The Transcendence of Rejection
In 2017 I received several “rejection letters” for various opportunities that I applied for. These opportunities ranged from teaching positions, fellowships, exhibitions, grants and business proposals. They all arrived with that very familiar predictable verbiage that describes the very tough decision that took place amongst the many other applications and proposals received but we regret to inform you that your work / proposal will not be selected….you know the rest.
I LOVE these letters!
Thats right, I love them, and of course you want to know why?!
In order to receive such a letter, (which is actually a cloaked metaphor for the same opportunity) one must first “follow the rules”. Those steps that lead us to the rules might be, we discover an opportunity online, through a friend or colleague or via another source. We are interested in the opportunity and then pursue the steps to participate. The steps become guidelines, we follow the guidelines and send off our applications and proposals with intent. This process in and of itself is similar to discovering something new, or learning something new. It is a process in and of itself, it does not require meddling from the ego.
But then…. the rejection letter comes. Or, is that rejection letter simply the vehicle for another message? A reminder, a Metaphor, an opportunity to convert the experience on purpose.
You will need to have a confrontation with your past self at this point because your belief about what a rejection letter is, is simply someone else’s thought passed on to you. (Oh yes, now you are thinking, how MUCH else was passed on to me that I never questioned, but find myself reacting to? Thats a whole other blog post and coming soon!) Guess what, you never questioned it! So, lets redefine what this all means. (I just saw you raise your right eyebrow in contemplation).
A rejection letter is an open invitation to exercise an iteration of your original approach and to make a creative revision! It is a simple reminder that things can always be another way.
What would happen if you fell in love with this practice?
You first idea and or approach to something is never ever your only idea! I stress this to my students, especially foundation and first year art and design students. Iteration, revision and variation are the best of friends. They are the infinite vehicles of creativity.
When the rejection letters find you, from this point forward you will begin to transmute them into what they really are, your invitations to creatively generate a series of new methods and means of obtaining the same desires.
You will ask the question: How can I achieve this goal or desire by obtaining it in a way that has not been previously done? Im not asking you to re-invent the wheel, but to dig into the creative process and resubmit.