100 Days of Rejection

Rejection 102 - Singing in Public and the Spotlight Effect

Last month, I enrolled the first batch of attendees (there were 20) for the beta version of my newly designed online course – Rejection Gym. Along with 14 recorded lessons, the attendees received 100 daily rejection exercises, such as asking to take a selfie with a stranger or requesting to plant flower in a stranger’s backyard. Their goal was to use rejection exercises to strengthen their courage muscle in order to become more fearless. After signing up, they quickly started asking for crazy things that they never thought was possible before. However, there was one rejection exercise that felt so tough that everyone had a hard time doing it. It was singing in public. So as the leader of the gym, I did it myself along with them.

What I learned from this exercise was how the “Spotlight Effect” could really mess with our perceptions of the world and limit our actions. Basically, we think people notice and care about us a lot more than they actually do.

The Spotlight Effect causes us to be afraid of taking unconventional actions or risks because we fear other people will notice our failure and peculiarity, and judge us accordingly. But in reality, no one cares about what we do, let along judging us. And even if they do notice and judge, what’s the point of us caring about their judgment anyway?

The world has billions of people with billions of opinions. If we constantly worry about what other people think of us, we will inevitably conform to their expectations, or worse, to our imagination of their expectations. We will live mediocre lives and have forgettable careers.

Let’s worry about us and focus on what we do, and help others when they are in need. It’s time to say “go to hell” to the Spotlight Effect.

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.

Rejection 99 - Ask Strangers to Rate My Look

How good do I look to the public eye? What would happen if I ask strangers to rate my looks, from 1-10? As a happily married man, I care much less about looking attractive in front of others now than I did when I was single. However, I would be lying to say that I’ve never considered the first question. And the second question? It would be a very scary proposition, both asking the question and hearing the answers. This is rejection seeking, doing something scary and understanding just how scary it could be.

This experiment turned out to be much easier than I originally imagined. People are nice and more than willing to give me high scores. And yes, it helped that I showered, put on a clean shirt, and took off the old-man socks as requested. Yet, it again showed how much scarier our imagination is than the real world. I couldn’t get a low score when tried. I was in fact secretly hoping for a 2 just to get a taste of rejection, but it didn’t happen.


1. Our imagination often takes us to the worst possible outcome, causing us to be much less likely to take that action. We are really our own worst rejectors.

2. People are rarely mean, or brutally honest to others in personal settings. When you ask for feedback, understand that the answer could be skewed.

Rejection 98 - Take a Tour Underneath a Plane

Seeing your flight get delayed over and over again without end is one of my greatest fears. In fact, maybe I should do 100 Days of Being Stuck in Airports - flying all around the world without ever stepping out of airports. That would be cruel and character-building to the extreme. When unpleasantness happens, seeking rejection has become my go-to move to lighten things up. If you told me I could improve my mood by hearing ‘NO’ a few months ago, I would say you were crazy. Now, it works better than Cheezburger.com and a self-tickling machine combined.

Would the airline give me a tour underneath the plane? I would love to get a group picture with suitcases.

You might be curious how I could have fun while getting rejected. I've learned not to care too much about a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and how others perceive me. That has translated into an increase in my confidence, communications skills, and entrepreneurial drive. Just look at my first video and this one to see the difference.

Learning: Rejection itself is not inherently hurtful, especially if you detach yourself from the outcome and practice it over and over again.

Rejection 97 - Give a Speech on the Street

Based on my Google keyword search, there are 10 things people fear the most. On that list, I’ve already tried: #1 Fear of Flying and #3 Fear of Heights,

this entire blog is about tackling #8 Fear of Rejection,

and for now at least, I have no interest in confronting #6 Fear of Death #9 Fear of Spiders…

I want to take a shot at #2: Fear of Public Speaking.

Of course, I have done public speaking before and I have a great passion for it. However, my previous speeches were in places where people expected me to speak and were receptive to my message. What would happen I held up a sign on the street and give a speech there instead of in the auditoriums? Would people still welcome my message? The thought of that makes me want to throw up already. In fact, I might have to reconsider which is worse: public storytelling or spiders.

On my 97th rejection attempt, I made a sign and went to the streets of Austin, attempting to tell strangers my story.

As you can tell in my video, the toughest part was not the speech but the time leading up to it.

I keep shaking my head at how purely psychological fear can be. Even knowing that I shouldn't care about how others perceive me, and understanding that the worst that could happen is being ignored, the fear of being judged and rejected by strangers is still there. There was a classic book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and that was the exact approach I took with this request. As soon as I opened my mouth and people stopped to listen, the rest was smooth sailing.

In the end, I am so glad I did it.

Learning: Sometimes no matter how hard you train yourself, the fear of rejection will still be there. However, you've strengthened yourself and minimized your enemy - fear. If you rely on the strength, and "feel the fear and do it anyway,” you will always be glad you did.

Rejection 96 - Interview a Female Bodybuilder for a Reader

Throughout my 100 rejections quite a few requests originated from my readers/viewers. In terms of strangeness, this one today is near the top. And in term of the requester's persistence, this one beats number two by a mile... or 44 miles. John, also known as Casino2004 on Youtube, sent me 44 messages asking me to interview a female bodybuilder. For me the most important question is never 'what', but 'why'. He explained that he is attracted to female bodybuilders, but was often blown off by them. Fearing rejection, he asked me to interview one on his behalf.

I often think that every rejection has a number. If you meet that number, the rejection will turn into an acceptance. For this request, the number is 44. Today, I found a local female bodybuilder online named Melanie Daly and sat down with her for an interview. Oh, I didn't forget about my own crazy request. Wait until the end.

After this episode I learned that not everyone can be Oprah Winfrey and Larry King. I might be there someday but today isn't that day.

I also learned that people who pay the most attention to their appearance, whether as a model or as a bodybuilder are very sensitive or even insecure about how they look. People like John aren't the only ones afraid of rejections, the rejectors are also afraid.

Learning: 1. Everyone is afraid of rejection. EVERYONE! To engage in genuine human connection we need to minimize the effect of fear as much as we can. When we aren't afraid, we help others to be less afraid and we are all better for it.

2. Rejection is often a numbers game. If you want something bad enough and try it over and over again, you might just get it.

Rejection 95 - Borrow a Book from Barnes & Noble

In the past few rejection attempts I have failed to get a rejection, even with the most ridiculous request (flying a plane). I almost felt as if the pain desensitization effect was wearing off. So this time, I again went to a big corporation – Barnes & Noble, to get some Rejection Therapy treatment. I tried to borrow a book from them as if they were a library.

I received the same answer after two tries. They even both provided good alternatives: buying a book then returning it in good condition or sitting in the coffee house and reading it there. Maybe it was the smiles, or the tones they used, but the rejections felt they felt very different. In the end, the rejections were given by two different people with very different personalities.

We often think customer service reps are cogs within giant corporate machines. While they are different across company lines (Apple Genius’ = cool, cable reps = not so much), they somehow should all have similar personalities within the same company. In reality, they are just regular people like you and me, and sometimes vastly different from each other.

Learning: They say beauty is in the eye of the beholders. I say rejection is in the tone of the rejectors. When you are already saying 'no' to someone, be nice. :)

Rejection 94 - Grow A Dollar 10 Times

There are two emotions that drive me most - fear and curiosity (Okay, my love for Starbucks is up there too, but that's another story). It was the fear of rejection and my curiosity about how humans behave that led me to do my 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. Meanwhile, a lot of us have heard the story of One Red Paperclip, where a guy used social media to trade a red paper clip a few times up all the way to a house. I want to try the same thing, but with a twist of Rejection Therapy. Instead of using social media, I plan to knock on real doors 10 times in an unknown neighborhood and see what I can get with a dollar bill. I am afraid of knocking on stranger's doors but I am curious to see the results. Fear and curiosity teamed up, yet again.

Would I end up with something worth more than a dollar, less than a dollar, or nothing but a bunch of rejections?

After the helmet, I would be lying to say I wasn't fantasizing a little bit about receiving a house. If I knocked on 100 doors maybe I would get it, but getting a house wasn't the game. In fact, it was never about getting things but seeing the power of trade and asks. Indeed, I felt better about giving away the helmet than getting it.

This brought along another thought - in sales, people focus on making the sale rather than giving the pitch. If someone goes through a perfect sales pitch, but the customer doesn’t buy it is considered a failure, or at least a non-success. However, in my experience it was giving the pitch that was the most fun, not the results. I could control what I said but couldn't control people's reactions. So why should I define success by something I can't control?

Learning: 1. Try this attitude - ask and trade, prepare to be amazed.

2. Don't focus on the results which you can't control, but on the actions which you can control. In one of my favorite leadership books, Wooden on Leadership by UCLA's legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, the old coach explained his philosophy of working on controllable actions rather than uncontrollable results. In fact, it was his relentless focus on actions that produced the results - 10 NCAA championships.

Rejection 93 - Play Pick-Up Line Tournament With Random Ladies

As someone who is happily married, I never do any rejection attempts that might land me on the couch for the night. However, I understand romantic rejection is one of the most painful and personal forms of rejections. So to help people, I did some negotiation and collaboration with my wife, and came up with ideas that would delight and interest her, without hurting her feelings. For example, if I gave pick-up line rejection requests to girls and they said yes, I would be staring at remorse, regret and possibly worse, with a burning magnifying glass. However, it would be safe and fun to see what happens if I ask girls to critique my pick-up lines. Today, I came up with a tournament game for eight bad pick-up lines. Would random ladies agree to hear them? Or would my pick-up lines, along with my request to share them, be rejected?

Rejection Therapy never ceases to surprise me and be fun. First of all, during my experiment, no ladies pepper sprayed me or threw a cold drink in my face. In fact, it seemed like some of the ladies couldn't wait to hear my lines. This got me thinking, if the goal of pick-up lines is to be a conversation starter with a stranger, could asking someone to critique a line actually be a good pick-up line in itself?

Second, the winning line was one of my least favorite. Before the exercise, I couldn't imagine picking up a rock on the sidewalk with that line. This proves one enduring business principle - what you like may not matter to your customers, especially if you and your customers have very different tastes and values. There was one example of a CEO forcing his fashion design advertising team to do a commercial for business attire centered on a suit clad man on a horse. His only reason was because he grew up wanting to be a cowboy. The CEO’s career didn't last long, and the commercial was even shorter.

Learning: 1. Curiosity is a strong emotion we all share. If you want to get people's interests, ask them a question that they want answered.

2. If you are in business learn from your customers. They are the ones paying your bills, not your ego. If you are an entrepreneur, read Eric Ries's instant classic, the Lean Startup. It teaches people how to use customer feedback to make the best product.

Rejection 92 - Fly a Gyroplane

When someone wants to be rejected with all their heart, it takes a strong imagination to come up with a request so impossible that it's embarrassing to even try. Today, to demonstrate rejection to the visiting documentary crew - Wayward Nation, I came up with an idea – drive to an airfield and ask a random pilot if we can fly his plane. Considering everything that could go wrong with flying a plane, there is absolutely no way he would say ‘yes’ to this request... right?

There were times I was surprised, there were times I was shocked, and there was the one time I was speechless. This was that time.

As I was going in and out of clouds or skimming over cornfields, I asked myself: what if I had never asked? I would not have had the best flight of my life. I would not even have had regret, because I would not have known such thing was possible. My 100 Days of Rejection Therapy has demonstrated one principle over and over again - you will never get it if you don't ask first.

Of course, when someone says ‘yes’ to my request, there is always some motivation. It could be intrinsic ones such as helping me and seeing the smile on my face, or extrinsic ones such as letting me know about what he is doing. In this case, I suspect there was a little of both and he admitted as such.


1. The Bible says "Seek and ye shall find.” Rejection Therapy taught me "Ask and ye could receive.”

2. Don't be embarrassed by your request, because the other person might be motivated to say ‘yes’. The best requests provide a win-win outcome for all parties involved.

Rejection 91 - Learn a Martial Arts Master's Favorite Move

Legend has it that in ancient China, traveling Kung Fu masters could walk into a Kung Fu academy and challenge the incumbent master to a fight. Upon victory, the traveler would take over the academy and its pupils. I had the ambition and fantasy to try it myself in modern America while turning it into a rejection request. However, if the master said yes; it would result in jail time, hospital visits, and pretty expensive bills for me. Being realistic, I walked into a Taekwondo studio and asked to learn the master’s favorite move instead.

Would the master teach me, reject me… or worse?

The master didn’t look like Mr. Miyagi or sound like Chuck Norris. But based on the internationalization and cross-pollination of martial arts, I am not surprised. And based on his build and experience, I am glad I chose to go with the humble request instead of the fantasy one.

I found him to be very nice person who genuinely wanted to introduce me to Taekwondo, its philosophy, and his studio. Yet, I really wished he could have demonstrated a few moves for me. I might have even signed up for a trial as the result. Well, you can’t expect a martial arts master to kick butt like Bruce Lee and sell like Steve Jobs.

Learning: One time at Costco, I saw a Little Giant Ladder salesman demonstrating his ladders to customers. He put one up, slid one leg out, unfolded it, refolded it, pulled it around… I was mesmerized and felt as though my life with be incomplete if I didn’t spend $200 then and there to buy that ladder. It taught me a great lesson in sales – “Show, don’t tell”.

Rejection 90 - Get a Ride on a Bucket Truck

Six month ago I was working in my office on the 16th floor, the tallest in the building. I saw the high-rise window cleaners climbing down a rope on the side of the building, washing the windows outside floor by floor. I asked myself: how much would they have to pay me to do this as a regular job? $100 an hour? $200 an hour? The number kept going up and up. And every time I started to be tempted to take the imaginary deal; I started thinking about my wife, my kid, and how much my life means to them. I then tore up the imaginary offer and said NO with an imaginary stern voice to the imaginary hiring manager. I went on to pat myself on the back for being a good husband and father... imaginary rejection never felt so good. But deep down, I knew I turned it down because heights are scarier to me than any movie scene with zombies and ghosts. Today as I was walking by a store, I saw two people working on a bucket truck. I have always had a secret desire to climb on top of one of those and move around in the air. It seems cool and thrilling and not as scary as the height of skyscrapers. Therefore, as part of my Rejection Therapy I approached them and asked for the ride of my life. Did I get it?

If I can experience thrills like this once a day for the rest of my life, the Dos Equis Man would be offering to exchange lives with me!

Learning: After we graduate school and enter the professional world, we always live our lives as if they were planned or part of a large scheme. We rarely do spontaneous and fun things anymore. But we should! Whether we get a rejection or not, these things make life much more colorful and worth-living.

Rejection 89 - Skate at Sonic

When asking a favor, it is one thing to ask for something completely harmless but another entirely when it involves something a little risky. Today I tried to see if I could borrow a pair of skates at Sonic and skate around their restaurant. Sonic is known for having skating servers to serve food to parked customers. Would they allow me to skate and have fun? Or would they be afraid of the liability, were I to slip and fall during my adventure?

The one truth I have found about great customer service is that the best customer service representatives look for opportunities to accommodate, rather than reject. In this case, the manager minimized the risk of liability by having me sign a waiver. That way she could both ensure customer happiness and minimize her risks. I wish all customer services people could be like her.

Learning: The Bible teaches people to, "be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16). This should be the motto for all great customer service teams. Say 'yes' to customers, but in case things go wrong, make sure your employer is also protected.

Rejection 88 - Play Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock With a Stranger

Through rejection therapy, I found that among all the crazy requests that challenges are the most likely to be accepted. They tap into people's basic interests for competition, curiosity, and fun. For example, when I challenged a stranger to a foot race, I got a 'yes'. When I challenged a CEO to a staring contest the CEO didn't show up…but the VP of Marketing did. However, those challenges have rules that are easily understood and accepted. What if I challenge someone with a game that's not previously known and I had to explain it? Would the ambiguity become an obstacle strong enough to get a rejection?

Based on a suggestion from Jason Comely, the inventor of the Rejection Therapy game, I learned and challenged a stranger to a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock.

Yes, I missed a few lines but it didn't really matter. Although one instance doesn't prove a theory it does make me wonder: maybe the fact that I had to explain the rules made the challenge more interesting to him. Because it taps into one more human interest – knowledge-seeking. If a friendly looking guy comes to me trying to teach me a game, I would say 'yes' too.

Learning: While people are busy and averse to abnormality in their lives, a well-placed knowledge gap might not hurt our requests. After all, we all want to learn something new.

Rejection 87 - SkyJump off a Building (rejecting my fear)

We mostly consider rejections as inter-personal experiences, with one person rejecting another, and the results are always undesirable. In reality, self-rejections happen a lot more frequent, and for good and for bad reasons. A bad reason for self-rejection is that a person is afraid to be rejected by others, so he rejects himself to avoid the imagined pain. As I explained in my talk - Rejection vs Regret, this type of self-rejection is very counter-productive. It prevents us from obtaining the opportunities and beauty life has to offer.

On the other hand, a good self-rejection, if used correctly, is amazingly useful. For example, an ex-Navy Commander and the author of the wonderful leadership book Turn the Ship Around!, David Marquet once chatted with me about him having to reject his own military leadership mentality in order let his employees shine with their creativity.

For me, like many others, I am terrified of height. One night, I listened to Dina Kaplan, the founder of blip.tv giving a keynote talk about her overcoming her fear of height. She did so by doing a bungee jump, and felt completely liberated afterward. She then encouraged the audience to do the same.

Feeling compelled, I challenged myself that night to reject my own fear by doing the SkyJump off Las Vegas' Stratosphere, the highest controlled free fall in the world (108th floor).

Standing on the edge of the tower, I knew the only thing between an amazing experience (jump) and regret (retreat) was my own fear. It was a gruesome war of emotions in my head, heart and stomach, and it took every ounce of courage I had. Once in the air, as I was engulfed in the amazing sensation of flying, I realized how sweet victories, especially the ones over myself, can feel.

Learning: we can discuss, analyze and "wait for the right opportunity to conquer" fear all day long, but nothing happens unless we make the jump. Just like rejection therapy, the only way to cure a fear is to confront it head-on.

Rejection 86 - Pictures with Strangers

When visiting places, we love to take pictures with both man-made and natural attractions, or even animals and plants that are unique to the area. However, we rarely stop and take pictures with people, who are not only vastly different from place to place, but also integral part of that place. While visiting New York, I learned how fast and easily one can get rejected. Now, will strangers on the street allow me to take pictures with them?

Looking back at this episode, I can't help but feel very surprised. It felt very similar to the episode when I asked strangers at Costco to give me compliments - uncomfortable but satisfying. However, this time, when they asked me 'why', I gave them a very good 'why'. 'Why' has become my favorite word.

Learning: Archimedes once famously said “give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world.” We can't move the world, but if we have a good 'why', and the courage to ask, we can ask for anything.

Rejection 85 - Rejections in a New York Minute

I stayed in New York City for two days. By day two, I have experienced a full-set of casual rejections, from restaurants refusing to let me charge my phone on their premise, to ferry boats not allowing me to take pictures on deck. I realized that in a big city where people from all over the world visit and ask for resources and opportunities, rejection is a much more common occurrence than in Austin. Before I got dispirited and started disliking New York City as a whole, I thought about applying the principle of Rejection Therapy and take a negative part about life and have fun with it. Therefore, I came up with this challenge for myself – how many rejections can I fit in a New York minute?

In Triumph of the City, author Edward Glaeser found that cities’ population density is positively correlated with per capita productivity and wage growth. In another word, the more people a city holds, the richer each person in that city gets. The hypothesis is that more people lead to more innovation and collaboration. Then I had this thought come to my mind – what about rejection? My New York City experience told me that having more people might lead to having more rejections. Does having more rejections make people tougher and more innovative, since getting an acceptance now requires more work and better ideas? I don’t know the answer, but it is an idea worth exploring.

Learning: 1. When feeling down with a negative part about life, try turning the table and have fun with it. It might be the medicine needed.

2. If you live in a big city or work in a tough profession, where rejections are more common, consider it a blessing rather than curse, since it raises the barrier of entry and force you to work harder. Once you get an acceptance, it would be easier to thrive.

Rejection 84 - Draw Portrait of Strangers (with Dom Rabrun)

On streets filled with strangers, I have learned that people don't always accept money or trivial services from others. However, what if the services offered are artistic and personal in nature, such as drawing their portraits. Would people more likely to accept or reject it? To find out, an emerging artist - Dominick Rabrun and I set out to do this rejection request. For background, Dominick is a DC based artist who has reached out to me to interview and draw me at the same time. He has also experienced many rejections in his project to interview people and was looking for some advice. In this video, prepare to be amazed by what Dominick did:

Looking back, I don't know how many of us would say 'no' to his request, since having one's portrait drawn feels like an enormous honor, in both modern and ancient times. There is a reason royalties and politicians from the past all entertained paintings and sculptures of themselves.

In a way, because of his artistic skills, Dominick possesses the persuasive power that 99% of us don't have. However, why did he still receive many rejections with his interview request? What can he do to increase his success rate?

Based on my learning from 100 Days of Rejection Therapy, here are three suggestions for Dominick to try:

1. Focus actions over outcomes, as described at 2'07 of the above video.

2. Start with why, as described at 2'25 of the above video.

3. Find a picture of the potential interviewee using Google Image, draw an unfinished version of the portait, and send it to him/her along with the interview request. Make it clear that the interview would be to complete the unfinished portrait, rather than to start a new one. Studies have shown that people are much more willing to continue and finish an existing effort than to start a new one.

Just like Dominick, we all have something special about us. It might not be artistic skills, but could be cooking, humor, swimming, talking to people, honesty, diligence, creativity... or rejection. We can all draw inspiration from this video:

Rejection 83 - Exchange Rejection for Smile in DC

Many times people write me suggesting how I would experience rejections differently in various parts of the world, or even in different areas within the United States. My Brazilian friends told me that there is no way I could carry out this project in Brazil, because people would say 'yes' to everything, while my NYC friends would draw the same conclusion, but reasoning that New Yorkers would deny every request I throw their way. To test out the hypothesis that Rejection Therapy would induce different results in different parts of the US, I took a trip to the East Coast, aiming to experience it myself.

My first stop - Washington DC, where I met Massoud Adibpour, the founder of the remarkable project - Make DC Smile. Our goal was to recruit strangers to hold up signs in order to cheer up DC commuters. Would people join our quest?

When people reject me when I try to make them happy without ulterior motive, it would be easy to take the rejection personally. However, by focusing on my own actions (waving signs with enthusiasm) rather than the outcome (getting a honk), I could care less about how others react. I was trying to make people happy, and therefore I was happy. By my action, the total happiness index of Washington DC went up, and that's all it mattered.

Also, when I recruited strangers to join, most said no. I could relate to people fundraising for non-profit organizations who are frustrated by the lack of interests, especially if they believe deeply in their causes. However, I learned that no matter how noble the cause, not everyone shares my passion and belief. Even if they do, they have the right to say 'no' because of their own circumstances and reasons. All I need is to find those who do share my belief and are willing to help me.

Lastly, Massoud offered to help a walking-by family to locate their destination before asking for a favor. And he got it. Sometimes by helping others, we are more likely to receive help in return.


1. No matter how noble your cause is, focus on your own actions rather than the outcome.

2. Allow others to reject you. In fact, most people will reject you. There will eventually be people sharing your belief and therefore joining your cause.

3. Offer to help others first.

Rejection 82 - Sit On Lincoln's Lap... and More

One of the principles for my version of rejection therapy is that if I get a 'yes', my request has to be something I want to do. While in Washington DC, a few folks suggested that I ask to sit on the lap of the Lincoln Statue at the Lincoln Memorial. It sounded simple, but was really hard to execute. First of all, I can't ask Mr. Lincoln himself since the statue itself probably won't answer my request. Secondly, even if I get a 'yes' from a park ranger, would climbing on Mr. Lincoln land me in jail? Lastly, do I really want to sit on one of my favorite Presidents as if he were Santa Claus at a mall?

Just like all well-planned adventures, I wanted to have a plan B. Would I get rejections for both plan A and plan B?