COMMITMENT DESPITE FAILURES AND REJECTION
- Chester Carlson: Xerox. “ Who wants to copy a document on plain paper?” This was included in one of the 20 rejection letters Chester Carlson received for his invention—the Xerox machine. After six years of rejections, the Haloid Company bought his idea in 1944. The first copier was sold in 1950, and Carlson made over $150 million in his lifetime.
- Debbie Fields: Mrs. Fields. “A cookie store is a bad idea. America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” Debbi Fields ignored this investor’s advice and started Mrs. Fields’ Cookies in 1977. There are now more than 400 of her cookie stands around the world.
- The Beatles. “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” Dick Rowe of the British music label Decca Records said this in 1962 to a young rock group. The group signed with EMI Records instead. The band?
- Anne Frank: The Diary. “The girl doesn’t have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.” A book editor said that about The Diary of Anne Frank. Since 1952, the book has sold 25 million copies and has been translated into 60 languages.
- Felix Hoffman: Bayer Aspirin. “The product is worthless.” Bayer pharmaceuticals’ 1897 rejection of Felix Hoffman‘s formula for aspirin. (They eventually accepted it in 1899.)
- Dr. Seuss. “Too different from other juvenile titles on the market to warrant its selling.” One book publisher said this in 1937 about And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, the first children’s book by Dr. Seuss. In fact, 27 publishers rejected it before Vanguard Press accepted. Dr. Seuss went on to write over 40 children’s books that sold nearly half a billion copies.
- W. Shakespeare. “The most insipid, ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life.” Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys wrote this diary entry after seeing William Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1662.
- Stephen King. “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative Utopias. They do not sell.” This was said to Stephen King in the early 1970s about his first novel, Carrie. The book went on to become the first of dozens of bestsellers for King, the top-selling horror author of all time.
- Fred Astaire. “Balding, skinny, can dance a little.” Paramount Pictures made this assessment after an early audition by Fred Astaire. He signed with RKO Studios instead.
- Ludwig van Beethoven.”Hopeless.” A music teacher’s opinion of his student’s composing ability. The student: Beethoven.
- Michael Jordan. “Cut from the high school basketball team…” He went home, locked himself in his room, and cried.
- Thomas Edison. “Too stupid to learn anything” a teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything, and he should go into a field where he might succeed, by virtue of his pleasant personality.
- Walt Disney. “Lacking imagination” Fired from a news paper because he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.
If you gave up every time you failed, you’d never succeed. These people got rejected, but they didn’t give up—and the rest of us benefited.
1. Commitment Starts in the Heart.* It is said that in Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart. Christians who make a difference in other people’s lives have committed hearts, hearts entirely dedicated to God and His will. (The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.)
2. Commitment Is Tested by Action. It’s one thing to talk about commitment. It’s another to do something about it. The only real measure of commitment is action. Arthur Gordon acknowledged, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”
3. Commitment Opens the Door to Empowerment. As a Christian, you will face plenty of obstacles and opposition—if you don’t already. And there will be times when commitment is the only thing that carries you forward. Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.
(*Excerpts from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John C. Maxwell)
COMMITMENT STEPS vs. FAILURES/REJECTIONS
1. Know: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” (Jer 1:5) You are not a loser! God assures His children, “They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.” (Jer 1:19)
2. Strive for Love: “Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts”. – 1 Cor 12:31 Strive to put love in your heart.
3. Stand Up For What You Believe In: “Stand up and tell them all that I command you.” – Jer 1: 17
4. Remember: a) “Love never fails.” – 1 Cor 13:8 God never fails. He is faithful. b) “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” – Lk 4:24 Even Jesus was rejected. No matter who you are or were, all face rejection sometime. You may not even want to admit that you were rejected, yet you were. Even Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah was rejected. Joseph in the O. T. was rejected by his brothers. He acknowledged that and kept going. c) Find security in God’s Acceptance. Others may reject us, yet God is faithful to love and accept us. Acceptance comes primarily from God’s mercy. Christians who experience rejection have the opportunity to experience God’s indescribable acceptance. The psalmist acclaims, “You are my hope, Lord; my trust, GOD, from my youth.” – Ps 71:5 6.
5. Walk Away. Decide to put what happened behind you and look forward to the future. For St. Paul this means “forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 3:13b-14
6. Keep Going: “But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.” – Lk 4:30 Jesus kept going. If we are rejected in our employment, rejected by friends or family, overcome the tough and bear the situation by moving ahead. Head toward the goals in life that God set before you. Rejection is a lesson in learning how to be strong and keep going. Know that rejections come repeatedly in life. So keep going. Stand up for what you believe in despite the rejection.