What is your biggest fear?
For some, it’s the fear of death, for some its fear of spiders. According to a survey, for most, it’s the fear of public speaking. However to me, the worst fear one can have, is the fear of rejection.
The human race has survived brutality of wars, diseases and natural disasters. However, fear of rejection is one fear which tends to eclipse most men. The fear of rejection is such an impeder that it deters us from doing things which we want to do. This fear hinders you to pursue your dreams, restricts your ambitions and diminishes your action taking ability.
I agree that any kind of rejection can be devastating. It generally hurts where it matters the most, i.e. it hurts your psyche and it absolutely demolishes your confidence. A normal human tendency is to avoid any sort of pain and after the initial rejections, you simply stop trying.
A few things you experience when you have fear of rejection
- You feel that you have lost all your confidence and can never accomplish any job.
- Inability to say no to anything because you feel awful about saying no and getting others to reject and neglect you. Thus, you keep agreeing to perform tasks which you don’t want to do.
- Absence of self opinion about yourself. You judge yourselves as what people say about you rather than what you think about yourself.
- Loss of identity. You tend to idolize people very quickly and hence imitate those whom you think highly of.
The most successful people in the world have been the ones who have been able to overcome this fear. Talk about Abraham Lincoln, he lost 3 elections before he won his first. Or talk about our own Amitabh Bachchan – he was rejected by the radio, by the theatre and by several movie studios. But he still had the courage to face more rejections before he got his first break.
Relationships are one part of our lives where fear of rejection has such a deep impact. The horizon of this fear stretches right from your professional career to friendship to your love life.
While operating my start-up venture, I faced professional rejection on a daily basis. So much so, that I wondered whether facing rejection was part of my job description. It generally was a traumatizing experience when after having one sales meeting and several follow-up meetings, the prospective client just rejected your proposal. I have started to believe that those initial rejections were one reason why I am doing a MBA and not running a successful business.
I read this true story in one of the Chicken Soup books where a guy in high school is madly in love with his classmate but never approaches her as he fears rejection. The guy could never develop the courage to approach the girl and after 2 years of anguish, gives up. 25 years later, married to their respective spouses they meet at High School reunion. The guy, who still has a soft corner for the girl, finally tells her how crazy he was about her. The girl starts crying hysterically. She tells him how much she loved him throughout high school but was waiting for him to make the first move. Both speechless, they just part ways. This is one example how a meant to be relation never happened because of their fear for rejection.
There are many other incidents where broken friendships don’t mend because both the parties are paranoid that their offer for reconciliation will be rejected by the other. Another chicken soup story. 2 close friends with their friendship of 20 years. One day, they quarrel on a trivial matter and ultimately stop interacting with each other. A few weeks later, they both realize that the quarrel was absurd and uncalled for. However, they both not sure if the other guy wants to be friends again, don’t make the reconciliatory move. Eventually no one does and when one friend dies, the other realizes his mistake. But, it’s too late. Their fear that the other might reject the reconciliatory offer, never give it a try.
My apologies for the sad stories but blame Chicken Soup for that. They are just filled with them.
Some instant gyaan for overcoming fear of rejection.
Don’t ever be scared of rejections in your life. Every time you are rejected, take that as a challenge to prove yourself. Develop a frame of mind where you view getting rejected as a stepping stone to success. Once, you are able to accept rejection, you’ll realize that with every rejection, it gets easier.
Be yourself because everyone else is taken. Don’t ever succumb to peer pressure and do things which you don’t want to do. Don’t let others dictate your individuality.
And finally, Don’t make success the ultimate goal and focus more on the process than the result. Try rewarding yourself for just making an effort and getting a "no."
A relevant quote from Sylvestor Stallone to end this blog - “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”