By Willie Jolley
NNPA Columnist


At one point or another, everyone experiences rejection. Being told “no,” “not now,” “not you,” “you’re not the one” and “no thank you!” can destroy your sense of self-worth or kill your confidence. For others, rejection can utterly defeat them. And then there are others who seem to constantly rise above rejection and soar to even greater heights.

What is the key difference maker?

It is Defiant Resilience! A mindset that rejects rejection. To be defiant is to reject and have bold resistance to an opposing force. And resilience is your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. That takes mental toughness. This bold resistance and tough determination is a way of thinking and living that has fueled the success of actor/screenwriter, Michael Genet.

This defiant resilience, as practiced by Genet, makes it possible to flourish against any negative, nay saying forces.

 Genet says, “It’s always been second nature for me, that when you get knocked down you get back up. When someone closes a door in your face, you find an open window to climb through. When someone tells you ‘No,’ you find someone who’ll tell you ‘Yes.’”

His father was the legendary Dewey Hughes, co-founder of WOL Radio, which was the first station in the Radio One empire. Now, Radio One is the largest African American-owned radio network. Yet, in spite of having this icon as a father, his father was not able to help him in the acting and screenwriting industry.

Michael Genet used his resilience to become successful anyway. His artistic talents were honed at the Juilliard School and the California Institute of the Arts.

A native Washingtonian, Genet now resides in the very trendy Manhattan Hell’s Kitchen district. Against all odds, he has carved out a very successful 35-year career in the entertainment industry.

He co-starred for six years as Lamar Griffin on CBS-TV’s As The World Turns. Genet has made numerous guest star appearances on TV shows such as: Law & OrderUgly Betty, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, New York Undercover and Deadline.

In 2004, he wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s hit movie, She Hate Me! He went on to write the screenplay for Talk To Me, which received the 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.

In his book, They Must Not Know Who I Think I Am (Lessons in Defiant Resilience), Michael Genet shares survival and thriving lessons he learned from the most rejection-filled industry in the world – entertainment!

Applying his principles could help you realize your dreams and even silence your critics.

Here’s what he shared with me during his interview on my SiriusXM Willie Jolley Show:

• When people reject you and try to make you give up, you must be willing to say to yourself and your spirit, “They must not know who I think I am! I was born for great things and I refuse to give up on my dreams!”

• If you don’t live your dreams, you will end up living someone else’s dream.

• Bill Russell said, “The game has been scheduled, it has to be played; and since someone has to win, it might as well be us!”

• You will have doubters and you will have critics, but you must believe in yourself. And if you believe strongly enough, you can overcome the doubters and the critics.

• Your belief in yourself has to be greater than the entirety of disbelief of all those around you.

• A “no” ain’t nothing unless you allow it to be. A “no” is nothing but a “yes” waiting to happen.

• Be defiant and unreasonable. Don’t take “no” as the final answer.

• Discipline is the difference between potential and achievement.

• There is a cost for a piece of bread, a cup of coffee and everything else. And there is a cost for your dreams. Are you willing to pay the cost to keep fighting for your dreams or just settle and give up?

Willie Jolley is America’s #1 Inspirational/Motivational Speaker/Singer/Author!  He is the host of the #1 Motivational Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and the opening speaker on the national “Get Motivated Business Seminar Tour.” A member the National Speakers Association’s Hall of Fame, Jolley was named “One of the Outstanding 5 Speakers In The World” by Toastmaster International.  He is the author of several best-selling books and can be reached through his website (


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.