Journal Entry #6: Why I Reject Rejection Challenges

I’ve always wanted more self-confidence because I’ve always believed that self-confidence is freedom. If you think that’s weird, think of any Pixar movie you’ve ever seen. Miguel from ‘Coco’, gets his wish to be a musician because he has the self-confidence to fight for his dream to be one. Remi, in ‘Ratatouille’, pursues his dream to cook and eventually runs a restaurant. Growing up, I was deeply influenced by movies like these to find ways to increase my self-confidence. 

So, a year ago, I started doing rejection challenges.

I’d found a TEDtalk by Jia Jiang called ‘100 Days of Rejection’, which was about how one man had overcome his fear by repeated exposure to the possibility of rejection. His rejection challenges included ordering an “Olympic Ring Donut” at Dunkin Donuts, borrowing money from a stranger, and planting a flower in a neighbor’s yard. By the end of the 100 days, he had desensitized himself enough to pursue his dreams as an entrepreneur.

Inspired, I did my own set of challenges. They included calling a top consulting firm for a job, borrowing money from a stranger, and asking for a free latte at Starbucks. But, by the end of my challenges, I felt no different. And looking back, I’m not sure these challenges really helped me become more courageous. 

Because what is courage if the thing we fear means nothing to us? I don’t care about working at a top consulting firm, borrowing $10 from a stranger, or getting free lattes. However, I do care about being truthful, standing up for myself, and showing my emotions. I was left wondering if different challenges would have been more effective on me instead.

Sometime after doing Jia Jiang-inspired rejection challenges, I came across an exercise. This exercise asked me to first write down my values and then achieve three goals that aligned with them. Unlike my first set of rejection challenges, this exercise felt scary to me. If I achieved these goals, they would create meaningful change in my life. Did I have the courage to carry them out? 

I did. And this time, I felt braver for it. 

If you really want to build up your courage, act courageously about things you care about. If you don’t, then you’re not really integrating the lessons from the exercise into your life. You’re just doing a set of silly exercises and may (or may not) end up with nothing more than a free latté. 

What would you do to practice your courage? Please share with the community by posting below! 

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