According to Dr. Phil, rejection is the number one fear that we have as human beings and I see no lies. So much of our fear, anxiety, and depression comes out of a need to be accepted and this is especially true for those who have chosen to follow their dreams.
R&B songstress Ari Lennox is no stranger to rejection but says that ultimately, it was the key to her success. From singing songs under her grandma's porch to watching Showtime at the Apollo with her other grandma, Ari Lennox says that she isn't new to this singing sh*t, she's true to it. The singer says that even as a kid, she struggled to keep her head out of the clouds and on her schoolwork. In a recent interview with The Undefeated, she said:
"I just couldn't focus on anything else in school but singing, which was what I was most consistent with and good at. And I'm talking about in my entire life. I was always getting fired or quitting other jobs, but I did try to do some courses."
These days, Ari spends her time decorating her new apartment, on tour opening up for Lizzo and taking bomb advice from Erykah Badu, but there was a point where the singer was dangerously close to becoming a nursing assistant.
"I took a bartending class, but I didn't finish it because I chickened out for the test. I did get my certified nursing assistant certificate, but I never used it. I tried, but my heart wasn't in it."
The singer says that despite toying with the idea of becoming a full-time mixologist, she never lost sight of her true passion and pursued her dream of becoming an artist relentlessly. After high school, Ari chased her dreams by way of talent showcases and American Idol auditions.
Although at the time, she was unsuccessful in her pursuits, she later learned that every "no" she was faced with was preparing her for the only "yes" that mattered. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Ari explained:
"And I remember they liked me a lot, they knew I stood out, but they just knew I wasn't ready. I appreciate that so much because I feel like all of those no's made room for the most beautiful yes — that was Dreamville."
Like all of us, Ari still has moments when she struggles with self-doubt, but her journey is a reminder that you already have everything you need to be successful, and the acceptance of others has never been a requirement on that list.
Ari says that while she's happy that she was able to prove to her late grandmas, brother, and newfound family at Dreamville that she's poised for greatness, it's more important that she was able to prove it to herself:
"I feel like I've really made them proud. I know it may come off cheesy, but if somebody's going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars, even more into you, you want to make sure you can return that; you want to make sure they feel good about their investment. Now I do feel OK being the first lady (of Dreamville) because I've shown them I can keep up. I can keep up with Cole."
Ari Lennox: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert www.youtube.com
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