“If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again…” – Aaliyah
Back in 2001, Aaliyah had a hit single with Try Again, a song about a confident young woman in a budding romance. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again” is a well-known proverb, but if you’re a not-so-confident young woman or man, is it really so simple to just dust yourself off and try again when rejection has floored you? For many of us, the honest answer is no.
Let’s face it, rejection can knock you for six and put a dent in even the toughest of exteriors, right? We all like the idea of simply dusting ourselves off and getting straight back to giving whatever it is another go, but, in reality, rejection can steal your confidence, leaving you feeling fearful of trying again anytime soon – if ever.
Everyone faces rejection of some sort at some point in life, it’s part of being human. It might be not being picked to play in the sports team at school; unrequited love in your teenage years; not getting onto the short-list for the job of your dreams; being turned down for promotion, the list goes on.
With this being the case, what is it that separates those who can dust themselves off and try again from those who give up?
“I had nothing to lose and sometimes that makes you brave enough to try.” – J K Rowling
J K Rowling was famously rejected by 12 publishing houses before the first Harry Potter book made it into print. Several years and a vast fortune later, her first novel under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith was also rejected by numerous publishers before making it into print.
She says, “It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
Joanne Harris is the author of Chocolat, a novel that became a Hollywood movie, yet her manuscript was initially rejected so many times that she made a “sculpture” out of the letters. George Orwell’s Animal Farm was also rejected by many in the beginning, as was John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Even Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was initially rejected, so what was it that allowed these famous authors to try, try, try again where many others would have been stopped in their tracks?
The answer lies in a combination of things, but not least their positive mental attitude, growth mindset, and ability to keep things in perspective.
Those who dust themselves off after rejection don’t allow that rejection to define them.
Rejection by one publisher (or even 12) does not mean all publishers will reject them – they don’t allow the opinion of one or a handful of others to dictate the way they should feel about themselves.
Now take a moment to apply this approach to other areas of life. Does not being picked for the team mean you can never be picked for the team?
With a growth mindset, you accept that failing to make the team doesn’t make you a failure, and with dedicated effort you can gain the skills you need to make the team next time around. Does being rejected romantically by one person make you unlovable? Of course not. The opinion of one individual does not define who you are. And does failing to make the short-list for your dream job mean that you’re a no-hoper and destined to spend the rest of your working life in a dead-end job? Only if you fail to keep things in perspective.
So, if you want to be able to dust yourself off and try again, it’s time to develop a positive mental attitude, adopt a growth mindset, and learn to keep things in perspective, but the last word goes to J K Rowling who says, “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success.”
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach and has worked tirelessly to help clients achieve success in the world of sport and business over the past 15 years. The next, highly popular, NLP Diploma and Life Coaching Certificate course starts in September 2019. Click here for more information or to sign up.
Don is taking on a small number of coaches on a 3 month mentorship programme please email email@example.com if you think this may be a fit for you ?