I hate rejection. I can’t handle it. It is scary.
So much that I am afraid to do certain things.
In fact, I completely avoid things at which I may be rejected, thinking they’re not my cup of tea.
Also, when something that I propose or do is completely rejected, I never think of it again.
When a point I make is rejected, I quickly move on to make my next point, or buckle under and agree to a compromise.
That’s how I lived my life for more than 20 years.
That’s how I would have lived my life for the remaining years.
Until I saw the other side…
#1 One day, I was unprepared for a price negotiation on behalf of someone I know. It was not my reputation on the line, so I was treating it like any other logical problem. I was rejected. I didn’t realize it. I really ‘believed’ on the person on whose behalf I was arguing, more than I would in my own self. So I ended up justifying the pricing. I gave reasons as to why I would deliver unique value for the client, which he would not be able to derive from other market alternatives, even at the price I quoted. And the client agreed! It changed my worldview forever.
#2 I didn’t have stage fright. But if there’s a longer than 10-day gap between two of my speaking sessions (and there always is), I am jittery and it takes me a long time to get into a conversational flow.
#3 I was scared to approach new people and talk. Very few people do it, less than one in a thousand. I just tried it out one day. Moderate success. Started trying again and again. Meeting people while running, in restaurants, shops, everywhere. I’m not great at making conversation, but this has made me think in new ways. I started opening up much more, and it had positive consequences on some of the other things I did.
It drastically improved the way I spoke on stage. The way I spoke with public officials and bureaucrats. It made me quicker, more alert, open and more receptive.
It has improved the way I blog. I am able to more directly connect with my audience, as though I am talking to them.
My new mission to leading a dream life
I now find things that I really can’t do (and would wish to in some kind of dream world of mine). I go outside, and I go out of my way to look for opportunities to get rejected, to practise the art of overcoming it.
The formula is simple – aim high, put yourself out there, be uncomfortable, be vulnerable. Do it as often as you can. The more you make yourself vulnerable/ uncomfortable, the faster you will learn to deal with it.
With time, you can vastly improve on how you handle certain situations/ tasks. You should always keep improving, but once you have achieved a certain level of proficiency, seek out newer avenues to make yourself uncomfortable. That will develop you as a person. It will make you more evolved, advanced and bring out the best in you.
This is one of the few ways to live a life of your own dreams, or looking at it another way, to lead a dream life, i.e. one that most others have always dreamed of living, but few have managed to achieve.
Once again, it would wonderful to know about your experiences if you have tried to consciously put yourself in an uncomfortable situation anytime in your life, or when you do so in future. It will help us all learn much faster, and will be a great source of motivation.
All the best!