Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I don’t think anyone really likes rejection, and some of us never quite get used to it. However, rejection seems to me to be very much a normal part of life. Unfortunately a lot of people are never told this. For them, rejection comes as a surprise and can be very difficult to deal with.

As an artist in particular, rejection can have dire consequences if not viewed with a positive perspective. My mantra re: rejection – “Don’t take it personal!” Art is subjective after all.

Also, being ‘rejected’ by a show or buyer doesn’t mean the work is ‘bad’ it may just mean that they already have something similar, or the price point isn’t what they are looking for…or something else. But it isn’t always a statement of disapproval of our work.

I also think that rejection is an opportunity for growth, both personally and in our art. Personally it’s a chance to push – to look for alternate avenues and to just keep working. It’s a lesson in perseverance.

I love the perspective of Randy Pausch – he speaks of ‘brick walls’ – hurdles in life. . .
"Brick walls are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough.”

I think in large part it is about perspective.

Rejection can be especially helpful if it is accompanied by an explanation. Most of the time it isn’t. You can change that though. ASK. That is one way over the brick wall. You still may not end up with THAT sale or THAT venue, but the feedback can be helpful in your next pursuit.

While I don’t always heed my own advice. I am learning to look at rejection as just one small brick in a larger wall that I need to climb in life - rejection is just one part of life. But remember - IT IS NOT FATAL! And its not really an end, not if you don't want it to be. :)


  1. What a wonderful philosophy and positive statement we all should remember. It's so easy to feel sorry for ourselves or judge our creative work as lacking when it truly is personal preference.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  2. I like how Randy Pausch says "The brick walls are there to stop people who don't want it badly enough."
    Yes rejection keeps us grounded while at the same time pushes us to try harder.

  3. "Art is subjective after all."

    To me, that says it all.

  4. Best quote ever. Some days though the brick walls just give you a headache and you have to lie down with an electric blanket and some ice cream!

  5. Great post this month. I got behind and never got mine written. Oh well, next time. Also wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for the Brilliante Weblog award. Here's my post about it.