Jia Jiang struggled with a constant fear of rejection as a kid growing up.
“This fear even persisted after I started my own company,” Jiang recounted at a TED talk recorded in March last year. “When I was an entrepreneur, I was presented with an investment opportunity, and then I was turned down. And that rejection hurt me.”
in July 2012, he then decided it was the time he faced it head on by embarking on a personal quest to seek out rejection for 100 days. He also started a blog, 100 Days of Rejection Therapy, where he documented his daily “rejection” challenges that ranged from “asking a stranger to borrow $100″ to requesting a “burger refill” at a restaurant.
Jiang’s journey would eventually desensitize himself to the pain and shame that rejection used to bring him. And in the few times when he didn’t get rejected, he discovered how people can actually be much kinder and sometimes all it takes is to ask.
“In my research, I found that people who really change the world, who change the way we live and the way we think, are the people who were met with initial and often violent rejections,” he stated.
His experience helped him understand that fear of rejection is a much more destructive force than the actual rejection itself.
“We don’t have to be those people to learn about rejection, and in my case, rejection was my curse, was my boogeyman. It has bothered me my whole life because I was running away from it. Then I started embracing it. I turned that into the biggest gift in my life,” he added.
Now Jiang has been sharing what he learned through his website Rejection Therapy, where he provides inspiration, knowledge and products for people to overcome their fear of rejection. He is also the CEO of Wuju Learning, a company that teaches people to become fearless through rejection training.
Jiang, who grew up in Beijing, China, migrated to the United States at age 16. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brigham Young University and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University.