Learning to love rejection

A few days ago, I wrote one of my favorite posts: red lights. It reminds me of an opening story in the third chapter of Creative Doing, entitled, “Make Constraints Your Canvas.”

I recently came across a quote from Virgil Abloh on rejection. In an interview with the New York Times, the writer mentions a hiccup with the show. Virgil moved from the Duomo to Pitti Palace, because the city didn’t agree to it. Virgil says:

I always say, “I love the first ‘no.’” That first “no” gives me the premise for adjusting and correcting to get to the end goal. We knew we couldn’t just say: “Hey, we’re going to use the front of this building. Can you guys not do that opera that night?” So I came up with this idea that, instead of having a soundtrack, we would feed the opera live for the show…. We were not about to stop the rhythm of the city. So we came up with this solution. These happenings and moments and collaborations and surprises are pretty much the definition of what Off-White is about. 

It’s worth noting: in the publicity, they came up with a less blunt reason (“But its angles weren’t ideal for the projections, so they chose the Pitti Palace…” via W Magazine). Virgil’s publicists knew they had to create a perception, and the honest rejection wasn’t what they wanted to put out there.

One final quote from Virgil that I appreciate: “I’ve never been one that felt like the doors were closing – I’m an optimist so I don’t even recognise that, that’s how I got to where I’m at.” 

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