In-Depth Insights

#1 Overcoming Rejection Is Necessary

To live your dreams and get where you want to be in life, you have to find your own way of coping with obstacles and rejection. For the author Jia Jiang, that meant facing his fear of being rejected head-on.

You see, Jia seemingly had it all - a six-figure job, a loving wife, and a 3,700 sq2 house but he wasn’t happy as he wanted to be a world-class entrepreneur but was too scared to go after his dreams due to the possibility of being rejected.

On the advice of his wife, Jia finally took 6 months off work so that he could dedicate his time to setting up his dream entrepreneurial business - creating a personal development app. He decided that if he couldn’t get investment within 6 months time to be able to launch his app then he could go back to his old career knowing that he’d tried his best. He went about assembling a team of skilled engineers to build his app and rehearsed the sales pitch which would allow him to fund and ultimately release the app. But the investor said no to Jia’s idea. This forced Jia into the realization that he wasn’t good at dealing with rejection and so he went on a 100 day challenge of rejection, coming out the other side able to handle rejection in a positive and productive way.

#2. Understanding Why We Fear Rejection

To deal with rejection you have to understand the psychology of why we, as humans, fear this phenomenon and why it feels so awful.

The distress we feel when we are rejected is all down to our biology and our natural instinct to stay alive. If we were ostracized by our peers back when we were hunter gatherers, we would be forced to face danger alone and might die because of it so essentially, we’re hard-wired to be terrified of rejection. This was useful all those thousands of years ago but today the fear of rejection holds us back.

It’s important to recognize the difference between rejection and failure. Rejection feels very personal as it’s an unequal exchange between you and the person who is saying no to you which is usually done face-to-face. Failure, on the other hand, feels more impersonal, we’re usually able to write this off as being outside of our control due to various external factors such as the economy so it’s something that is unfortunate rather than soul destroying.

The solution for overcoming fear of rejection is to reframe your concept of it.

#3 Rejection Is Not a Judgement Of Who You Are

Learn to rethink what rejection means - It’s not a be-all-and-end-all judgment on your skills, abilities, and personality, it’s the subjective opinion of one or several people whose views have been shaped by their own personalities and backgrounds. Just because 1 person doesn’t think you’re cut out for the job and rejects you, doesn’t mean others will react the same way.

J.K. Rowling had the first Harry Potter manuscript rejected 12 times by different British publishers. It was eventually picked up by Bloomsbury and went on to sell over 100 million copies.

Treat rejection as a valuable tool for getting you where you want and need to be in life. Don’t let people’s opinions be the final word - never give up and remember that rejection always has a number, to get your ‘yes’ you just have to talk to enough people.

#4. Learning From Rejection

After you’ve been told ‘no’ it’s easy to want to run away and hide forever but if you stand your ground long enough to ask ‘why?’ and discover why you were rejected, you’ll be able to deal with rejection much more easily as you have the opportunity to learn and therefore improve your approach ahead of your next pitch.

Perhaps you’ve perfected your pitch but are still getting rejected? In this case, you might need to change your audience, the location, and/or the circumstances to increase the likelihood of you getting a ‘yes’. 

Think about it, when you ask the same person again and again and again you might think you’ll eventually wear them down but in reality, you might just need to approach a different person to get a ‘yes’ from them the first time. 

Likewise, perhaps you’re failing because you’re in the wrong environment. Basketball star Stephen Marbury failed to make a success of things in the U.S but became an instant success after he moved to Beijing, China. Perhaps you don’t need to move countries, you just need to take your pitch out of the boardroom and into the local community?

#5 Setting The Stage For a ‘Yes’

Before you can get a ‘yes’ you have to set the stage by learning the fundamentals of decision making. 

When you’re authentic and discuss the reason and motivation behind your request, even if it’s trivial such as saying ‘I want X because it will make me feel better’, you increase your chances of getting it. The chance of getting a ‘yes’ increases even further when you acknowledge other people’s doubts, concerns, and even criticisms.

However, to be successful you have to make sure you’re pitching to the correct audience - It’s no good asking for a ‘yes’ from someone who is not authorized to give it - you will end up getting a no based on their authority, not your talent.

#6 Learn To Find and Appreciate The Positives of Getting a ‘No!’

Every single rejection has a positive aspect if you just take the time to look for it. Use rejection to motivate yourself towards reaching your goal by increasing your capability rather than allowing yourself to wallow in rejection, nursing your hurt feelings.

Once upon a time, Galileo was rejected by the Catholic Church over his heliocentrism theory that the sun was located in the center of our known universe. We know today that Galileo’s revolutionary idea was correct but at the time, he was actually banned from defending his idea.

So remember too that sometimes you’ll get rejected because you’ve come up with a radical new idea and the person you’re pitching to has a herd mentality therefore, their conventional way of thinking cannot possibly allow them to understand, nevermind approve, the concept that you’re presenting them with.

#7 Use Rejection To Get Clarity and Empathize With Others

Rejection can be used as a tool to help you understand people better, from the homeless person begging on the street who is cruelly rejected every minute by people who walk by without making eye contact to the amateur entrepreneur who has been told ‘no’ after revealing their big idea.

Rejection makes people more empathetic, as author Jia Jiang discovered after begging on the street as part of his 100 day challenge, but it also makes people realize what their dreams actually mean to them - is the rejection actually worth it - do you want to pursue your dream badly enough to handle rejection after rejection? Louis C. K. only became famous after he gave up on his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian, making it big as a comedy writer instead. So could it be time to consider finding a new calling yourself?

#8 Stay True To Yourself and Be Detached From The Outcome

When you learn to overcome rejection and stop seeking as much approval from others, you naturally take more risks in life but you can’t do this unless you value yourself first.

As kids, we’re told that we should fulfill our parents, siblings, and friends' wishes, essentially that other people’s wishes come before our own. This leads us to seek approval from others and wanting everyone to accept us, even when we’re grown up. This need for constant approval leads us away from staying true to ourselves and living a fulfilled life. 

Make it your goal in life to feel comfortable in your own skin - let your rejection journey be about accepting yourself rather than about not being accepted by others. 

For long-term success, you’ll also have to detach yourself from the outcome. This means concentrating on factors that are within your control (knowing you’ve done everything you can) and not wasting your time and energy fretting over the unknown and factors that are beyond your control.

Master all of this and you’ll be rejection proof!

The above is inspired from the bestselling book "Rejection Proof" by jia jiang

Exercises | Workbook


Apply What You Read

* With Elevate Uni’s All-Access Pass you can get unlimited access to a growing collection of study guides, courses and actionable resources from the best minds in leadership, business and personal growth. Each resource includes not only in-depth insights but also self exploration exercises, reflective questions and action points so you integrate what you learn.