Important Lessons to Learn From Rejection

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Rejection is a dreaded word. There are endless opportunities in our lives, but we all have to deal with rejection at some point. Therefore, while rejection can hurt a lot, it is something that we should learn to cope. If we turn rejection into an opportunity to learn, then we can find ways to achieve success.

Understanding Rejection

Rejection leads to negative thinking. It makes you feel like a failure. Even worse, it can lead you to give up on your educational or professional goals. It is natural. However, knowing how to overcome this is vital in any endeavor you choose in life.

Rejection is not personal. If you do not get a job, it might merely mean that you were not a perfect fit for that position. The key is to remain confident and to remember that you have the talents and qualities that Ph.D. programs and companies want. You just have not found the right position…yet.

How to Overcome Rejection

You must understand that rejection does not reflect who you are as a person or as a researcher. You also need to know that you will not be a perfect fit for every job or research opportunity. Lastly, you must learn how to pick yourself up, remain confident, and continue working toward your goals.

Recognize your emotions

It is okay to be upset. But, you should not let your feelings hinder your ability to understand rejection. This will lead you to dwell on the experience rather than learn from it. You need to move beyond the hurt. Don’t wallow in self-doubt or obsess on why an interviewer “didn’t like you.” Keep your focus on the critical things: your abilities and your goals. These priorities are more important than the rejection you will face on the way to achieving success.

Stay Focused

Concentrate on what needs to be done. Use a logical approach to figure out why you were rejected. Stay focused and make a plan. Then, chart a course for your next step. It could be the next interview or the subsequent application process for a Ph.D. program.

Keep applying to jobs. Develop your skills. These steps will help to move you further away from the rejection and closer to your goals.

Work on your skills

Contemplate about what skills you need to improve to be a better candidate.  Identify the skills you do not possess and develop them. This will not only make you a better candidate but a better researcher and individual.

Learn from the experience

Any experience in life can aid in gaining knowledge. So, handle rejection as a learning experience. For example, you can ask the interviewer for feedback after an interview. It will help you find what improvements you can make in developing your skills and knowledge.

We All Face Rejection Even Steve Jobs

Numerous well-known people have faced rejection several times on their way to success. Steve Jobs is an excellent example because his success is the result of handling rejection many times.

Jobs faced rejections and failures early on with the Apple, Apple II, Macintosh, and NeXT projects. He was even forced to resign at Macintosh. It was an unprecedented failure for Jobs, who had great goals in the computer industry.

At 30, Jobs said, he felt like running away from Silicon Valley. However, he chose not to let his emotions and the pain from rejection destroy his dreams and define who he is. Overcoming all of the negative feelings and thoughts that he had, he decided to invest in Pixar. It was a tremendous success, and it helped Jobs find a way to start working with Apple again as its new CEO. The rest is history.

What can we learn from the story of Steve Jobs? Hold onto your passion. Don’t abandon your dreams and work towards realizing them. It worked for Jobs, and it can work for you.

The Benefits of Rejection

You might apply for 5 Ph.D. programs and get rejected by 4. You might interview for four jobs and get rejected by 3. These examples show that we have to deal with rejection far more than success. So, it is essential to look at how rejection can benefit us long-term.

Personal and Professional Growth

When you fail to get your dream job or get admission to your dream school, it is heartbreaking. This is natural, but it does not mean it’s the end of the world.

Rejection means you are dedicated to improving yourself. It means that you are moving beyond your comfort zone to achieve your goals. This builds character and strength. It demonstrates what we are capable of and are not afraid to take risks. It also shows that we can face adversity and move forward.


Convert rejection to motivation. Failure leads to an even greater desire to succeed.  It can motivate you to think “outside the box” and to jump outside your comfort zone. After you deal with the initial pain of rejection, it is time to get back to work. Increase the number of applications for jobs. Consider more Ph.D. programs. Think about the next scientific breakthrough that you can develop. Motivation is energy that can drive you towards your goals rapidly.

New Opportunities

Look at rejection as one door closes, another door opens. One rejection does not mean all is lost. This is a unique perspective to have. Perhaps this wasn’t the perfect job for you. Maybe this can help you realize what kind of career you want.

Be patient and continue looking for new opportunities. Being patient is far more beneficial than letting rejection keep you down. How you view and ultimately handle rejection can make all the difference.

When have you faced rejection in your life? How have you responded to it? Please share with us in the comments.

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