I’m gonna cut to the quick.
What a revelation, right?
Throughout all our life, if we want to go after something or someone, we are going to face rejection. If we have a dream or goal at all, there will be so many times where we can be dismissed by others.
Unsurprisingly, it happens in acting too. You’ll face the bridge of rejection every time you audition.
It’s so easy to take it personally. It’s easy to feel that we are being rejected as a person and not as an actor. However most times we’re passed by in an audition because of things we can’t control, like how we look or sound or occasionally how we smell.
I remember feeling crushed when I was passed for the role I wanted in a short film a few months ago. It would’ve be really easy for me to give up and go home. But that’s not the answer. It was definitely tempting, but I chose to get back up and audition again.
How to cross the bridge
How do you cross a bridge? One step at a time. The same is true when crossing the bridge of rejection.
The best part is, once you’ve taken the steps, you’ve gotten that much closer to your goal.
The first step is to learn
When faced with rejection the first thing we can do is look around us and learn what went wrong. We ask ourselves what we can do better. To me, if we are able to learn something in every experience, then every experience is a win!
There was this one time where I auditioned for a role but during the audition I felt really tense and not confident. After that experience I learned to focus on my part more for the next time and I was able to be confident in the next audition and I got the role. After I learned from the situation, and did a complete analysis of what happened, I felt like I could take the next step.
Keep in mind that if you miss this first step, then you haven’t even made it onto the bridge yet.
The second step is to grow
After you put yourself out there and faced that rejection, learn and grow. If you can learn you can grow. You will develop in ways that you didn’t know you could. You’ll grow as an actor and as a person. Some nuggets of growth could be determination, love for your art and the process and not just the destination.
For me, facing rejection a good amount of times in my acting has allowed me to grow a tougher outer skin. I found that it was important to have a tough outer skin, because if I didn’t then every time I faced rejection I would’ve taken it personally.
The third step is to rise
Take a tip from the Dark Knight. If you’ve seen the third installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy then you know the scene where Bruce climbs up out of the pit and conquers what everyone else thought was impossible. I like to look at rejection the same way. It is something that can and will be conquered. Just like he rose from that God-forsaken pit, rise from that role you missed out on and go for the next one. Rise up!
As the wise sage Tim Allen once said when playing Jason Nesmith in Galaxy Quest, “Never give up, never surrender!” When rejection knocks you down and hits you where it hurts then rise and defy it.
Perseverance is key
In all these steps you take, know that if you can get back up and try again, no matter how many times you fall, eventually the obstacle will be conquered.
This may seem kind of obvious, but it can’t be overemphasized. I have learned that dreams are worth pursuing, despite all the times someone has told me no or told me that I couldn’t do it. That being said, I would’ve never faced rejection if I was content with staying exactly where I was, stagnant and flat-lining.
If you try again, you’ll learn from your mistakes. If you can change anything that held you back from getting the role then work on that for the next time.
Never give up, never surrender!
You can’t lose
If you follow the steps and keep persevering, then you can’t lose no matter what happens. The worst thing you can do is to quit and give up.
If you just give up then not only have you experienced the pain of being rejected but you also won’t ever experience the satisfaction of getting the role. Never give up. Always press on. Push past rejection and discover what it means to accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
For the art that we are apart of, the times we are able to play a part is worth every amount of rejection we’ll face.
Author Bo Bennet, who wrote the book Year to Success puts it best when he said “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.”
Sometimes you’ll have to cross fifty bridges to get what you want. But don’t stop short of your goal. Take each step to cross that bridge.
Before you know it, you’ve reached the other side.