A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon some random videos on YouTube, recorded and uploaded by a man named Jia Jiang. His philosophy was very simple. He’d go out and actively seek rejections from people. He did this religiously for 100 days, to completely desensitize himself from the fear of rejection. Turns out, he was aiming to be an entrepreneur, but every single time he was rejected by a potential investor, he was absolutely bummed down. To avoid getting affected, he set out on a mission to tackle rejection.
I couldn’t help but be impressed and intrigued by Jia Jiang. His own personal journey about
conquering rejection has inspired so many people worldwide to venture out and do similar tasks. Jia Jiang’s tale was something that I could so closely relate to. Growing up, I always had the freedom to do what I wanted but I was never a social butterfly and I always had a very close group of friends who I preferred sticking to. In my extended family, I was always categorized as the soft, shy one. I always avoided taking risks and played it as safe as possible. This was always my mindset, and stepping a foot outside my comfort zone seemed like a daunting task. Of course, this was not always possible. There were several instances growing up and as an adult, where I had to do something outside of my comfort zone, only to face rejection and in turn, disappointment. These events, though sometimes very insignificant would impact me rather deeply. I would time and again question myself, my capabilities and how I was as a person. Rather than motivating me, these events would sometimes fuel me into becoming more closed up and constantly remind me to not do something outside my comfort zone. I am sure there are several others who can relate to what I am saying. In fact, much like Jia Jiang, conquering the fear of rejection is something we all have to work on by ourselves. It is never really taught to us.
When I started working as an intern at a chemical company last year, I found it extremely hard to socialize with my colleagues. I felt very hesitant to ask for help because I was scared that someone would just say no, but if I would not ask, I would just not be able to complete the tasks assigned to me. As a result, I had to push and force myself to ask for help every single time. This may seem rather mundane but to me at the time, it was an uphill task. My colleagues were all supportive and friendly and by the end of my 10-month stint at the company, I was no longer as hesitant and could interact and ask for help rather freely. At the end of my fourth month at the company, I scheduled a meeting with my boss to ask her if I could continue my Master's project at the company. This was not part of the original contract and I remember feeling so hesitant and scared that she’d just say no but if I wouldn’t ask, there was definitely no chance that I could continue being in the company for my project. The meeting went much better than I expected, and I was given an opportunity to continue my project at the company. My ten-month experience was a major eye opener for me as I realized that there were so many aspects of my personality which I had to improve and better. I was repeatedly pushed outside my comfort zone which desensitized me to so many fears that I had previously held. These fears I realized were merely preconceived notions and conditioned beliefs which were completely false.
This experience only made me wonder as to why is this something which is not taught in school? We are taught tons of equations which we may never use, yet we are not well equipped to just go out and handle uncomfortable situations as an adult. Inculcating the core value systems to just handle socially uncomfortable situations effectively, and just teaching the younger generation to face rejection could bring about a massive change in society. Jia Jiang’s message is simple, yet so effective, that I truly believe every person needs to know it. There are so many who wish to bring about a change in their behavior, yet they cannot do so, and it’s all the more difficult if you are a classic introvert like me. The magic truly happens outside your comfort zone. Just try taking a step outside.