5 Famous Rejection Letters Proving Failure Is Not Final

Rejection always reminds me of the famous quote by Steve Jobs: “It was awful tasing medicine, but the patient really needed it.” Often times rejection is not a rejection you as a “person” but just your proposal at that time, and when you take rejection as a sign that you just need to improve a little, great things can happen. Rejection is not a “make it or break it” deal, nor is failure, it’s more a lesson that you may need make some tweaks, and keep moving forward. Failure is not final, and rejection is not about you! Here are 5 famous rejection letters:


Bono Rejection Letter:



UberFacts Tweet

Bono aka Paul Hewson of U2 was rejected from RSO Records in the UK because they felt it wasn’t “suitable” at the time. Bono is now worth close to $600 million, and has helped countless charities with his high self worth.


Andy Warhol Rejection Letter:

andy warhol


The insanely famous artist Andy Warhol was rejected for giving a FREE drawing gift to a museum, and the museum stated that there was not enough room in the gallery. Andy Warhol is now one known as one of the most famous artists of our time, with a creative, unique non-conformist style.


Madonna Rejection Letter:



The Queen of Pop, the queen of reinvention, possibly the most famous female artist in history was rejected because president Jimmy Ienner thought one of her songs “love on the run” was no good.

Tim Burton Rejection Letter:



Director of some of the most famous quirky horror, and twisted films such as Coraline, was rejected for the book called The Giant Zlig because the editors at Walt Disney Productions (Walt Disney was also rejected many, many times) thought the material was too similar to that of Dr Seuss (who’s also been rejected countless times). The irony is awesome, one person is rejected many times, finally becomes a success, then that company rejects someone else who later becomes a success, and so on, the key seems to be perseverance.

Jim Lee Rejection Letter:

Jim Lee


Jim Lee is a Korean American comic book writer and illustrator, now famous for his works in many of the Marvel Comics, including the X-Men no.1 (a spinoff series of X-Men in 1991) which became the best-selling comic book of all time. He was rejected because an editor at Marvel stated his work were done as if it were done by 7 different people, lacking consistency and to come back when the now famous illustrator could draw hands.


The lesson is powerful, although it can be said in words with ease, in practice it’s a lot more difficult, Failure is not final, and rejection is not about you. These people would have only been considered “failures” if they stopped, if they made these rejections the final say, but they did not stop, why? Because they did no take the rejection too personally, they were able to drop their egos, and adjust accordingly. The next time you’re rejected, remember it’s not personal, and it only means you’ve failed if you give up.



Image Source: By Nicolás Espinosa (De mi computador) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons