Rejection 102 - Singing in Public and the Spotlight Effect

Last month, I enrolled the first batch of attendees (there were 20) for the beta version of my newly designed online course – Rejection Gym. Along with 14 recorded lessons, the attendees received 100 daily rejection exercises, such as asking to take a selfie with a stranger or requesting to plant flower in a stranger’s backyard. Their goal was to use rejection exercises to strengthen their courage muscle in order to become more fearless. After signing up, they quickly started asking for crazy things that they never thought was possible before. However, there was one rejection exercise that felt so tough that everyone had a hard time doing it. It was singing in public. So as the leader of the gym, I did it myself along with them.

What I learned from this exercise was how the “Spotlight Effect” could really mess with our perceptions of the world and limit our actions. Basically, we think people notice and care about us a lot more than they actually do.

The Spotlight Effect causes us to be afraid of taking unconventional actions or risks because we fear other people will notice our failure and peculiarity, and judge us accordingly. But in reality, no one cares about what we do, let along judging us. And even if they do notice and judge, what’s the point of us caring about their judgment anyway?

The world has billions of people with billions of opinions. If we constantly worry about what other people think of us, we will inevitably conform to their expectations, or worse, to our imagination of their expectations. We will live mediocre lives and have forgettable careers.

Let’s worry about us and focus on what we do, and help others when they are in need. It’s time to say “go to hell” to the Spotlight Effect.