One thousand to one. That’s Vince Vaughn’s estimate of his rejection-to-success ratio when he was just starting out in the acting world.
Maybe that’s some slight exaggeration. But the point is that the guy was turned down a lot before making it big.
Vaughn — who you might know from hit films “Wedding Crashers,” “The Breakup,” or “The Internship” — appeared on an episode of the “Tim Ferriss Show” and shared how he managed to sustain all that rejection without calling it quits.
The secret? As Vaughn, now 47, told Ferriss: “I looked at it mathematically.”
Vaughn broke it down further. In general, he’d spend every day working on his acting skills, whether that meant watching a movie, reading a relevant book, practicing monologues, or taking a class.
And he got tantalizingly close to landing a handful of acting roles. He told Ferriss he’d sometimes go through a screen test — he’d make it to the final audition rounds and film a scene with another actor — only to be turned away.
His typical response to this rejection was to take a week off work because he was so devastated.
At some point, Vaughn realized: Each time he took that week off from his routine, he was really falling two weeks behind. Specifically, he lost one week when he could have been getting better and he probably ended up getting worse during that week when he didn’t do any work.
“Now I’ve given myself two weeks less to improve at the things I’m in control of,” Vaughn told Ferriss.
That’s not to say that Vaughn didn’t give himself any time to recover from rejection.
His advice to aspiring actors, he told Ferris, is: “Find a process where you’re able to … allow yourself to feel disappointed. I think it’s important that you don’t turn off those feelings. But it is also important, how do you do that as quickly as possible to then become productive again?”
In fact, Vaughn added, the same logic applies to dealing with a romantic breakup:
“How much time is effective in mourning and processing it? I really believe no time is not good – you need that moment to accept it. But the sooner you can get back to doing things for your own growth and the things you’re in charge of, I think the your chances of having the things you want in your life become greater.”