May 2020

How To Handle Rejection

“You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection and you have learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.”–Taylor Swift


Rejection is the proverbial whirlwind that blows nobody any good but sadly we face it often regardless of status, class or gender. I am yet to meet anyone who enjoys rejection. However, some handle rejection better than others and that determines its impacts in our lives.

From the savage response, you receive from your crush after shooting your shoot to rejection letter you receive from the organization you dream to work with, from the disapproval you get from your family when they don’t support the decision to marry the girl of your dream to the vibes you get while trying to generate leads for your new business. Rejection is in many sizes and shapes and it can be very destructive if not properly handled.

A fortnight ago, my cousin told me about an opportunity and enjoined me to apply and I did almost immediately while we patiently awaited the confirmation mail which came just 24 hours after my application. This is what I got:

Hi Olatunji,

Thank you for your interest in joining XYZ We have reviewed your application to join and regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your XYZ registration at this time. Please do not consider this a reflection of your abilities.

This was a huge slap on my ego, but I did allow it to wreak much havoc on my life and mental health which is the product of all mismanaged rejection. Here are the few tips about handling rejection:

  • Do not take it personally:


Rejection letters are often mass-produced. If a company tells you NO you can be sure you are not the only one that got that No and it’s doesn’t matter how customized or tailored the email or letter seems.

Rejection is often general not person so stop personalizing it! In addition, the rejection letter or feedback has nothing to do with you. It’s a product of the perception of the rejector. Why should you ruin your day because of someone opinion which could be stained by a lot of other factors beyond your control?

Just before the lockdown, my business partner and I went to submit a sample in an organization and the woman that attended to us literally trolled us, we almost took it personally until she used the unprintable name on someone else within few minutes. I concluded with pity in my heart that this lady is probably going through a lot of emotional distress and needs some help. My offence simmered into compassion and that really helped.

I have read myriads of rejection letters written to top celebrities and I have concluded that even experts don’t get it sometimes. Did you know that a basketball coach once said, Michael Jordan doesn’t have enough natural attributes to make for a high school team? Can you imagine U2, The Beatles and Madonna were once written off by so-called music executives and managers of top record labels? I don’t care who rejects you, they are probably wrong!

  • React with Curiosity:


“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”– Williams Authur Ward
Curiosity increases your wisdom and affects your chance if you are trying again or if a similar opportunity comes up. It helps you investigate what really lead to rejection in the first place. It could be that you weren’t prepared enough, it could even be that you were anxious or fearful but can never be because you are not enough. You are always more than enough for anything, any task or for any organization or relationship. It might have to do with what you did or didn’t do but it can never be about who you are. You are Enough!

Immediately I received the XYZ mail, I went to their website and other blogs to read up what could possibly go wrong. Yeah, I even reread their mails four times to gain clarity and I spoken with my cousin about it who provided me with a lot of valuable information about it. Then I discovered the picture I submitted didn’t meet their requirements (they said my eyeballs weren’t pronounced enough), my physical location could be another issue and according to them, they got 10,000 application for the same position on the same day.

A whole lot of factors could be responsible for the rejection but until you are curious enough, you are lightly going to conclude wrongly and give an unhealthy judgement.

The reason she gave you a ‘No’ when you wooed her may be because she doesn’t feel ready for something serious yet not because of your looks. The reason you did not get the contract is likely because the procurement manager was bribed by your competitor and had nothing to do with your pitching or capacity. Yeah, I know curiosity killed the cat but the last time I checked, you are not a cat.

  • Keep knocking:

Law of averages states that the likelihood of an event evens out if the frequency is increased. This means one of the best ways to reduce being rejected is to get more rejections-get used to it – and get less and fewer rejections as you go up the ladder.

This is the secret of the most successful people in the world, they are used to being rejected because they never allowed the fear of being rejected to keep them down. We admire them not because of their extraordinary result but also because they dare to do what we are sacred to do.
Jay Shetty puts it differently when he said, “Being scared of rejection stop us from knocking and because it stops us from knocking, it stops us from success.”

Go and get used to it!

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