A Newly Married Couple Is Doing What?

From Jia: when you think about people traveling across America in RVs, you envision people with gray hair and fat 401(k)s, not this couple... It's a strange story: one day a young guy wrote me an email asking for a meetup over coffee. Fast forward six months, he's driving an RV on the East Coast with his wife while contributing as an integral part of my business. It's also a great story though - one with courage and adventure.   

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From Heath: The ALS Ice Bucket challenge sweeping across the country is a really unique way to raise money for charity. I think it’s great so many people have gotten involved and the charity has gained so much awareness. I did not participate in the challenge, probably because I’m lame and didn’t get nominated. However, I did accept another kind of challenge this year that radically changed my life.

Hi, I’m Heath Padgett and this year I accepted the challenge of working a different job in every state across America.

Who challenged me? I guess you could say I was led to going on this adventure because of discontent in my “normal person” job. However, specifically, Jia Jiang challenged me.

He said it right to my face.

I had heard of this “rejection guy” from a mentor of mine. My mentor told me there was a guy who got rejected a bunch of times, had a viral video, and then something about donuts? I wasn’t sure of the details, but I wanted to find out more. I sent Jia an email, mentioned our mutual friend, and a week later we were sitting down together at lunch in Austin, Texas.

Jia told me his story and I listened in amazement as he mentioned being rejected from nearly a hundred people. When he finished talking, he asked me to share about myself. Why did I want to meet him? What was I trying to do? How could he help?

I told him I was about to quit my job, get married, and take a long honeymoon across the United States. I said, “I’m not content to just travel. I want to have a cool mission during my journey. I wanted it to be meaningful, and not just a long vacation.”

My current job wasn’t fulfilling to me. I had accepted a sales role in a company after college and didn’t see myself working there for forty years and then retiring. I wanted to do entrepreneurial things, I wanted to write, and pursue meaningful work.

He listened, and five seconds later said, “You’re young, and still figuring out what you want to do for your career. You should do something like work a different job in every state across America.”

It was the first idea that popped into his head. He clearly was just giving an example of something I could do while traveling, not that I should necessarily do that specific challenge.

I thought about it for a moment and said, “Yep. I’m going to do it.”

At this time, Jia was receiving a lot of inquiries from young people such as myself, so when I told him I was going to accept his challenge, I don’t think he really believed me.

A few months after meeting, Jia looked me up online and saw not only had I listened to his advice, I was actually working different jobs across the country and I was in California, where he was living! He immediately reached out to me. He told me so many people had come to him for advice, but few had actually done something with it.

 

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It has since been seven months since my initial meeting with “the rejection guy.” However, he first empowered me to take one of the biggest risks of my life. Indirectly, he also caused me to get rejected by a lot of people when I asked for jobs on the road (I think this was his intention all along). So far, I’ve worked 23 jobs over the last four months and I’m nearly halfway through my challenge of working a different job in every state.

What have I learned? I’ve learned that sometimes challenges can be a great catalyst for life changing journeys. Jia experienced a self induced challenge to get rejected for one hundred days, similar to how I’ve accepted a challenge to work different jobs all across America. At the end of this type of journey, you can’t help but be changed for the better.

Since leaving Austin and embarking on this adventure, I’ve learned how not overthink things and instead take action on what I want most. I wasn’t confident about my writing skills or job skills before my journey began, however, through action I’ve grown confident in these areas of my life (similar to how Jia learned gained confidence through rejection).

 

Heath Cutting

 

A willingness to take action is all you need to get started in a journey or challenge of your own. Jia’s challenge to me launched me into the journey of a lifetime. I’m grateful for his council, and extremely honored to announce that I will be joining him and a group of other brave entrepreneurs, creatives, and risk-takers in what is being called the Rejection Gym. An online course that will empower you to overcome the fears in your life by seeking rejection, joining a community of like-minded people, and exclusive lessons and hang outs with Jia!

If you’re interested in joining us in an effort to overcome our fears through facing rejection head on, place your name on the wait list and we’ll be in touch!

How to Get Over the Fear of Asking Someone Out

ask-girl-out I know you’re scared of being rejected by girls (or guys). It’s intimidating. And what happens if she says no? What are you going to do in that extremely awkward five second walk away from her? You will most likely trip and fall into a giant water puddle nearby and all of her friends will laugh and throw their hair back like a scene out of Mean Girls. As this plays out in your mind, you slowly convince yourself of all of the reasons why you should play it safe and not talk to her.

I’m going to give you three solid reasons why you should get up, be a man (or a woman), go say the words that need to be said, and be a hero by winning her heart.

 

Reason One: A simple rejection isn’t a well informed decision about your character.

You’re scared of her saying no to you, or how hard the rejection will be on your self-esteem. If you’re a normal human being, you might even feel a tinge of self doubt. Am I even an attractive person? These are all normal thoughts, but they aren’t rational.

Here’s why: She doesn’t know who you are. She doesn’t know that you volunteer on weekends at the humane society. She doesn’t know that you’re a gentleman and a scholar. She doesn’t know that you were really nervous when you introduced yourself and that normally your palms don’t sweat like you just finished running a marathon in the Sahara Desert.

She is giving you an answer based on an infinitely small judgment of who you are as a person. A large majority of her opinion on how attractive she thinks you are depends on your charisma when you present yourself.

Key: Untie rejection and your self worth.

Reason Two: Her opinion doesn’t define your worth.

I had a wise friend once tell me that even if you’re the best looking guy in the world, there are going to be girls who think you’re ugly. It’s a fact of life. I’ve even met women who think Brad Pitt is ugly. I mean, c’mon.

The point is, one person’s opinion is just that- an opinion. I’ve found through my own rejection journey that opinions are the most abundant item on the entire Earth.

Key: Acknowledge that the opinion of one person, cannot and shouldn’t dictate the way you see yourself. For every person who thinks you’re ugly, there will be one who thinks you’re beautiful, smart, and extremely hilarious. Don’t quit looking.

 

Reason Three: The only way to develop confidence is through extensive practice.

So maybe she really is way out of your league and you’re going to try and pull off a homerun. In this kind of situation, don’t worry about the outcome of the answer. Simply tell yourself this, “There is a very likely chance this girl will say no to me.” Then accept that answer, and go for it anyway, embracing the craziness.

“Hi, I know you’re way too beautiful for me. But I knew I couldn’t leave here without saying hello. So hello, and if you don’t think I’m the worst looking guy in the world would it be okay if I bought you dinner sometime?”

(Heyo! You killed it, nice job.)

“No thank you.”

Well, you tried. The best part about this experience was now you are one step closer to developing the confidence you need to calmly talk to women and ask them out on dates. Think of it like constantly going to the gym. If you don’t work out for six months and then try to bust out an hour on the cardio machines, you’re likely going to throw up or fall over from exhaustion.

It’s the same for talking to women, if you never practice talking to them, introducing yourself, and figuring out which talking points work or don’t work, then you’ll never quite build that mental dating muscle.

Key: The more you ask women out, the better you’ll be.

If you’re trying to figure out a practical way to get over your fear of asking someone out, I have a challenge to nudge you in the right direction. Go out and get five women to reject you in a public place. Don’t be a creepy weirdo, just ask them if they would like to have dinner with you. The rules for this challenge are you can’t lie nor break the law. Outside of that, be creative and enjoy learning how to get over your fear. While you’re warming up for your challenge, watch this video of me getting rejected by five women in the Whole Foods parking lot.

Video of Me Getting Rejected By Five Women

This is part 3 of a series I’m doing called Rejection Remedy-- the idea that we can conquer all the fears in our life by using rejection as the remedy.

Rejection Remedy 2 – Fear of Public Speaking

It is often said that people fear public speaking more than death. But if there is one person who can attest that the fear of public speaking can be conquered, it would be me. Two years ago, I was a shy guy who was self-conscious about his accent and was extremely fearful being in front of a crowd. Failure had a lot to do with it: I bombed most of my speeches as a student and an employee. Even when I became an entrepreneur, I still had a really tough time with speaking in public.

Fast forward two years – now, not only do I speak all the time with ease, composure and humor, I actually do it for a living. I frequently talk at companies like Google, and conferences like the World Domination Summit. My TEDxAustin speech became one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.

Of course, I do have something to talk about now days. I lived through an unusual story, and people love to hear inspiring stories. But plenty of people with good stories and great content are still crippled by fear when delivering them. So what happened to me - the shy dude who got rejected a lot?

Well, a lot of rejection happened. More precisely, rejection training happened, especially with these two:

2. Speaking on the street

In each one of these episodes, I was honestly scared beyond my imagination. When making an announcement in front of a plane full of passengers, I thought someone was going to mistake me as a terrorist and tackle me. When doing unsolicited speaking on a street corner, I had no idea how I was going to be treated by people walking by.

However, by not retreating from these types of mentally challenging environments, and actually carrying through with my speeches, I gained the toughness and confidence that I would not have been able to obtain under any other circumstances. When I finally went on real stages with a real audience, I relied heavily on these tough experiences.

This was my speech at World Domination Summit one week after my street practice.

In his book The Obstacle Is the Way, author Ryan Holiday discussed that obstacles not only don't inhibit success, but actually create it if we respond to obstacles the right way. The same goes for public speaking, when we are put in the least welcoming environment and endure the situation with our actions, we gain enormous courage and confidence as the result.

Since you might not always have the challenging environment at your disposal, such as company presentations in front executives or startup pitches in front of investors, what you can do is to create these environments, like I did on the plane and the street. In other words, you can manufacture obstacles.

I can’t promise that you will become a professional speaker afterward, nor can I guarantee you success on Youtube. What I do know is that you will become a better public speaker in whatever you do by facing rejections head on, and use them as your tools.

Rejection Remedy 1 - Fear of Judgment

Of all the fears that affected people, the fear of judgment had both stung and stunk the most for me. This is the fear of what others will think of you, especially in a negative light. Am I portraying a lack of knowledge by asking this question at work? Am I making a bad impression by not working at night (while leaving my IM on so my coworkers can see me working)? Do I look bad in public wearing shorts to this event? If I take on this new venture, will my friends and in-laws lose respect for me?

These questions used to constantly put the fear of judgment in me, so much so that I worried about what others think of me all the time. They sapped my energy and creativity, and enslaved me to other’s opinions. This is why when I first started the 100 Days of Rejection, I was so scared and I almost threw up before I went up to the security guard asking for $100:

Link to me asking $100 from stranger

It wasn’t all about fearing to be rejected, but I feared the judgment from this guy – a stranger whom I’ll probably never meet again. I was terrified what he thought of me. Would he laugh at me? Would he call security (in this case, himself)? Would he check the nearest mental hospital to see if an Asian patient had just escaped?

These questions sounded silly, but they indeed ran through my mind. If the fear of judgment could actually make a guy sick when he was looking for rejection in the first place; if it made him almost quit in an environment where there was little risk or danger, think about what this fear can prohibit you from doing in real life situations.

Then this rejection attempt changed me:

Link to me panhandling

After panhandling on the street, I put myself in the middle of all kinds of judgment from thousands of strangers. Some people gave me money, others didn’t. It was scary at first, but liberating afterward. I learned that if I knew what I was doing, if I had a good reason, I could do anything I want without worrying about judgment. It made me brave and cool under pressure.

Why you should try it too: asking for money like a panhandler sounds crazy, but it forces you to go out of your comfortzone and develop a thick skin. You will learn that what people think of you really doesn’t matter. You are still the same person before and after. It’s what you think of yourself and what you do that really matters.

Go out and try this: ask $10 from people, and tell them why (prepare for a good and authentic reason, i.e. donating to charity). If they say NO, ask if there is anyway they would give you the money (i.e. let them decide where the money should go). Collaborate with them to make this happen. If their answer is still NO, shake their hands and say goodbye. Hold your head high and know you just kicked the trash out of your fear.

Rejection Remedy - How To Become Fearless

After 100 Days of Rejection and writing a book, I am starting a new blog series called Rejection Remedy.

Why?

Because I’ve discovered a strategy for beating all fears. It comes in the form of "rejection attempt".

This wasn't easy for me. As someone who grew up wanting to be an entrepreneur, I never believed in any sort of self-help or even business training. I thought worrying about my emotions were for the weak. Instead, I should worry about real world achievements, such as making great products that people use or inventing awesome technologies that change the world.

My mindset changed when:

1. I witnessed how much fear of failure and rejection had held me back in the first 30 years of my life. I didn’t put myself out there and stayed in the cozy comfort zone. When I had good ideas, I quickly abandoned them after someone I trusted told me how dumb they were, only to see someone else made it a wild success later.

2. I eventually went all in trying to pursue my entrepreneurial dream and rejection from an investor made me cry and almost abandon everything. It was then I realized how fragile I was in that moment.

It was apparent that fear had made a direct impact on my business and personal life. If I wanted to be a successful entrepreneur or business person I would have to develop “emotional intelligence”.

I did so by having people reject me for a hundred straight days (thanks again to my friend Jason Comely’s inspiration). After my rejection journey, I made a breakthrough. I realized that rejection isn’t something I should shy away from, but something I could use to my advantage.

By getting rejected, I learned not to give a damn about people’s opinions and judgment, and became relentless in going toward my goals. I learned that I can’t control and don't want to manipulate others’ feelings and attitude toward me, and the only thing that mattered was what I can control – my own actions, emotions and reactions.

Lastly, I learned that courage is not like height or even intelligence, which are mostly genetic. Instead, it’s like muscle, and much of which can be gained through exercise. In this case, repeatedly seeking rejection is the exercise.

This past month, I designed and hosted my first ever product – The Rejection Gym. Six brave souls took the challenge to be rejected everyday together with me for 30 days. The results were nothing short of astonishing (I will go into Rejection Gym later). I learned that I was helping people to not only overcome their fear of rejection, but fear of a lot of things – judgment, networking, failure, saying NO, public speaking… It’s like finding a remedy… or exercise to overcome fear.

As part of this series, I will tackle the most common fears and how you can use rejection attempts to overcome them. I call this series “Rejection Remedy”. Stay tuned!

Also, let me know what your biggest fear is. I will help you to beat it.

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.

I AM BACK! (from book writing)

I just pushed the SEND button. Now my manuscript is in the hands of my editor. I am so excited that my neighbor asked me if I was celebrating a World Cup victory.

Ever since I signed my book deal with Random House last year, my life had changed. I toiled away for eight months at writing at coffee shops, dark rooms, hidden office space, coffee shops, libraries, parked cars and flying airplanes. Now I am done, and it feels amazing.

My book was about how to overcome your rejection fear, and making rejection your friend. It is filled with stories, research, learning and tools from my 100 Days of Rejection. I am very proud of my work because I know it is good and will help and entertain a lot of people.

If you want a copy, make sure you subscribe to my blog. I will run specials just for my blog readers and followers leading up to the publication date.

What’s next: I am going to reignite my blog through videos, writings and experiments. The world we’ve discovered together in this past year was an amazing one, and we are just getting started.

…LET SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

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.

To 100 Days and Beyond

It’s been a few months since I concluded my 100 Days of Rejection project. It was an amazing journey, filled with adventure, surprises and inspiration. More importantly, I learned so much about fear, communication and even business, I feel like a completely new person. Here is what I am doing next:

1. Book: I have signed a book deal with Crown Publishing, and have been feverishly working on my book on rejection. It will be a great book, with real stories, learning and applications on how to turn rejection on its head.

2. Blog: I have moved my website to a new domain: FearBuster.com. I will make it a new hub for all future videos and blogs. If you haven’t subscribed, do so. I would love to keep you in the loop.

3. Speaking: I have been giving talks and sharing my stories and learning with many organizations and conferences. Most recently, I stopped by Google and gave a “Google Talk”. It was great to see the smartest people on Earth also want to kick rejection fear’s butt.

It was crazy that a year ago, I was a struggling entrepreneur being turned down by investors. Now because of inspiration from you guys, I am doing something completely different and more meaningful – busting the fear of rejection for people and organizations. I love my new mission and am having the best time of my life.

Now, here is my invitation to you:

1. Share with me something you have always wanted to ask/do, but are afraid to do so due to fear. I will help you strategize and ask, so you won't regret not asking.

2. Let me know your ideas on how to use technology to help people overcome the fear of rejection.

3. Again, subscribe to my blog and connect with me.

Happy Holidays!

My Talk at Google - Why Rejection Is Awesome

They say Google has the highest concentration of smart people on Earth. People there are busy organizing online information, building self-driving cars, defying death, and designing smart glasses that record video while making everyone looks like Jeff Goldblum.

So when I was invited to speak there on my learning on the topic of rejections, part of me wondered if they could relate to rejection as well as the common folks. After all, being a Googler means having been accepted to work at the mega of corporate America.

Then I thought about the fact that:

1. the more influential you become, the more likely you’ll be rejected (e.g. Barack Obama)

2. people succeed because of rejection, not in spite of rejection (e.g. Michael Jordan in high school)

3. the most influential ideas were often met with the most violent rejections (e.g. Nelson Mandela and MLK Jr.)

I told myself, “yeah, these people know rejection as well as anyone”.

In front of an audience jam-packed with brainpower, I gave my talk. After a great reception and lively Q&A session (you can fast forward to 38’. Great questions) after my talk, I knew I was right - everyone knew rejection.

Rejection 100 - Why I Want to Meet Obama

"Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth," said Archimedes when explaining the principle of leverage to lift heavy objects. Before my 100 Days of Rejection, I would have never learned to use this principle outside of a physics class, the playground, or when I have to move furniture. But after making outrageous request after outrageous request, I have discovered my own principle - "give me a reason to ask, and I will ask for anything." My rejection therapy taught me that "the worst they can say is no" is actually not true. In fact, the worst they can say is "you didn't even ask." It implies I said "no" to myself before others could reject me. If I have a good reason, it is my duty to step out of my own comfort zone to ask, no matter how difficult and impossible the request is.

Therefore, for my 100th rejection attempt, I want to go for the impossible - interview President Obama on his views and personal experience of rejection.

Now that the request is made, will I actually be able to get a meeting with Obama? The odds are overwhelmingly against me. For one, he is a very busy person, working on military responses to the Syria chemical weapons situation and trying to avoid a government shutdown in a couple of months. Also, as the most powerful person on Earth, he also has politicians, lobbyists, business owners, and all type of interests groups vying for his attention. Getting a "yes" from the President of the United States might affect billions of dollars in business and change political landscapes in some parts of the world.

On the other hand, it is not unheard of for the President to do an interview on a topic that's relevant to people or his policies. For example, the CEO of Zillow conducted an Interview of him answering questions on housing.

History is also not bereft of examples of citizens meeting the ruler of the country. For example, Marco Polo met Kublai Khan when he traveled to China; Diogenes of Sinope had a meeting with Alexander the Great; and Bill Clinton got to shake hands with John F. Kennedy. The results: Marco Polo brought pasta back to Italy and we now have Olive Garden in America; Diogenes said the famous words "stand out of my light"; and JFK inspired Clinton to become the last President of the 20th century.

Now, think about a regular guy being able to interview the President on how to overcome rejection and achieve success. Think about average citizens asking their leader on things that are relevant to them. Wouldn't that be a great example of democracy and openness? Wouldn't that inspire a lot of people like you and me?

Can this be done? I don't know. But I do know what I am doing is for a good cause. And if I don't ask, I would have regret for the rest of my life.

Now you can help me by sharing the video and this blog post. If you have any idea on how I can get an interview with the President without changing my name to Jatie Jouric or Joprah Jinfrey, let me know.

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.

What Rejection Is, Isn't, and Could Be

We have all had the experience of being rejected, and none of us liked it. Applied for a job and got the "thank you for your interest" letter? Saw an attractive girl at bookstore, so you mustered all your courage to ask her for a cup of coffee, only to hear the words "nah that's ok"? Or in my case, prepared an investment pitch for months but only to get a cold and impersonal rejection through email? These experiences can sting us for a long time and make us less likely to try things again. As the result, we reject ourselves and lose opportunities. But does it have to be this way? Is rejection some sort of unavoidable and incurable disease that will bring pain to us every time we face it? If you have followed me a for while, you know my answer will be a resounding no. In fact, I am rejecting the notion that rejection has to be feared. To tell you why, let us exam what rejection is, isn't and could be.

What rejection is:

1. A constant figure in life - Ben Franklin famously said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Let's welcome the third member - rejection. From the President to the CEO, from the secretaries to the donut makers, everyone gets rejected in their lives.

2. An opinion of others - someone rejected us because in their opinion, it is the best course of action for them. The world is filled with an overabundance of free opinions, and rejections are no excerption. Rejection says more about the rejector than the rejected.

3. A fluid number  - there is no such thing as a permanent rejection. In fact, it is impossible for the entire world to reject us. Every rejection has a number. If we talk to enough people without giving up, a rejection will become an acceptance.

What rejection isn't:

1. A problem can be avoided or outgrown - often the more responsibility and influence a person has, the more likelihood that she will be rejected by more people. A middle manager's marketing plan might get rejected by 5 executives, whereas the President's healthcare plan could get rejected by half of the country. Hoping to avoid rejection is rather a foolish attempt.

2. An objective truth about us - just because people believed the world was flat didn't mean it actually was. For the same reason, a company rejecting our job application says nothing about our ability to perform as an employee. Taking other's opinion about you as truth is very counter-productive.

3. An end of our quest - unless we stop at a rejection, the rejection should never be the end of our quest. It took J K Rowling 12 tries to get Harry Potter published. If she stopped at any of the 11 rejections, the battle between Potter and Voldemort would have happened in a trashcan or shredder somewhere rather than in 500 million books, 1 billion movie showing and 7 billion minds.

What rejection could be:

1. A tool for motivation - Michael Jordan was famous for using boos from the opposing fans to motivate himself. Later in his career, he got so popular that everyone would cheer for him. Yet, he would pick out the one boo from a thousand cheers, and use it to fuel himself. The best in business always uses rejections as motivation.

2. A gauge for impact - there is a big difference between being rejected and being ignored. Being ignored often means our idea has no impact. But being actively rejected could mean our idea has the potential for large impact. History is filled with impactful figures overcoming violent rejections, from Jesus Christ to Nelson Mandala, from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr.

3. A necessity for worthiness - Just like a story without conflict isn't worth telling, and like a hero without failure isn't a real hero, a quest without rejection isn't worth pursuing. When we keep going despite the nos, when we keep getting up after being stiff-armed, when we shed tears of victory after tears of defeat, we are the real hero, pursuing a worthy quest, and writing a great story.

Now let me hear from you. What is rejection to you?