The Lean Startup

Rejection Proof: How to Overcome Fear

By Jai Jaing

Here’s your mission: Spend the next 3 months pursuing rejection by complete strangers.

You read that right. But you won’t be the first to attempt it, because Jia Jiang beat you to it (not that I thought you’d really take me up on the challenge).

Not only did Jiang accomplish this terrifying feat, but he also video-blogged about it on YouTube and wrote a book chronicling his adventure. If that wasn’t enough, he started a movement (, delivered his message to employees at Google, DELL, IBM, HP, and LinkedIn, and did two Ted Talks. In other words, this dude knows about rejection.


Rejection Toolbox

Jiang gives us 13 rockin’ chapters of humor and honesty. He concludes his book with his Rejection Toolbox, a summary of his personal discoveries and the mindset changes that ensued. Ideas like:

  • Rejection often says more about the rejector than the rejectee, and should never be used as the universal truth or sole judgment of merit.
  • Asking “why” before saying good-bye can often reveal the underlying reason for the rejection and present the rejectee with an opportunity to overcome the issue.
  • Before deciding to quit or not to quit, step back and make the request to a different person, in a different environment, or under a different circumstance.


Rejection Gone Viral

You may have seen some of his viral videos on YouTube: The Asian guy who walked into Krispy Kreme, asked the manager to make him five doughnuts in the configuration and colors of the Olympic rings—and got it. Or who asked for a Burger refill at 5-Guys. Or petitioned a perfect stranger for $100.

I’m grateful Jia Jiang laid himself on the line to do this so I don’t have to. I can read what he learned.

I highly recommend Jiang’s book, especially for those who loath working in sales because of the absolute surety that you will be rejected 100s of times. My ego simply can’t handle it.

But we don’t have to work as telemarketers to be rejected on a daily basis; it happens to us every day anyway by family, friends, coworkers, and perfect strangers. It’s enough to make you not want to leave your house.

thumbs upHighly Recommended by Kim

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