Four days before his son was born, 30-year-old Jia Jiang walked away from a six-figure job at a Fortune 100 company to pursue his startup.
Although entrepreneurs have a higher chance of succeeding if they keep their day job, Jiang had a huge investment opportunity waiting for him.
But something unexpected happened.
The investor changed his mind and told Jiang they were going to pass on his business. This crushed him.
Jiang thought he made a mistake by leaving his job without this investment. But he realized something deeper: his unconquered fear of rejection.
He knew that if he wanted to build a successful business, he’d have to overcome this fear to find success.
In November of 2012, Jiang found a game called Rejection Therapy that challenged people to seek out rejection in their everyday lives. Jiang loved the idea so much that he decided he would try 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. He would purposely try to get rejected by asking for outrageous requests and film it all to keep him accountable.
Jiang hoped that these rejections would help him grow a thicker skin and get used to people telling him “no.”
Jiang tried sending a present to Santa Claus through FedEx, making an announcement on a Southwest flight, and even asking to get his hair trimmed like a German Shepherd at PetSmart.
My favorite rejection attempt was when he asked for Olympic symbol donuts from Krispy Kreme. The donut shop didn’t even make Olympic donuts. But the employee got it done AND she gave them to Jiang for free. This act of kindness went viral on YouTube with over 5,000,000 views in the first two weeks.
Jiang started to receive emails from thousands of people who watched his videos and were inspired by his journey. What seemed like a personal issue to Jiang turned out to be a personal problem for all people.
Through these rejection experiments, Jiang became more and more fearless. In the beginning, Jiang thought he was going to receive a few yes’s but mostly no’s. But by the end of his 100-day journey, it actually became difficult for Jiang to receive a rejection.
1. Handling rejection is a muscle.
The more you get rejected, the less painful it becomes, and easier you are able to respond to rejection. Jiang challenges everyone to constantly work outside their comfort zone because, “when you are not afraid of rejection and it feels like you have nothing to lose, amazing things can happen.”
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