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The opportunity behind rejection

Today I’m sharing a TED Talk that literally blew me away. The speaker is Jia Jiang – entrepreneur, blogger, and author of Rejection Proof. I won’t spoil it for you, but the premise is this: After Jiang received a crushing rejection from a potential investor, he decided to channel his fear of rejection by facing it head-on. He voluntarily subjected himself to 100 days of rejection (ask a stranger for $100, ask to get his hair trimmed at PetSmart, knock on someone’s door and ask to play soccer in their backyard) and learned to find the opportunity behind every rejection.

I promise this is worth every moment of the 16 minutes – afterwards, you will want to watch the videos of all his rejections (next on my to-do list!).

I found his talk to be so inspirational on so many levels. First, it was amazing to see the power of asking questions, even something as simple as why? Often, we are so afraid of feedback (the truth), we live inside our own heads, our assumptions/interpretations, so we miss out on the opportunity to learn from someone else’s perspective.

It also gave me some faith in humanity. When he opened himself up to rejection, he also opened himself up to generosity, warmth and friendship. When it comes to relationships, sometimes our ego protects us from being vulnerable, but then it also prevents us from experiencing love, kindness and compassion. I thought to myself, where are some areas in my life where I could make myself more vulnerable and open? What is the worst thing that could happen if I do? What is the best thing that could happen?

I love this video of Jiang asking for Olympic ring donuts at Krispy Kreme. I don’t say this often, but you need to watch – it is truly a display of the beauty of the human heart. And it’s hilarious at the same time. Jackie the donut lady is now a legend!

We could all probably use a little (or a lot of) “rejection therapy.” Imagine if instead of living in our fears, assumptions and misinterpretations, we could find the courage to seek curiosity about why we were rejected and find learning opportunities in them? What if instead of protecting ourselves from being vulnerable or exposed, we look for ways to be more open to new ideas, new ways to love and be loved? What if instead of feeling like we aren’t attractive enough, successful enough or articulate enough, we remember that Jiang wasn’t the most attractive, successful or articulate person when he embarked on his journey, but by simply being open to rejection…he inspired millions and found his calling in life.


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