In May 2009 an American named Brian Acton tweeted that he had been turned down by Twitter for a job and shared his reaction in a tweet that read “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute”. Later, in August 2009 he tweeted “Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”
For many people, to be rejected for a job you have been striving to get would be a deal breaker and they may either give up or just coast along in a rut. But Acton’s ability to take rejection in his stride and willingness to look to the future for better prospects is a great example of how, if we think positively upon any situation we can make something positive of it. So what is so striking about Acton? Well, following his 2 rejections in the summer of 2009 he went on to develop an App and was co-founder of WhatsApp which he and his business partner sold to Facebook on Feb 20th 2014 for a staggering $16 billion dollars (enough money apparently to house ALL of America’s homeless population…7 times).
When faced with rejection we each have a choice; a choice of how we react to it. We can take it on board and learn from it or we can let it floor us, knock us back: The choice is ours. That we have a choice may not seem so obvious as many people have conditioned themselves to expect rejection, told themselves they won’t ever succeed, that they were ‘stupid’ to even think they had a chance of getting that job they applied for. That kind of thinking is habitual and the great thing about habits is that they can be changed.
In Malahide Counselling & Psychotherapy we get many clients who are depressed, anxious or stressed and the main cause of dis-ease is often their faulty thinking about themselves and/or their situation. We work with them using CBT techniques to identify their thinking patterns, see how their thinking is tripping them up and help them identify the changes they would like to make in their lives through changed thinking and behaviours.
When the world gives you lemons, you can moan about all the lemons or you can do something with them, such as make lemonade…or lemon curd…or sell them to bars and restaurants. It’s all about choice…a choice as to how you see the situation and a choice as to how you react to it. When Brian Acton was handed lemons by Twitter and Facebook he didn’t complain, he stayed strong, believed in himself and his own abilities: he took the seeds of the lemons, planted an orchard and is now an awful lot richer for having done so.