Few artists are successful right from the start.
It’s a fact. Rejection is inevitable at some point!
Last week, I read a comment about an artist being good at coping with rejection. It seemed like a good point at first.
But then it struck me…
Do I REALLY want to be good at coping with rejection?
No! I want to get good at coping with success!
Rejection can help to feed that hunger for success. Strikes me that there are different ways to “cope” with failure:
- Accept it and give up. If that’s your approach, then you will only ever achieve failure.
- Denial – refuse to change. Inflexibility is also likely to lead to failure but not always. You just need to be sure you’re right!
- Blame others – Another form of denial, failing to take responsibility for your failure is a self perpetuating situation.
- Problem Solving– trying to identify reasons why the rejection occurred and taking positive steps to address the problem(s). At least you’re acknowledging your responsibility.
Problem Solving is by far and away the best response to failure.
Problem Solving can be tricky. And you may find the following pointers helpful.
- Be realistic. You may have a dream, but is it the right dream for you? Or should you tweak it. You may enjoy arts but lack the creative impetus. If you’re not creating, ask yourself why and either get creating or choose something in the same field which is actually what you really want.
- Suitability. The fault may be that the situation is totally unsuited to you. E.g If you’re a botanical artist who enters a portrait painting competition, then you’re never going to be accepted, no matter how hard you try. OK this is an extreme example but you get the point!
- An opportunity may have been closed to you now. But it could open other doors in the future!
- Don’t take it personally. Being rejected does not necessarily mean they dislike you or your work. Sometimes it’s just the timing, it doesn’t fit with a particular exhibition/gallery style.
- You may need time for your style to mature. Get back in the studio and create some more!
- You may have submitted blurred photographs! Or some other simple mistake. Whatever the fault bad images do your work no favours.
So rather than learn to cope passively, learn to fight back when rejection occurs. Of course you have to cope with the initial sense of failure…. You might even allow yourself to feel down… for a bit.