Rejection sucks. It is a heart-wrenching feeling when your hard work is being treated like it means nothing. The other feeling in this “package deal” is a disappointment. Dismissing your efforts will invariably lead you to feel sad and distressed.
When my entry to a programming competition didn’t make the cut, I was devastated. I did what any rational person would do: I bawled my eyes out and refused to talk about the incident. OK, maybe this isn’t what a rational person would do, but you get the picture. I felt rejected, which led to disappointment. I couldn’t cope with the disappointment and rejection very well. So instead of trying to figure out what was wrong with my project, I was moping around, wishing I had never entered the competition in the first place, and generally feeling miserable. Pangs of regret gnawed at me, and somewhere deep down, I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I continued to question myself and my choices. Even though nobody made me feel like a failure, I told myself that I was. Looking back, this wasn’t really a good approach. Pushing myself down didn’t make me feel any better. A better response to the situation would have been to discuss my project with my computer teacher and my fellow programmers. I could have gone over its flaws and glitches with them to make sure that I didn’t repeat them, and this strategy would have improved my entry for the next year.
The thing is, feeling disappointed after any rejection is completely natural, but just dwelling on this feeling doesn’t help in the least. It leads to a cycle of negativity in which you never get anything productive done. Also, rejection happens. There’s no use in beating yourself up after you’ve been rejected. Instead, work on making the material better so that the next time an opportunity comes around, you’ll be able to make the most of it.
Let disappointment be a sign that you need to work harder, not an excuse to shirk out of doing something. Let rejection be the motivation to do better, not a setback. You will end up achieving a lot more than you ever imagined you could.
By Shriya Kulkarni