In Overcome Obstacles

Rejection. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a brush-off from a love interest, an “I regret to inform you…” letter from your top-pick university, being passed over for a job, or being turned down by the gatekeeper to your dreams. It’s easy to forget that everyone, EVERYone, faces rejection at some point in their lives. And it’s only natural that you’re going to face your fair share too.

That’s why the concept for the book Other People’s Rejections Letters by editor, Bill Shapiro, softens the blow a bit. In a interview, Shapiro says, “Even the most infamous and successful talents have been rejected at one point in their lives.”  To illustrate this point, his book – a compilation of rejection letters – includes a rejection letter from 1956, when budding artist Andy Warhol had his work declined by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. There’s also one from 1962 in which the U.S. Army discharges Jimi Hendrix, because his supervisors said he couldn’t “carry on an intelligent conversation.” (Of course, this was before he became a music legend).

Of the project, Shapiro says: “People need to remember people have been getting rejected since the beginning of time. Your rejection isn’t the end of the world. I wanted to go back in time to show, and to give that sense, that this has been happening. But I wanted to get famous people’s rejections to show [that] these people who we think of as being super successful also faced rejection.”

When asked for advice on how to get over a rejection, Shapiro says, “I would think about it in context. There are a lot of amazingly talented people who have been rejected over the years, in love and in work and creative pursuits. You’re not alone out there. You are in damn fine company when you are rejected, and so often people don’t recognize genius when it’s put in front of them. I wouldn’t take it personally. There are so many reasons why things like this don’t work out that may have nothing to do with you. I would save your rejection letter, because you’ll want to look back on it years from now and know that you took a bold chance and you didn’t sit on your hands, scared to take a risk. Only by putting yourself out there you are going to get the thing you’re trying for.

To preview some of the rejection letters from Other People’s Rejection Letters and read the interview with Bill Shapiro, click here:

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