J.K. Rowling and 6 more stars share their wisdom on the pain of rejection.

We've all been there.

You get fired days after starting a great new job. That promotion you're pulling for goes to someone else. You’re turned down for a job even after acing the interview.

Rejection comes in many forms, so the list goes on and on.


When you’re still reeling from the sting of rejection, it’s hard to see any kind of positive outcome. Instead, it’s easier to let yourself get pulled into a whirlpool of negativity, doubt, and self-criticism.

But it’s important to realize that rejection happens to everyone, especially those who eventually succeed.

Want some examples?

Here are seven inspiring quotes from successful people that will help you bounce back from rejection:

1. "I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat." — Sylvester Stallone

GIF from "Rocky."

In the mid 1970s, Sylvester Stallone was a broke and unemployed actor. With a mere 100 bucks in the bank, he sat down to write the now classic film "Rocky."

When it became a success, his fortunes changed overnight. In the bleakest of circumstances, he had the drive to keep going rather than give in to defeat.

2. "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." — J.K. Rowling

Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images.

By now, we all know that J.K. Rowling once lived on welfare as a single mother in Scotland. At her lowest point, she sat down to pen the "Harry Potter" series. The manuscript was rejected several times before getting published but went on to become a blockbuster success.

3. "I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." — Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is an undeniable basketball legend. But as a young, up-and-coming high school athlete, he didn't initially make the cut for the varsity basketball team. He used this early rejection as motivation to become the iconic athlete we know today.

4. "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed past his early struggles as a poor Austrian immigrant to become an accomplished movie star, body builder, and, yes, politician.

5. "Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac." — Madonna

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for J/P HRO.

Madonna was once a struggling musician living in New York City when her early songs were rejected by Millennium Records. But she forged ahead and two years later released her debut album, which has since been certified five-times platinum.

6. "By the time I was fourteen, the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing." — Stephen King

Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images.

As a young writer, Stephen King faced constant rejection. His manuscript for "Carrie" was famously rejected dozens of times. But he kept writing to eventually become one of the best-selling fiction authors of all time.

7. "Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." — Oprah

GIF from The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Before Oprah became the queen of daytime, she worked as an evening news anchor in Baltimore. But her bosses were unhappy with her on-air performance, and she was she was fired. She soon found another job as the host of a daytime television show, and the rest is history.

Each of these now mega-successful people managed to come back from the extreme lows of rejection.

Their stories show that even though rejection happens to us all, it’s often just a natural stepping stone to success.

Now go out there and use their quotes as motivation for your own success story!

GIF from "The Waterboy."

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

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Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

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