Tag Archives: Rejection

Vignette 3: Regret

There is a really good song out right now that seems to be hitting all sorts of emotional chords with people. The song is called “Let Her Go” by Passenger.

It has been out for a while. I first caught wind of it as a background song for a YouTube video of a girl’s tweets compiled from the moment she arrived in Ottawa to her being diagnosed with cancer, and her final tweet before she passed away. Very powerful stuff.

She expressed the desire to actually live her last three months, travel to South America, reconnect with her mother, and not spend it in a cubical.

The song is very appropriate to the video, and for the this post’s topic of Regret.

The song hauntingly echoes the sentiments of a person who breaks up with their girlfriend. The chorus uses the low burning of a candle, the sun’s heat versus the winter’s chill, distance from home and happiness in contrast to sadness as analogous to being with this person versus losing them.

We often are not grateful for the things and people around us until we lost them.

Regret in all of its various forms can be a weight that some of us carry for a very many number of years; indeed, many spend a lifetime swallowed in its hollow caverns.

How do we tackle regret? I believe there are two way: Growth Mind and Carpe Diem.

First, I have talked a very many number of times about the attitude a growth mindset fosters. Put simply: the Growth Mindset allows us to learn from our past experiences, be they mistakes, failures, or even missed opportunities.

Rather than wallowing in regret, we should channel our focus on these experiences into bettering ourselves the next time we encounter them.

The second method, Carpe Diem, is much more pertinent to the Twitter Compilation video. Carpe Diem, a Latin phrase, means “seize the day”; don’t let any opportunities slip past you. Almost always be prepared to say “yes” when new opportunities present themselves to you.

For the girl in the twitter video, unfortunately it was when she was presented with the reality of a significantly shortened lifespan; she immediately reassessed her priorities and, Carpe Diem, went to South America and Cuba. The rest of us should keep in mind our fortune of health and take full advantage of it. I don’t mean run off to Spain on a whim, but certainly don’t let great opportunities pass you by due to fear or laziness.

Regret is a lot worse than failure. Be a doer more often than not. It will change your life. Think about Jia Jiang and his 100 Days of Rejection, where spent 100 days requesting ridiculous favours from strangers and how he was sometimes pleasantly surprised, such as his wonderful Donut story.


6. Procrastination and Time Management

In my previous post, I mentioned how one of symptoms of the fixed mindset is perfectionism which can lead to procrastination. It’s one thing to tell yourself that you are now adopting a growth mindset but quite another thing to actually follow through with it. The best method of adopting a growth mindset is to allow yourself to grow into it. You need not be perfect. Rejection Therapy is an excellent way to get used to being rejected.
One of the ways in which Jason Comely recommends we practice Rejection Therapy is through the Rejection Game. The object of the game is to get rejected. That’s how you win! It doesn’t have to be huge. Check out my second blog post again if you need tips on how to go about doing this.
I know I sound like a bit of a broken record, so here are some new tips on how to beat procrastination. One of the excuses that many people make when it comes to getting stuff done is lack of time. The old “if only there were more hours in a days” cliché is a variation of this sort of thinking. In her book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam, the myth of being too busy is scrutinized. Turns out many of us aren’t using our time as wisely as we could be. So that whole “who has time to hit the gym” or “I have no time for side projects, I’m way too busy” is shown to be entirely bogus. In her book, she suggests a subtle but powerful paradigm shift: instead of thinking we only have 24 hours in a day, prioritize your work week and say think that we have 168 hours in the week. It might not seem like much on the surface, but putting it into practice shows it to be quite powerful. She has activity sheets on her website, one of which records our every action every half an hour for a full week. Are you really using your time wisely? Or are internet cats taking up way too much time in your daily life?
Why am I talking about time management when all I have talked about lately is rejection? Because all those projects and hobbies that you keep putting off in your life can lead to happiness and satisfaction in life.


5. Accepting Personal Flaws

Fixed Mindsets and bad habits

Being able to acknowledge that we are not perfect but a constant work in progress (keyword: constant) is an important step toward the adoption of a growth mindset. A friend linked me to a blog by the Harvard Business Review on a couple of ways that people react negatively toward rejection: Entitlement and Resignation. I will discuss how both of these reactions are two different but equally destructive forms of the fixed mindset. The fixed mindset, if you recall, is the belief that one is incapable of changing and growing in accordance to life’s demands.


Entitlement is the (arrogant) belief that one deserves a reward for a job well done. For example: a person works really hard to get an important project off the ground; they then feel entitled to a promotion. When the promotion does not arrive, or someone else gets promoted in lieu of them, they feel resentment. Even a growth mindset person can feel these sentiments; however a fixed mindset person will fixate on gap between their expectations and the reality of the situation. Their mental schema involves them being awesome, and they simply cannot understand why they would not be recognized for being awesome, whereas a growth mindset person would accept what has happened and treat the work on the project as a learning experience.


The resignation reaction is very similar to entitlement, though behaviorally seems different; it still is a symptom of a fixed mindset. Resignation people believe that they have brilliant ideas, but don’t tell them to anyone for fear of rejection. Many perfectionists are guilty of this one for fear of churning out a less than perfect product. Resignation prevents us from achieving our full potential because we don’t put ourselves out there to make mistakes and learn from them.


People who recognize areas in their lives where they are exhibiting either Entitlement or Resignation thought processes should consider practicing Rejection Therapy and allow themselves to adopt the growth mindset.


People can have both fixed and growth mindsets about different areas in their lives. You might have a growth mindset when it comes to your athleticism, but fixed for your math skills. Really try and explore the areas where you feel you have a fixed mindset and consider putting yourself out there. Who knows? You may surprise yourself!


In my last blog I mentioned professor Carol Dweck’s book Mindset which talks about people’s reactions toward setbacks falling under two camps: fixed mindset and growth mindset. The book is a quick, easy, and fascinating read, chock-full of researchy goodness. Here is an interview she done with the podcast cast I Like You (enjoy!)

4. Okay… Rejected! Now what?

The Point?

I feel like there will inevitably be some people who will simply fail to see the point of Rejection Therapy, or write it off as some hokey, hippie thing to do.

“I know McDonald’s won’t give me a cheeseburger refill! What’s the point of hearing ‘no’?” you might say.

The point is, my skeptical reader, to get rejected in and of itself! We are always so obsessed with succeeding and finding the quickest path to success that we often forget that setbacks are a part of that path! That’s why when we talk about success, we do it in terms of “the path to” rather than “the end goal of”; the importance of the journey is built right into the semantics of our language!


Credit: http://thedoghousediaries.com/

The Odd Non-Rejection

Back in my second blog post, TEDTalk speaker Jian Jiang talked about his experience at Krispy Kreme and ordering Olympic coloured donuts. The wonderful thing that happened was they not only got him his order, but they placed the donuts in the Olympic logo arrangement in the box! When a complete stranger helps you out, as in this case, it can be a very moving experience; it also inspires us to take more risks and try things we otherwise would never do.

It’s All About Mindset

Taking risks is scary; every time we make ourselves vulnerable, we are risking rejection. But when we do face rejection or a setback, we are faced with a Robert Frost-like fork in the road: if at first you don’t succeed do you:

a) give up?

b) learn, improve, and try again?

In her book, Mindset, professor Carol Dweck, PhD, talks about how when faced with setbacks, people generally fall under one of two categories: either a  fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

The difference is pretty obvious:

A person of a fixed mindset generally believes that a trait or an ability is fixed or innate. “I can’t do math! It’s just not my subject,” or “I can’t play basketball. I’m no NBA player.” They believe that people who have had great success in a particular field, be it sports, academics, or love, are just inherently good in those areas of life.

Growth mindset people are the total opposite. They see something that they are not good at as a challenge to overcome. “I did horribly on that math test! Wow… I need to get extra help, and find better study strategies!” Or, “I didn’t make the team! I will workout, and practice, and retry next year!”

The difference between these two viewpoints is like night and day. One emphasizes inner lack of talent, while the other focuses on an inner building ones competence.

Okay… But what does this have to do with Rejection Therapy and donuts?

What does all this talk of mindsets have to do with rejection, then? Everything! What Rejection Therapy allows us to do is get used to the idea of failure. It should become a daily and rather bland problem in our lives. Once we can accept the idea that rejection is a normal part of life, we won’t have to fear it all that much.

I started this blog as sort of a stepping stone toward becoming a writer. I had written short stories and poems in high school and university; however, I am my own worst critic and did not think I was good enough to write. So I stopped trying. However, thanks to Rejection Therapy and the adoption of the Growth mindset, I am prepared to accept criticism and build myself on my path to success. Once we stop fearing rejection we can start pursuing our passions.


3. Rejection Therapy

I hope you enjoyed the Sunday entry on Rejection. The TEDTalk speaker, Jia Jiang, did an eloquent job at showing the effectiveness of rejection therapy and its inspirational side-effects (putting yourself out there and breaking the chain of self-defeating regret!) You can read more about Rejection Therapy at Jason Comely’s website.

I have been practicing Rejection Therapy on my own through my own small ways. As Jia Jiang points out, you don’t have to be rejected by something huge; it can be as small as asking for a strange donut order at a restaurant.

I have done minor rejection therapy sessions for myself. These have been mostly on the small scale (save for a couple of more ambitious tasks).

I asked the security guard at my best friend’s condo if I could have some of his food; he raised an eyebrow and said in a deadpan tone “Are you serious?” It was a “no” but we all did get a chuckle out of it. One of the benefits of rejection therapy, particularly if you request ridiculous things, are moments of laughter, which funny enough lead to the OPPOSITE of the anxiety which is typically associated with rejection. Never forget that sometimes those supposedly awkward and anxiety inducing moments can lead to bonding moments and bring us joy. This was a positive outcome from this tiny interaction.

I also tried shooting for the moon a couple of times and got rejected for my writing. I had written a science poem and a political short story; I sent the science poem to a famous science magazine and the short story to a Canadian author and political figure.

I had asked the science magazine if they were interested in publishing the poem: no reply. I am sitting here, reflecting on this experience; I kind of knew that the request was completely ridiculous, but I would have regretted not sending it to them.

The author said he would look at my short story but he has yet to get back to me. I don’t think that he will get back to me, but I have gotten constructive feedback from friends on how to improve the story and where to add details.

I realized, in both instances, that I was not disheartened, but rather thankful that I did take the steps to get my writing out there. It may not have gotten anywhere yet, but even the great Dr Seuss was rejected time and time again before his manuscripts got published.

Rejection therapy is a humbling experience but also one that allows you to live your life without regrets. It is something we should all practice and preach!

That about does it for me today, but before I go:

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tony Burkinshaw for liking my post on Rejection. Being new to this, I am grateful for any and all support. Check out his blog post on how to prioritize a to-do list, and how to have a much more relaxed Holiday season (I realize the Holiday season has just ended, but it is applicable for the entire year!)


Picture source: https://www.facebook.com/Gav.Nascimento

2. Surprising Lessons From 100 Days of Rejection: Jia Jiang at TEDxAustin

Ever feel horrified at the thought of getting rejected? So much so that you will not even put in the effort to try it out in the first place? The first resource I would like to share with you is this fantastic video of Jia Jiang and his inspirational message: Get rejected! And see what happens!
Hint: You won’t die! The world will not implode in on itself! You learn, and move on! Simple enough? Watch the video and see what magic Rejection Therapy weaves!