Rejection (and the four paths)

If you seek to make change or do something important, your work will be rejected along the way. This is not in dispute.

What will you do after that?

  1. Determine that what actually happened was that you were rejected, not your proposal, and that you have no right, no standing and no hope. Decide to back off, keep your head low and do what you're told from now on.
  2. Realize that what might have happened is that you asked the wrong person, who wants something other than what you want. Resolve to do a better job of seeing where your work will be needed and recognized.
  3. Understand that you didn't tell a story that resonated, that your homework, your details, your promise–something didn't resonate. Figure out what it was, and learn to do better next time.
  4. Assume that whoever turns you down, ignores you or disagrees with you is a dolt. Learn nothing and persist.

In my experience, paths two and three are the most likely to get you where you're going. It takes grit and resilience to avoid the first path, and the fourth path is reserved for megalomaniacs, bullies and the terminally frustrated.