I was invited to host a workshop on rejection for the Las Vegas Downtown Speakers Series, during which I shared my experience and learnings, and challenged everyone to do what I am doing - rejection therapy, at the end of the workshop. My challenge was simple - in 15 minutes, get as many rejections as possible in downtown Las Vegas. This was my first rejection workshop, and I was debating whether to have this challenge. I questioned in my head - "would people feel comfortable going into public and make crazy requests to strangers? What if they reject my challenge?"
Something strange happened. Whenever the word 'rejection' appears in my mind, it's almost like I were Popeye and I just ate spinach. I somehow force myself into the super fearless mode to make these outrageous requests. It's funny how a word that is normally associated with negative feelings can now be my power.
To my surprise, not only everyone did it, they all had fun and were thankful that I challenged them. The consensus was that while learning about rejection in a classroom is good, you only learn by going out of your comfort zone and put the knowledge into practice. Moreover, a few attendees also told me they were hesitant, but seeing how everyone else stood up and went out for the challenge encouraged them to follow suit.
Learning: 1. Switching mindset and associating smaller tasks with larger context can be a power tool in our daily tasks. In my case, challenging a group could be intimidating, but making a "rejection attempt" felt much easier. After all, I do this everyday.
2. When taking on a daunting challenge, consider doing so in a group. The support and encouragement from our peers sometimes can be much more effective than any courage we can muster by ourselves.
3. We can gain knowledge about life skills in a book, workshop or classroom. It's only when we practice what we learned, we would benefit the most. Renowned psychiatrist William Glasser famously described:
“We Learn . . . 10% of what we read 20% of what we hear 30% of what we see 50% of what we see and hear 70% of what we discuss 80% of what we experience 95% of what we teach others.”
I couldn't ask the attendees to teach others, but at least they experience it. If you enjoy the idea of using rejection therapy to gain confidence and communication skills, you should make a commitment to practice it too.