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Be An Inspiration: A Cartoonist Turns 609 Rejections into A Success Story

Every man has the potential to influence his generation

Here is another series on Be an Inspiration. This is a space where I challenge you with inspiring stories of people and communities that are making a difference in the globe. You will see that anyone can make a difference and in truth, you are an inspiration to the world; a light that should spread its passion to others (Spread this message and light the candle of others)

So you have that excellent idea and you create the perfect masterpiece. You design that great product, service or art; you share it to those that you admire for them to acknowledge your work. You want them to sell your solution to the right audience. However, right in your very own eyes, your work gets rejected and you get turned down.

No one likes rejection; it is full of pain and drains self-esteem. It is a frightening experience

So just imagine if you were turned down not just once but 609 times. How would you take such situation? Do you give up and believe that it is meant to be or such situation happens for a reason? What do you do?

This is the situation that occurred in the life of Tom Torro.


Tom had dreamed of a career in the Entertainment industry and to fulfill his goal, he had gone to Film school. However after a period in his life, a shocking revelation came to his subconscious mind; he found out that he had chosen the wrong dream.

With this realization, came the state of confusion; he had come to a point where he had lost purpose on earth and did not know what to do with his life. He became depressed and had to drop out of Film school just to figure out his next direction.

However, faith smiled on him and one day while in a book sale in his hometown, he was re-joined to his long lost world of imagination. By looking at a cardboard and an old stack of magazines, Tom’s passion for Cartoons came back to him.

So Tom started drawing Cartoons and sent his work to the New Yorker. However, Tom received his first rejection. Shrugging it off, Tom tried again and sent again by post and he got another rejection again.

Yet Tom kept sending more posts. He would walk from his parent’s house to the mail office and mail off dozens of Cartoons which he sketched every week. He sent more posts and got rejection and more rejections. Tom even met the Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker but this did not stop Tom’s work from being rejected.

On the 610th drawing, after a year had passed, on Tom’s birthday, he went to check his email in his mom’s office and he received his success message “Cartoon Sold”. Yes! Tom had finally got his Cartoon to be published.

NPR… Tom’s First Cartoon That was Published in New Yorker

Today, Tom Torro draws regularly for the New Yorker. He succeeded after 609 rejections.

What The Cartoonist Teaches Us About Rejection

1. Adopt the Right Mind-set

There is a wise saying that success is 80% psychology and 20% strategy. Yes this is true. It is your mental capacity that determines your success.

Tom was able to keep going even after so many rejections because he adopted the right mind-set. Tom saw failure and success as a process and not a destination.

It is strange that these times, people see Success and Failure as a destination which is why when a little failure comes by, people go into depression while a little Success makes some people feel that they have reached the peak till they fail eventually.

Have the right mind-set; learn to put situations and challenges in the right perspective. Remember that your life is a process not a destination..

2. Use Rejection as an Opportunity to Get Better

Now there are times when you are the reason for your failure/rejection but there are other times when you are not responsible for such failure or rejection.

However, no matter the situation, do you see rejection as an opportunity to get better or to give up?

Tom did not see himself as one who is not good enough or feel that the rejections were a sign to give up. Instead Tom used rejection as an opportunity to perfect his craft. Having a meeting with the Cartoon Editor was to get feedback and to measure how much progress he had made in his craft. It was a sign to keep getting better.

Let rejection be a data point to make progress…

3. You need to know that Success shortens with time

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Do you think that it takes 610 or 10,000 tries to become successful?

Not necessarily! However, Success becomes exponential.

What I mean is that Success can be shortened with time.

As Tom kept failing, he used the information of his mistakes to get better. Tom became better in his craft in such a way that the rate of rejection reduced completely.

Never see rejection as a destination but as an information to get better at your craft or achieving your goal. As you keep making mistakes and learning, you gather enough information to become a Pro.

Over To You

Now it is your turn, in what way have you used Rejection to become better to achieve your goal or perfect your skill?

Read More:
13 Examples of People Who Turned Rejection To A Success Story

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Hi, my name is Ikechi Awazie and this blog will give you personal development tips that will make a difference in your life. There is no benefit in playing small. Eventually you will come to realize this fact as you learn about people who inspire their generation to greatness. You can add me on on Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to sign up in order to get updates every week as well as The Complete Guide To Success Consciousness.

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