1 Down, 99 to Go

I got my first rejection email, and I couldn’t be happier.

I got my first rejection email, and I couldn’t be happier.

No really, I am happy about it. And why would I be happy about a rejection email? Because that “no” is 1 down with 99 to go. You see, I finally starting submitting my writing for publication. And my goal is to get 100 “Nos.”

That might seem counterintuitive. Shouldn’t I be going for the “yes”? Well, I am. I’m getting to yes with the goal of 100 “nos.” When my goal is to get a “no,” that seems attainable. When I focused on the “yes,” I kept dragging my feet because I never thought I’d get a “yes.” That seemed like an unreachable goal, so why even bother? The “nos”—that I can do. I know I can get a “no,” but can I get 100 of them? And to get 100 of them means I’m creating more content and actually submitting pieces instead of thinking about it or wishing I had.

This is not a new idea. Years ago I had the good fortune to hear a young teen prodigy, Jack Andraka, speak at the annual National Geographic Explorer’s Symposium. As a freshman in high school, he developed a simple method for testing pancreatic and ovarian cancers. When he wrote up his experimental protocol, he submitted it to 200 researchers to get approval for his project and lab use to develop it. Only one responded. And I remember clearly what Jack said when he shared his story. He said you only need one yes.

And he’s right. So I’ll keep going for my “nos” because the more I put out there, the more chances I have of getting to YES.


(Photograph by Ela Aktay) (Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

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