Monday , June 10 2024
Triump Over Rejection

Why Rejection is A Good Thing

I know what you’re thinking. “What’s the point of putting myself out there if there’s no way I can get what I want anyway?”

So what do you do instead? You slack off. You tuck your tails behind your legs and you declare “surrender.” Then you hate and curse the world for treating you unkind. And then the world closes its doors on you. After all, nobody wants to work or be with a bitter person with a negative outlook on life.

That’s a classic example of self-perpetuating negative belief. You see, you can’t win with that kind of attitude.

The thing is, you’ve got it all wrong my friend. You started with the wrong assumption.

Who said, “You can’t get what you want”? It’s just negativity playing inside your head. It’s just your ego telling you to play it safe.

You can get what you want, as long as you want it hard enough to work on it long enough. You may not get it after your first few tries, but if you try hard and long enough you’ll get it, eventually.

Putting yourself out there is not just a good thing, it’s the only way to find your place in this world.

My Complicated Relationship with the Fear of Rejection

How do I know this? Well, I feared putting myself out there for the longest time I can remember. I know what it’s like to BS myself with the line “I’m fine, I don’t need anything” just because I’m scared shitless of being told “no.”

I became complacent because I could hide behind my 9–5, which although is not as fulfilling as I would like it to be, I’m OK with it since it gets the bills paid.

In the last few years however, after Covid-19 struck the world, I began to see that it’s easy to lose everything in one strike — a black swan event if you will. I began to see my BS for what it was and how it’s better to be ready when that fateful day actually strikes.

The good thing is that when I was younger I wasn’t that risk-averse at all. I was a bold and hungry young lad who wasn’t afraid of looking adversity in the face.

One such event was when I took the Japanese Government Scholarship exam — not once, but twice. I skipped courses and prolonged my college graduation to focus on winning a full scholarship to study in Japan.

And although I failed on my first try, I didn’t lose faith in myself thereby getting the scholarship on my second try. My life would have been a lot different from now if I stopped trying after my first “real rejection.”

Hell, it would have been way different if I didn’t try at all. Instead of living in a Tokyo suburb, maybe I would still be living in the slums in Manila.

OK, you got the point. But besides the obvious fact that “putting yourself out there” is the key to your growth, you’ll see in the following section how getting rejected is actually a good thing — for not-so-obvious reasons.

Rejection is a Fact of Life

When I think of rejection, I often remember the anecdote about the typical 10 people we meet in our lifetime.

It states that for every 10 people we meet in this world, 2 will like us and will become our friends, 1 will hate us whatever we do, and the rest wouldn’t care.

The secret is to focus your energy on the 2 who like you (your tribe) and ignore the rest.

That may be an oversimplification, but it captures the overall reality of life.

You can’t please everybody. It’s just not possible. Some people will hate you for reasons known only to them. Whatever you do you can’t make them like you, so it’s a lost cause.

They probably hate what they see in you because you represent something they were unable to do or someone who they cannot become.

How about the 7? Well, the rest of the people are too busy minding their own business that they couldn’t care less about you or what you believe in. These people are too caught up with themselves that they don’t see you at all. To them, you simply don’t exist.

The question then is why do you need to please these people? Well, you don’t. And you will know who they are when they reject you and ignore your existence.

This makes navigating through life way easier since you know who your tribes are and who isn’t.

Don’t worry if you think your tribe is too few right now. When you’re just beginning, it’s never about the number, it’s about what you put out there. Moreover, being in the majority doesn’t mean you’re in the right company anyway.

Rejection is a Good Thing

What most people secretly dread the most is that their existence will be negated by others. Their ego gets hurt when other people tell them “You’re not good enough for them.” Of course, nobody will tell that to their face but essentially that’s what they hear, isn’t it?

But isn’t that a good thing? If you’re not good enough for them, maybe that’s an indication you need to up your game and skills. You can then go back to the drawing board and do something about it. This is the trigger you’ve been waiting for to improve yourself.

If some group you want to join doesn’t approve of you, then maybe they don’t deserve you or your skill sets. If someone you like rejected your advances, why be sad about it? You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t see your value, do you?

Make an honest assessment of yourself. Are you slacking? Or are you living your life in your best true self? If you are, then you don’t have to worry about a thing. You’ll eventually find people — your tribe — who’ll find value in you.

What all this means is that rejection is a great mechanism to assess not only your skill level but also your compatibility with a certain group of people. Having a clear grasp of these two principles will propel you to live a more meaningful life later on.

In the next section, we’ll talk about 3 practical ways that will make it easier for you to accept rejection like the champion that you are.

“But Denver, that’s all very good, but it still doesn’t help with the pain of rejection, does it?”

I get it. Even after so many rejections, I, myself, still don’t want to experience rejection if I could help it. So to soften the blow a little the following are some practical ways you could consider to make it through your journey in spite of the rejections hurled in your way.

Be Compassionate to People Who Don’t Know Any Better

Normally, people will tell you to have compassion for yourself in light of a rejection. Fuck that. Just continue doing your thing instead. If they laugh at you use that as fuel to get better. Never apologize or get sad for who you are.

Let’s get this straight, you’ve got a mission to fulfill in this world. Those who misunderstand and rebuke you are people who just don’t know any better. They don’t know your higher mission and even if they do, they can’t understand it.

Don’t hate these people. You’ve got a secret they don’t know and you’re leaving them behind soon. Instead of being sorry or angry about it, forgive their misgivings and have compassion for their ignorance.

In short, turn the table 180 degrees — never take the victim card, always take the card for winners.

It doesn’t mean you have to take a smug attitude. It just means you don’t feel sorry for yourself and never keep anger inside you. Forgive people for not seeing value in you. That way you’re free to move on without a heavy burden in your heart.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously, Have Fun

This is a long game baby. You won’t be able to endure the many challenges and setbacks you’ll encounter ahead if you don’t have a sense of humor.

Remember, it’s going to get harder before it gets better, so you’ll need a light heart to navigate the challenges that you’ll encounter in life.

Don’t take setbacks and rejections too seriously. Laugh at it if you can. Or just observe them with mild interest. Take any lessons you can get from them and move on with a smile knowing that this will all come to pass.

If you’re in sales your pitches may be rejected. If you’re a writer, your work might get ridiculed. So what? If you’re having fun with what you do, you can’t lose.

That’s because you’ll never quit, you’re in this for the long haul.

You’re going to take your time learning the craft inside out, and you’ll have the last laugh when the music stops. So act as though you’ve already won, laugh more, and don’t sweat the tiny details.

Have Your North Star (your Ikigai) with You

Life will throw at you many challenges that would distract you from your work. Some of these challenges include rejections and at times even betrayal by the people who are close to you. Some people will ridicule you and your work.

It would be helpful for you to have a clear vision or a North Star (your Ikigai) on which you could focus when people shut their doors on you.

As long as you know you’re moving towards your North Star, it’s easier to ignore and leave these people behind. Along the way, you’ll meet new people who would understand you and appreciate your worth. Life is too short to dwell on people who don’t believe in you.

Whenever you feel discouraged and criticized for who you are, avoid spending too much of your limited energy on these negativities.

Take any useful things you can salvage, but know that if you’re aware you’re heading toward your North Star, a failure or a hiccup here and there is nothing. Even if you stumble along the way, if you’re treading the right path, you’ll get there eventually.

Relearning Courage

I’m relearning how it is to be bold and hungry again. As I begin the second half of my life as a writer, my first message to you is also a message to my former self: Don’t be afraid of getting yourself out there, be afraid of going through the rest of your life not placing bets on yourself.

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