Understanding and Dealing with Rejection: The Key to Creative Success

Christopher McHale
5 min readJun 15
Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

It can leave whelps. Your tender skin will show the marks. It eats at your brain. It drains your confidence. It can leave you on the bridge rail thinking the dark waters below look mighty inviting.


The core of our success as writers, composers, entrepreneurs is how we deal with rejection and failure.

Embracing Rejection: Transforming Failure into a Badge of Honor

Tiger Woods said they taught him to rail against the fates for ten seconds, then let go and focus on the next shot. A friend said after every rejection letter he threw a pencil up into the hanging ceiling of his basement office. When the pencils up there mounted into the hundreds, he said rejection became a badge of honor. He wrote a book praised by no less than Stephen King and found outstanding success.

To me maybe one of the greatest tools for training to deal with rejection are $2 lottery tickets. You buy them; you walk around with dreams in your head for a couple of days and then you check the numbers. You learn to wait for success but expect failure until neither has any meaning anymore. Meaning lives in taking the shot, not hitting the target.

Another friend of mine wrote a line for NY Lotto–Hey, you never know–one of the great ad lines and the essential truth behind every creative endeavor. You never know. You do the work and move on because you never know. It’s the effort that counts, the process, the work, the hours, the inner satisfaction of seeing a final draft emerge. After that, you never know, it’s up to the gods, the cruel gods, yes, but it’s fate in the wind, a fickle thing.

I’m convinced the history of the world is filled with unknown masterpieces lost to time. At any one moment, there are millions of geniuses at work. Some become Mozart, and some become dust.

The Power of Belief and Persistence in the Face of Rejection

In any creative endeavor, the difference between success and failure comes down to belief that leads to persistence. You need to believe in this piece of art before you. You need to hold to that belief until you, the…

Christopher McHale

Writer | Composer | Producer | Human | Christopher writes about creativity, culture, technology, music, writing. www.christophermchale.com