The Hidden Opportunities of Rejection

9780804141383By Jia Jang, author of Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection (Harmony, April 2015)

We all fear rejection, no matter where we are in our lives. Some of us get used to it eventually, and some of us never lose the fear. Yet for college students, after they leave the protective comfort of their families, rejections start to have a real impact on their lives. Whether it’s social rejections within peer groups, romantic rejections from dates, or career rejections from potential employers, the experience of rejection can all leave long-lasting pain and effect.

However, if students learn the ability to not only deal with rejections in healthy ways, but also turn rejections into opportunities, they can set themselves up for a more successful and adventurous career and life. These are the skills that I explore in Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection.

I came to the United States with the dream of being the next Bill Gates. But my first attempt to pursue my entrepreneurial dream ended in rejection. I was crushed, and spiraled into a period of serious self-doubt. But I realized that my fear of rejection was a bigger obstacle than any single rejection would ever be. I needed to find a way to cope with being told no without letting it destroy me. Thus was born my 100 Days of Rejection experiment, during which I willfully sought rejection on a daily basis.

I began to realize that even the most preposterous wish may be granted if you ask in the right way. Over the course of my 100 rejection attempts, I learned the secrets of successful asking, tactics for picking the right targets at the right time, and strategies for converting an initial “no” into something positive. More importantly, I discovered ways to steel himself against rejection and develop confidence—skills that can’t be derailed by a single setback.

The changes I experienced as a result of this experiment were deep and multifaceted; I realized that I could apply these techniques to get more out of my relationships with friends, family, and even casual encounters with strangers. Rejection Proof shares the secrets of my rejection journey, distilling each lesson into a strategy that can be used in any negotiation or pitch. Filled with stories and valuable insight, Rejection Proof is ultimately a fun and thoughtful examination of how to overcome fear and dare to live and achieve with bravery.

I look forward to sharing my story around campuses nationwide, as part of your Freshman Experience Programs. Please contact me through my website,, to get started. But if you reject me, I promise I won’t let it get me down.

220929_jiang_jiaJIA JIANG is founder of the popular blog and video series 100 Days of Rejection. His story has been covered by dozens of news outlets, including Bloomberg Businessweek, Yahoo News, the Huffington Post, Forbes,, MTV, Gawker, the Daily Mail, Fox News, and CBS’s The Jeff Probst Show. A native of Beijing, China, Jiang came to the U.S. as a teenager to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Jiang holds an MBA from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brigham Young University.


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