There are 3 Ways to Deal with Rejection. Only 1 Works


First things first: if you are not getting rejected on a regular basis, you are probably not pushing yourself enough and not leaving your comfort zone; two things that are essential to achieving your goals, both in your personal and professional life.

If you work inside a large company, for instance, you should be getting rejected regularly by clients when you try to sell them new products and services, by colleagues when you try to sell them new ideas and new projects to pursue, and by your bosses when you ask for a promotion.

If you are an entrepreneur, you should be getting rejected regularly by the customers when you launch new products and features, by investors when you pitch them your projects, by employees from other companies when you try to recruit them, and so on.

Getting rejected is part of moving forward, of trying new things, of doing stuff.

If this is the case, why do most people fear and avoid rejection? Because they don’t know how to deal with it. They take it personally, believing that there must be something wrong, either with themselves or with the people who are rejecting them.

I have recently read James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself (highly recommended by the way), and in one of the chapters James talks about this topic. According to him, and I completely agree, there are three ways to deal with rejection, but only one gets you moving in the right direction. They are:

1. “I got rejected so I must suck. I’ll just give up.”

The first and worst way to deal with rejection is to believe that there must be something wrong with yourself, that you are not good enough, and therefore that you should give up and stop trying.

It’s not difficult to see why this is a terrible way to deal with rejection, yet many people adopt it. How many stories have you heard about aspiring writers, actors and entrepreneurs who simply gave up after a couple of years because they were facing rejection after rejection?

2. “I got rejected so they must suck. I’ll keep doing this until they change their minds.”

The second way to deal with rejection is to believe that you are fine and doing the right things, but that the people who are rejecting you don’t understand it or don’t know better. In other words, the problem is not with you, but with them!

People who deal with rejection this way will keep doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different outcome. Obviously, this different outcome will never come.

3. “I got rejected so the approach was probably wrong! Let’s improve it and try again!”

The third and most intelligent way to deal with rejection is to understand that there is nothing wrong with yourself, nor with the people who rejected you. You simply used a strategy or an approach that didn’t work for the situation in question.

If you see things this way, you will not get discouraged upon rejection, and will instead analyze what you did and make the necessary changes before trying again. You’ll get something positive out of every rejection.

You can see clear examples of the behaviors mentioned above when it comes to dating. Many men are so afraid of rejection that they won’t even approach women they find attractive, greatly reducing their chances of having a happy and fulfilling romantic life.

Out of the those who do have enough courage to approach women, many will get discouraged on their first rejections, and will assume there must be something wrong with them (“I am ugly”, “I am not interesting enough”, etc.).

Others will believe that the women who turn them down must be crazy or must have something wrong. After all those women failed to see their virtues and qualities! Those will keep trying the same things over and over again, and will probably keep getting the same results.

Finally, there are those will assume that if they get rejected by a woman, it must be related to the way they approached the situation. As a result, they aim to understand what could be changed and improved, and they try again using a new strategy to see if the outcome will change. Those will tend to have more success.

Bottom line: The next time you get rejected, be it in your personal or professional life, remember that there is nothing wrong either with yourself or with the person who rejected you. You simply used the wrong strategy or approach, so try to understand what you could change to improve it, and try again!


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  1. says

    Hi Daniel,
    Thanks for the rejection advice. I’m an Anesthesiologist and a writer. Rejection is part of the game!
    I’ll add a fourth possibility: #4: I got rejected because they suck and my approach was wrong. I’ll regroup and change my approach and try again. (This is more applicable when working in a command & control, military style, workplace scenario – like a hospital.)

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