“Rejection Serves as a Guide to One’s Destiny”
By: Forrest Rivers
One day, I received a depressing (and snarky) email from a small publishing house. This letter was in response to an inquiry to publish a book I had finished writing, the Hippie Revival and Collected Writings.
A representative of the company wrote me the following message based off a brief questionnaire and not having actually read my book:
“I hate to rain on your parade but as presented your book has limited marketability. The word “Hippie” is “loaded” and retrograde. Using it in the title severely limits the market. Essays and poems on any issue are a hard sell. Interest in reviving hippies is a small pool. And I doubt that hippies are big book buyers. You say your book is “about [the resurgence of] the spiritual ideals of peace, unity and love” (I’d drop “resurgence” which is, again, backward focused) This is a broad market populated by people who buy books. You need to do your homework and that involves learning about what a publisher is looking for – something that SELLS!”
Some things to ponder,
I have to admit that it hurt to read this critique. However, this response did serve as a reminder of sorts. The reminder was that all creative souls encounter rejection in their desire to share their expressions of the divine. Inspiring persons (to me) like Albert Einstein, Henry David Thoreau and Pablo Coelho all met rejection along their paths of exploring the Infinite. Einstein’s fascination with the laws of the Universe drove him to explore the depths of what he called a “cosmic religion.” Likewise, it was Thoreau’s awe for the sacredness of nature, which pushed him to move to the woods and (eventually) achieve transcendental states of awareness. Coelho, too, was so enthralled by a desire to share his faith in personal destiny that it led him to create one of the most inspiring and celebrated characters(Santiago) in modern literature. Crucially, each of these men experienced rejection for pushing the parameters of conventional thought at the time. The world was not yet prepared to receive their visionary takes on reality.
Primary school teachers and peers famously ridiculed Einstein for his unique powers of perception. Thoreau died in a state of destitution, never enjoying the wide literary reception he receives today. Coelho, the Brazilian born novelist, also experienced his fair share of rejection. A publisher once dropped his future international best-selling novel, The Alchemist, for poor book sales. From these three inspiring stories, one might gather that rejection is a crucial experience toward the fulfillment of one’s destiny.
One’s encounter with rejection provides an important check on their ego. Through humbling us, it is a reminder that we are not God’s gift to the world. The Universe does not spare any soul from enduring life’s trials and tribulations. Therefore, when we finally do somehow align with our cosmic destinies, we remain humble and gracious for our good fortune. We remember how challenging it was to achieve our dreams. In the end, all that we are left with is heartfelt gratitude for that omnipresent source of inspiration….Oneness.