Viewpoint: Let's get rejected together

Professional rejection isn't a typical experience to share or celebrate, but doing so can actually serve as motivation, according to a Jan. 21 piece in The Atlantic.

Instead of viewing rejection as a representation of the value of one's work, tracking, sharing and celebrating rejections can be a positive strategy to shift perception, author Rhaina Cohen writes. 

Rejection is much more common than people realize. With many jobs, simply landing one doesn't mean the days of sending in applications into what can feel like an abyss are done. Applications and rejections will extend throughout many people's professional careers. In academia especially, "You don't get most things you apply for," Barbara Sarnecka, PhD, a cognitive science professor at UC Irvine (Calif.) told The Atlantic. 

That's why Dr. Sarnecka and her colleagues created the "Rejection Collection," — a spreadsheet where peers, colleagues and mentors share their rejections. Once 100 rejections are compiled, they throw a party. 

Seeing that the lives of successful colleagues and mentors are filled with rejections not only makes rejection sting less personally but also serves as a motivator to keep going by shifting the focus to attempts rather than outcomes. 

"This is perhaps the greatest service the rejection collection provides: It offers information about how often other people are getting rejected in a world where those numbers are hard to come by," Ms. Cohen writes. 

Describing the experience of her own rejection collection group, Ms. Cohen writes: 

"I've seen how rejection stings less when it's reframed as progress and handled communally. I've also observed how the collection encourages people to increase their submissions. When you see how much effort your fellow rejectees are putting in, it's hard not to feel proud of their attempts, and motivated to put yourself out there more."

To read the full article, click here

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