Mike Rowe is famous for gamely trying his hand at strange and unusual occupations on his hit Discovery series Dirty Jobs, but it turns out the TV host was this close to landing one of the plushest gigs of all.

In a letter to a fan named Tara on the subject of rejection, Rowe reveals that he was in the final running to become host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show before losing out -- not once, but twice -- to Craig Kilborn and then Jon Stewart

Stewart’s emotional farewell has inspired Rowe to reflect. While rejection has been called both a motivator and a devastator, Rowe writes: “Seems to me that rejection is a reality in everyone’s life, but it’s a reality with no inherent power beyond the power we give it.”

Related: Mike Rowe: Freelancing Embodies the Entrepreneurial Spirit

And given his own career tribulations -- Rowe has auditioned for several thousand gigs in his lifetime, he says, and has regularly been rejected several times per week -- sometimes this meaning is only evident in in hindsight.

“You can’t separate your successes from your failures until you look back, and even then, there’s not much point in putting each into a separate column. It’s all a part of whatever path you’re on. But don’t misunderstand me,” he writes, I don’t believe that, everything happens for a reason.’ I think we make our own luck, and the only real failure is the failure to try.’

For more wisdom from Rowe, including a peak at his tear-stained rejection letter from The Daily Show, check out the letter in full on his official website.

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