Life is full of rejection, in both personal and professional pursuits. The key to success is using each "no" as fuel to keep driving yourself forward.
When Airbnb was first getting started back in 2008, it struggled to garner the interest of prominent investors.
On Sunday, the company's CEO and cofounder, Brian Chesky, reminisced on these early days via a post on Medium. In his words:
On June 26, 2008, our friend Michael Seibel introduced us to 7 prominent investors in Silicon Valley. We were attempting to raise $150,000 at a $1.5M valuation. That means for $150,000 you could have bought 10% of Airbnb. Below you will see 5 rejections. The other 2 did not reply. The investors that rejected us were smart people, and I am sure we didn't look very impressive at the time.
Airbnb is currently valued at over $25 billion. The company is rapidly becoming one of the most popular companies across the globe, even recently popping up in Cuba. It's safe to say many of these investors likely regret not giving the company more thoughtful consideration.
There are two big lessons to draw from this.
First, if you're in a position of power, don't immediately dismiss others because you've never heard of them. You never know where people might end up in the world.
Second, no matter how many times you experience rejection in life, never give up. Success is a matter of remaining undeterred and unabashedly optimistic in the face of repeated failure.
Use rejection as motivation or, as Brian Chesky puts it:
Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails.
Indeed, the only person who can truly stop you from pursuing your goals and dreams is you. Persistence is everything.