I Love Rejections, And You Should Too!

I’ve been rejected so many times in my life. For a very long time I actually thought that I’m gonna have to struggle with food as soon as my parents stop paying my bills. I thought that because I was constantly getting rejected.

After finishing my high school (FSc in my case), I was rejected twice from joining the military in Pakistan. I’m not even sure today why I applied, and glad that it didn’t work out. I appeared on the NUST Business School merit list, but later turned down by them after the interview. They decided I didn’t deserve to study business in their prestigious school after meeting me in person. My provisional admissions in some other universities were also cancelled after the 2nd year (12th grade) results came in. My parents had even paid the admission fee. Pakistani kids can imagine that I was in real deep shit.

I joined the first university I could after that. I think spending 4 years there was a good experience. It helped me become who I am today. Bahria produced a ton of entrepreneurs from my peers. I got to know many people who are today massively popular musicians, movie stars, film-makers, photographers, bloggers, product creators etc.

If you’re in the digital space chances are you already know about Saad Hamid. Taimur Asad came out to be one of the most popular tech bloggers, not just in Pakistan but pretty much in the world. Ghaus Nakodari, the kick-ass founder of Jumpshare. Adnan Shafi, who recently raised $450,000 for his startup PriceOye. These are just the people I was friends with at college. There could actually be countless more.

I don’t think Bahria was doing anything special with education. I just think they weren’t punishing students hard enough, like other top Pakistani educational institutes. And I think that let the natural talent come out of all these people. Which is everything that matters in the end. So if you’re struggling with university right now, don’t sweat about it, everything can and will work out.

Anyway, back to rejections again. It took me 6 years to make a profit at Koolmuzone. And in the end I had to close that profitable business for very external circumstances. I’ll write about it someday.

When I finally got a break, I was turned down by the most prestigious accelerator in US. Some rejections taught me great lessons about myself and I got great value from them (accelerator rejection). Other rejections helped me learn about the sad state of affairs of so many institutions (Pakistan’s education system in general). And some rejections helped me realize how misfit I was and they were nature’s way of putting me away from the course not intended for me (military).

But none of them let me down, or stopped me from my ultimate destiny. Rejections will either add value in your life, or will be net-neutral, but in the bigger scheme of things, I don’t see rejections ever taking away value from your life. You have to keep trying and never give up. And this is mainly for younger folks, stop sweating about rejections. It all works out in the end. Not just for me, but for everyone. Everyone is someone in the end.