I read an article a couple of days ago about a Princeton psychology professor named Johannes Haushofer who created a “reverse resume,” complete with programs he did not get into, scholarships he did not get, and academic journals that have rejected him. Professor Haushofer wanted to draw attention to the fact that our unseen failures are just as important as our successes.

“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” he writes in the introduction of his CV of failures, which was shared so many times that #cvoffailures began trending on Twitter.

I wholeheartedly believe that those who haven’t succeeded haven’t tried. All accomplished people have failed a bunch of times, whereas people who have faced less rejection are also generally less successful. To put this in perspective, Stephen King put all of his rejection letters on a nail on a wall, and by the time he was only fourteen, he had already been rejected so many times that the nail could no longer support all of the letters. So, he replaced it with a spike, kept on writing, and the rest was history.

A lot of cool things have been happening in my life lately, and many people think that I’m just lucky. However, that is not the case, and I decided to do my own spin on the #cvoffailures to show my readers all the windows that opened up when the doors were closed over the last few years. As you can see, in many cases I also had to make my own breaks.

Failures

Accomplishments

  • Rejected by Kindle Singles for a short personal narrative on travel
  • Self-published a longer travel memoir under my own brand, Blossoms Books
  • Did not win the prestigious Marguerite and Lamar Smith writer’s residency at Columbus State University
  • Won a travel bursary to take a biology course in rural Alberta from Athabasca University
  • Did not get an unpaid internship at a well-known Toronto fashion mag
  • Landed a paid, remote editorial internship at a small indie press
  • “Underqualified” for an in-house proposal writing job at a large consulting firm
  • Successfully submitted an RFQ to the Canadian government on behalf of Blossoms Writing & Editing
  • Rejected as a contributing writer for Bustle and countless other popular websites
  • Contributions accepted on The Huffington Post

Rejection can seem confusing, or as Professor Haushofer says, “stochastic,” (I still don’t understand why Zooey Deschanel’s Hello Giggles didn’t want to publish my piece on cloth pads!) but we have to trust that we don’t get what we aren’t meant to get, and that by pushing on, we will receive what’s coming to us. The truth is that all famous writers have been rejected countless times and received dozens, if not hundreds, of one-star reviews. It hurts, but it is inevitable, like the ripping of a band aid. (I’m still anxious about receiving my first one-star.)

The last year has been a wild ride for me. I rebranded Blossoms, started blogging on The Huffington Post, and released my first book. I have a feeling that things are just getting started, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming after the next rejection.

 

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