Friday, May 4, 2018

People Who Get Rejected Frequently Have the Same Attitude

Before we begin, let’s start with one very important question: Do you actually get rejected, or do you just not get accepted? Because if you’re like me and avoid putting yourself out there, you really shouldn't be crying in the corner about how no one likes you. Suck it up and get it out there.

They introduce themselves by criticizing.

“Wow! You have way too much free time on  your hands!” begins an author asking me to interview him.

It was a sort of backhanded compliment. He was impressed with the amount of work I’ve done while acting like that must mean I have less of a life than him. Surprisingly, this didn’t say to me, “I’m a charming, hardworking guy.”

To hear others tell it, this happens all too frequently. Whether it be job interviews, story submissions, or even romantic pursuits, many people start by announcing what their gatekeeper is doing wrong.


I’ve felt the compulsion to do this. Negativity is interesting. When I go out of my way to engage with someone and am searching for topics, it’s really easy to discuss differences of opinions. It’s possible to do this right too, and there are some who believe that it’s an easy way in when dealing with someone insecure.

But typically, it’s just starting out on the wrong foot. Acting superior to the other person isn’t going to endear them to you, and I personally don’t want to deal with someone who doesn’t know the time and place for criticism. You also are taking a risk because you don’t know the factors that went into the decision, proving how naïve you are. While it could make you look like you know what you’re doing, it can also backfire; people who know what they’re doing don’t need to prove it.

If you do have ideas for what a person or company could change, save it for when you’ve gotten on more familiar terms and better understand the factors they’re working with.

They don’t understand how things work.

Unrealistic expectations can be really frustrating even when you’re not directly dealing with them. What is it about delusion that rubs people the wrong way?

It’s important to have an idea of what the other person has to consider, especially because it will help you not take rejection so personally. If you’re going to be working together, they don’t need to be explaining to you that setbacks are normal. Anyone who thinks it’s going to be easy is likely to be very difficult to work with; they’re more likely to get demoralized, accusing the agent or publisher of not doing their job, and simply be unpracticed in how to best handle bad situations.

Knowing the industry will tell you when to be pushy and when to back off. People with ridiculous expectations will make outrageous demands. The most diva-like behavior comes from those new to the field.

And, besides that your attitude will be a hazard, there’s also the fact that people want to work with someone who can hold their own weight.

They only think what the other person can do for them.

Acceptance isn’t worth much if there’s no investment. Demanding someone’s energy and time is obviously a selfish act, but it can be symbiotic in the long term. Most importantly, you don’t want your existence to be a burden, at the bare minimum. It shouldn’t make their life worse than being on their own.

The other day I listened to a conversation between two guys about dating. One suggested that three obvious things the other could do to be more appealing to women: 1. Better hygiene. 2. Get some hobbies. 3. Go to the gym.

The other guy went off, claiming women were shallow with their clinical checklists. Why not just like him for him?!

But would he want to date someone who smell bad, looks bad, and had nothing interesting to say?

People who get rejected a lot tend to think they should get accepted for what they already have naturally. They don’t critically evaluate competition, or put themselves into the shoes of the other person. Instead they see rejection as this unfair judgement passed down on their total worth.

You’re a team, and you want your best players. In the same way you shouldn’t just accept anyone just because they have a couple of good qualities, you should expect to fill a certain role in their lives yourself. You should you try to make yourself useful in your interactions. More commonly, you need to recognize what you can already offer others.

They don’t take pride in their work.

In this day and age, you can judge a book by its cover. Self-publishers often out themselves as lazy through the easily viewed, superficial aspects they cut corners on. They claim that these things should not matter, that the story itself is all that matters, but because superficial things are the easiest to see, it means that it would be the easiest to fix. If you’re not solving obvious errors in your work, it’s unlikely that you’re solving the more subtle and abstract ones.

Regardless of your situation, you always want to make people think you care. I recognize that a lot of current trends paint apathy as power, and often “cool,” but apathy tends to make you a difficult person to be around. Sure, desperation reeks, you have to hold yourself to higher standards, but that’s all a part of the same framework.

Show people you care about making your work the best it can be and you’re willing to do what it takes, including turning down bad offers as well as compromising, or needling out the more tedious details.

Passion is contagious, so let your love for your work show in your dedication and precision.

Keep in mind that rejection is often more complex than just, “THIS IS TERRIBLE.” It’s possible to do all of the right things and still get a no. But in a competitive world, it’s a good idea to show the best parts of yourself, to do what you can to make people feel like you are competent, dedicated, and pleasant to work with.

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