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How to deal with failure and rejection today

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We tend to be so impatient and often feel like a failure when things aren’t moving fast enough. This can be very frustrating.
A great way to deal with failure and rejection is to work on the right mindset.

What is the fear of failure or Atychiphobia?

Fear of negative evaluation (FNE), also atychiphobia, reflects “apprehension about others’ evaluations, distress over negative evaluations by others, and the expectation that others would evaluate one negatively” and was defined by David Watson and Ronald Friend in 1969.

Atychiphobia defintion on Wikipedia

Keeping the right perspective is crucial if you want to reach your goals.

It takes time to build up skills, visibility, a career or a healthy & fit body. Don’t get discouraged by how slow your progress feels.

Everything is hard until it’s easy.
It will pay off in the long run. But only if you don’t throw in the towel.

Here are a few ideas on why you may simply be overreacting.

1. Change your perspective to deal with failure and rejection

We idolize others who we think are so much smarter, better, prettier and more charismatic.

They seem to have it all together and don’t suffer from fear of rejection.
But we don’t know if they had to deal with failure and rejection to become this successful.

It looks like everything comes easily and naturally to them and you simply don’t have their good qualities.

It all comes down to talent and you just don’t have it, right? Wrong!

“Every great artist has a closet full of bad paintings” – David Young

"Every great artist has a closet full of bad paintings" - David Young quote to deal with failure

You don’t know how much time and effort your role models spent to get to where they are and how much rejection they faced.

It’s time to put it all into perspective and stop talking yourself down.

Great things require persistence, determination, and perseverance.
Consistency is key. And it all takes time.

Often it takes several years and they probably had to deal with a few failures to build something.

For famous successful people you usually don’t get to see the struggle.
You only see the tip of the iceberg.

And even though you understand this intellectually, you may still feel like a failure when you look at your own slow progress.

“I am an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night” – Ray Kroc

"I am an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night" - Ray Kroc


One way to deal with failure and rejection is to stop putting so much pressure on yourself, starting today. You often have very high, arbitrary standards for yourself.

One thing that really opened my eyes was an interview with a successful non-fiction author.

I don’t remember who it was, but they were talking about his latest book.
He had written several successful books already, so he was a professional writer in the personal development category.

The thing he said that truly shifted my perspective was “In the two years that I researched this book…”

That’s it. Mind blown.
He spent 2 years researching his new book. That’s not natural knowledge.

That’s not “I know so much about this subject that I just sat down and a whole book simply flowed out of me”…

It seems silly, but up to that point, that’s kind of what I thought.

It never crossed my mind that professional authors spend years researching a self-help topic to write a book about it.

Historic or scientific books, sure. But “normal” books?

This epiphany made me realize that it’s totally fine to make slow progress. It’s okay that you need to prepare your projects.

You don’t have to know it all beforehand.
It’s fine to learn something and then share it with your readers and followers.

And if you failed for real, this experience will help you immensely the next time you go after your goals.

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect” – Adam Osborne

"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake - you can't learn anything from being perfect" - Adam Osborne

2. Failure and Social Media

Let’s take a moment to talk about Social Media. That’s probably a great source of frustration because success seems so easy to measure.

The accounts you admire or follow consistently get a ton of likes and comments.

It’s totally depressing because you only get a handful of likes and radio silence (no comments) even though you’re convinced your content is good.

What’s going on? Why don’t people like your stuff?

It’s important to be objective for a moment, even if this perceived rejection hurts.
Take a look at the number of followers these big accounts have.

They are huge. Most of them have been around for years (!!!).

This means

  • they were there when you could still easily grow organically. You put out content, people would see it, like it and follow you naturally.
    Now, it’s all about algorithms
  • they also had years to build their community. If you’re rather new, people are less likely to comment.
  • if they are huge accounts, it’s also likely that they did or do a lot of promotions. Because it’s essential to promote yourself.

If you’re struggling, look up the average engagement rates for your Social Media platforms. You might be surprised by how low it is.

You can also check the number of likes and comments of the accounts you follow and divide it by the number of followers they have.

Sometimes the number of likes seems very impressive, but when you compare it to the hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s actually a pretty ordinary number.

Deal with failure by realizing that your expectations may be off. Look at Social Media engagement rates for example.

Social Media statistics

According to the Social Media Industry Benchmark Report 2019, the median engagement rate for Facebook posts is about 0.09% for brands.

That’s not a lot. So, if you have 2,000 followers, that’s less than 2 people who like your post or engage in another way with it.
How crazy is that?

Instagram users are more likely to engage, but still.
The median engagement rate is below 2% for brands.

So with 2,000 followers, that means roughly 32 interactions with your post.

More than 100 million photos and videos get uploaded on Instagram every day.
Let that sink in a little. It’s not easy to be seen.

Twitter is even “worse” with 500 million tweets per day.
Talk about a needle in a haystack.

An engagement rate between 0.09% and 0.33% is considered to be high. 0.048% would be the median.
That’s almost 1 like per 2,000 followers.

Of course, these are general statistics. It all depends on industry and niche, as well as on how much of a community someone was able to build.

Hopefully, you feel better now

I just wanted to show you that few likes and comments don’t automatically mean that people don’t like your content.

People generally don’t engage that much on Social Media unless you’re famous.

It’s easy to overlook that big accounts have a huge following, and that the likes they get are simply proportional.

They are not a sign of superior quality (assuming that you do your best to be of value).

And so, another way to deal with failure and rejection is to put things into perspective.
Are you expecting unattainable numbers?

Make sure you don’t freak out over nothing.

3. A few famous people who failed in the beginning

” I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed”. – Michael Jordan

Paulo Coelho’s famous book “The Alchemist” completely flopped in the beginning.
Only one person bought his book in months and his publisher canceled his contract.

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishing houses before it eventually got accepted.

12 rejections seem like nothing compared to Jack Canfield and his “Chicken Soup for the soul“.
This first book of a still highly successful series got a whopping 144 rejections.

Imagine how much you must believe in yourself and your project to go through that many rejections and never give up??! These people know how to deal with failure.

Tell yourself that the person who will appreciate your value simply doesn’t live or work at the place that rejected your offer.
“Not at this address”.

Give it time

Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you and the quality of what you have to offer.

Failure and rejection hurts without the right perspective

You simply haven’t met the right person to help you or who needs your help, yet!

This can be hard when you get rejection after rejection.
It’s not that easy to believe in yourself when no one else seems to believe in you.

But don’t take it personally. They don’t know what they are missing out on.
Improve whatever you can improve and don’t give up.

The third way to deal with failure and rejection is to realize that you haven’t met the right people yet.
They may not be the ones you think they are. Keep trying!

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4. Don’t compare yourself to others

It can be intimidating when you think of all the experts in your field and compare it to what you want to put out there.

But this is where you need to stop worrying and comparing yourself to them.

Even if you don’t fit your expert standards, you can still help people.
Don’t overthink this and beat the imposter syndrome.

It’s not the experts who need your help.
And superhero experts may not be serving the less advanced clients or students you can help.

Or you may have a way of connecting with your people that others in your field don’t.

It doesn’t matter if what you’re doing has already been done.
It doesn’t matter if others are great at doing it.

It’s totally fine to say it in your own words and do it in your own style.

You’re not a failure

People are all different. Some like the superhero expert style and others prefer talking to “normal” people.

Some need ultra high-level support while others want to learn the basics.

The other day, I watched a Photoshop tutorial on how to draw a triangle, for crying out loud.

I can do quite a few things in PS but had no idea how to make a triangle.

That’s what I needed, and I’m so glad that someone posted a 90 seconds video tutorial.

Don’t ever feel inferior because you think you’re not good enough.
The best way to deal with failure and rejection is to change your story around failure.

Don’t think about what experts would say about your stuff. You’re not doing this for the experts.

Great things require persistence, determination, and perseverance.
Don’t get discouraged by how impressive other people seem.

“I’m not talented, I’m obsessed” – Conor McGregor

Consistency is key.
All your small steps add up over time, so keep moving in the right direction and you’ll get there.

Bonus: Fear of failure quotes

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho

Fear of failure killed more dreams than anything else. Don’t allow fear to have the victory. Start dreaming today and put feet to that which you carry in your heart

Mandi Hart

“Those who live in fear of failure slowly but inevitably fail.”
― Clifford Thurlow

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George Edward Woodberry

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley

“No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.” Napoleon Hill

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” Elbert Hubbard

“The only failure is not to try.” George Clooney

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows

Japanese Proverb

“Failure is success if we learn from it.” Malcolm Forbes

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Dale Carnegie

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill

More quotes to get over your fear of failure

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” Henry Ford

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out

Benjamin Franklin

“Fear of failure is a ticket to mediocrity. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not pushing yourself.” Eric Zorn

“Let the fear of failure be the background noise of your success.” Giovanni Dienstmann

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” J.K. Rowling

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” Robert T. Kiyosaki

I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion

Yohji Yamamoto

“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” Bruce Lee

“Act as if it were impossible to fail.” Dorothea Brande

Get over your fear of failure

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” – Napoleon Hill

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” – Og Mandino

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” Louis E. Boone

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

Jack Canfield

“Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure”. – Jack Lemmon

Time to overcome your fear of rejection

Deal with failure and rejection by realizing that you may mislabel something as a failure that really isn’t a big deal. I hope this helps.

Be yourself and keep working on your goals.
Your situation will be totally different a year from now if you do your best.

I hope this helps you put things into perspective and to help you feel more confident.

Let me know what you think and if you have an example of unnecessary pressure, please share!


Improve yourself. Improve your life!

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