17 December 2018

TED Talk - Jia Jiang - rejection and motivationAt just six years old, Jia Jiang was publicly rejected in front of his peers. Despite wanting to conquer the world at 14 years old, Jia spent the next decades of his life terrified of feeling that rejection again.

How many of us live life that way? Not taking action, stepping forward or taking a chance for fear of being rejected?

In his TED Talk, entrepreneur Jia goes on to describe ‘rejection therapy’ – actively seeking rejection to desensitise to it. In his 100 days of this project, he learned several things, namely that once we are rejected we run away.

If we stayed to ask why, or discuss the doubts that person may have, you have a significantly greater chance of turning rejection around. In short, embrace what you’re running away from. This is Sales 101. If you just accept the very first rebuttal, you never know if you could have actually helped them. Perhaps they said no because they didn’t understand the proposal, perhaps they need something slightly different, perhaps they know someone who does need what you’re proposing. You’ll never know if you just run away after the initial rejection.

His incredibly funny, astute talk really sparked something in me. As a businessperson, there are innumerable ways in which one can feel the sting of rejection! In fact, it must happen on a daily basis at least, especially in the early days.

Take a chance

To be successful at anything, you have to put yourself out there. You have to take a chance.
Jia talks of the constant battle between the six-year-old version of himself, afraid of that rejection, and the 14-year-old version who wants to create the biggest business in the world and buy Microsoft. It reminded me of the Cherokee legend of the two wolves:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside of me,” he says to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil; he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
“The other is good; he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“The same fight is going on inside you, and every other person, too.”

The grandson thinks for a minute and asks: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replies: “The one you feed.”

As with anything in life, the area in which you invest the most energy will grow and thrive. When you’re investing your energy into worrying about what could happen, you’re not putting that energy into the outcome that you actually aspire to achieve. You’re feeding the wrong wolf!

So how can you get rejected? By not trying! Go for it, ask, ask why, and ask how. Share your stories of overcoming rejection in business or meeting your goals in the comments below.

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