We all experience it: the dreaded NO. Unmet expectations gone awry. He's leaving you. An old friend stops talking to you. A family member cuts you off. You're denied the loan. The publisher declines your book. Your ex just remarried. You didn't get the job, or you got fired. The list of rejections goes on and on.
When you can step back and trust that everything in your life is part of a bigger plan, you see that rejection is actual protection.
Thirty literary agents rejected me before I landed a contract for my next book. Forty publishers turned down the book itself. But it found its perfect home with Random House Penguin, one of the largest publishers in the world.
I could have allowed the rejection letters to wound my ego. Or I could see everything has its time and place. I chose the latter.
The happiest and healthiest people in the world take rejection with a grain of salt. Here are some examples:
Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." Oprah Winfrey was fired as an evening news reporter at Baltimore's WJZ-TV because she couldn't separate her emotions from her stories.
At the start of Marilyn Monroe's modeling and acting career, she was told she should consider becoming a secretary. After a performance in Nashville early in Elvis Presley's career, a manager told him he was better off driving trucks in Memphis (his previous job).
Rejection is part of life. You can learn to handle rejection with grace and ease, remain unphased, ego still intact, and onward you go, confidently forward.
Here are three truths happy people know about rejection.
1. Life stays the same.
Jack Canfield talks about rejection in The Success Principles. Nothing ever changes when you're rejected, he says. Think about it: if Harvard turns you down, you've spent your whole life not going to Harvard. You know how to handle that. It's the expectation that gets us wound up. You can handle rejection with more grace by releasing your expectations of the outcome. And when you hear a "no," know that nothing really changes in your life.
2. Rejection is protection.
Every time I hear a "no," I remind myself I'm being protected. A plan greater than yours is in place. The universe is aligning you with what is best for you. You may have thought that job was the perfect fit, but not getting it could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Your future self will guide you. Trust the process and don't take rejection personally. Instead, trust you're being protected.
3. Use the mantra "It's this or something better."
I repeat this powerful mantra, "It's this or something better," with every rejection letter or phone call. The real magic of living a full life is knowing that the right thing at the right time is on its way to you. The perfect relationship, the right job, the money you want: it's all coming. So if you hear a few "nos" along your way to the "yes," know the yes is worth it. Something better is coming to you soon.
How about you, when has rejection actually turned out to be a good thing for you?