Perseverance in the Weight of Rejection and Hatred

By Sophie Cummings

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling


Persevere is the mantra of some of the biggest names today.  They listen to their calling, their passion, their drive, and purse it with unequalled perseverance.   Take a look at J.K. Rowling, for example.  In interviews, she has said that she knew her books would succeed but the hardest part would be to get them published.  She was rejected by 12 publishers.  12.  Most people would stop at a single rejection, maybe even 5, but she isn’t like most people.  She kept going.  Her relentless pursuit made her the first billionaire writer.

Her success has created success for many other, most notably Emma Watson, from the Harry Potter movies.  Emma Watson has taken her movie career onto a new stage. As a graduate of Brown University, she uses her degree in pursuit of advocating for women’s rights.  On the stage of the UN, she has become a leader for women around the world. We love her because she did not stop at success.  In fact, she hasn’t stopped and her spark has ignited the flame in people around the women with her HeforShe speech.

Another successful woman whose career climb was through a different form of writing, song writing, is Taylor Swift.  Inspired by her grandmother who was an opera singer, Taylor began performing on large stages at age 10.  She has impressed even the unimpressed by writing her own music since age 11 and learning guitar at 12.  Why we love her though is not for her musical talents, although great, but rather, her ability to persevere.

While she has experienced immense success, she has also received immense criticism.  In her early career, country fans claimed she should not have won a CMA award because she was not a country singer.  Later, she was relabeled from a country singer to a pop singer.  The more suitable title allowed her to reach a wider audience and country fans were pleased, many still listening to Taylor Swift.  Some people continue to rain criticism on Swift.  Her most recent and notorious hater is Kayne West.  He yanked the mic out of Taylor Swift’s hand during her acceptance speech to tell the whole world that she was undeserving of this privilege.  Swift was later able to finish her speech when Beyoncé called her to the stage, showing that support from peers is a valuable resource.  Today, she has received many Grammy’s and is well deserving of her place on the stage. (Click here to hear her recent Grammy speech)


Taylor Swift Grammy Speech


The greatest value we can learn from the these women is perseverance.  J.K. Rowling’s early success was non-existent.  She lived meagerly but followed her dream with relentless passion, without any rejection stopping her.  Swift lives her dream and continues to drown out dissonance with her kindness.  She is learning to become a strong woman, even learning the lesson that life is not about how many punches you take.  Life is about how many punches you take, get back up, give ‘em the finger, and keep moving forward.  Watson teaches us that the ladder is never too high.  You never reach the top if you keep making more stairs to climb.

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