Everyone in life has experienced rejection. “No” is a word that makes many of us cringe and makes others (myself included) try to avoid it as much as possible even if it’s at the expense of trying to obtain the things we want.
Entrepreneur and author of Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, Jia Jiang is all too familiar with rejection. I recently ran across a TED Talk where Jiang gave a lecture on what he learned from 100 days of rejection. Now for the record, I’m not typically a TED Talk type of person, and yet, when I saw the title of Jiang’s lecture, I just couldn’t help but click on it. And holy crap, I’m so glad I did!
After feeling like his fear of rejection was holding him back from his dream of becoming the next Bill Gates, Jiang decided to tackle it head-on by challenging himself to 100 days of rejection. Yep, you read that right. This unique challenge, which began as a card game designed by Canadian entrepreneur Jason Comely, seeks to de-sensitize people from rejection by forcing them to face their fears.
Over the course of 100 days, Jiang threw himself into scenarios where rejection was inevitable or at least likely. These scenarios ranged from borrowing $100 from a stranger to a free “burger refill” (which doesn’t freaking exist) to interviewing then-President Barack Obama.
Image Via David Alexander
As bizarre as the challenge sounds, Jiang learned a lot about his fear of rejection along the way. One of the biggest lessons that Jiang learned, which is relevant to everyone, is this: rejection isn’t usually personal.
When we get rejected, it’s so natural to take it personally. If someone rejects our invitation to make plans, we automatically overanalyze why they said no. Do they hate me? Am I weird? Without a clear answer as to why they said no, we can come up with reasons that not only make us feel crappy, but can be completely false.
After Jiang knocked on a random person’s door and asked to plant a flower in their backyard, they unsurprisingly said no. Some people in Jiang’s situation might’ve assumed the guy was creeped out. In reality, though, the man rejected Jiang’s request because he owned a dog who dug up everything in the backyard.
Unfortuntaley we can’t read people’s minds (I seriously wish we could), so miscommunication constantly happens. But if we take a second to ask why we were rejected, we can realize that it wasn’t us at all.
Another beneficial lesson Jiang learned was that we can help turn a “No” into a “Yes.”
Image Via Pixabay
At the first sign of rejection, we recoil and give up our efforts. By sticking with it, though, we can achieve what we want and it’s a lot simpler than we initially think.
In his third rejection exercise, Jiang went to a Krispy Kreme restaurant where he asked an employee if he could have donuts that resembled the symbol of the olympic games. He assumed they would say no. They said yes. Not only did they accept Jiang’s random request (proving that sometimes all we have to do is ask) but they also made some seriously impressive donuts. You can watch the incredible video here!
We can’t always manage to avoid rejection, but we do have some control over the odds. This is important to remember.
Check out the lessons Jiang learned in his TED Talk, but you should also pick up his book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection, which can be found here.
Featured image via TED/Amazon