Thoughts

Sharing My Proudest Moment with You

Life is full of ups and downs. But there are moments that when you experience them, you know your life would never be the same. Maybe your girlfriend just answered "YES"; maybe you got the acceptance letter from your favorite school; maybe there is now a newborn crying in your arms, or maybe you just landed your dream job... But those moments almost never just pop up out of nowhere. There was usually a long buildup. As a professional speaker, I just experienced one of those moments. I will now have a TED talk... and I'm still in shock.

For those who don't know, a TEDx talk is given at independent TEDx events all over the world, but a real TED talk is only given either at the annual mainstage TED Conference or is a TEDx talk being featured on TED.com. TED just decided to feature my TEDxMtHood talk on TED.com and make it an official TED talk.

But again, this didn't just pop up out of nowhere. It was a series of moments that led to this. If you know me and my story, you know my life first changed after I walked into that donut store almost exactly four years ago. My personal experiment of 100 Days of Rejection Therapy became a viral sensation, and I started telling this story to inspire other people. My first "speaking engagement" was at a local chiropractic studio to about ten people. A month later, I presented at a company to an audience of 100 people and got a round of applause. Three months later, I gave my first ever TEDx talk at TEDxAustin in front of a group of 1,000. I received a long standing ovation. From 10 people to 100 and then 1000; it was the perfect snowball.

And the snowballing didn't stop there. In subsequent years, I published my first book and achieved #1 bestselling audiobook, took many people through the rejection course and workshops, founded a corporate training company, and even acquired the original Rejection Therapy.

All these great things happened because I took the chances and opened myself up to the world. People related to me not because I was smart or awesome, but because I was real and open.

But now, it just got to a whole new level. Having a TED talk has been a dream-come-true.

You know, I am not here to congratulate myself, but to thank you, because other than God, I owe this all to you! I can't thank you enough for believing in me, supporting me, and giving me the courage I needed along this journey. After learning my story, many of you have in turn started your own journeys by risking more at work, finding better jobs, building new businesses, starting new blogs/podcasts, becoming artists... I could go on and on. You have inspired me every day.

So what's next, you ask. Well, to make the world an even more amazing place, I am asking you for one of two things:

1. Simply watch and share my TED talk with your colleagues, friends, and loved ones. We are all held back by rejections on some level, and this talk will make a difference in them.

2. Join me by becoming a Rejection Ambassador (here are the rules). You can lead other people in your organizations or communities to get out of their comfort zones and to start writing their own stories.

Because amazing things only happen outside of your comfort zone. Someday, you will share your own TED moment with me and the world.

Happy Rejection!

Jia Jiang

Taking over Rejection Therapy

I have just taken a big step in life and business - taking over Rejection Therapy and moving my website from FearBuster.com to RejectionTherapy.com. Four years ago, I stumbled upon the Canadian entrepreneur - Jason Comely's Rejection Therapy concept while searching for a way to overcome my fear of rejection. It inspired me to start my own social experiment: 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. Little did I know that this experiment would one day turn into a book, TEDx talks, a growing business,  and a self-development movement.

Both Rejection Therapy and my own blog - Fearbuster.com have thrived separately. Jason and I have remained good friends and been an inspiration for each other. Recently we reached an agreement for me to become the sole owner of Rejection Therapy. (You would think a business conversation between Jason and me would consist solely of us shouting NOOOOO to each other until we both passed out, but thankfully it wasn't the case). We made this happen for simple reasons: we both loved the Rejection Therapy concept and its potential to change the world and impact people's lives.

Going forward, everything I build will be under the RejectionTherapy.com. Not only the original Rejection Therapy game will continue to be featured, you will hear a lot more often from me to talk about rejection through blog and youtube, especially given the current political climate. RejectionTherapy.com will be a place people can come and find all kinds of ways to train their courage muscle and become fearless.

I aim to make Rejection Therapy a concept that will stand the test of time, and more importantly, impact millions of people. I dream to build a world free of the fear of rejection, so we can see the new businesses built, new art created, new jobs found and new love stories written.

I invite you to join me in this journey!

Help Me with My Book Launch and Become a Rejection Ambassador

By now you've heard about my book and all of the awesome gifts I'm giving to those who pre-order (if not, check them out). What you may not know is that I am assembling a team of Rejection Ambassadors to help with the book launch together. And I want YOU to be an ambassador. This book couldn't have become a reality if it were not for your support, ideas and inspiration. Now for the book launch, I want to use the same collective spirit and invite you to be part of it.

A Rejection Ambassador is someone who is not only interested in just receiving inspiration and tips to conquer his/her own fear, but in also helping to spread the message so others can get the same benefit.

It will start by helping me to launch the Rejection Proof book on April 14th. That includes either reviewing the book online when it comes out on 4/14/2015, or setting up meetups/talks for me during my 50 States of Rejection book tour to your city.

After the book launch, we will continue to work together and find ways to further the cause and change the world.

How:

Apply here. Please allow me up to a week to reply.

Happy Rejection!

Strengthen Your Courage Muscle

Video Link

This is my first attempt at my new vlog. It discusses the topic of beating fear in everything we do. It also answers your frequently asked questions. Let me know if you have questions, feedbacks or ideas.

Below is the transcript if you prefer reading: [showhide type="transcript"]

Hi guys, it’s been a while since you saw my last video at the conclusion of my 100 Days of Rejection. A lot have happened since. I’ve since moved from Austin to Northern California, finished writing my book, and I am about to have a new baby. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for 2015, and I will tell you about them later.

But I want to discuss with you one thing today, which is the concept of the courage muscle. People have asked me: Jia, do you think you are a changed person forever now after you did 100 Days of Rejection? The answer is Yes and No. Yes I am much more confident, outgoing and fearless in term of being able to talking to anyone, asking for anything anywhere. I have used these skills to accomplish some major goals in life and business. But no, I am not changed forever. It’s not like I am this completely different person now with super powers. In fact, I am just much stronger mentally. But if I don’t exercise, I will go back.

That is what courage muscle is. Basically, none of us is either born a courageous bad ass or a timid coward. Sure, there are personality traits that make us different. But as we grew up and gain experience in the world, we started forming the habit and characters that make us either more brave or timid. By the time we became adult, these characters started to play a huge role in our success in the world. For example, it took me 30 years to really have the guts to really pursue my dream, because I wanted to the approval from other people. I didn’t want any potential rejections. Had I learned to be fearless earlier, I might have started a business as a teenager, or in my early 20s.

But it’s not too late. Right after I turned 30, I did these 100 Days of rejection. By keep asking for impossible things, I was actually exercising my courage muscle. And within a short period of time, I quickly learned that rejection is not something I should fear, but something I can learn from and turn into opportunities. So now I ask and try new things everyday, and my life and business have changed since. It’s as if I did P90x for 90 days, and I became a strong, lean and cut dude, but only mentally. But just like physical exercise, I found that if I don’t keep doing this, my courage muscle will weaken and atrophy. Eventually, I would lose all the edge I’ve gained.

So I want to encourage you to do the same thing. Go out and ask for crazy things. Start small, like asking for a burger refill, and gradually increase the difficulties, like speaking in front of strangers. By doing so, you are exercising your own courage muscle. And you will soon find out a change within yourself. You might not become a badass overnight, but you will if you keep doing this, you will become much more brave. Some day, you will ask for the promotion you’ve always wanted. You will start your own business. You will ask the cute girl out. And maybe you will give your own TED talk.

Happy Rejection! [/showhide]

Stuart Scott Revealed The #1 Quality To Win In Life Before Passing Away

When I joined my first fantasy football league, my team was named OtherSideofPillow. It’s a strange name, and it was coined by my favorite ESPN host, Stuart Scott. During Sports Center highlights, when a player calmly sinks a jumper in the clutch moments of a basketball game, Stu would often say so and so was “as cool as the other side of the pillow”. He was always funny, passionate, and cool. But other than showing people how to be cool, he also demonstrated the #1 quality to win in life. No, it is not about being cool or making the winning shot in game. It is about handling adversities through actions.

On January 4, 2015, Stuart Scott passed away after losing his battle to cancer at age 49.

Well, the above statement would have been appropriate for anyone, but not for Stu. Stu would say he didn’t lose to cancer, but he won it by how much he battled cancer. In his acceptance speech of the Jimmy V Award, Stu said the immortal words “When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer, by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”

In another words, Stu didn't define himself by the existence or the results of cancer, which he had no control over. He cared about his own bravery and action in his battle with cancer, which he had full control. And that, in my opinion, is the #1 quality of a successful life.

We all have dealt with blows in life. They could be business failures, money problems, tough upbringings, divorce, physical shortcomings, mental deficiencies, and repeated rejections by others, which is the subject I write about. There are diseases that could be as debilitating and lethal as cancer. When they happen, people usually judge their successes in three ways: circumstances, results and actions.

Circumstances – some people base success on circumstances. They equate good circumstances with winning, and unlucky breaks with losing. When economy turns sour, when business gets tough, when jobs get cut, they internalize these circumstances and blame either themselves or others. They tie their self-esteem on the ups and downs of life events. Because we all suffer setbacks, it’s really easy to feel like unlucky losers at the end of the day.

Results – the vast majority of people, if not the whole world, base success on results. They understand that circumstances are not the end of the world. They also understand that their actions could affect the outcome. So they fight, they struggle, and they try to get good results. In fact, “results-oriented” is one of the most overly used terms on LinkedIn profiles. Just do a search. However, what they don’t understand is how pointless and even dangerous it could be to base everything on results.

For one, we don’t fully control results. No matter how hard we work or compete at something, there are always many more talented people who are just as driven to beat us at the game of getting results. Moreover, when we focus on results, we started risking to game the system by unethical or illegal means. Just ask Lance Armstrong and the wall-streeters who caused the 2008 financial crisis. Lastly, no matter how hard you fight, there are circumstances in life such as cancer that can simply overpowers you.

Actions – the real brave winners judge their successes on their actions, or reactions to circumstances, in spite of what the circumstances might be and the results they might cause. In the classic book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl described that when he was dealt with the worst circumstances imaginable in life – the Nazi concentration camp, which one might argue it’s even worst than cancer. Yet it was in there, he discovered meaning and his true calling in life and greatest contribution to humanity. Dr. Frankl knew he had no control of his circumstances (concentration camp and guards’ brutality), and no control of results (his own survival), but he had full control of his reactions to circumstances.

Stuart Scott and Viktor Frankl were far from the only people demonstrating how to win in life through our actions. There are many, many more stories of people finding their true calling through their reaction to adversities.

Elizabeth Smart was the victim of a high-profile child abduction case at age 14. After spending nine-month with his evil tormentor and suffering through endless pain and humiliation, she was rescued. She became a champion activist against human trafficking and crimes against children, and was a recipient of the Diller-von Furstenberg Awards.

While serving in Iraq, first lieutenant Scottie Smiley was permanently blinded by a suicide bomber. After returning home, he lived life to the fullest, by climbing Mount Rainier, skiing in Colorado, surfing in Hawaii, and competing in triathlon. He received his MBA from Duke University, and taught leadership at West Point. Today, he is a Major in the US Army and recipient of the MacArthur Leadership Award.

So next time when you encounter a setback in life, no matter how severe and debilitating, and no matter how dark and hopeless it seems, remember Stu’s words. “You beat (your adversity), by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”

It is indeed the #1 quality to win in life.

New Year's Resolutions, The Rejection Proof Way

New Year’s resolutions. It’s that time of the year again – one of the few times in the year we feel determined to make a real change in our lives. We plan, we commit and we swear that we will lose weight, learn a new language, and get out of debt. We are going to get that promotion, and we will elevate our business by 20%. Maybe we will start our own business, and even find love. We feel great and ready to roll. But here is the problem – New Year’s resolutions don’t work. On January 1st, we put on running shoes, hit the gym and buy that $200 Rosetta Stone program. By February, most of us are already slipping or have given up. A few months later, these resolutions become nothing but painful and rejectable reminders of how lazy and disappointing we are.

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There are a lot of psychological reasons why New Year’s resolutions aren’t the best way to motivate us for real life change. But instead of going into psychology, I want to propose a solution based on the Rejection Proof way.

1. Instead of setting goals, set actions – one of the biggest takeaways from 100 Days of Rejection is the need to focus actions instead of results. Results such as getting a YES or achieving certain goals are tricky and sometimes downright frustrating, because they don’t depend on factors that we can fully control. For example, no matter how charming and convincing we are, some people will reject us for their own reasons. Similarly, no matter how hard we try, we might not be able to get the promotion or lose the weight, because competition and genetics will also play a role in those outcomes.

Actions, on the other hand, are entirely controllable. And if we focus on doing actions, it will most likely lead to the results we desire. For example, if I let myself just focus on making the request, I would give myself a chance to get a YES. If I make five of these requests, my odds of getting a YES increase five fold, and maybe I can even get more than one YES. Similarly, if my resolution is set to take an average of 10,000 steps a day, or to memorize five Spanish phrases a day, the odds will be in my favor that I will lose the weight and became much better at Spanish.

2. Set resolutions for shorter periods – when I quit my job to start a new business two years ago, one of the smartest things I did was to give myself a six months runway, instead of proclaiming myself as an entrepreneur with no term limit. When I started my rejection journey, I did it for 100 days instead of forever. Because forever, or even one year, is a very long time and could be psychologically taxing on people. It’s hard to run for 5 miles three times a week for a whole year. It feels like there is no end in sight.

Shorter periods, on the other hand, are much more doable and rewarding. For example, running 5 miles three times a week for three months is much more doable. And once you are done, you can celebrate and move on. But more than likely you will have developed the habit and keep going, because on average, it takes about 66 days to develop a new habit.

3. Focus on fewer actions, preferably just one – two of my favorite books, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results both advocate the powerful idea that less is more. In fact, being able to focus on very few actions for a set amount of time can deliver amazing results.

So, instead of going all out with listing multiple end-goals in health, business, relationship and intellectual self-improvement, we should focus on one or two controllable actions within finite periods.

As for my own goals in 2015, I want to successfully launch my beta product – Rejection Gym, publish my book and make it as impactful as possible, and get into the best shape of my life. However, I know it would be meaningless to set these goals as my New Year’s resolutions, because of the three issues I’ve mentioned above.

So I’ve devised my 2015 New Year’s resolutions the Rejection Proof way, and I want to share them with you:

January – March Business: Launch The Rejection Gym Personal: Go through an entire round of P90X

April – June Business: Travel across the US and make 50 stops on the Rejection Tour in conjunction with the publication of my book

July – September Personal: Go through an entire round of P90X3 Business: Launch Rejection Gym for Business

What Can Luis Suarez Teach Us (about rejection)?

If you are a sports fan and don't watch the World Cup, let me tell you something: you are missing out! This is an awesome tournament with tons of drama. If that's not convincing enough, know that there was a player from Uruguay bit another player from Italy in front of millions of people watching. His name is Luis Suarez. He is famous for outrageous actions on the soccer pitch, including playing soccer with hands without being a goalkeeper, racially abusing another player, and being a repeated biter. Yes, this is his third biting incident. Maybe Burger King could get him to do a commercial.

As punishment for mistaking Italian player with Italian food, Suarez was suspended for four months, including from the remainder of the World Cup by its organizing body – FIFA. Without his service, team Uruguay lost the next game in the knockout stage.

We all have either laughed or showed outrage toward Suarez. However, Confucius once said, “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher.” Is that possible that someone like Suarez can teach us anything? The answer is YES. Or more precisely, his actions could.

1. Don’t bite people (if you hadn’t learned it by age three, now is a good time). 2. Rejection/acceptance says more about the rejector/acceptor than the rejected/accepted

The world has been shocked with his out-of-control acts, and generally felt the punishment was way too light. It seems like Suarez was universally condemned and rejected.

However, there is one group of people who not only didn’t reject him, but also embraced and united behind him – his own countrymen. Not only Uruguayans didn’t blame him for damaging his team’s chance to win as well as shaming his country, they relentlessly defended him and blamed the western media for picking on Suarez and causing such harsh punishment. When Suarez went back home, he received a hero’s welcome, including that from the Uruguayan President Jose Mujica. Mujica went as far as insulting FIFA and western media as “fascist” and “a bunch of old sons of bitches”.

How could that be, we wonder? How can anyone objectively blame anyone besides Suarez himself for what happened? The guy caused all these himself... by freaking bit someone in a soccer match! Are people from Uruguay illogical and plain mad? How could the same person elicit such stark contrasts in reactions as Suarez did from Uruguayans and the rest of the world?

After I went through 100 Days of Rejection, the reason became rather obvious. Suarez illustrates one truth about acceptance/rejection: they say much more about the accepters/rejectors than the accepted/rejected.

Think about who Luis Suarez is to Uruguay as a country. He is an extremely skilled player who appears once in a generation for a country. His talent should be appreciated by everyone.

His country, Uruguay is not particularly big (#91 in size), rich (#63 in GDP per capita) and powerful (#77 in overall GDP). It has stayed relatively peaceful and thus out of the world news. For an everyday Uruguayan who is proud of their sports, culture and country, Suarez almost represents the image, hope, and pride for an entire nation. As the results, people take the rejection of Suarez extremely personally. It really didn’t matter what Suarez did. Short of for something very extreme, they will defend him. (After the biting incident, during which the “extreme” line was clearly crossed a few times over, even that is in doubt).

The so-called persecution complex exhibited by sports fans as well as group of people looking for respect is a great example about the subjectivity and irrationality of preferences and opinions. In fact, it goes much beyond sports. We see that in culture, law and politics all the time. People rally around a person who represents them, regardless of circumstances.

When people accept or reject you or someone else, instead of arguing or getting mad, find out the ‘why’ behind their action, because it is a great opportunity to learn about them.

Why You Should Write a Book

Before I set my mind down to write my story into a book, I wasn’t 100% sure about this decision, mainly because of the time commitment and opportunity costs. In fact, just after finishing 100 Days of Rejection, I could have turned this into many things: I could start a reality TV show, film a documentary, make a podcast, which I would love to do down the road. However, I chose to write a book, for many reasons. But here is the biggest thing: I know I would love doing it the most, I will be pretty good at it, and it will have an impact. What happened after my decision was nothing short of amazing. I abandoned almost all my social life, both online and offline. I wrote, wrote and wrote. There were lots of coffee-binging, face-palming and hair-pulling. In the end, it was the most productive and creative eight months of my time writing this book.

I believe if YOU also have something to say, some thoughts to express, some wisdom to share, you should also write a book. For these reasons:

1. It forces you to think. In our hyper-connected social media ADHD world, who thinks anymore? It’s all about go go go, click click click, scroll scroll scroll. However, writing a book forces you to sit down and dig deep into your mind and soul, and shovel the most creative stuff out of yourself. It’s an amazing process that gets the best out of you.

2. It documents your life and story. We all have our stories and thoughts. If we don’t write them down, they are gone forever. By writing a book, you document what transpired in your life and in your brain, and forever leave a legacy for yourself in the world and in your family.

3. It inspires others. Yes, it really does. I am continually amazed by how many people tell me they can relate to my story, even though we don’t know each other at all. Just you know, every time you face a crisis, or discover something cool, or found a solution to a problem, someone else can also relate. Your book will inspire and help them, even if you don’t know them.

4. It moves you forward. Writing a book will propel you to the next stage in life. You will see things and experience events with much more clarity and purpose. It will also become your brand, like a business card. You can give to others as a gift, which brings credibility you shouldn’t have otherwise.

None of the reasons includes making a lot of money, because you probably won't. And if you write with money as your number one goal, you will likely be disappointed.

What do you think? Ready to get down and write? If you do, feel free to reach out to me with your book idea.

How I Found Happiness and How You Can Too

Yes, I’ve found it, and it wasn’t easy. But I did find it! The Pursuit of Happiness has been so important that it was on the United States Declaration of Independence, on the title of one of my favorite movies, and on the cover of one of my favorite books. But I’d never truly thought about until I found it.

Happiness is a lot like wisdom. Before finding happiness, I’d never known I DIDN’T have it, even though all my activities were geared toward finding it. From receiving education, to making money, from playing sports, to enjoying media amusement, from forming friendships, to having romance, I did all these in order to find true happiness. But none of them directly led me to it.

But now I found it, I found myself talking and connecting with a lot more people; I get up early motivated to work; I embrace life, through both the highs and the lows; I make choices with intention instead of feeling; I get through a day knowing I am one step toward my purpose, rather than one day past my prime. I am truly having the best time of my life.

How did I find it? - by finding MEANING in my life. Through starting my rejection blog and meeting with many people through social media and talks, I learned that I am meant to help others so they can overcome their fear like I have.

In his classic book – Man's Search For Meaning, Dr. Viktor Frankl discussed that life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. In my case, I found meaning in one of the biggest fears I had – rejection fear.

Here is how I found my meaning and how you can too:

1. Confronting your fear and sharing with others – what you are afraid the most control you the most. By opening yourself up and sharing your confrontation with fear, you will find that you are not alone. You will draw strength from others, and they will from you. You will find that the thing you are afraid the most actually provides meaning to you.

2. Pursuing your strength and dumping your weakness – no one is good at everything. The people who spend their lives trying to improve their weaknesses become mediocre in everything. Only those who focus on maximizing their strength will have a chance to be extraordinary at those things. What you are extraordinary at often provide the maximum impact and meaning.

3.  Be part of something bigger than yourself – when you focus on yourself everyday, you judge everything in a narrow frame of mind in term of gains and losses. By contributing to something bigger, whether it’s religious faith, or a humanity cause, or an organization, you can find meaning in many more things, even sufferings.

Now, what is your fear? What's your strength? And what do you want to be part of? Find them and you will find meaning, and ultimately happiness.

My 2014 Rejection Resolution

We love to find the defining moments or turning points in a growing process, whether it’s about a person’s life, a business or a movement. As I am writing my book, I was required to reminisce over past events to find these moments. No matter how I cut it, 2013 was an important year filled with them. I don’t know which one was defining, but I think they all led to where I am today and where I am going tomorrow. • Completed my 100 Days of Rejection, which transformed me from just a regular guy into a person who is no longer afraid in interpersonal relationships, and led me to find the truth about rejection.

• Spoke at Tony’s Hsieh’s Downtown Project in Las Vegas. I even met my entrepreneurial hero and draw inspiration from him in person.

• Gave my first ever TED talk at TEDxAustin. The talk was viewed over 100K times online. It helped me to connect with many people and to spread the message on overcoming the fear of rejection.

• Was featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, one of my favorite magazines. I always dreamt about appearing there as the next great entrepreneur, and never imagined that I would get on as the Rejection Guy.

• Spoke at the World Domination Summit, which led me to connect with a lot more people in person, including Chris Guillebeau, Andrew Warner, Nancy Duarte and Tess Vigeland.

• Inked a book deal with Crown Publishing, who will publish my book on Rejection in 2015. This book will include stories, research and lessons, as well as my heart and soul.

Spoke at Google, and understood the needs to overcome fear in the high-tech and corporate world.

For 2014, I believe this is the year I will take this rejection idea from a good concept to the onset of a great business that would benefit many more people. To make sure I get there, here is my new-year resolution I want to share with you:

1. To complete my book on rejection

2. To continue to get rejected in new ways

3. To help at least 5 people to step toward in achieving their dreams

4. To write articles for one of the major publications

5. To shake hands with Bill Gates (or get rejected trying)

6. To host my first ever class on overcoming rejection, to share what has transformed me with the world (if you live in Austin and want to be considered to participate, email me)

7. To hire at least one person to help me build this business (I am looking for product management, instructional design, software engineering and writing/editing talents. If you know anyone, email me)

If I don’t finish these goals, please hold me accountable.

Now what’s your new-year resolution? If you share with me, I will check up on you throughout 2014.

Dream, Racial Equality and Fear of Rejection

On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington, the Internet is filled with articles and tributes about the "I Have a Dream" speech and the Civil Rights Movement. The speech also profoundly impacted me. Yet it didn't do so in the sense of teaching me about racial equality, but in the sense of pursuing a dream and overcoming rejections.

So what does his speech have anything to do with rejection therapy? What do racial injustice and the fear of rejections have in common?

I still remember that the first time I heard the speech I couldn't even speak English properly. I crawled through the entire transcript with a dictionary, and even tried to imitate his accent at school the next day. (A Chinese kid trying to speak like a Black Southern Baptist preacher is surefire comedy). One thing that blew my mind was how powerful one man's dream, if shared, articulated and executed fully, can become.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was based on the prospect of curing a common suffering among a group of people. It was based on the premise that a civilized society was not where it should be. It was based on the potential that if we could overcome our own fear and prejudice, we would be a better people and the world would be a better place. Those were the seeds of ideas that inspired me so much that I am willing to turn my 100 Days of Rejection Therapy into a life long goal.

Our fear of rejection, in a way, is very similar to racial injustice. We didn't have it as infants, but as we grew up it started to occur in our own minds. Then, by the constant reinforcement from society, we let it become a dominant force in our behaviors. However, unlike racial injustice which was done by one people onto another, the fear of rejection is something we inflict upon ourselves.  The results are equally devastating. We stopped trying new things and making new connections; we strangle and suffocate our own dreams and ideas; and we later look back on our lives with regret because we lived someone else's life rather than our own.

Even more dangerously, the fear of rejection is subtle and overlooked. There is no police brutality, no jail in Birmingham, and no KKK. The only thing that's out there is the two letter word 'no', which is enough to scare all of us.

Dr. King help created a world which I appreciate and benefit from. But more importantly, he inspired me to have my own dreams of building a better world, one where our destinies and aspirations will no longer be suppressed by the tear gas of self-doubt, the jail walls of self-isolation, and the police batons of self-rejection. This is a world worth building.

Will you want to live in a world without the fear of rejection? Also, did Dr. King or someone else inspire you to pursue your own dream?

3 Things I Learned From World's Best Salesman

Before I discuss what I learned from this man, let me introduce him first. His name is Brian Jiang, and he happened to live in my house. He's 13 months old and looks a lot like me. Although he can't fully walk yet, his mesmerizing gaze and smile would trump anything Steve Jobs puts on a picture. And his sales pitch, which is mostly composed of pointing and 'da da' sound, would put anything Alec Baldwin could come up with to shame. I would buy anything Brian tries to sell me. I am sure in 10 years he will drive me crazy. But for now he is absolutely world's best salesman to me.

Here are three things I learned from him on sales:

1. Likability - this man likes me more than anything in the world. Every time he sees me, he would give me a big Duchenne smile (one that involves both the eyes and lips). When he is with me, his body language constantly reminds me how happy he is. As the result, I really like Brian too. In his classic book on the psychology of persuasion - Influence, Robert Cialdini puts 'liking' as a major principle of influence. No one does it better than Brian. In fact, I would do anything for this man.

2.  Trust - it's no secret that we buy from people we trust. For Brian, although I do question his ability from time to time, I've never questioned his intention and sincerity. When he wants another bowl of soup, it means that he really likes it, not that he is trying to make his mother feel better. People say a man is only as good as his word. For Brian, I know I can trust this man's word regardless of its intelligibility.

3. Fearlessness - I have learned not to be afraid of rejection. However, no matter how much I try in this category, Brian has me beat by a mile. Some times he wants his toy, and sometimes he wants me to have his toy. No matter what he wants, he asks me with the fearlessness that commands respect and often cooperation. The unfair thing is, he didn't have to ask Olympic ring donuts to train for this ability. He was born with it.

What is the world like if we have companies whose salespeople are 100% likable, trustworthy and fearless. I would find those companies and buy their stock no matter what industries they are in.

What have you learned from your own best salesman or saleswoman?

Five Things I Did to Get a Standing Ovation at WDS

A month ago, I gave a keynote speech at the World Domination Summit (WDS). Standing in front of an audience of 3,000, I spoke with my heart to share my story, learning and the vision for a world without the fear of rejection. It was a magical moment. After receiving a long and emotional standing ovation, I kept getting this question from the people I subsequently met - your talk was so great, were you nervous at all?

My talk at WDS

The truth was, I was as nervous as a I could be. The stage was shared by all-star speakers and bestselling authors such as Gretchen Rubin, Nancy Duarte and Donald Miller. It was going to be tough to measure up. Before my talk, I paced back and forth in the preparation room. I tweeted that it felt like the opening scene of 8 Miles. A staff member even took pity on me and offered to teach me how to stretch, so I could calm my nerves. How could a guy this nervous looked so calm on stage?

Here are five things I did:

1. Prepare hard - nothing can substitute hardcore preparation and rehearsal, both physically and mentally. Physically, I rehearsed this talk for about 25 times. Mentally, to toughen myself up I even did a rejection session to give my talk on the street in from of strangers. At WDS, I kept telling myself, if I could connect with strangers on the street, I can connect with these people who paid to be here. If you prepare through tireless practice, you can always fall back on your experience.

2. Accept fear - The nerve kept me focused and prepared. I found that if I were too relaxed and start to feel cocky, that's when I get in trouble. So I conquered the fear by embracing it, just like what I did with rejection therapy. When you accept the fear and still do it because it is a worthy cause, that's when you are at your best.

3. Control self-talk - before a speech, what really messes people up is the negative self-talk they have in their head. I steered away from negative ones such as "what if they don't like me?" Also, I avoid any traditional positive thinking or "declarative self-talks" such as "I can do it". "I am gonna rock the audience". In his latest book To Sell Is Human, bestselling author Dan Pink talked about the power of "interrogative self-talk". So I asked myself "will I connect with the audience with my story?" The answer was an unequivocal 'yes'.

4. Love the audience - this sounds corny, but it is very powerful. Love is one of the strongest emotions in the universe. Before my speech, I talked to many attendees, learning their struggles and aspirations. I loved each one of them, and knew my message of overcoming the fear of rejection would help them. It was my duty to deliver the message in the most loving and caring way. When you love someone, it will show through the way you talk.

5. Start with 'I' - I love great speeches. One of the things that turns me off the most about a speech is when speakers start too many sentences with the word 'you'. While conventional thinking encourages us to say 'you' to make sentences meaningful to the listener, those talks would always feel like lectures and even authorities talking down on people. For me, I always like the word 'I', because I don't want to speak for others. I want to share my story and learning from my perspective, and leave it to the audience to judge. I always tell myself to remember: 'inspiration' starts with 'I'.

Is this helpful to you to overcome the fear of public speaking? Also, what is your experience with speaking?

Bonus: my hangout with speech coach Dr. Michelle Mazur:

What AOL's Public Firing Taught Us About Workplace Rejection

For some, being fired at work is the ultimate form of rejection in one's professional life. The emotional pain, the humiliation, and the loss of income would scare many people into doing whatever it takes to hang onto their job, even if they hate it. Now, what about being fired by your multi-billion dollar company CEO in a conference call with 1,000 colleagues? This kind of rejection might be too strong to be called rejection. There needs to be a new word for it - something like 'repumiliation' (rejection with public humiliation). Meet AOL's creative director Abel Lenz, who got repumiliated by CEO Tim Armstrong in exactly that way. Worse, the news lit up social media, with audio clips on the web everywhere. So what did Lenz do to warrant having his name be forever associated with one of the most infamous public firings in corporate history? Lenz took a picture with his phone, after Armstrong claimed that he didn't care for such thing.

History is filled with mismatches between crimes and punishment, illustrated by this gif. But this AOL firing might reach its own legendary status in corporate America.

I have always maintained that rejection says much more about the rejector than the rejected. It can't be truer in this case. However, the rejection's impact is much more profound on the rejected. For Armstrong, he might be chided by media and lose some respect as a CEO. But for Lenz, he lost his livelihood (at least temporarily) and is in danger of having his once promising career derailed.

Moreover, the emotional impact could be much worse if not managed correctly. I don't know what is more difficult - Frodo Baggins' climbing of Mount Doom with one big eye watching him, or Abel Lenz' walking out of the executive conference room with a thousand different eyes watching him. How did he feel when he was driving home that day? What about when he opened his door and saw his wife and kids (assuming he has both)? One of the greatest fears for any father is the fear of being rejected by his children due to perceived failures. How will he explain this to his kids when they hear from their friends and classmates?

Yet, Lenz did nothing wrong, at least nothing close to justify what he received in such a public and humiliating manner. And now, he has a choice to make. He can let this 'repumiliation' affect his own emotional and relationship well-being, as many people would and have a good excuse to. Or he can use this as an opportunity to strengthen what the rejection is threatening to undermine.

Indeed, it is up to the rejected to make the most of a rejection. I want to ask Mr. Lenz to hold his head high, and use this crisis to install rejection-handling into his own character. I want to ask him to tell his wife, that this could be the lowest point of his career, or the highest point, depending on how they handle it together. I want to ask him to look into his children's eyes and say something like "dad got fired today and it was unfair. You will hear about this a lot going forward. And you will probably experience this yourself someday. I want you to know that dad will not be hurt by other people's rejections and opinions, and neither should you. I want to be an example to you."

I still remember when I was 7 years old, my teacher lost her cool over a trivial mistake I made, and yelled at me like a maniac in front of the whole class. She followed it up by throwing my pencil box (something all Chinese kids use in school) against the wall, as I watched my favorite pens and sharpener broke into pieces in horror. She stayed as the teacher of my class for the next 5 years and never stopped tormenting me and other students. I used to be angry at her and feel sorry for myself. But as I grew older, I started to use my experience with her as an opportunity to learn forgiveness. I even made forgiving her in-person one of my life goals.

Sometimes life can throw a brutal rejection/punch/pencil box at us. It is how we handle and react that make who we are, not the rejection.

From Rejection to Magic

Yesterday, I gave a talk at TEDxAustin, sharing my story and learning about my 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. I had experiences in giving talks at meetups, companies, small conferences and churches. Also, coming from a family of teachers (my father, grandparents, uncle are all teachers), I have had the influence of public speakers since I was little. However, I had never given a talk at a stage on the level of TEDxAustin, which is probably the most highly regarded idea conference after SXSW. In attendance were the most accomplished and brightest minds in the city. During the day, the 13 speakers went before me were talking about saving the world through technology, education and art. Some of them invented things such as XBox Kinect and the Ethernet. They had titles with the words 'PhD' or 'Professor' in them. And me? I am a guy who looked for rejections after failing to land investment for my startup.

As my time slot was inching closer, my mouth started to dry up, my nose started to hurt (no idea why), and I couldn't come up with one coherent sentence when talking to my wife. Saying 'I was nervous' was the biggest understatement of 2013. I thought about fleeing the scene, mentioning my accent as an excuse, or starting my talk with a joke about the stage carpet and playing mini golf. Thank goodness, none of those happened. One thought came to my mind - hey, I am the "Rejection Guy". If I had the guts to knock on stranger's door, to give a flight safety announcement, or to dance with a waitress in the public, I can now use my teacher genes to do what I am really good at - communicating ideas. If anything, I should be the most fearless speaker of the day.

As 5:00pm hits, my time has come, and the host introduced me. I stepped on the beautifully crafted stage, and walked into the limelight and cameras. As I glanced down into the crowd, I saw a thousand faces I had never seen before. What immediately came to my mind were you guys - my dear readers and followers.

You read my blog, watch my videos and write me emails because you also share my fear of rejection. You are inspired by my journey and the people like Jackie from Krispy Kreme, Scott from Costco, and Jeff and Dana from Southwest. The people in the audience were also like you and me, governed by both pride and fear, hope and doubt. It was my duty to share this story and let them know that rejection is nothing to be feared about. It ain't about me anymore.

Then, I had an out-of-body experience. It was as if I left my body in the form of a spirit, watching this guy talking about his story. In the next 10 minutes, he was smiling, joking, pausing, nodding, and hand-gesturing. He was not fazed by the timer countdown, verbal mistakes, or anything. He knew what he was talking about, and knew exactly what to say. Ten minutes and many laughters and applauds later, it was over, and I went back into this guy's body. What I saw in front of me was a long standing ovation. I smiled, blushed, and became this incoherent and nervous guy again.

Back in November, when the investor turned me down, I could have never imagined that I would be giving a TED talk three months later. My 100 Days of Rejection Therapy has taught me hundreds of things. But if I had to pick just one thing, it was that when bad things happen, if you treat them like good things and fight forward, magic will happen later.