100 Days of Rejection

Frantically running around a champagne and wine festival, subsequently stumbling…

The sun was sinking and the air in Budapest was cooling off. As I recall, the stumbling was in part due to my terrible negotiation of flip flop and foot placement. Whilst, more likely to do with my very adequately sized, but frequently administered, glasses of wine. I was running with urgency. Time was of the essence. What I was in search for was the suitable candidate! Essentially, anybody who would be gracious enough to hand over one of their own high heels of which they had to be currently wearing. Yes! just the one.

This was by no means an easy task. The drunken alien, that I was, asking and negotiating with local Hungarian women to borrow one of her finest high heels, thus condemning one of them to hobble on the damp champagne watered grass, as imagined didn’t go down so well to begin with. The first couple of attempts; total failure. Pure rejection. I was not phased.

However, this mission had to be completed and despite numerous rejections I continued. Myself and my hard-working liver couldn’t handle another prescribed drinking forfeit administered by my unmerciful uncles, in the event of my failure. With whom, I was competing against in this elaborate drinking game. This time I was going to complete my mission and within the 2-minute deadline. My goal was a monumental one; to stand victorious holding aloft my trophy! Ultimately, defying my uncle’s sentiment; that they had created the most challenging task in the game so far and that I was not a worthy participant to complete the challenge. I did not fear looking ridiculous in my attempts. I did not fear rejection. I did however, fear the reactions of Hungarian boyfriends…

Many people, including myself, when presented with more regular circumstances, and less booze in the bloodstream, can fear rejection. So much so, that we can find ourselves limiting our potential when new opportunities arise. Possibly, because we do not want to put ourselves in the vulnerable and compromising position which we enter when we are facing the risk of rejection.

Jia Jiang, in this insightful TED talk, successfully desensitised himself to rejection by inventing a game and subsequent video blog, named ‘100 days of rejection’. He set out with the aim of being rejected; studying his own reactions to rejection. He began as he set out to, by getting rejected frequently. But that’s not how it ends…

This topic coincides with the most recent module in stage one; ‘the Psychology of Success’ (pp107). It’s relevant in the sense that by desensitising yourself to rejection, and the deep emotional response that accompanies it, people can hold better chances at achieving goals. Honestly, I am not going to phrase the benefits of becoming desensitised to rejection as well as has been demonstrated within this TED talk. But it seems to make sense that those who are persistent when in pursuit of something are more likely to become successful. Whilst, persistence and perseverance must be a strong attribute within those who are less emotionally effected by facing rejection after rejection.

My anecdote seemed to hold little psychological significance when I previously reminisced about it. Viewing this TED talk and hearing all of Jia Jiang’s ridiculous items he asked for, or the circumstances he encountered, made me think of its relevance. By use of contextual factors, the fact I was playing a drinking game and it was a bit of fun whilst on holiday, made it justifiable in my head for me to run around a festival and ask people for ridiculous items, with total belief and confidence and without fear of embarrassment or rejection. All I have to do now is to transfer the justification I gave myself then into other settings. This is what Jia Jiang proposed, to turn it into a game, just without the alcohol. Besides applying for a job, or asking to connect with professionals to extend your network, has to be easier than trying to convince a Hungarian lady to give you one of her precious high heels.

I challenge all who view this TED talk to adopt Jia Jiang’s approach and attempt the ‘100 days of rejection’. Go out and expose yourself to rejection, test for yourself, see if it builds confidence and resilience!

Callum Bliss-Climo


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