Rejection Can Be A Powerful Motivator. Here’s Why.

Scott A. Weiss
3 min readJul 9, 2022
J.K. Rowling and one of her many rejection letters

Today I received the above rejection letter after submitting my proposal for a podcast series to a production company I’ve sent ideas to in the past.

Reading this, you might assume I became disheartened, frustrated, maybe even slightly depressed upon reading it, but you’d be wrong on all counts.

The truth is, I was completely unfazed by it. Why?

As a creative person, I’ve racked up so many rejection letters it would be impossible to even try to keep count.

If I’m not getting rejected, it means I’m not trying hard enough.

Do you really think just because a Sr Manager of Podcast Development at XYZ podcast production studio doesn’t see my idea as a “top-priority” from a “subject-matter perspective”, that means it’s not a viable idea?

If George Lucas felt that way when he was pitching his idea for a movie about intergalactic space war, we’d have no Star Wars.

If Steve Jobs felt that way when he was told nobody would spend money to have a computer in their home, we’d have no Apple.

If J.K. Rowling felt that way when 12 publishers rejected her book about a child sorcerer, we’d have no Harry Potter.

And the list goes on and on.

When I get a rejection letter like this, it forces me to look inward. How much do I really believe in the idea? Am I willing to keep fighting for it?

Think of a rejection as a blessing in disguise. It’s a way to bow out gracefully on your idea and move on to the next one.

As a creative person you know: there is always a next one.

So, here’s your free pass to kill the idea if you want, no harm, no foul.

People tend to avoid putting their ideas out there for fear of rejection, and I think that’s because people tend to take rejection personally. And it is, to some degree: if a popular podcast host with a huge social media following pitched the same idea I did to the same podcast studio, they’d probably get a very different response than I did.

Scott A. Weiss

Author, freelance writer and self-employed recruiter. Bylines in the Daily Beast, Seattle Times, Classic Rock Magazine, LouderSound.