What if I said I am not going to allow you to read this blog?

What if I had the power to prevent you from reading this blog? What if I used that power against you? How would you feel? That feeling is called Rejection.

Rejections pains. If you are rejected in your school by your teachers, it sucks. So you seek their approval by trying to do what they expect of you. If you are rejected from a friend’s circle, you feel pain. If you are rejected by someone who you are attracted to, it pains. If you are rejected by your parents, it pains.

Since rejection is painful, we build our life to buffer ourselves against rejection. We want a stable job because we don’t need to feel the rejection that entrepreneurs usually face. We settle for someone in our life even if they are not the best match we could go for because we don’t want to be rejected by other people who we might like.

We are afraid to take certain decisions in our life and afraid to speak out our opinions because we fear rejection and we try to avoid it as much as possible. But moving away from rejection also means that moving away from a lot of things we want in our life but lack the courage to go and get it.

When I was a kid in school, my home was 2km away in the city. The school was on the highway and the only way to get to the city was the town bus. Backbenchers usually do not take the school bus. They travel on their own. But the town bus always was crowded and pretty inconvenient. One good alternative to the town bus was to get a lift from a passing motorcycle.

Many people hesitate to as for a lift because they know that a lot of people will say no to them. When people say no to you, it sucks because it hurts our ego. But I was a little bit more resistant to the feeling of rejection. I would ask for a lift from quite a few passing by bikers. Many of them would say no, but I knew that if I asked enough, someone will eventually give me a lift.

I figured out that the conversion ratio was around 10%. If I asked 10 bikers, one of them will most likely give me a lift. But that also means getting rejected by 9 other people, most of the time.

When 9 bikers reject me, some looking down on me, I learned not to feel anything. I would just look at the numbers and wait for the guy who eventually decides to give me a lift. Sometimes it’s the 3rd biker, sometimes the 7th and sometimes the 10th. But 1/10 will give me a lift. And that would be way more convenient than going in a crowded bus.

While most of my friends took the bus most of the days, I used to get a lift from a passerby most of the days.

Why didn’t my friends get the convenience that I got? Because they were not able to face rejection. When someone rejects us, we take it personally. We seek the approval of the world and we often try to avoid situations where someone disapproves of us.

Since then, I believe, I’ve got more out of life that most of my childhood friends because I have the habit of asking more out of life. One of the most painful things about asking more out of life is that we have to face a lot more rejection.

If we ask more, we will get rejected more. But we won’t get more unless we ask more. So what we get out of your life is directly proportional to our ability to face rejection. In all the dimensions of our life.

So the next time you hesitate to ask something, think about it. Are you choosing not to ask because you will not be able to face rejection? Asking costs nothing. If there is a secret to getting more out of life, it is the ability to face rejection.

Cheers,
Deepak Kanakaraju