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Winter Fun

U2 Got Rejected and So Will You…So Make the Most of It

Have you seen this rejection letter that’s making its way around social media?

U2 Rejection Letter

{ UberFacts }

As we all know, U2 persevered and went on to become one of the most successful bands in history.

I read through a bunch of comments about the letter and found it interesting that most people are accusing Alexander Sinclair of not recognizing talent when he heard it. And that might be true. But it might also be true that U2 wasn’t that good yet. Bono himself described the group as being “a band before we could play.”

Regardless, they kept practicing. They played as many shows in Dublin as they could to build a strong fan base. They took input from the audiences and tweaked their music and their message. They kept putting themselves out there until the right people liked what they heard. People like my politically-conscious, alternative-music-aficionado friend Aaron, who played his War cassette for our freshman science class one day in the spring of 1983.

In other words, U2 followed this advice:

So Good They Can't Ignore You Steve Martin

One thing is certain: If you put yourself out there, you will be rejected. Read it and believe it: You will be rejected.

So how can you handle rejection? How can you keep it from freezing you up so completely that you don’t even try?

The only thing you can do, really, is make rejection part of the system. As author Carolyn See wisely says, “Rejection is a process, not an event.” So when rejections show up in your mailbox or in-box, Crazy Ivan the darn things and take away their power. Tack them to your wall like Stephen King so famously did. Use them to line the guinea pig cage. Slip them into a bedazzled binder.

Celebrate rejection because it means that you went for it. You are officially a member of the same club as U2 and Stephen King and J. K. Rowling and others who put themselves out there, got smacked down, and kept going. You’re that much closer to success.

Most importantly, take a deep breath and analyze the response to whatever it is you put out there. Does the person have a point? Does the rejection contain any advice or bit of wisdom you can use to make your work better? Make some changes if necessary and then send that puppy right back out again.

And then get back to work. This story isn’t about Alexander Sinclair of RSO Records and whether he did or did not miss the boat with U2. The real story is about being so good they can’t ignore you.


  1. Tim Taylor says:

    Crash Davis: You be cocky and arrogant, even when you’re getting beat. That’s the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.

    Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Right. Fear and ignorance.

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