue about Yo Gabba Gabba

Pam Asberry said...

Marilyn, some things are worth investing in; that little drawing your mother gave you sounds like one of them. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

Lindy said...

Oh Pam, you are so missing out on "The Party in My Tummy! So yummy! So yummy!"

I love your post. It's easy to see a world filled with regret and failure especially right after the smack! But there is nothing to say we can't grieve and move on. Everything is in process all of the time, right?

I'm off to look for my open doors. THanks for the kick in the pants! Smooches! - Lindy

Pam Asberry said...

Lindy, sometimes I think the doors close simply because we aren't ready for what's on the other side. So instead of throwing our hands up in defeat, we must keep doing the work so we will be ready for the next opportunity. P.S. Thanks to YouTube, I now know the "Keep Trying" song. I'll be singing it all day long!

S.M. Carrière said...

This is an awesome article, and one I think I'll bookmark for the next time I get a rejection.

It's sometimes so hard to keep going, especially in the face of mounting rejections.

WritersLiPP said...

Thanks, S.M. Sometimes it IS hard to keep going. But eventually all our hard work is going to pay off. I just KNOW it!

Tami Brothers said...

I have a tendency to let rejection really get me down. It’s one of the reasons I procrastinate with my writing. This is definitely something I need to work on. I need to move into the making you stronger category… :)


Pam Asberry said...

Hey Tami, I know what you mean; it is easy to let rejection get you down. I just keep telling myself it's just ONE person's opinion, and that if I keep putting myself out there, eventually I will connect with the right agent or editor. We can work on this together! :-)