How To Deal With Rejection
By Johnny Dwinell
We all fear rejection, we all could learn better ways on how to deal with rejection. Men especially fear not only rejection but also commitment. As the buyer, a man is reluctant to purchase anything out of fear of commitment. As the seller, a man is afraid to ask for the sale because he’s afraid of rejection. If you think about this for a second, it’s amazing that men ever get any business done at all!! How in the hell did we ever evolve to this level of society with these common social traits?!?!
Truth is we all have to deal with rejection every day with every aspect of our lives. I thought I would share a couple (hopefully) helpful ideas, strategies, and anecdotes that you may use as “social tools”, for lack of a better word, to aid you in dealing with rejection. Once put in the appropriate light, once put in the proper frame of reference, rejection really isn’t so bad and actually becomes quite easy to deal with. It is truly freeing to your soul.
We all want to be loved; ESPECIALLY artists! We all need acceptance; ESPECIALLY artists! It’s such a primal human need that it is literally the cornerstone to all social media companies and all social media marketing; create a tribe. So I definitely get that what I’m about to describe to you may feel quite difficult to execute on a daily basis; maybe downright incomprehensible. Good News; it’s literally a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Before you know it, you are behaving subconsciously at a higher level than most and you feel far better about yourself; you will have more clarity.
I submit to you that while I am quite sure there are thousands of studies, published papers, and blah, blah, blah, I am writing strictly about my own experiences in life on this one. I LIVE by these ideas every day. I believe that in some instances they keep me from climbing a tower with a gun! They have always been SUPER effective for me in that I don’t lose sleep over someone rejecting or being aggressive towards me and I have become quite adept at diffusing such situations which just makes for a happier existence.
NO ONE can make you feel like an A-hole without your permission
When I first heard this idea articulated to me in this language, it clicked. Confucius says “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” so maybe I was ready to receive this information. It’s quite amazing (and in some cases entertaining) to watch people’s reaction when you DON’T react to their attacks. When someone comes at you verbally and you say nothing while simply staring at them with a “What-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you” look on your face, they will inevitably spin out even more; especially if it’s the first time you have behaved in such a way to a particular person. Listen, when you are being belittled or attacked, simply remind yourself, while the panic starts to set in, that YOU are giving them permission to make you feel bad.
Ask yourself, “Am I coming from a good, honest place?”
Ask yourself, “Do I owe this person some kind of apology?”
If you answer “yes” to the first question, and “no” to the second question, your attacker is trying to get over on you. This is how attackers get people to perform for them; intimidation. It will continue to go on throughout mankind as long as it continues to be effective. It’s only effective when people allow themselves to be manipulated. Don’t grant the permission and watch them perform for YOU.
The whole world is made up of essentially 2 kinds of people:
Some people get their energy organically; from the Earth, Sun, moon and water.
Some people get their energy from other people
Sadly, this truth while not fair, is real and you have to understand it to survive; especially as an artist. We feel better, we thrive, and enjoy being around people who add to our lives, our creativity, our energy. We deal with, suffer through, and find ways to tolerate and spend even more energy justifying the people who take our energy. I have always been naturally protective of my energy. I won’t just give it away; it’s mine and I only have so much of it.
Right now all of you have begun to categorize some people that you interact with on a regular basis! You see, recognizing this kind of person is half the battle. Once we can identify those who exist to consistently take from us we simply know them for who they are. Dealing with a sack full of Pit Vipers is totally doable once you have identified them as Pit Vipers. When you stick your hand in the bag and you’re surprised they bit you, it’s confusing, hurtful, scary, and difficult to process. This totally helps when it comes to rising above any kind of rejection. Once you have learned who and what they are you can adjust your approach and the amount of stock you put in their opinion. That’s KEY to your sanity, because someone who takes your energy will NEVER have a supportive opinion for you, it would be detrimental to their livelihood and their energy. Think about that.
Knowing how to identify these people helps when it comes to denying permission for them to make you feel crappy.
They Have an agenda, what is it?
Everybody has an agenda. YOU have an agenda as well. Often times we are being rejected because our agenda isn’t harmonious with someone else’s. Once we can determine WHY exactly the agendas aren’t similar, it turns the sting of rejection into the peacefulness of understanding. How nice would that be for you?
I have an example. I used to work in the electronics manufacturing industry and my clients were the top Aerospace and cutting edge electronic companies. I worked for a small company who’s founder, David Jacks, was a GENIUS; before he started his company Zephyrtronics, he was the Director of Engineering for Rubbermaid (a 7 billion dollar conglomerate) at the age of 27. He was the one who taught me this lesson about agendas. David and his partner had invented a super smart machine that would remove and replace these new processor chip packages called the Ball Grid Array. All our competition’s machines were complicated to operate (requiring 1 week of training even!) due to the cameras and X-ray technology on board: these behemoth machines cost around $150,000 each. David’s machine was so smartly engineered I could get any receptionist with ZERO assembly skills to operate it successfully the first time and it only cost $14,000.
Easy sell right?
Well my first day of demonstrating this machine I had 3 appointments; I also had 3 HATERS. WTF? These guys were ruthless! I would have a room full of assembly techs who were fascinated by how easy and smart this machine was and 1 guy constantly throwing me under the bus every chance he could get. When my day was over, I was so confused I called David and vented on the phone.
David picked up the phone eager to hear my first report on his new baby, “How did it go?”
I replied, “Freaking TERRIBLE!!”
David quipped, “Let me guess, you had haters.”
I said, “WOW, how did you know? These guys were terrible to me! I don’t know if I can sell this thing! I feel like I wanna drive off a cliff right now!”
David responded, “Calm down, calm down! Johnny, I need you to think, what was their agenda?”
I said, “F**K their agenda I wanna KILL those A-holes!! I do not understand how we have a process that is smarter, FAR less expensive, easy to operate, SO MUCH better for the company and these guys not only don’t get it, they are aggressively undermining my attempts to demonstrate it and screwing their company in the process!!”
David said, “Look man, THOSE are the guys who just got their companies to purchase the $150,000 machine! You get it? They HATE you because even though you are coming from a good place and trying to help them you are also embarrassing them in front of their colleagues; maybe in a career ending way. FYI, you are going to have one of those at every stop. Even if we are coming from a good place, we can inadvertently push people’s buttons and they get wound up. So one must think when one is coming from such a good, helpful place, what is it, exactly, that would get this person so insane with hostility?”
That changed the whole game and my life. Once I knew who they were and what their agenda was, they just didn’t upset me anymore. I was prepared for them! Extrapolate that to your situation right now. I’ll bet you have haters because you still believe you can be an artist and the haters gave up; so they really aren’t mad at you even though they are venting on you, they are upset with themselves. The words coming out of their mouths are for them, not you. Try pointing that out to one of them mid rant…whoa, be prepared for an explosion!
Rejection From Different Agendas: Don’t Take it Personally
The other kind of rejection is simply where the agendas are different. As artists we tend to deal with this one often when we are trying to get a record deal or submitting songs to artists or publishing companies. Simply put, the label or pub company is looking for “blue solo cups” and you are a “red solo cup”. Artists tend to get mortally wounded upon rejection and we begin spin out and think “why wasn’t my music good enough” when it had nothing to do with quality and everything to do with the fact that you or your song just wasn’t appropriate for what they wanted. Think of it like buying a guitar. If you go to Guitar Center and you prefer Gibson over Fender, it’s not because Fenders suck it’s because you are looking for a Gibson. I think this concept is important when approaching the post mortem analysis after any rejection.
Haters Don’t Really Hate You
So now, when I encounter a hater, the first thought that goes through my head is that I am not going to react and immediately give this person permission to make me feel bad unless they can demonstrate some way I inadvertently hurt them or did them wrong, in which case I will rectify the situation and apologize. The next question I ask myself is what kind of person are they? Are they rattling my chain to try and steal my energy? If yes, I blow them off, they can’t have it; it’s not their energy to take! If the answer is no, then I ask myself what is their agenda? What am I missing that’s so profound this person feels hostile enough to hate on me or be aggressive? I almost always can ascertain a reason after a few quick questions (which are always effective when someone is hostile at you) and while it almost always diffuses the argumentative situation and saves me from suffering emotionally, it sometimes even helps the aggressor realize why they are behaving so poorly.
I was thinking about this as I walked my dogs this morning. I hope it helps you.
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