By: Jacky Lai
“Adversity is your greatest teacher.” I heard Salma Hayek say this once in and interview.
I have never been more inspired by a word that’s so contradictory to success. But she could not have been more right; there can be no success without failure and rejection.
As an actor in film and television, I have heard more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’, been hung dry more often than not. Part of our job is learning to cope with rejection, finding the balance between working hard and letting go.
This past April, I got news that I was one of two actresses selected from all across Canada to test for the series Vikings. Within 24 hours I was flown halfway across the world to Ireland with no official date of return.
I loved the character, the story, the show; nothing could have been more ideal. I tested the day after and later that evening, got news that “they went the other way”. I felt time stand still, I could hear my heart chipping away every second. I remember calling my best friend and not wanting any consolation but to hear her talk about her day. I didn’t want to be reminded of what I just heard. I had to ask her to pass the message to my family because I literally could not relive those words.
Alone in a hotel, halfway across the world, while the girl in the next room was preparing for a table read. Waking up, pushing myself out of bed to explore the city of Dublin while she was being congratulated by cast and crew. The thought still rings a very dark tune.
You never really know why or what exactly it is that prevents you from getting what you’ve worked so hard for. What I’ve learned is, you can kill yourself wondering, comparing, and still never getting your answer. Rejection is a part of life and without it, there is no growth. You must believe in what you have to offer and know, like REALLY know that it is the most special and unique thing that you can share to the world.
The antidote to rejection is self-love.
Take the time you need to silence the noise of the world, what people are saying, what they are expecting, and dig up all your flaws and mistakes. Find it, love it, and all else will fall into place. No one gets what they want without a fight, and if they do, it won’t be valued.
Behind every successful man and woman are scars big and small, in places we’ll never even know. So if you love something and believe in it – fight for it, because the rise is always worth the fall. Look for signs when you hit rock bottom or just had the biggest door close in your face, it’s those endurance tests that will reward you with your greatest achievements.
“Who you’re meant to be evolves from where you are right now so trust the timing of your life.”