How Do You Handle Rejection?

Even the thickest skinned people among us do not enjoy being told no. And if you're involved with any creative pursuits rejection is a regular feature of the landscape. So, what do you do if you're an aspiring artist, to try and minimize any damage to your psyche? After all, being creative in most cases…

Even the thickest skinned people among us do not enjoy being told no. And if you're involved with any creative pursuits rejection is a regular feature of the landscape. So, what do you do if you're an aspiring artist, to try and minimize any damage to your psyche? After all, being creative in most cases tend to rely on you being in your “happy place” or a good frame of mind, in order to maximize your creativity.

I'm not a psycho-therapist or anything like that, but I have a fair amount of experience with rejection. Some people may tell you that you simply need to toughen up. Develop that thick skin, and just realize that rejection comes with the territory. I certainly can not argue with that, but some of us are bound to be more sensitive than others when being told no.

It's often difficult not to take things personally when what you are putting forth absolutely is very personal. It's your creativity, something from within you, which you offer up to the world. But in the end, one does have to take a step back and realize that whether the end result is a CD, a sculpture, a film, or some other performance art; your creativity becomes a product or content available for consumption. And as such it's subject to review, criticism or praise.

As simple as this may sound, the first thing to wrap your mind around is that everyone will not love what you do. Acceptance of this fact in no way means that you lack confidence or that you are not the greatest artist ever. It's just reality. Think about this for a moment: In the United States we get very excited when a singer / musician sells 1 million units. And you know what? A million units are great! Whether we're talking widgets, cans of soup, or CD's. But now, apply a bit of perspective to that selling 1 million units. The United States is a country of more than 300 million people. Looked at another way, you could say that over 299 million people did not care to buy the product.

Does that mean that the product was unworthy? I suppose that's a subjective question and can move into a number of areas. My real point is that we should understand that our creativity more than likely will not be universally loved. Even the “successful” artists do not achieve universal acceptance, so we should keep that in mind when being told no.

The thing that should become more important, especially if you're an independent artist, is to focus on identifying your potential audience, and discovering the people who say “yes” among them. As you discover more people that say “yes” you'll begin to realize that those who say “no” do not control your destiny. They are attracted to their opinion, but instead of being overly concerned about those who say “no”, you'll find that you're better served by focusing on those who say “yes”.

This may not need to take the sting out of being restored, but the people who do not appreciate your creativity have done you the favor of removing themselves from your search for those who do.