Don’t count your failures. Count your successes.
The 417 rejection slips don’t matter if 418 would have been the one.
You don’t often hear about some (famous?) writer or artist who got some huge number of rejection slips without mentioning the one that finally turned the tables.
You just don’t hear this headline:
“Famous author got 342 rejection slips and, uh, actually never got any acceptance letters. Oh, too bad.”
But you also don’t really hear about an author who got 184 rejection slips and is still submitting the manuscript. It’s the one success that is the one we hear about. Sure, the 184 is a big number and it tells us something terribly important: they didn’t give up. Well, they didn’t give up if they kept going until they got the break or the acceptance. In fact, I think we just don’t hear about the ones who did give up. We also don’t hear this headline:
Not-at-all-famous artist auditioned 92 times and gave up. So we’ve never heard of her. In fact, you’ll never hear of her because she gave up.
Do you have to go through all of that failure to get to success? No. But think of the “failures” (or the rejections or effort or auditions etc.) as learning. What did you learn from the rejections? Did you go back and improve your work? Or did you just keep sending out your work (because you just know, deep in your heart, that it’s perfect and everyone has just not seen the perfection in it–yet) and hope that someone recognizes your genius?
Or do you just need to fail? Then again. Then 100 more times. Until you know failure and are comfortable with it.
Have you gotten more experience along the way? Learned a thing or two? Is your 101st application the same as your first? I hope not.
Failure is an opportunity to learn. If you don’t use it, you’re bound to, well, again, fail.