Check out this TED talk by Jia Jiang. There are two lessons we can learn from it that can help us achieve many things in our lives. The first one, of course, is about rejection. Then scroll past the video and read on.
Cool huh? Like Jia Jiang everybody I have ever met has faced rejection at some point in their lives.
Being Told No.Even is it was as a small child at school being told that they couldn’t do something, or shopping and being told that they couldn’t have the thing they wanted.
Not You.There may have even been a situation like the one in the video about being rejected by others This could have been
No Longer Good enough. There are even times when things start off well and then things change and you get challenged or even dumped/fired/removed from the group.
How did they make you feel? Not good I expect. There are many negative emotions we face at these points; depression, anger, confusion, hate. However, this is not always the case. Other emotions may arise at some point. If you realise you are better off being rejected at this point you may feel relief. If, like in the video, you were seeking rejection you may be happy about it. More about this later.
Don’t fear rejection. See I told you it was about rejection. We face rejection in our lives and face many negative emotions about these. Some of the emotion or even pain that we feel will be remembered for a long time. Jia was six and the situation is still with him today. There is a chance that just one rejection could have altered all of your decisions since and may have changed your life entirely from what it once may have been and is probably affecting your life right now. Don’t worry if this is the case as it, as far as I know built into our DNA as part of our survival instincts. As a young child, we use these instincts to learn.
- If it burns/hurts/cuts us – don’t touch it
- If it makes us ill/ tastes bad if we eat it – don’t eat it
- If it causes negative effects – don’t do it again
Your body remembers, even if you don’t. You may be reacting to a situation out of instinct. You may start to feel scared/anxious about doing something before you even face it. The problem with this is that it was probably based on a specific time and situation in the past that has nothing to do with this one you are facing now. Different people/ place/item. You may have burned your hand on a pan as a child, does this mean that every pan (no matter the situation) is going to be dangerous to touch? Will all dogs bite you? Are all people out to get you? Will the answer always be no? Of course not. The only way to change your reactions is to experience different things that prove the original ones wrong. So you burned your hand on a pan, your experience says – all pans are hot. You touch the next pan and it’s cold, experience now says either – all pans are hot except this one or some of the pans must be hot or even maybe only the first pan was hot and the rest must be cold. (I’ve written these reactions in the most likely order from extremely possible to slightly likely) Your experiences after this will adjust your perception about the world of pans. However, they will never return to your original thought. You will always be wary that pans CAN be hot but you will learn which ones are most likely to be (like ones on a hot stove) and which ones are not very likely ( hanging on a hook from the ceiling in a shop).
Our reactions may be based on valid reasoning.
Experience can change our reactions.
It will be hard to face the “dangers” again
You need to be brave and try to find experiences that will help.
You may not succeed in finding better results straight away
You can alter the chances of success for the last one by researching and finding out the best places to try to find good results. If you are looking for cold pans, don’t start in a restaurant kitchen at lunch time. Please note that some things will always be dangerous. Lava erupting from a volcano will always be hot, deadly poisonous things will always harm or kill you. Parents, friends, teacher, books and the internet are there to help us with their knowledge about the world so we don’t have to try everything ourselves.
Use your reactions for good. Sounds crazy right? As I said above we fear rejection based on our knowledge and experience. We may be scared of talking to people we like the look of because we’ve been rejected in the past. We have “learned our lesson” and moved on. We then sit back and our jealous of the people who can just talk to anyone and get all the “good ones”. How do they do that? They must be better at something…
- better looking
- have better clothes
- more confident
Is this really the case? Maybe they just faced fewer rejections than you or learned something that you haven’t. The last item in the list may be true but what are they actually more confident about? Are they confident that they won’t be rejected in this situation AND confident that they won’t be rejected later on as things progress? Or are they confident about themselves and prepared to face the consequences whatever they may be? This one is the most likely and the good news is that this one is the one you can have for yourself.
Let me tell you about myself. When I was in primary school I was painfully shy. I tried to overcome this in senior school and made a few friends, it hit me again when I went to university. This was a real challenge, I moved 3 hours away from home and had no transport, little money, no job and no phone in my accommodation. I was in an unknown area with no friends or family in range. For a shy person like me, this was one of the scariest things I did in my life. Would I get rejected by the people here, by the tutors/ students/locals and what do I do now? The good news is that I had followed the advice in lesson 1 above. I had researched the area and knew where I was going to stay originally and where the university was and roughly which way the town centre was so I could find food. I also knew there was going to be a Freshers’ Fair that could tell me the rest. I just had to find these places in real life. “Rejection was all around me” and I had to face it. Yes I was scared, I even got close to asking people things a couple of times ( you know the one where you take time to assess the situation, wait for the best possible moment to make your move, then move closer… then move away again – not the right time or someone else got there first) Luckily I managed to make the approach and ask the questions I needed to ask. I loved the video at the top of this page because I was just like the speaker when he tried his first reaction challenge ask, panic then get away as soon as possible. Then I had to do it a few more times.
I learned before that I went to university that I had to face rejection and take the risks or I would never achieve my goals. I put myself in a situation where I had no choice. If you want to succeed you WILL face rejection but some of the most successful people in the world faced it a lot. A couple of great examples are JK Rowling who was rejected by lots of publishers and Walt Disney who was rejected by Hollywood. JK Rowling was determined to find someone who thought her books were as good as she thought they were. Walt Disney decided to stop trying to be an actor and return to his first passion of cartoons. Both used their rejection to succeed in life but in different ways. Who knows what your next rejection could produce. It could give you exactly what you need. Go get it.