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June 20, 2014 / glennlim thots

Be friends with Rejection!

Let’s face it, all of us have, at one point or other, been given bad reports, harsh criticisms, disapprovals, and REJECTIONS…

My question is, why do we reject them as our immediate reaction?

We should be friends with rejection…and be good friends too! Because it does give you something valuable. It gives you Feedback on how short-fallen you are from a particular standard. And what feedback does is to create the indignant dissatisfaction, emotional fuel & motivation for you to want to prove it wrong!

The most successful people generally deal with a tremendous amount of rejection until they reach their goals. Having the ability to maintain a positive attitude, discipline & fortitude in the face of frustration enables you to be strong & focused in what you are seeking to achieve.

Below are some notable examples of people who had to deal with & overcome rejection before finally achieving their goals…


Abraham Lincoln – Demoted from Captain to Private during war, failed as a businessman, and lost several times as a political candidate before finally becoming President.

Colonel Sandars – Rejected more than 1,000 times by restaurant managers before one finally gave him a break to test out his fried chicken at his outlet. That was the day KFC was born.

Walt Disney – Fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

Elvis Presley – After a performance in Nashville early in his career, he was told by a manager that he was better off driving trucks in Memphis (his previous job).

Stephen King – His first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. He nearly threw the book out when his wife saved it from the trash and encouraged him to keep trying.

 JK Rowling – Rejected by dozens, including HarperCollins, when a small publisher in London took a chance on Harry Potter.

Oprah Winfey – Fired as an evening news reporter of Baltimore’s WJZ-TV because she couldn’t separate her emotions from her stories.

Jerry Seinfeld – Didn’t find out he was cut from a minor role on a sitcom until he read the script and discovered his part missing.

Steve Jobs – Fired from the company he started (Apple), but was desperately brought back in 1997 to save it. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world.


One good way to prove your worth is to keep a record of all the rejections you received, as a goal & reminder to yourself to keep fighting on until you’ve proven that rejection wrong…

Here’s a couple of actual rejection letters of famous people who’ve made it big today…



z - madonna









The Band U2

z - U2











Andy Warhol

z - warhol











Tim Burton

z - tim burton



I too keep my fair share of rejections & bad reports too, like this one (which I’m seriously considering framing on my wall!). This is my prison ‘Certificate of Release’. While on the one hand it is quite a novelty, it also highlighted a very trying season of my life back then. It was a symbol of rejection & shame which most would have likely want to forget & move on from. But I vowed to keep this until the day I proved to myself & society that change was possible!


Here are also some bad reports from my school days too…

As you can see, I was a real rascal! I was underperforming in my exams, absent from school, and generally disinterested & unmotivated (I still remembered the teacher who wrote the comments in my report card!)…

z1 z3


What nostalgic sovenirs & memorabilia these items make!…But of course they’re more than that. They are now redeemed symbols & ‘testimonials’ that contain new meaning & inspiration in them.

I’m reminded of Sylvester Stallone’s first breakthrough movie Rocky which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. Rocky was an effort achieved only after numerous rejections from producers. At the awards ceremony Stallone read out all the rejection slips from those who said the film would be sappy, predictable and a film that no one would want to watch.

I guess the sweetest victory is when you get to prove your detractors wrong!

So remember, be good friends with Rejection! One day, you’ll be rewarded by it!…Glenn Lim




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