Nothing hurts as much as being rejected, whether it’s being turned down by your ideal university, not being picked for a sports team, or being rejected by the girl or guy you are interested in.
Rejection brings up emotional doubts about your own competence and self-worth. Worse still, those emotions of self-doubt stick with us throughout the years. So, like a lab animal repeatedly shocked to avoid something, we’ve conditioned ourselves to avoid rejection.
Rejection = Success?
What if rejection can be good for you though? Maybe it can help you come up with new ideas; or maybe it can help refocus and redirect your life. For some, it can be humbling enough to encourage new learnings. So, what if that fear of rejection is stunting your personal growth?
Jia Jiang, an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, asked himself that very question. It was then that he found out aboutrejection therapy.
Rejection therapy is a “game” that was developed to encourage people to actually go out and look for rejection. The one, important rule is that those participating MUST be rejected by another human being. The goal of this “game” is for the participant to become confident enough to ask for crazy things, because they are no longer afraid of being rejected.
So for 100 days, Jiang looked for ways to be rejected. At first he heard a lot of “nos” for asking for asinine things, such as a “burger refill” at Burger King, and requesting that he have his hair shaved like a poodle at Pet Smart. But, he also started getting “yeses” for crazy things!
He asked if he could play soccer at a random stranger’s backyard; the stranger said “c’mon in”.
He stopped a police officer and asked him if he could drive his car and pretend to be a police officer. The police officer said “yes”.
He asked if he could give the safety announcement during his flight takeoff, and was granted permission.
Inspired by Jiang, I tried rejection therapy with one of my good friends, Mauricio. After getting over the anxiety of talking to strangers, I started getting “yeses” for crazy things! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to record any of them. Mauricio, on the other hand, was able to record a random stranger he met singing Canada’s national anthem, “Oh Canada!” [Watch it here: http://youtu.be/S51CKyT5lZs]
Asking is the First Step of Receiving
Maybe what you need to do to push yourself to the next level of your personal growth is to go out and try to be rejected. Successful people are the ones who are not afraid to ask for crazy things. The surest way to get a “no”, is to not ask at all. So, if you want something, go ask for it. If you hear a ‘no’, at least you know that you tried. You may be slightly uncomfortable when you do get rejected, but, at the same time, you may be surprised by how many times you hear a “yes”.
Ramli John is the co-founder of FamilyTales, which helps families capture and celebrate their family stories to pass on for generations. He’s a University of Waterloo Computer Science and Ivey MBA alum who loves helping other entrepreneurs change the world.