No Rejection, No Success

Ink on Scrap Pastel Paper – Words: Bo Bennett

I recently submitted some of my art to a competition. I have entered this same juried review for many, many years. A couple years ago was the first time my work was accepted and published. Each year is different, each year is a risk, each year I was not accepted was a disappointment and yet I have learned that rejection is part of the process.

I hear people who want to put their work out there all too often do nothing to avoid being rejected. It’s the old mindset of if I don’t try then I won’t be rejected, which is actually saying I am okay with always being rejected by myself first without giving anyone else a chance to say yes. Anyone who has done anything has faced rejection, like this quote reminds us rejection is a necessary part of success. No rejection, no success.

The simple process of putting your ideas out there for others to understand, THAT is an invitation for all sorts of things, one of which is rejection. I know a man who loves to write yet never shares his work. “I write for myself.” Ok, I get that, I just wonder what the world is missing by not being able to read his ideas or thoughts. His dream is to be a published author one day, and yes that means someone else will eventually need to read his work. Fear prevents too many from taking the leap and the risk in sharing their work.

I have a friend who is a new artist and is not comfortable showing her work to anyone, even her husband. She thinks it is not good enough and doesn’t want to suffer the crushing criticism she expects. I finally talked her into showing me a piece and it was pretty good for a novice. She told me about her process, her ideas, and how she wanted to grow her skills. I encouraged her to keep going, then gave her a big hug! The worst part was over, she showed someone her work and she didn’t die! Now she plans to keep going, keep learning, and keep sharing her art.

No matter how you define success a large part of that process is rejection. Not everyone will like your words, ideas, images, or even you. Who cares? Where would we be if everyone kept their ideas to themselves? Imagine how boring our world would be. Take a deep breath and share your work with someone, anyone, simply give your work the opportunity to live outside yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised on how it is received. If you don’t try, how will you ever know?

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