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5 Ways To Remain Confident When Dealing With Rejection

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In the past year I’ve been rejected a monstrous amount of times. I kept getting knocked down, but then like a phoenix I’d rise again. And again. And again. Rejection builds resilience.

I never used to take rejection as easily as I do today. It used to bother me, affect me, and I even considered the person rejecting me to be a hater. Or at least someone who clearly has a problem with me. Which can be the case but it’s a broken way to think.

Thinking like this can damage your self confidence in the long run and can cause you to quit on yourself too early, blame, make excuses and never try again. That’s a disastrous road to travel down.

So how do you deal with all that “pain” in the face of countless rejections? How is it possible to still be confident in the face of rejection?

Here are 5 ways to remain confident when dealing with rejection:

1. Look at it logically, not emotionally

Emotions have their place. There’s a time to use your emotions and a time not to use them. How you use your emotions while dealing with rejection is the vital to your success.

The main reasons a person rejects you is because:

  • They’re not ready to say yes yet.
  • They don’t see the value.
  • You’ve caught them at a bad time.
  • You’re dealing with the wrong person.
  • They genuinely don’t like you.

Looking at that from a logical perspective, you can move forward from it and let it go. Whereas if you look at it emotionally, you’ll upset yourself and hold yourself back.

Focus on what can be done, changed, then follow through with it. Don’t get caught up in your emotions. It’ll be your downfall. Each time I’m rejected I look at it from a logical perspective, so I don’t get caught up in the rejection itself.

“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” – Bo Bennett

2. Keep your eyes on the prize

Wallowing in rejection isn’t the best way to go about it. You’re only wasting your time and time has no patience for anybody.

Rejection will phase you only if you focus on it. And that’s the key here. Keep your focus on the things that matter most to you; your goals, your intentions, and your dreams. Priorities matter more than the rejections you face along the way.

 

3. Work on your skills

To some degree the rejections you face are based on your skill sets. How skilled you are and how good you are can influence the outcome of rejection.

In my first year of blogging I was rejected by everybody. I had no idea what the hell I was doing. But overtime my skills have been polished and my results continue to improve.

Even if your skills aren’t the direct cause of rejection, it’s still worth working on them. Because the more skilled you become, the better you’ll be able to position yourself. And that will without a doubt lead to the outcome and achievements you’re looking for.

 

4. Work on your attitude

When rejected in the past I’d say “what a hater”. That’s a bad attitude to have, so my results weren’t surprising.

A bad attitude will smash your self confidence like a brick to a window. In fact, a bad attitude will stop you from jumping over your rejections and leaving them behind.

Even If you don’t feel good about the rejection, have a good attitude and move on. You’ll feel much better and will handle it a lot better. Keep that up and you’ll breeze through each rejection without any sign of slowing down.

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein

5. Learn what works and what doesn’t

Knowledge is not only power if used, but it’s confidence as well. All it takes is gaining that much more knowledge than you already have to boost your self confidence. Knowing how to do something helps you to be confident in the things you’re doing.

So after so many rejections I faced or face, I look at my ratio of successes, what could be changed and how I can improve next time.

You can also read about the subject I’m dealing with from people who’ve crossed the hurdle I’m trying to jump over. Then I put that newfound knowledge into action. Practicality is important. Knowledge is meaningless without it.

How do you deal with rejection? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Theo Ellis is a blogger, author, writer, and online retailer. Speaking on subjects such as confidence, personal development, he writes from personal experience to benefit the lives of others through justbereal.co.uk.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. sam

    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing. You might never see the wonders your words of wisdom do on most of us but thank you

  2. Laura Love

    Jan 5, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    You hit the nail on the head my friend 🙂

    • Theo

      Jan 25, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Laura!

  3. Charlene Rhinehart

    Dec 23, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Theo! Rejection does build resilience. Someone who has never been rejected probably hasn’t tried to expand beyond their comforts. I think of rejection as a way of redirecting me to my greater purpose. Each rejection brings more determination, knowledge, creativity. and growth. Thanks for adding in your personal experience with rejection as a blogger. I’ve started a new blog and I’m looking forward to this new journey and all of the learning experiences it will bring. I’ve been competing in pageants for over 5 years and have experienced multiple rejections that have increased my courage. I use my pageant experiences to empower women to be bold in their careers.

    • Theo

      Dec 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Exactly, Charlene! Rejection makes you a better, stronger, wiser person as long as you look at it from the right perspective. And avoid the emotional side of it, which can hold you back. That’s great, if you need any help with the blogging side of things, just ask. Keep persevering, and thank you for commenting!

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

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This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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