Keep a list of your rejections.

In the past ten months, I’ve been rejected 18 times. In the same time span, I’ve been accepted 6 times. In total, I’ve experienced growth 24 times through job applications, cold emails, and requests in my personal life.

In my bullet journal, I keep a “Rejection Log”. A table lists:

  • Date pursued
  • Description of the opportunity or request
  • Whether I received an acceptance or rejection

I first heard of the idea of tracking (and inviting) rejection from this video by Matthew Kent:


The idea is that to be rejected means you’ve put yourself out there in a position of risk and vulnerability. The only way to be rejected is to take a risk, but the only way to be accepted is to do the same.

I’ve grown to be eager to add to the list. Each item is an opportunity, whether to grow from success or from ‘failure’. I can study patterns in my Log to see what approaches to opportunities work for me, and which don’t. As my list grows, so do I.

An idea I’ve kept in mind: Remember not to focus on the acceptances. Celebrate them, but don’t see them as the indicator of growth. If I see the list as 6 wins vs. 18 losses, I’d become discouraged. I lost more than double the times I won. A net failure. Instead, I focus on the the list as 24 total times I took a risk.

The Rejection Log originator, Matthew Kent, set a goal of 50 rejections in a year. I’m not interested in setting a goal because the list is enough for me. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding discomfort and vulnerability. For now, seeing proof that I’m stepping outside that comfort zone is enough.

If anything, my goal is to not let the list grow stagnant. Keep pursuing any type of opportunity, whether professional or personal. And I’m hopeful I will. Fellow bullet journal lovers will know how satisfying it is to completely fill a page with a collection, and get to continue it on another page. If the growth-seeking spirit in me won’t keep the list growing, the completionist in me will.

Bonus: Though I started my Log almost a year ago, I wasn’t inspired to write about it until I read Millennials Should Fight the Stigma Surrounding Rejection by Erika Lee at Good Morning Amerika (originally published in Daily Trojan). Thanks for the inspiration!


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