On coping with rejection.
The biggest difference between those who succeed in life, and those who fail, is in how they cope with rejection. Some are spurred on by it – others are destroyed by it.
Today, I stumbled on an Internet reference to an Indian Singaporean boy who had shown significant precocity as a child. At the age of 12 or so, he was doing A level exams. He seemed set for a great future. Then he applied for Cambridge, with three A levels in hand...and got rejected. Now, this boy, who had been consumed every day of his young life by Maths and Physics, was totally disheartened by this. He gave up his studies of Maths and Physics. No details were given as to his mental state, but I imagine, from the way he behaved, that he was depressed. He no longer pursued his interests. They no longer seemed to interest him. His relative described him, at the age of 15, as having “lost both his interest and his ability” in both Maths and Physics. He no longer showed precocity. He had become “ordinary”.
It was saddening to read of this case, because I can only say, from my own experience of Cambridge University, that this boy’s rejection from it, may actually have been a good thing. As a young boy, in Cambridge, he would have faced a daunting level of stress and pressure. This may have been damaging and is likely to have been much more than he was prepared to cope with. Looking at his very stark reaction to a simple rejection, I cannot imagine it being even remotely possible that he could cope with life in such a pressured, demanding University. He has given up his life dream simply because one University said: “No.” That is profoundly silly, in its own way. Cambridge reject many good candidates every year...even some great ones slip through, no doubt. They do so, because they are oversubscribed – they are overflowing with good candidates to choose from. Another issue which this young boy seems to have overlooked, is his own age. I am sure that Cambridge is not keen to take on a young boy. They probably rejected him not for his grades (which admittedly were good, but not as good as most candidates), but because of his AGE. They probably didn’t want to cope with the challenges of taking on a thirteen year old, as he would probably have been by the time of admission.
This boy, of such great promise, has given up everything because he could not get into the University of his choice. In so doing, he is showing that he is unable to cope with rejection. Thus, though it is a shame that his talent may now never flower, I can’t help but feel that anybody who gives up, on one rejection, is not going to be able to cope with the difficulties of life. If it hadn’t been Cambridge rejecting him, that stopped him, it would have been something else. For all his evident intelligence and diligence, this boy lacks resilience – the ability to cope with adversity. Thus, whatever the size of his talent the likely dimensions of his success, are going to be limited by this failing. He will never be able to overcome challenges, until he learns to cope with rejection and be resilient in the face of life.
I hope he learns the skill of resilience and the toughness to cope with rejection. If he does not, there is no way this boy is going to achieve the heights his basic intellect and diligence promised. His descent into what seems like depression holds a lesson for all parents of gifted children: do not let your child be put off by a rejection – or indeed, many rejections . People are often rejected for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent. Such decisions should not be allowed to crush a child, but should just be used as a lesson in how life does not always go smoothly or according to our ideal wishes. All children need to learn to overcome such challenges. Children who don’t, are unlikely to ever succeed, no matter how intelligent they are.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page.
To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-in-support-of-my.html and here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-first-donation.html
If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/02/research-papers-by-valentine-cawley-and.html
If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here: http://www.getcited.org/mbrz/11136175
To learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html
I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.
There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:http://thekindlereport.blogspot.com/2010/09/boy-who-knew-too-much-child-prodigy.html
Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks.
You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Knew-Too-Much/dp/B0042P5LEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284603792&sr=8-1
Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.
My Internet Movie Database listing is at:http://imdb.com/name/nm3438598/
Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3305973/
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/
Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is athttp://www.genghiscan.com/
This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)