Rejection means that we wanted someone to believe in us but they didn’t; that we wanted someone to like us but they didn’t; we wanted them to see what we see and to think how we think – and instead they disagreed and judged our way of looking at the world as inferior…It doesn’t just feel like a rejection of our request, but also of our character, looks, ability, intelligence, personality, culture, or beliefs. Even if the person rejecting our request doesn’t mean for his or her no to feel personal, it’s going to. – Jia Jiang, Rejection Proof
I know it seems like I’ve spent quite a bit of time here reflecting on rejection lately. Rejection is a big part of most author’s lives when they’re first starting out, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find me grappling again with how to deal with it. A few weeks ago, I came across a post about rejection that referenced Jia Jiang and his book. I was intrigued, so I found a copy at my local library.
Dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, Jiang came from China to the U.S. to attend college. He quit a high-paying marketing job a few days prior to the birth of his first child and invested his family’s savings in a new business venture. Months later, after a venture capitalist declined to invest in his startup, Jiang set out on an adventure; his goal was to overcome his fear of rejection by experiencing 100 rejections in 100 days. Two things happened to Jiang along his path of rejections: 1) He became an expert on rejection; and 2) By posting videos of each rejection attempt on his blog, his reputation for knowledge of the subject spread around the world and suddenly he was in demand for speaking engagements and even landed a book deal.
Rejection has a number: Every rejection has a number. If the rejectee goes through enough rejections, a no could turn into a yes. – Jia Jiang
Because the publishing industry has an established process for approaching agents and publishers, many of the techniques Jiang outlines for decreasing the odds of rejection and/or turning a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’ do not apply to authors. Just the same, many of the philosophies his book presents can be helpful in reacting to literary rejections.
I found a lot of inspiration from Jiang’s story, and would recommend it to everyone. If you want more information but don’t want to read the book, click here for Jiang’s website. In closing, here’s a link to Jiang’s video of what might be his most famous rejection attempt.