Why You Need to Go Out and Get Rejected
Yesterday, I got my hair cut by an old-school Italian barber.
After he found out what I did for a living, he showed me a picture of his attractive, fit 63-year old girlfriend. Yes, it was kind of awkward.
He told me…
“You know what I learned that helped me the most with women?
Don’t wait around. Make a move — you’re going to get a yes or a no. It’s one answer from one person. When you get a ‘no’, find a girl who will say ‘yes’. ”
It’s simple but true — just because one particular person isn’t interested, doesn’t mean the entire world hates you. And from my experiences, the people who get rejected the most succeed the most often.
So, it’s time to get rejected. I want you to be turned down, scoffed at, and cold-shouldered.
Getting rejected is like getting punched
I equate experiencing rejection to getting punched for the first time.
When I was younger, I was terrified of getting hit. I roughhoused with my older brother but he always went easy on me. Little did I know he’d be the first person to kick my ass.
One night we were lying in our separate beds arguing about something. Of course, I had to have the last word. So as things got quiet, I decided to say something that I knew would really hurt him. I made an emasculating comment about why his ex-girlfriend left him.
Right after I said it, I knew I screwed up. Deafening silence fell over the room. My brother leapt from his bed onto mine and punched me until I cried.
A minute after he stopped, however, I distinctly remember feeling a wave of relief.
I got hit, it hurt for a little, but then it was over. The build-up of getting into a fight was infinitely scarier than the fight itself.
Since that night, I haven’t been scared of getting hit. It inspired me to take boxing classes, start an amateur fight club (when I was young and stupid), and even stand up to jerks during confrontations at bars over the years.
Rejection is the same thing. A person says no, it hurts for a little while, and then it’s over. The more you expose yourself to it, the less terrifying it will be and the stronger you’ll become.
Why you see rejection as so horrible
The real question is…
Why do you take rejection so personally? Why does it hurt you so much – for days, weeks, months, or even years?
The short answer is because you just haven’t been rejected enough. You haven’t survived through it enough times to be able to say, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad.”
The long answer is because when you’ve worked so hard to protect yourself, anything that threatens your ego is devastating.
Here’s the progression:
You feel insecure -> You build a wall to protect yourself -> You refuse to put yourself in vulnerable situations that challenge your insecurities (such as being rejected) -> You take chances rarely and when they don’t work out, your entire wall comes crumbling down -> You become angry, frustrated, or depressed
Because of all this, rejection becomes much more personal and toxic to your self-worth.
For example, let’s say you’re inexperienced with women. One day, you finally muster the courage to kiss a girl. She turns away and she tells you she’s not interested. She was your only chance and you blew it.
Of course that’s going to feel like a devastating loss. So far your only reference experience is getting rejected. Zero out of 1 girls kissed you – a 0% success rate.
But you shouldn’t stop there. What if you pursue another girl? And what if you go for a kiss, and she kisses you back?
Now you have a POSITIVE reference experience. You see that the other rejection was an isolated occurrence and temporary. It wasn’t the end-all-be-all of your romantic life. And now you have a 50% success rate.
You can see how your odds dramatically improve with the more chances you take.
So if you think rejection is horrible, just remember: avoiding rejection is a guaranteed way to stay insecure and not see the results you want in life.
Becoming confident through rejection
Over seven years ago, I deliberately put myself in uncomfortable situations where people could tell me “no”. Just like getting over getting punched, I wanted to get over my fear of rejection.
I’ve written about some of these experiences, everything from my famous beaver pickup line to screaming in the middle of the street on my knees to telling women I have a small penis. Once I became a coach, I began doing the same with my clients.
The last thing I want to do is overwhelm or humiliate people. You don’t have to go to the extremes that I did. I just want you to start with examples that slightly challenge your comfort zone. Try small, manageable rejections and work your way up.
- Go into a store and ask for something you know they don’t have.
- Go into a store and ask for a 10% discount on your purchase. (credit: James Altucher)
- Ask a stranger for directions to some place obviously close (right next to you) or really far away (like in another state).
- Ask to cut in line or to take a taxi first.
- Ask a stranger to borrow $20.
- Call a random number and make a request they’ll refuse. “I randomly dialed this number. Can I ask you a favor? Would you sing me a lullaby to sleep?” You may have to use *67 before you dial to protect yourself.
- Offer to pay for your restaurant bill through services like doing dishes.
- Say something embarrassing or dance wildly in public. Notice the people laughing or looking at you uncomfortably.
- Make eye contact with an attractive woman from across the room. Don’t look away until she does.
- Write on a piece of paper, “Do you want to get a coffee sometime? Write your number if yes, return this if no.” Give that to a random woman you find attractive.
- Introduce yourself to a random woman and immediately ask for her number.
- Introduce yourself to a random woman using a really cheesy pickup line.
- Ask a girl to buy you a drink at the bar.
- Ask a random woman if you can be her boyfriend.
- Stay for at least 15 seconds after a girl denies your number request rather than leave quickly. Maintain eye contact. Let her know you appreciate her taking the time to talk with you or say that her boyfriend is a lucky guy. Then smile, shake hands, and wish her a good day.
The whole point of these exercises is to prove to yourself that rejection won’t kill you. That even when it happens, it’s never as harsh as you imagine.
Stop trying to avoid rejection. It’s an inevitable part of putting yourself out there.
You can refine your social and dating skills to improve your odds, but someone at sometime won’t want to connect with you. That happens in business, with friendships, and in romantic pursuits.
You need to learn how to handle that rejection as it comes and make it your ally instead of your enemy.