Rejection is hard on everyone. It creates feelings of embarrassment, low self-worth and inner-doubt. It is completely understandable why people wish to avoid ever getting rejected, but getting rejected, every day, is actually a great thing.
It is a great thing as long as the person possesses three key emotional intelligence skills: Self- Regard, Self-Actualization, and Emotional Self-Awareness.
People often frame their entire life plan and their daily actions around NOT getting rejected, which essentially translates into inaction. You don’t ask the girl out, you don’t ask for the sale, and you don’t ask your boss for a raise, because of the paralyzing fear of rejection. In the end, you do nothing and you aren’t rejected, but you didn’t gain either. The result is no progression, no situational advancement, and frankly, a boring life.
“Those who get rejected every day, are some of the most successful people on the planet.”
Most of the top consultants and best salesman in the world subscribe to the theory of abundance, as opposed to the theory of scarcity (the idea that the pie is fixed, there are limited seats, and success is a distributive and zero-sum game) that modern society would have us believe. Abundance theory states that money and business opportunities, while technically not infinite, are plenty enough that we shouldn’t live in fear of spending our money or worry about not putting together the perfect business deal, and that there is so much out there for each one of us that we should go after it every day, in every way. Success is integrative, meaning that the outcome is greater together than any of us can reach on our own.
As Mark Cuban once said, some of the most successful millionaires in the world have no fear of losing it all, because they know they can make it all again if they needed to (and some actually have, many times over). Those who fail to act, while waiting for the perfect plan and scenario to develop, never actually act.
“Finished beats perfect, every time.”
Successful people do not live in fear of rejection, but instead spend money at their leisure and cast a wide net when it comes to business opportunity.
“1% of your seeds will grow 50% of your flowers.”
It Only Takes One Success, to be Considered Successful
Think of the guy at the bar that asks 200 women for their number. He will most likely get rejected 199 times, but will most likely get one or two numbers, making his night a success.
Think of the average job seeker, that sends out thousands of resumes. She will get hundreds of “thank you for applying but we have found someone who is better qualified” emails, but only needs to land one or two interviews.
There are hundreds of stories of people with high emotional intelligence, that persevere through difficult times, succeed once, and then go down in history as a success story. Perhaps the most famous is the story of Abraham Lincoln. From 1831 to 1858, he loses his job, is defeated for state legislature, fails in business, his sweetheart dies, has a nervous breakdown, is defeated for Illinois State Speaker, is defeated in run for Congress, defeated again in run for Congress, rejected as a land officer, defeated in run for U.S. Senate, defeated for Vice President nomination, and then defeated again in run for U.S. Senate. But then he was elected the President of the United States in 1860, and is widely considered one of the greatest Presidents of all time.
Now I am speculating because I don’t have his EQ-i 2.0 assessment results, but I would imagine that Honest Abe had very high emotional intelligence, specifically pertaining to the Self-Perception Composite.
The Self-Perception Composite of the EQ-i 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment is designed to assess feelings of inner strength and confidence, and is considered the inward facing Composite of the emotional model.
Self-Regard is the skill related to respecting oneself and having inner confidence. Individuals with lower scores are uncertain of their own abilities, have lower self-confidence, and possess lower motivation to achieve potential. Those with higher scores respect themselves, believe in their own talent and strengths and seek less external validation for his or her own self-worth. They normally are driven and have a strong sense of identity.
Self-Actualization is the skill associated with the pursuit of meaning in one’s life. Individuals with lower scores do not make good use of strengths, focus more on day to day vs strategic goals, and may set lower personal goals. Those with higher scores act with a greater sense of purpose, are self-motivating, and constantly set high goals.
Emotional Self-Awareness is the skill associated with understanding one’s own emotions. Individuals with lower scores may not know why thoughts or feelings occur, may struggle to label internal feelings, and may appear detached from experiencing emotions. Those with higher scores can accurately label and describe emotions, understand the slight nuances between emotions, and know how their emotions impact their own performance.
“Many of my coaching clients think that these are personality driven and only innate. These are actually skills, that can be developed by anyone, with targeted coaching and consistent practice.”
Those with high Self-Perception skills possess an Internal Locus of Control (the belief that they control their own life) vs those with low Self-Perception skills that possess an External Locus of Control (the belief that their life is controlled by external factors outside of personal control).
If you are being rejected every day, that means you are asking for those sales, you are sending out resumes, you are talking to people you don’t know, and you are constantly trying to become something better. When the eventual rejection comes, those with high emotional intelligence brush it off, realize it’s part of the process, and don’t let the external result impact internal feelings of self-worth or derail aspirations and goals.
I am constantly sending out proposals every day for my consulting business, and most of the time, I hear nothing back, or the response is a rejection. Here is the trick though, I technically haven’t lost anything with each rejection that comes in!
Maverick Consultant Alan Weiss describes the scenario as such (I am paraphrasing): before you ask for the sale, you have nothing. Once you ask for the sale, and get rejected, you technically are right back where you started. So, you didn’t really “lose” the sale. If anything, you should have gained knowledge on what to do better next time. So even in rejection, you come out ahead.
“The rejection should have no impact on your own self-view, your confidence, or your goals. It should be considered a learning opportunity and a symbol of your hard work.”
This is the mindset of those with high emotional intelligence. The external actions and rejections of others do not and should not impact our inner confidence or the goals we set for ourselves, and the emotions that accompany the rejection should be sorted and categorized in our brains so that we don’t attribute them as being created internally.
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying.
If you aren’t getting rejected, you aren’t successful.
Show me someone who fails every day, and that person is either currently a great success, or is about to be.
Daily rejection is a great thing, because it means you are abiding by abundance theory and you are going after it. You are trying to improve your life every day. However, daily rejection is only a great thing if you are equipped with the emotional intelligence skills and abilities to properly deal with it, and weaponize it into your greatest asset.
We must consistently ask for what we want, go after what we want and visualize what we want, because the only way to truly predict our future is to create it.
Bar-On, R. (2002). EQ-i Technical Manual. Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.