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."

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

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Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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