The best part of rejection is that it happens to everyone at one time or another. The worst part of rejection is that for some, it happens less and less as we get older.
I’m going to propose the idea that the reduced amount of rejection is because people are terrified of it. When people are afraid of a certain something, they put themselves in those situations less often.. I guess that’s understandable, but I want to show why that’s not in your best interest.
Now I’m going to get all sciency. I love nature, and to give you a heads up, I studied forestry and natural sciences for my Bachelor’s Degree. This is why I’m going to use forest fires as an analogy.
During the 20th century, forest fires have been feared, and extinguished as soon as they started. I mean, why would we allow something so destructive to continue?
Forest fires happen to be a natural process. They burn the organic matter (dead leaves, branches and other debris on the forest floor). This occurs naturally in cycles, sometimes as often as every 8-10 years in fire prone habitats. A fire comes through and clears out the small amount of dead material along the forest floor. These natural fires go through an area super fast because there isn’t much fuel for it. The trees themselves are typically left relatively unscathed because their bark protected them. It also opens up the understory (lower level of the forest) for new plants to grow, providing food for forest dwelling creatures. At the end of the day, everything is all well and fine.
Now imagine if that same area had been “protected” from forest fires for decades. The ground is covered with a thick layer of material, so when the fire goes through, it burns hot, very hot. It doesn’t sweep through quickly as before because it has so much to burn! Therefore, it sticks around burning through the bark of the live trees, destroying everything in it’s path. These are the devastating fires you hear about in the news.
Upon realizing the importance of frequent fire, it has become a common practice to have prescribed burns. This is a process where professionals go into an area, and burn every so many years (depending on the ecosystem), so it keeps the fuel levels low.
Avoiding new situations/opportunities out of fear of rejection is like preventing wildfires. Sticking within your comfort zone for that reason can also create a false sense of confidence. You may think, “I never get rejected, I must have reached self actualization”. This idea/state of being only occurs when you maximize your potential, doing the best you are capable of doing.
Then the inevitable happens. You get rejected and instead of shrugging it off like nothing, you feel like someone punched you in the gut. It tears you down because you have been “protecting” yourself for so long. Don’t do to yourself what we have previously done to the forests.
Real life examples of rejection include (but are obviously not limited to 😈), applying for a job and not getting it, or trying out for a sports team, and not making the cut, or asking a girl to marry you, and she replies “absolutely not!”.. you get the point.
I suggest you take the prescribed burn idea, and apply it to rejection with a time table that is happens much more often. Instead of every 8-10 years 😂, do it every day. Getting rejected daily is pretty much the best thing ever. I’m asking you to be proactive with this approach so your heart and mind don’t fall apart later.
Some of my favorite activities that provide plenty of opportunity for rejection, and I recommend you try, are – high fives, waving, saying hello, going in for the first kiss.. Do these things to random people, and sometimes it won’t be reciprocated. If you are with friends when it happens, they may tease you that you got rejected, but with some practice, rejection will make you smile just as often as if you received a reciprocation of your action.
I love it. Rejection is like a fuel for my inner fire. Eventually you’ll have a 100% success rate on everything you do. No matter what the result (rejected or not), it’ll cause you to smile. Can we ask for more?
Think about it. Sometimes you got rejected not because there is something wrong with you. Don’t take it personally. It’s probably a capatibility thing. They may just not be on your level. There’s nothing wrong with that, because frankly, you’re growing! To add a cherry on top, they (the ones who rejected you) may even grow as well. They may put themselves out there more, because they see how much fun you’re having.
These are very small examples where you really don’t have much to lose. Once you get the hang of it, and don’t become super sad because that person didn’t wave back for instance, it will become time for you to step up your game. Give yourself bigger challenges. Up the stakes.
Apply for that job you’re not qualified for.
Talk to that person that is “out of your league.
Do that thing you always wanted to do that everyone said you weren’t capable of.
You’re going to be surprised what doors open up for you.. what your future has in store.
Coincidentally, one of my all time favorite hobbies involves me getting constantly rejected. Although considered unsafe by some, I am absolutely in love with hitchhiking.
I have met the most incredible people through this hobby of mine, but I’ll only share my most recent venture.
Heading up the east coast of Australia looking for work, I stopped in a farm town called Bowen looking for a job. I was told immediately after arriving that there were no farm jobs because the season won’t start for a couple of weeks, and they already had too many backpackers waiting for those positions.
It was time to push north again, so I walked the long trek to the edge of town carrying all of my travel essentials on my back. The border of town is always the best bet for a hitchhiker because it filters out the vehicles who are taking their short, within-town trips.
I fortunately had the sun as an advantage because it was blazing hot outside. It’s harder to drive by someone who is standing in the heat or any other weather variable for that matter. Within 50 invigorating rejections (vehicles), I was picked up by a young Italian couple. They were headed to Cairns, and I told them I was headed to Ayr (south of Cairns) to look for farmwork.
They had already completed their farmwork to extend their visa, and expressed the hardships they experienced. Being American, I have the opportunity to do hospitality work to extend my Visa from my one year to two, unlike many other countries. However, I have to do it in northern Australia for it to count. After discussing this situation, they said that I could stay at their house for free if I help around with the garden and odds and ends. On top of this, seeing as they know people, they were going to ask around to get me a job… Rent is super expensive in Australia and jobs are hard to attain. For the very low price of watching 50 cars go by me, I consider myself pretty lucky to have these folks in my life.
What’s the secret?
What I’ve noticed is successful people get rejected countless times. They have made so many mistakes. What usually makes some people crumble, makes them persevere. Successful people take chances, and if things go well, perfect. If not, they side step, not taking on much, or any damage.. Just lessons, and they move on. I promise you.
I dare you to practice this idea. Start with the smaller examples and work your way up. The more you get rejected, the better. You’ll be humbled, and at the same time, possibly become the most successful you, you’ve ever been.
Success means something different to everyone. Your success could be someone else’s failure. You shouldn’t compare your success with others. The beautiful thing is that success is not only a mindset, but also the journey. That path isn’t a straight line to the top. That one dimentional success will topple over with a slight change in the wind or maybe a single rejection.
Your life, with all of it’s experiences will resemble a pyramid. Your foundation of rejections, friends, acts of kindness, simple manners and waves of beautiful energy, will support you on your way to a satisfied life.
This starts now. Please don’t put it off.
I forewarn you though, this lifestyle will cause
1. Your cheeks to hurt from smiling
2. You to rarely notice when things go wrong, because when things go right, they go RIGHT.
3. You to never go back
Welcome to the club my friend.
Go get rejected 🙂
– Jacob Pearson