We’ve all heard that the road to success is paved with failure. But that doesn’t make rejection any easier to swallow. What does help? Knowing that the world’s most talented people have been there, too. Here are 10 actual rejection letters that prove it.
If Samuel L. Jackson was the Wizard of Oz…
Its Not me Thats Crying Its My Soul, Tracey Emin, 2011
The 73-year-old Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki says The Wind Rises is his final film, and if that’s true—and I hope it’s not but fear it is, since he’s not the type to make rash declarations—if that’s true, he’s going out on a high. The movie won’t, I’m afraid, appeal to kids the way Ponyo or Spirited Away does. It’s monster-, ghost-, and mermaid-free. It centers on grown-ups and is gently paced—maybe 15 minutes too long, I’d say, but you can forgive those longueurs when the work is this exquisite. It’s romantic, tragic, and inexorably strange, a portrait of a young Japanese man who dreams of creating flying machines and the Imperial Empire that funds his research. His country will take those machines and send them off to rain death and destruction on its enemies—but that’s not something to which the young designer gives too much thought. It’s not part of the dream of flight.
Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.
To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a constant filming over of where we begin, while the nature of being is a constant erosion of what is not essential. Each of us lives in the midst of this ongoing tension, growing tarnished or covered over, only to be worn back to that incorruptible spot of grace at our core.
Ever notice how much easier it is to come up with reasons why something won’t work than why it will? When you sit down to dream, how many immediate negative reactions do you have?
"Nobody will buy this."
"That’s already been done."
"It’s not good enough."
Everyone has these thoughts. Everyone doubts. The difference between the successful doers and the melancholy dreamers is simple: action. You
probablywill have some setbacks. You will probablyhave some failures. You will probablyhave some times that you want to quit.
Failure is only final if you quit. For everyone else, it’s just one step closer to finding success.
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