Saturday, July 2, 2016

What I Learned From Jack Canfield's Rejections

I recently read something interesting about Jack Canfield, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about his backstory. In doing so, I uncovered a gem of wisdom worth of repeating.


The idea for Chicken Soup was born in 1993. Jack and his coauthor Mark routinely used short inspirational stories in their speaking gigs. People loved the stories and began asking Jack to compile the stories into a book that could be shared with family and friends. So Jack and Mark did. But their book was rejected by 123 publishers because (1) it was a stupid title, (2) nobody bought collections of short stories, and (3) the book lacked sex and violence.

But Jack and Mark believed in perseverance. They went to a book convention hosting over 4,000 vendors, and walked from booth to booth until they found a small health publisher out of Florida who agreed to publish their book. Jack and Mark didn't receive an advance, and they were told to just wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, Jack and Mark began living by the Rules of Five. Every day they did 5 things to promote the book. It could mean signing 5 books and giving them away for free. Or sending out free copies to reviewers. But every day they accomplished 5 actions.
The first Chicken Soup for the Soul book came out in July 1993. It didn't hit the bestseller list until September 1994.


It is easy to get caught up in the rejections of life rather than staying true to one's mission. Regardless of how one is making a difference, it takes time for that difference to be visible. In the meantime, try practicing Jack's Rule of Five. 


I leave you with Jack's words of wisdom, a gem borrowed from a quote by the late author Joseph Campbell: If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then do not let external events tell you what is so. Follow your internal guidance, and follow your bliss. 

Above all, don't give up.