The Great Gift of Rejection

Rejection has been the greatest of gifts to me.  Let me make my case:

I was rejected in high school and college from any of the elitist clubs.  Never asked to join a fraternity.  Had no fraternity pin to pin any girl with, which was tantamount in those days of being nobody and nothing.

I never was elected to any student body office.  I was rejected by the Wyoming Bar because initially I failed the bar exam – the first honor student to do so. I was rejected by the people of Riverton for a judgeship and by the University of Wyoming as a law professor.  The voters of Wyoming rejected me when I ran for the United States Congress.  Publishers have rejected some of my books, which made me a better writer.

As I look back on my life I realize that had I been accepted at any of these stops on the play-board of life my life would have been vastly different, and I wouldn’t trade who I have become (whoever that is) for any judgeship, seat in any law school or one in the Congress for that matter.  By having been rejected by those who I wanted to take me I have, involuntarily remained free, which has been the greatest gift of all.  Those who rejected me knew best.  I owe them great thanks, and by this writing acknowledge my debt to them.



83 responses to “The Great Gift of Rejection

  1. Dear Gerry,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that freedom, in our lives and careers, is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. That applies to everyone, whether one is a lawyer or an average citizen. Your various “rejections” have been gifts to your students and readers as well. Many thanks.

  2. Gerry, you owe no debt to the voters of Wyo, who rejected you to serve in Congress . Rather, your kids, and their kids had placed on their backs a staggering national debt from no damn good professional politicans.
    You owe nodebt to the dean at U of W law, who rejected you as a professor.
    You have covered that in other writings.
    You owe no debt to some boozer frat house.
    The problem is the citizens do not reject Party political hacks, instead America has been elected people who enslave us.
    That is a rather revolting situation.

  3. I think you underestimate yourself. Had any of those establishments accepted you, it would not have been long before it was you who would have rejected them. Not because there is anything innately wrong with the groups you mentioned but for the sole reason that it just wouldn’t feel right.

    For some odd reason, I just can’t picture you rambling on regarding Palsgraf in front of a bunch of young bucks. 🙂

    For the record, the judgeship was likely due to your success with the local bar; the professorship was probably due to you graduating from Wyoming; and as for the Congressional seat, if I remember your book accurately, you ran against a Wyoming political family powerhouse.

    I appreciate the time you put into this blog. Thank you!

  4. The independant mind scares people.The conformist is what is expected

  5. Thanks you. It is validating and gives me strength at the age of 31 to see that my greatest mentor and also a father in my life has lived a life of rejection similar to mine and that what he speaks of is what I have seen in the mirror of my life. Nick Rowley

  6. Magnificent perspective.

    My life sucks right now, but reading this provides me with some new hope. Thanks Mr. Spence. I would imagine that all of your former clients feel the same gratitude.

  7. Many of us have had similar experiences, without initially realizing that rejection infused us with freedom and power.

    Yes, we all want to liked and welcomed into groups. But to do so requires us to accept assigned positions within the various pyramid structures that dominate almost all aspects of society: government, business, religion and education. And while some upward mobility might be possible within the pyramid, the truth is that the folks at the top are not leaving anytime soon. Thus life within the pyramid becomes the very antithesis of individuality and freedom.

    Alas, it is painful to leave the pyramid. And initially, life outside of the pyramid is lonely and unsatisfying. But a fair number of castaways go to law school, attracted to the law like metal to a magnet. After that, circumstances of life might force us to do battle with the pyramid in a courtroom.

    It is there that the ultimate truth of the pyramid is revealed to us. It is not only antidemocratic, but also bureaucratic and inefficient. Few people within the pyramid are authorized to make decisions and those that do have such authority are reluctant to exercise it, for a wrong decision carries with it horrendous consequences. In the end, the pyramid is like an ocean liner: imposing in appearance but not able change course very quickly. In contrast we exiles seem to be in speedboats.

    BUT THERE IS STILL GREAT RISK! We exiles might find each other and get together. And the next thing you know we are also a pyramid.

  8. Hi Jerry, This messages reaches me at just the right time. What a great insight to come by. It may be a God thing??

  9. How one has some debt to those who rejected them is a real paradox.
    Is that like saying, if one did not get into the Rangers(Green Berets), to go to Nam, or Harvard to go to Med School, or into the inter-chambers of the Judge-club, or some sports team, one remains free to do other things.
    Freedom from one commitment, produces others, apparently, sometimes, at least, depending on how one is engaged in life.
    However, rejection from some school, some club, some position, some team imposes no debt, no obligations, no
    People who do not go to a school that charges $ 38,000 per year in expenses have no costs, etc.
    But, as to the benefits, that go with some club ?
    What did Gerry miss out on by not being accept by ZIG Alpha Epislon Frat House ?
    He must have missed a few bad hang-overs.
    That thing about acceptance by some group, etc, and reaching the point that some’s lack of acceptance is immaterial to one’s life, as it evolves, is a retrospective of a certain age, it would seem.
    Gerry obviously did not need the acceptance factor as to Zig Alpha Epislon

  10. You really are one wonderfull s o b , you know.

  11. Ironically, those who gave you most of those gifts had no intention of gifting you at all. Most likely you were rejected because you freightened them, Gerry. I recall the grumbling amongst the UW law school faculty in 1976 when you lectured there for a day and spoke the truth about the law school experience. No one had dared say such things to them.

    Yet you choose to see these rejections as gifts, which is a lesson in itself.

  12. George Burns:

    “I never joined anything that would have me in it.”

  13. Amen!

  14. Robert J. Baker

    I agree. It is interesting that life’s crooked path is altered by that road not taken. Not because you didn’t want too but because the powers that be did not find you worthy at a given moment. Thus forcing one in a proper but seemingly unwanted direction…trial lawyer; the loneliest but most rewarding profession. Who would have known of Clarence Darrow had he not divorced his first wife and move to Chicago? Ah, what may not have occured…

  15. Your posting gives everyone who reads this a boost in spirit. We have all been rejected by something or someone in our lives. And you are correct. It’s a gift to cherish because it teaches us a lesson, if we care enough to learn what it might be. Thank you, Gerry

  16. Dear Jerry.

    There is no doubt about rejection and acceptance. Your path was not clearly defined but your destiny was won through your earnest perseverance.
    I hope one day I can say the same about myself.

    Godspeed to you Mr. Spence

  17. I only correct people when it’s very important.
    Virg Cook, I’m sure it was Groucho who said that.

  18. Can you sing that Toby Keith song? “how do you like me now”….now that I’m on my way….

  19. And Gerry, we owe you for some rejecting you did yourself. Remember how you rejected being a prosecutor for the death penalty after you won one? Remember how you rejected being a lawyer for the insurance companies when you were so good at it? Great gifts to all of us.
    I like your approach to seeing how rejections by others led us to different and better paths. But, we should not forget the paths that we had the sense to reject. I could possibly have become ridiculously wealthy like some of my classmates who sold their intellects to the corporate powers. But I chose the individual to fight for and saved my soul. And raised three wonderful daughters to adulthood. I don’t regret that rejection of corporate wealth very often, like when I don’t know if I am making payroll this month. But I am comfortable compared to the poor and the criminally warehoused people in this country. Thanks for your thoughts, as ever, Gerry, but don’t forget the rejections you chose.

  20. Grateful for it is an understatement!

    Everyone from the biggest heart transplant Doctors (who were shunned as nerds and geeks) to the biggest supermodels (who couldn’t get a date in hs) agrees with you wholeheartedly on this one.

    The only group that has ever been worth anything is “The Winners Group” and you have been on their Board throughout your life.”

  21. What would these lives that have been touched by you, have been without you, your amazing prowess, knowlege and the ability to prove otherwise, you did it! Stand tall, Gerry

    Most of this because they denied you!

    Hopefully, your teaching will influence many others along their life’s way.

  22. Gerry,

    Your blog has been resonating in my mind all weekend. It has caused me deep introspection about how strange my life path has been.

    Most of the “things” I have wanted in life (and been denied) in the end, really would not have been right for me. I did not know it at the time and lamented the denial/failure.

    I look back (smile) at the rejection letter penned by you when I first applied to TLC. Man that hurt. More rejection. However, the personal growth I went through in the years that followed helped in making me more receptive and open to what I experienced at TLC.

    We don’t always desire what is good for us. Usually we don’t know that either.

    Here is to the miracle of life, and the path we walk down as we search for meaning and purpose in this world. And also a hearty thanks to those vagabond souls who from time to time accompany us on our unique journey.

  23. I think it was Jaime Escalante who boiled it down to, “A negative and a negative is a positive”. Many should consider themselves blessed to have fragile egos.

  24. One of my favorite Spence sayings is “I say it’s a gift…” Josh Karton suggested a book which began with a story from the Tao Te Ching which described a man who, when his son broke his leg responded to the people who told him what bad luck it was with, “we’ll see.” Then when the army conscripted all the able-bodied men, leaving his son behind, the supposed bad luck looked more like a gift. Sometimes the pain people throw at us brings us joy in time as it causes us to change and grow to survive. But you deserve credit for converting these events into gifts as many would have been defeated by them, never seeing the gifts that lay beneath the surface.

  25. Gerry:
    You ascribe as “gifts” many things in life. Rejection, loss, etc.
    However, lets take the one, where the Governor, and the people of Fremont County opposed you being a District Court judge in Wyo(after your nomination by Governor Stan Hathaway)
    I read your book, “Making of a Country Lawyer”, and your fights with Bill Smith, and his law pard, and the powers that be in Fremont County.
    Essentially, the powers that be deemed you unfit to be a District Court judge.
    You noted(in your book) the letters of protest from citizens in Fremont county, opposed to any judge-ship for you.
    How can that be regarded as a “gift” from them to you ?
    How can you say they “knew best” ?
    I appreciate there are many forks in the road of life, and you went on to serve, and acheive other things(post Fremont County, and Riverton).
    However, what if they were wrong, what if you were indeed fit to be a judge at the District Court level in Wyo(not unfit to be a judge in a State position in WYO).
    What if the powers that be in Wyo, were corrupted, and raw influence denied you a judge-ship ?
    What if good people who rock the boat, are the subject(if not the target) of attacks of raw power.
    Why do you bow to those who denied you a judge-ship ?
    I realize that at this point in your life, it may not have meant much(in some bigger picture of events, as matters turned out, evolved).
    However, do you buy into the judgments of the powers that be in Wyo that you were unfit to be a District Court judge, to make judgments on others from a state court bench ?
    Many who post here see the raw abuse of those who do hold high bench judge-ships, they have written on it, in many situations, and abuse of power, from bench OFFICALDOM.
    The good old boys(Smith et al) and their banker buddies, and the old guard, saw you as a big threat in Wyo(and they had the juice to ax your judge-ship, most apparaently, in the wake of events in Fremont County, etc.)
    But, you ascribe what they did as a “gift” ?
    I am puzzled on that, to be frank, Gerry.
    One’s man gift may not be so to others, and what about the State, can only those who suck up to raw power hold State high positions ?
    Then, on the other hand your posts on Tolstoy, and
    the State, and its explotations to denegrate citizens, overpowering them in thier lives, etc.
    You did not change to suit the State, and its rulers, apparantely, but I respectfully submit that your view of “gifts” from on high, has some tongue -in cheek aspects to it.
    Do you call your renditions in your book on Smith, a return “gift” ?
    Here is what you wrote in your book on Smith… ”
    “Will Smith ran the county. He thought so too. And he did so with a kind of neligent arrogance. You could pick up on it right away, the way some folks look down on you as if you were an uncouth abrogine who had nothing intelligent to say nor any right to say it”
    Are you sure Will Smith knew best(for you) and was into gifts for you ?
    You went on to note in your book, that Smith’s law pard was appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court(some irony that was).
    Are we to conclude that judge-ships in Wyo are gifts from the powerful to their buddies, and to back scratch the power club climate in Political Party venues.
    Please enlight us more— about gifts etc…
    And, Anna views her path, as saving her soul.
    Was your soul saved by Will Smith, et al, and those in Fremont County by rejecting you as unfit to be a District court Judge ?
    That wealth card so played, is most curious, do some find it more enriching writing books, and dishing Smith, just some country lawyer from Fremont County, who was probably not a big corporate player, but just some guy out in the sticks trying to get by, and he ends up in your book.
    What Gerry, you return gift, perhaps.
    “From Smith’s office you could see the newspaper office”, you say.
    Oh yes, those “circles within circles” of life, and change, and happen-stance.

    • Gifts are given. Whether we wish or can receive them is up to us. What a waste it would have been for me to be a judge. I am not suited for the work. Didn’t know it when I sought the job, but it turned out to be true. So with the other rejections. By being rejected I was given the gift of myself.

      Thanks for caring.


  26. Rejections are different from duty.
    Gerry had no duty to be a judge with black robes, and a golden eagle patch on the collar.
    His Teton firm has no duty to those rejected as clients.
    He had no duty to write books.
    Gerry must have made a lot more money in the path he opted for,
    and thus can claim he saved his soul, and even write his soul was redeemed, saved, and
    forever enshrined in the lore of the Country Lawyer in Santa Barbara from Riverton.

  27. That’s a nice thought on rejection. It makes me laugh and want to cry at the same time! I have had many rejections and pain in my life, more than some and trivial to others. None the less, it was and is real to me and shaped who I have become and the views that I have. It’s so hard to experience these things and not become bitter and cold and not be able to see beyond that. I am trying too come back to where I can feel and possibly be able to do some good in this world. Thank you
    Scott Hancock

  28. Is rejection always a ” gift”
    A black man in Mobil Alabama is rejected, barred from eating at the local reasturant.
    Rejection can be deemed a gift, grand arguments can be advanced that that is so, and one can point to what one became, and freedom, and declare they won every time.
    Is this another one of those
    ” won” is in the eye of the beholder ?
    Rejection, and injustice are often interwoven.
    I suspect that some judges have rejected Gerry’s positions in court, does he tell his client that was a great gift to them ? Really a ” win” ?
    Or, how does Gerry define a gift, in the fabric of it all ?
    Some meaty, most beefy issues, indeed.
    Moving on in life is key,
    however, those doing rejecting can hardly be considered a gift in all instances.
    Certainly, Gerry can make the gift case in his cited situations, he controls what he writes, and the
    change, but, Gerry is from
    Wyo not a black man in
    Alabama in the 40’s.
    If those who rejected Gerry
    Knew best, and Gerry says so, that is it case closed, how can any argue otherwise, the win win Gerry set up is Gospel.

  29. I think Gerry is qualified to sit on the U S Supreme Court– as much so as Sonia Sotomayor, who just got that seat.
    While he may not want the job, would he turn it down if Obama offered up the nomination.. You know,
    ” change”.

  30. Gerry seems to indicate he would be unsuited to be a judge in a court.
    The problem is those who do the judging that impacts our lives, who are eager to be FED judges, as they lust for raw power.
    I hope Gerry’s next book–with his “freedom”–he has secured(his “gift of himself”), is about those on high benches with robes, lusting for power to lord over people.
    Obviously, some trial lawyers can be much more secure at pay rates many x some Fed judge, but it is the power factor that drives some who sit on the judiciary, as they secure those positions in a political Party climate.
    By, the way, nobody can give you some gift of yourself, one is oneself regarldess of some in high powered OFFICIALdom
    Did some judge give you the DNA to be yourself.
    Some banking attorney never gave Gerry himself,
    Gerry was Gerry all due to Gerry.
    How can those in power define you so you are not even yourself, human etc ?
    Some Governor of Wyoming never had the power to give Gerry some
    Gerry persona..
    Maybe Gerry would have felt indebted to the WYO power structure if he had gone that path.
    But, he did not–he is free to tell it like it is… 100% so..
    And, we seem to enjoy him doing so.( ERGO—his BOOKS).
    And, we do care about Gerry, because he speaks about “gifts” from the secret enclave of the likes of Wyoming’s Al Simpson, Dick Cheney, and Cubin, and in contrast to those rowdy rough necks, out there in God’s country, where the wind blows, hard, and
    the other Wyo–far from the Teton Cappucino cafes–are filled with the people totally non-connected to power, who have been had by the power cliques, as we await Gerry to fess up about those who he never sold his freedom to, in the good old boy’s CLUB in WYO(Hathaway, Cheney et al)
    Some know all about Hathaway, etc…
    Pay to play, back scratch, Wyo and its wooly politics.
    Look what Wyo politics produced.
    DICK-N-Stein, AKA DICKY Cheney.

  31. Joan Fabbi Keating

    What more can anyone ask for than the gift of themselves.
    Do you not understand that Gerry is offering the many paths to you?

  32. The thought that “Time is on my side” (which will be true 9 times out of 10 in life) helps to get you through almost anything-without unnecessary wear and tear. Wish I’d known it when I was young.

  33. Looks like Dick Cheney got all the political gifts in Wyoming, and Stan, the Governor, advanced his career to climb the GOP political latter, up to the big Taco hut.
    Yes, the voters of Wyoming sure never rejected Cheney and his Club circles.
    I once wrote to Dicky on the health care mess.
    He(Mr V P) never responded, was that some gift, too, his gifts of power from his CLUB Party perch.
    Cheney sure became what he did, by some most curious methods, now that Gerry has raised some issues(here, etc).
    The Teton Club, out there on Moose Lane, and their
    renditon of Santa Clause, and great favors to the SERFS.

  34. Now the Wash Post is reporting, that Cheney is blabbering that the Statue of Limitations has expired on all the secrets he has, as he now is dishing Bush(jr), of course to hawk his book, advance sales, to come.
    Wyoming voters did not once reject Cheney.
    Is that most telling about WYO politics, and its Teton club circles etc.
    Ya, Gerry’s GOP neighbor (Aspen Pines out at the
    Teton elite enclave for the
    Fellows of Stan Hatahway, and Simpson, and the intercircle).
    Should we all feel grateful, that Al Simpson is not our good buddy, too ?

  35. The gift of oneself, starts with ones mother.
    We should all thank our mother.
    But, for one’s mother, there would be no self, in what we later, became, or transend to.
    Sure. If you are not rejected, at the dawn, be it aborted, you get the gift of life.
    You don’t get that from some Wyo political hacks, like Cheney, or Standly Governor.
    Gerry, Hathaway gave you nothing, but you can call him your ” friend”.
    He was really the big friend of powerful corporations, big oil from Texas.
    God bless your mother Gerry, without her, we would have no chance to tell you about selves.

  36. Virgil
    time waits for nobody.
    We can’t bend time, like it is some ” cost curves”.
    All paths ultimately lead towards the exit.
    Just what path Gerry offered Ms Keating, was no glide path.
    Nobody can stop time.
    Why, it is even marked at the point we push the
    ” submit” button.

  37. This was a really great read, I am very glad I came across your site.

  38. Jules:
    I find you have great insights on life.
    I enjoy reading your comments, here.

  39. Barbara Lucille

    A hopeful message now that I am on the job hunt as a young attorney — filled with both fear and hope.

  40. When black kids were rejected at public high schools in the South for many tears, did those Governors know best, who were doing the rejecting ?
    It was Ike, and then other Presidents, who sent the National Guard in, to stop that rejection.
    I don’t belief one man’ case for rejection, is some precedent that can be proclaimed as a ” gift”, or the universal “path”, in all
    Also, it is a lie that Obama has proposed ” death panels” in a health care bill, a vicious ugly lie spread by Sarah Palin, for cheap political gain, and to whip some into a angery frenzy, who are too lazy to read the full provisions of health care bills, and who introduced them.

  41. Gerry, I applaud all your acheivments in life.
    Respectfully, you were not rejected in public high schools in Wyoming, and told the doors were blocked to you.
    Wyo likes to have in Congress, woman, is’t that ” choice”, even if your law Pard was rejected by voters in the Congressional race(s).
    Choice, indeed, and Democracy.
    If voters know best, then is Dick Cheney the best, a la Wyo ?
    God save us, if that is touted as they knew best !

  42. I don’t see, or read that Gerry was ever in the pyramid that Jules, speaks of. Not in the U S military in the 40’s or 50’s, not in some big law firrm, as a young associate, not in Congress, not in some established University.
    A lot of people did not pass some test at some point in the road. They took it over, passed and moved on. A lot of people have been rejected for promotions, jobs, teams, Ab Lincoln was rejected in his Congressional run(s)., befor triying again, and making it. Michael Jordan did not make varsity once in High School.
    Many who have suceeded in business. at some prior point had big failures
    Taking on failure is something not to fear,
    I will say it, you may find it trite: Yes you can, just keep trying
    I don’t believe there is a person alive, who has not encountered some failure in their life, but learned from that.

  43. It is only through rejection that you figure out who you really are. If we were accepted or fully successful in all that we do, how would we ever know what we’re really made of?

    The real difference between mature people and those who are still children is that mature people recognize the importance of failure in shaping who we are.

  44. Sabina :

    Is it just I or are we females starting to sound a lot like “The Talking Hat” (Lillibet) when she last visited? When she spoke of the “year horrilibus?”

    Warmest regards

  45. History has it that Hilter was rejected from art school. The Wright Brothers(who invented the airplane), never went to school, mostly tinkered at a bike shop( in Dayton Ohio).
    Lincoln never went to law school, and Gates(Microsoft) could not be bothered with finishing Harvard.
    Don’t some imply that thought the imagination, and wonderment of childern is a good attribute, AKA curoisty.
    The Wright Brothers must have failed many times before they finally got it airborne.
    Who we are is shaped by many things.
    Some people can’t handle failure at any level, or of any degree(often those are kids(early on) who were handed everthing, and never tested, later in the truly hard core struggles of life.
    Others, see failure as only a blimp, if they have a desire to find something.
    In the case of the Wright Brothers(the bike shop guys), their passion to acheive flight over came all the failures, along the paths.
    One failure was yesterday, as they moved on to try a new combo, the next, until they acheived what they were looking for.
    Others would have given up on the first 2 failures.
    The Wright Brothers did not.

  46. Gerry,
    Am hoping this may take him (“And this is so…) off on a British rant for a while. Hope you had a wonderful celebration. Love

  47. Sadly, there re people who will never succed in life or life’s endeavors. Try as they might, they will always be rejected, shot down ostracized. Our saying that rejection is good for us, because it helps us succeed in an- other endeavor, is really pie in the sky. There are millions of people who only experience rejection, failure, disappointment. What do we tell these folks? Keep a stiff upper lip and continue on?

  48. Unlike your Teton neighbor, you never got a special deal to manage over $ 100 million of Wyoming State funds.
    But, then the Wyo Congresswoman who makes deals to hand out such Big MONEy deals, is so clever., working political Party strings.
    Here is an example of one who boasts he is not a rejectee:

    So, Gerry, why did Dick’s good pal fire Foster, as Joe is the Sec of the Treasury in Wyo, seeking to clean up the God awful mess from special deals of those in the WYO back-scratch club, the matter never reported on by the Wyo Press ?
    Teton and its FOD’s… Friends of Dick, and FUNDS..etc..

  49. A British rant sounds so Churchillian, it must get you all “we weed” up Virg.
    Now, now, it must be time for some Teton tea, with Foster, and the Club.

  50. Rejection is a two sided coin. Take a law firm, where it’s old pards breakup.
    Some stay, some leave, and start a new law firm.
    Who is the rejector, and who is the rejected, or rejectee ?
    And, what factors play in –besides money, time, commitments, etc ?
    A gift to who ?
    The gift.
    I have seen a few law suits between old pards, when dust ups, and it is usually not described as gift situations.

  51. I was pleased to find out that Mr. Spence has a blog site where he can share his knowledge with those of us who can certainly benefit.
    I have read all of Mr. Spence’s books – or so I thought.
    I am dismayed to have learned that he has written many more than what I had thought existed.
    You may ask why I am dismayed.
    I am, because I had a long list of books that I have been dying to get to these past ten years.
    I am displeased that I will have to put these books aside and pick up the rest of Mr. Spence’s books and read them before I set myself on the task of getting to my ten year list.
    However, as displeased as I am about putting these books off, the pleasure gained from reading his books far outweigh my disappointment.
    His books I have found to be wonderfully inspirationally insightful.
    Thank you so much Mr. Spence for all that you have contributed in your life.
    Vincent D. Faini

  52. My how our hearts seek acceptance. Someone to tell us we belong or this is where our place in life is. Yet, it is only when we stand alone and naked before the universe, after having been totally rejected, after having our hearts ripped out and stomped on, after having our mids turned to mush with self-doubt, that we can truly see into the depths of our souls; to see us for who we really are and not what we want to be or others want us to be. It is then you can hear your own drum beating in the distance. You can realize the caddence of your essense and you can then start marching down the road you are suppose to be on, free of doubt and most importantly fearless of the unavoidable rejections that accompany self-actualization.

    They will see you marching to your drum. They will say: “What a weirdo! What a freak! What a loser! Get a life””

    Rejection is nothing more than a shove in the right direction and an opportunity to change the course you thought you were on.

    Or as the late Shannon Hoon wrote in the Blind Melon’s song, “Change”

    “I don’t feel the sun’s coming out today
    It’s staying in, its gonna find another way
    As I sit here in this misery I don’t think I’ll ever see the sun from here
    And oh as I fade away, they’ll all look at me and say,
    Hey look at him I’ll never live that way
    But that’s ok their just afraid to change

    When you feel your life ain’t worth living, you’ve got to stand up and
    take a look around you then a look way up to the sky
    And when your deepest thoughts are broken, keep on dreamin boy cause
    when you stop dreamin its time to die
    And as we all play parts of tomorrow
    Some ways we’ll work and other ways we’ll play
    But I know we can’t all stay here forever
    So I want to write my words on the face of today
    …..And then they’ll paint it

    And oh as I fade away they’ll all look at me and say,
    hey look at him and where he is these days

    When life is hard you have to change”

  53. The blog about rejection was very thought provoking. I always enjoy reading your works, be they the blogs or your books. I enjoyed “Give Me Liberty” and “Blood Thirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power”. Keep on posting.

  54. Glad I came back to this site some new very interesting items which I wanted to know more about. Great work on your site.

  55. George Harrington

    What we are discussing here is so basic that it is the third story in the bible. There is Genesis, Adam and Eve and then Cain and Able. Cains reaction to to good fortunes rejection is the basic one. It is the one that we as Cains descendents ,( Able didn’t make it), must struggle to overcome. Even you must struggle- witness the fact that with all the rewards heaped upon you, you still come back to the subject of the rejections.
    I’m getting uncomfortable with my tone of sermonizing so I’ll
    close with the following bright thought. Poor Cain
    lived in a society of four people and God had rejected him as a hunter or a farmer. Talk about being screwed ! We however live in a society of several billion and can chose to remake ourselves
    as a writer, a legal researcher or a pastry chef.

  56. Do some human’s reject others, as fellow human’s, when religion is thrown into the equation, or mabe some class angles, or status
    things, maybe some other club things, or other things
    to discount other’s humaness.
    Like Yale is more human than Fremont Community College on its alumuni.

  57. The invention of the nuclear bomb was the point at which the human race, rejected itself, as fit to inhabit the earth,
    as now Cheney has visions of nuclear suit cases carried to America,
    while he was the big nuclear bomb promoter since the Ford Administration.
    Cheney must think he holds the secret to remain human, or is it Gerry,
    which one of these Wyoming sages holds the code about our survival in
    the age of MX missles, and
    industrial complexes in the jungle of some rat race. ?

  58. Certainly, events called gifts, stops, rejections, AOK’s etc can change the path one is on.
    Then, one takes some other path, to arrive some where as the past moves to the present as it all merges with the future.
    Then, in looking back,
    some say they would not change a thing.
    Well, at that point what else could they say, to put in some light to make some case for, gifts.
    Is it called winning every time ?
    Well, who determines how that is scored ?
    Is that like the Golden Rule, he who has the Gold, makes the rules./ !/ ?
    Most people who look back, as they gain perspective often say, I could have done better on that, if I had a chance to do it–over again– this way, or that way, or knowing this or that, which i did not know at the critical time.
    Maybe those who claim they win every time, have a perfect record of 100% perfection throughout 100 % of their life.
    Almost smacks of some immortal diety like dimensions, a ring of God-like, of some unearthly realm.
    Or, is it it some rationalization like a P R agent always selling some image… like a giant Ad..
    Ads to the big Cyber zones.
    If Ab Lincoln had never been elected to Congress, he may have never been elected to be President, and then maybe never would have been shot and killed, and then the reconstrucion era would have been vastly different, and then that may have impacted events so Jimmy Carter would never have been elected in the 1970’s, and the whole ripple effect of 8 degrees of separation would kick in.
    Only if……
    Old people used to be deemed wise, and tested via living, and learning the hard knocks.
    Now, the cyber world produces vast instant sages, who make resounded speeches, on compiled solutions, who profess secrets of the inter-sanctum, tricks of existing, and living the perfect life, all Nivirana, Ecotopia, in harmony with the etnernal vibrations of the cosmos.
    Or, so they profess.
    Is that why Gerry says he has learned more from his dogs, than any books, etc !
    Even though old dogs most likely do not learn new tricks.

  59. I am sure that having a devoted following who are eager for your next post has to become a drag after a while. But it has to be alot better than having people hope that you don’t post another thought !
    It’s been a month. Any stray thought would be more interesting than you think.

  60. Rejection is greatest when , it is a Nation who rejects its own people.
    It is not a gift.
    That happened in Cambodia.
    One of the most insightful authors, ever is Loung Ung.

    Her book is the story of rejection, and redemption.
    Her book is something that is part of history classes in USA high schools.
    I came across it in that crossroads.
    Her book is a classic translated into 11 languages.

  61. Rejecting money at the State university from mid East countries is deemed not acceptable by the trustees, at U of W, (its President).
    Simply, trolling in money is a major value the U.
    Why not, Cheney helped to make Saudi sheiks bloody rich, as he hijacked U S foreign policy to cash in on his Halliburton ventures.(off shoots of his manipulating the levers of power), at the high levels in the Bush Admin.
    Now that is all coming out at the University of Wyoming, as some professors are getting irked.

  62. So, are you saying to all those rejected to go to a law school, that is a gift, the rejectors know best.
    Of course, those in awe of your legal pronoucments may be need of help, in a legal bind. A mass rejection passed off as a gift.
    Tricky, indeed.

  63. Apparenntly, it is considered intolerant to reject a Cheney gift at the University, where Simpson calls students who pipe up “bitchers”.
    Oh, well, Yale had about 10 Halls named after former slave owners.
    It rejected Cheney, and so he found his way in Laramie–his way down the road of the Party to waterboarding, and assorted enhanced methods.
    Truth is suppose to be a value at a Univesity, valued in its own right.
    In my personal opinion, Cheney was always a passive man, a mere puppet of Generals, and the military industrial complex.
    But, his bird shooting buddy, Simpson, is always hawking this image of Cheney as Mr tough guy.
    Smoke and mirrors at the Plaza, now with its seeping Party persona much in evidence, to bend the minds of the
    naive, Chenize ’em out at Simpson U, where Cheney got his draft deferments, where otehr men of his generation were in the jungles of Nam.
    How fitting for U of W to honor a draft evader, as the place where they made it all possible.

  64. Yes Baron whatever, then your name was “Sabina, now it’s Taser……….

    You were wrong! Never met Cheney, wouldn’t know either one of his daughters if they were standing behind me in the checkout line in Publix in Palm Beach

  65. So, any of us who have been rejected by your college should thank you for the gift?

    • Yes, it means we read your application. It also means that we make mistakes constantly. It also means that you will apply again, hopefully, and not let our passing judgment become your own. It also means we look forward to another year, hopefully together. It also means that you might want to review your application and read it as if you were the committee who read yours. It also means…..


  66. Thank you for this essay on “rejection”, Gerry.

    I too was rejected and it turned out to be the best the thing that could have happened to me.

    1. I wanted to get into a fancy lawschool–I was rejected and had to settle for a good school that focused instead on practical traits such as advocacy.
    2. After graduation, I couldn’t get a clerkship with a judge and oh, how I wanted one.
    3. I couldn’t get hired by a big law firm that represented corporations and businesses. My, how I wanted that and the prestige and steady income that came with it.
    4. I couldn’t get hired by attorney general’s office in my state. It wasn’t my first choice, but oh how I longed for the benefits and stable income it would have provided.

    Instead, I was forced into to solo practice to make a living. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Although, I took years to realize it. I now have a practice where I net between $100,000 to $200,000 a year primarily doing plaintiff’s personal injury work. More importantly, I have self respect. Each day I get up look myself in the mirror and I’m not unhappy at what I see. My clients are white, hispanic and black. Most of them are people of modest means who I am proud to represent. One day, I stood up in a legal hearing and began with the words how proud I was to represent ______ who is a “humble workingman”.

    I have my freedom, my independence, and my honor. I would not trade these for any sum of money in the world. Each day of work is good. Each day I *want* to be in my office or in court.

    None of these things would have happened without rejection.

    Thank you, Gerry. You have been more of an inspiration to me and others than you will ever know.

  67. Regarding the gift of rejection:
    I feel that most obstacles and rejections are indeed gifts in disquise.
    I feel that many obstacles and rejections and tragedies may offer growth for anyone creative enough to make lemons into lemonade to quote a tired old saying.
    I believe that sometimes there is no way to look at a personal tragedy as a gift.
    I had a few friends die unnecessarily.
    I have survived the pain of losing them and I have managed to deal with the pain, the anger and bitterness of losing them in such a manner.
    Some people will say that such a lose will make you stronger.
    I am not sure I agree with this… I tend to believe that rejection, obstacles and loss forces one to see what they are made of.
    I have seen what I am made of – however, I believe I still have to battle anger, pain and bitterness not because of all this but I feel that it is sad that we often or the people around us will often make choices or travel in a path that is not as effective as another.
    I believe that in almost an situation or outcome there is crappy, not-so-crappy, okay, good, better and best.
    I deal with my pain because I know that we – meaning me and the other people who were friends and family to those I loved could have made better decisions and if the loss was still destined to happen – then our gift would have been better than crappy.
    Now, while my method of dealing with life may not be the best and better paths could have been taken and I could still be doing what I have set out to do… I have move on.
    For example, I will be walking the length of the Oregon Coast during a ten-day jaunt to raise money for a few of my favorite charities.
    (From the 9/26th thru 10/4th)
    I am encouraging people to send money to Alzheimer’s Association, Womanspace, Food for Lane County, Eugene Mission, Medford Mission, Dunn House, Medford Armory
    I will be walking with more than a few of State’s legislators and I hope to be walking with you as well.
    I am asking people to pledge X amount of money for every mile I walk and every pound I lose.
    Also, I will be challenging Larry Allen’s NFL bench press record – 225 lbs for 43 reps.
    So… as I am training for this goal, I will ask people to pledge to pay X amount of money for every rep I can do with 200 pounds and perhaps an increase percentage for every rep I can do with 225 – even if it is far less than 43 reps.
    (Not for long).
    This I suppose is the gift of my bitter loss and pain.
    I hope it is enough. I hope that from the well spring of my pain and loss will create a positive inverse affect on the world I will one day leave behind.
    Mr. Spence, Your comments please.
    Vincent D. Faini

  68. Vince,
    Sounds like the Postal Service treats its workers as field slaves.

  69. Gerry , would be keen to have you write one called: bitterness .Just read your complete closing in the Karen Silkwood case in:Ladies and Gentleman of The Jury .Regards Ray

  70. Rejection started when my Mother remarried. I wasn’t considered part of that family. It’s funny how other family members repeat the words of a Mother. That has not changed. Today, I am still up against this. Could you help me?

  71. Another great subject, Mr. Spence. First thing that came to my mind is what the posterboy of rejection probably would have responded to it, the late President R.N.

    “Rejection? Laugh at it! And keep moving toward your goal…you’ll get there!”

  72. I think you are saying what I also personally believe:

    “Be careful what you wish for …because you just might get it!

  73. Thoughts on “teenagers” casually leaving behind if they feel first job interview isn’t going well?

  74. My favorite :

    “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

    Henry Ford

  75. Yes, Jenny decided she couldn’t live with constant profanities and gutter language and has moved back over the Palm Beach Island Bridge to a world of CIVILITY.

  76. Won’t be surprised if I run into “Susan” living in a condo on the South end of the Island. We’ll share a good laugh.

  77. Well said. We should all embrace rejection as a challenge to do better.

  78. PLEASE, may be have a humor blog now – just for a week? School is out so it’s vacation time!!

  79. Love you anyway.

  80. New York Times journalist David Carr on blogging on his newspaper:

    “Feedback through a firehose!”

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