In a recent humorous essay in TIME, Kristin van Ogtrop of REAL SIMPLE fame, reveals her take on a new book: Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. Written by Jia Jiang who came to the United States with dreams of finding that pot of gold, the idea for the book came about when Jia quit a secure position in marketing for an app launch. When the app was rejected by the so-called interested investor, Jia decided he would work to “get rejected” 100 times—to create that hard shell, get out of his comfort zone and do away with his fear of rejection.
Filming his attempts and uploading them to You Tube, he was successfully rejected twice. But on the 3rd day of his experiment—things got confusing. He asked Jackie Braun at Krispy Kreme in Austin, Texas to make five doughnuts in the shape and color of the Olympic rings. Jackie asked a few questions, drew a diagram, checked on the colors and though Jiang was hoping for rejection—Jackie made him exactly what he wanted. He had failed miserably. And to add to his failure, Jackie didn’t charge him and she gave him a hug. On the bottom of his You Tube of this event, he wrote AT THIS VERY MOMENT I KNEW WHY GANDI HAD EVER LIVED.
Ogtrop writes: And you know how things go with social media: one minute you have a video of yourself with five Olympic-ring doughnuts, the next minute you have a movement and a book deal.
So where is the familiar phrase—there is nothing new under the sun?
Because there is. And get this. For his 100th rejection challenge, Jia worked to help his wife get a job at Google—another impossible dream, another go at that pot of gold. Did he get rejected that 100th time? I’m taking guesses here—yes? no?
Of course he didn’t get rejected, because by that time with his book deal and project he was riding high. Subsequently, he and his family moved to Silicon Valley and as Ogtrop writes: cue the happy ending!
But even though it was a genius idea, maybe the chances of that happening can be compared to a lightning strike. Thus, can Jia’s book truly teach us to conquer the fear of rejection? Amazon claims in the book’s blurb that Jia provides a thoughtful examination of how to overcome fear and dare to live more boldy; that a preposterous wish might be granted if a person knows how to ask. And finally: he learned techniques for steeling himself against rejection and ways to develop his own confidence–a plan that can’t be derailed by a single setback
Thanks, Jia, thanks Amazon, but you are talking about how to get through life! Ogtrop muses that as a parent or grandparent we cannot prevent the children we love from experiencing rejection: And treating that wound is exponentially harder than bandaging a skinned knee. Now that’s insight.
So do we teach our children to seek out comfort, to avoid the sting and pain of rejection? No, of course not. From the very beginning children experience failure—they can’t manage a two-wheeler bike right away; they fail a swimming lesson; the kid they like in preschool won’t play with them and after trying ballet or T-ball, piano or soccer—they look around for something that says success. And that’s only the beginning. Dating anyone?
Jia concocted an amazing idea and as it grew and developed, he saw his way to an end. A profitable end. I once joked that maybe I could get a literary agent if I threatened to jump from a four-story building. When the psychologist and police officer, the fireman and the counselor and all members of my stricken family stood below me begging me to reconsider, I would simply say: get me an agent and I’ll be good.
Oh well. Rejection. I’ve had my share and maybe the rejection notices I’ve received would add up to 100. But one thing I do know, my writing and my endeavors will work for me. And I’ll keep you posted. After all, I was a lousy ballerina, never played soccer or T-ball, and 13 miles on a bike is not my idea of a good time. Writing? I’ll stick to that. Any agents reading this? I’ll order you doughnuts shaped any way you want—and I’m finding comfort in knowing that as I continue to write and create, I’m on my way–I’m on that beautiful road to success.
Please comment if you have a dream that you are pursuing no matter what. That’s what life is about.
Thanks to Charles Schultz and You Tube.