Book Excerpts: Rejection Proof

Rejection stinks but is a necessary part of life that can lead to success, if you have the right perception of it. Jia Jiang, author of Rejection Proof, decided he was done with letting the fear of rejection stop him from doing things he wanted to do. In order to overcome his fear, he decided to face rejection head on by challenging himself to intentionally get rejected for 100 days in a row. This included asking a stranger if he could play soccer in his backyard, asking for a “burger refill” at Five Guys after he already ate his first burger and even sleep at mattress firm for a night to “test drive” his new mattress for a night. What he learned is very insightful for all coaches and people.

Most surprising for him was that he got rejected a lot less than he attempted to! When you ask, people are actually very willing to help and give if you ask correctly! Below are great quotes and ideas from his writing and we recommend you check out the entire book to analyze how you view fear, rejection and disappointment, and how it stops you from being your best self. In addition, always keep in mind what famous business man and entrepreneur Mark Cuban has to say, “Every no gets you closer to a yes!”

Here is the summary of what he learned over his 100 day rejection journey from his website,


  1. Rejection is a muscle. If you don’t constantly work outside your comfort zone, you’ll lose it and you’ll become weak and timid.
  2. Rejection is a numbers game. Fight through enough no’s and you will eventually find a yes.
  3. Avoiding rejection is worse than receiving it. Most people believe avoiding rejection is a good thing, by avoiding something bad we’ve dodged a bullet and we are somehow net positive, but that’s not true. When we shy away from rejection we reject ourselves and our ideas before the world ever has a chance to reject them. This is the worst form of rejection and as a result, we are ignored by the world.

Notable Quotes and Excerpts: 

“Two days into my rejection journey, I had already learned my first big lesson: the way you ask a question — and how you follow through in the conversation – has an impact on the result you get. P 29”

“I offered my opinion more freely, without constantly studying other people’s faces to see if they liked what I was saying. I asked for feedback without searching for praise and got a little better at not taking criticism personally… I felt like I was becoming a leader who asked, listened and inspired, instead of just a person who gave directions. My confidence soared.” P 38

“Failure has almost become a prerequisite to success.” P 61

“In other words, people naturally want revenge after they’ve been rejected, perhaps thinking that they will feel better by showing the rejectors how wrong they were. Yet it doesn’t work that way, and those who lash out actually wind up feeling worse when they get revenge.” P 62

“If something can’t hurt me, then why should it scare me? It turned out it’s this question that proved to be pivotal in my fight with rejection.” P 76

“The job seeking experience also sparked another paradigm shift. From that point on, rejection seemed less like the truth and more like an opinion.” P 83

“Throughout history many great ideas that ultimately propelled humanity forward were initially met with social, relevant and even gruesome rejection by society at large. They include the movements led by Socrates, Galileo, Joan of Ark, Muhammad…. Even the foundation of Christianity was formed by the rejection of Jesus by his own people.” P 84

“It’s hard not to wonder how many would-be master pieces have never seen the light of day because the creators were so discouraged by the rejections and negative opinions  and stopped trying.” P 91


“Given all that I’d learned, it actually made sense. Arguing with a person who turns you down is probably the least effective way to change the individual’s response. In fact, it’s almost a sure way to get a rejection, because arguing always turns potential collaborators into enemies. I’d approached the music studio employee as a collaborator, and that switch in approach had changed his mind. By making it clear that he had the freedom to say no, I got to the yes we were looking for.” P 104

“Their motto is, “fail fast, fail often.” P 105

“It demonstrates that people’s responses to a request are deeply influenced by knowing there is a reason behind it, no matter what that reason is. Everything I experienced during my rejection journey reinforced this. I was far more likely to get a yes.” P 114

“In his classic bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie advocates ‘becoming genuinely interested in other people and talking in terms of the other man’s interest.’ What if I applied this to a rejection challenge? If the why that I gave was more about meeting the other man’s interests and needs rather than my own, would that increase my chances of getting to yes?” P 115

“He discovered that the more people use the pronoun I, the more likely they are telling the truth and perceived as such. On the other hand, the more people use you and he/she/they as the subject of a sentence, the more likely they are to be not telling the truth.” P 118

“Although it may seem counterintuitive, acknowledging other people’s doubts can help rather than hurt your cause.” P 121

“When you deliver a rejection to someone, give the bad news quickly and directly.” P 141

“These examples have something in common — something very important. In each case, the person rejecting me was making it clear that he was rejecting my request — not me as a person. It can be hard, once, you’ve been rejected — to separate the two.  In fact, one of the reasons people hate rejection so much is because they can’t actually draw this distinction in their minds.” P 144

“Rejection is a deeply personal experience, no matter who you are or what you have invested in the answer. So when you are rejecting something, you have to be specific. Make sure the person knows what exactly you’re turning down, and be honest about the reasons why. This will save everyone a lot of time, trouble and heartbreak.” P. 145


“What I learned is this: rejection is an experience that it is up to you to define. In other words, it means only what you choose it to mean. The relationship you have with a rejection can be negative or positive, and it all depends on which way you spin it for yourself.” P 150

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.” P 159

“The next time everyone accepts your idea or proposal without a hint of disagreement, you might want to stop for a moment and ponder if it is the result of conventional and group thinking. And if someone thinks your idea is incredibly stupid, consider the possibility that you might be onto something.” P. 160

“When you don’t know how much you want and value something, rejection can become almost a measuring stick. Some of the most successful people obtained their achievements only after going through the most gut wrenching rejection. Because it was through that rejection that they discovered how much pain they were willing to experience in order to obtain their goal.” P 178

“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back, the only path to serenity.” P 204

“I’ve learned that being solely results oriented is more than shortsighted. It actually leads to worse results in the long run because it leaves you unprepared to get feedback that might help you along your way. During my journey, I started to see a clear distinction between things I could control and things I couldn’t.” P 205

“Contrary to popular belief, courage – the ability to do something that’s frightening, such as asking for what you need or want, or do the right thing amid rejection and disapproval — is not born but gained. It’s like a muscle. You need to keep exercising it to keep it strong. Otherwise, it might weaken or even atrophy. So I use rejection attempts to continue to exercise my courage muscle, stay mentally strong, and keep my confidence flowing.” P 216

“I want to know, by fighting through my own rejections and helping others to overcome their own, how many more dreams would be fulfilled, how many more cool ideas would be realized and how many more love stories would be written if we weren’t afraid of rejection.” P 216

Truths About Rejection:

  1. Rejection Is Human: Rejection is a human interaction with two sides. It often says more about the rejector than the rejectee and should never be used as the universal truth and sole judgment of merit P 92
  2. Rejection is an Opinion – Rejection is an opinion of the rejector. It is heavily influenced by historical content, cultural differences and psychological factors. There is no universal rejection or acceptance.
  3. Rejection has a number – every rejection has a number. If the rejectee goes through enough rejections a no could turn into a yes. P 92
  4. Ask Why Before Good Bye – Sustain the conversation after the initial rejection. The magic word is “why” which can often reveal the underlying reason for the rejection and present the rejectee with the opportunity to overcome the issue.
  5. Retreat, don’t run: by not giving up after the initial rejection, and instead retreating to a lesser request, one has a much higher chance of landing a yes. P 108”
  6. Start with “I”: Starting the request with the word “I” can give the requestor more authentic control of the request. Never pretend to think in the other person’ interests without genuinely knowing them. P 128

Other Ideas/Important Concepts:

  • No one keeps track of how many times you get a no
  • A no doesn’t always mean what you think it means

Check out his TED Talk about his 100 days of rejection Here:


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