Aug 28, 2012


There are few experiences more painful than being rejected.  We vividly remember the hurt of not being picked for a sports team, not being invited to a social event, or not being accepted to university.

Our basic human need to belong causes these incidents to stick with us through the years. Even as adults, at various times in our careers we're not selected for jobs, promotions, or projects; or even less significant benefits such as parking spaces, preferred offices, or new computer equipment. Whether it's fair or not, the hard reality is that everyone cannot have everything.

Accepting rejection however is not an easy process — for children or adults — and many of us handle it poorly. When this happens repeatedly, it often leads to two types of dysfunctional patterns in organizations: entitlement and resignation.

Entitlement is when someone feels that he deserves certain benefits, no matter the reality of the situation.

At the other extreme is resignation, when people avoid situations where they might be rejected. By passively accepting new constraints or situations, they make sure that none of their ideas are rejected (because they don't offer any).

It's easier to talk about learning from rejection than to actually experience it. Rejection often triggers painful emotional doubts about our own competence and self-worth, so we either try to avoid it or pretend that it doesn't matter. A more constructive approach is to remember that rejection can be beneficial: It can force us to come up with more ideas, redirect us to different paths, and keep us humble and open to learning. 


  1. This rejection's got me so low, if life keeps it up, I may just tell it so!!

    Paraphrase of the Offspring's super awesome song, "Self-Esteem".

    It is easier to talk about learning from rejection because often the person that suggests that it is easy to do does not have the experience themselves to give adequate advice themselves.

  2. Personnel-men, who interview for positions or jobs, should be frank and up front. Learn to explain to the applicant that they do not seem to FIT. Instead of smiling like 'You have this job', and "You will hear from us." Most know at the interview if you have a Good chance or not. Many times the job is (already) filled with someone's son or cousin and you are wasting your time. They are just going thru the motions. But the applicant waits with high hopes, only to be Shot down by that 'Impersonal letter',
    Rejected. Yep, it is terrible for the human, but we can get over it. But it ain't no fun! LOL

  3. This was very inspirational. I was BULLIED and rejected when I was a kid in school. I still carry those feelings with me today, unfortunately. It is amazing the things that trigger it. Pretending it doesn't matter is the way I cope. But I try NOT to dwell on it.


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