As a child, if you ask for an ice cream cone and your parents say “No”, would you ask the same question tomorrow or settle for a life without desserts?
As a teenager, you move from store to store, restaurant to restaurant, looking for a summer job. Every time you get to the point where you ask if they’re hiring, they say “No”. Do you give up or keep trying?
Eventually, after college, you land a job but you’re there for years with no salary increase. Finally, you ask for a raise but your boss says “No”. Do you just go back to work resentfully or do you ask again?
How many times can you endure hearing “No” before you stop asking? How many times will you ask the question before you give up? That number is your rejection number. For some people, that number is 3; that means they’ll ask for something 3 times; after that, they don’t ask again – they find a way to suffer through not having it.
For some people, that number is at least 12. That’s how many times J.K. Rowling submitted the manuscripts for Harry Potter before someone agreed to publish it.
For some people, that number is 0. They will never ask for things because they are too afraid of being rejected. Sometimes, too many times, my rejection number has been zero.
A few years ago, Jia Jiang started a project called 100 days of rejection – everyday, he would make what he thought was a ridiculous request to see how he would deal with rejection and what he would learn from his attempts. He would ask a stranger to lend him $100; he would ask a hairdresser if he could cut her hair instead; he would ask a donut store to make him Olympic style linked donuts; he would ask to teach a college class even though he had no teaching qualifications or experience.
Jiang planned to record videos of his failed attempts, to study himself and probably the person he approached, see what he learned. In the process of asking those 100 questions, Jiang made himself famous, and learned that sometimes people say yes to the request just because they’re curious. He also found that sometimes when people say no, they’re rejecting the proposal, not the proposer; that sometimes, they are not the right audience for your request and that you’d be better off targeting someone else who will give you a yes instead.
Jiang’s book, Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection is not just a manual for how to ask for stuff; it’s a manual for how to think about life. If you don’t ask for things, you’ll never get anything. Not getting anything means you never move from where you are, or you only accept the things that come to you. The exciting events that Jiang experienced along his 100-rejection journey might not happen to everyone. But how would you know if you never asked? How do you know Oprah wouldn’t interview you if you never contacted her show producers and asked? How do you know someone doesn’t want to invest in your product if you lock your ideas in a drawer to gather dust?
Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection was one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in a while, motivating me to change my thinking about how I relate to the world and how I use my talents. The lessons from Rejection Proof really resonated with me and I intend to apply the lessons to my writing and my life as a whole. And once I got a few pages into reading, I started sharing the lessons with other people.
I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review but I loved it so much, I already purchased a copy for another friend who needs these lessons too.
I rated this book 4.5/5 stars although I didn’t think anything was lacking in the writing. If this book does change my life the way I think it will change me life, I will come back and give it the 5 stars it deserves.
Author: Jia Jiang
Publisher: Crown Publishing (Random House)
Length: 240 pages