How to be brave
Wear armor with a metal skirt
Pop out your chest
Wear black lipstick
Say heroic things that make no sense
Find a boyfriend and save him from a dragon
Practice your British accent
Rent a horse to ride
Work out at the gym
And finally, most importantly,
wear lots of deodorant.
– By P.R., 4th grade
Confidence is an learned skill. It comes from the way we are brought up, and our experiences interacting with others.
It’s an important skill, not only for sales or your career, but on your personal relationships. However, a lot of us suck at it because we’re afraid of rejection: Asking that person out, asking for a salary raise, getting on the phone for a sale. What if they say no, and we end up being ridiculed? “That’ll never work. Better forget about.”
Downing a couple beers washes away the self-consciousness and makes you a better dancer, but there has to be some other way of building up confidence.
As humans, we turn out to be better at playing games than at actual situations. Games are a safe environment where we can experiment and learn new abilities without feeling at risk. When you take an aspect of life and think about it as a game, great things happen.
Enter Rejection Therapy.
A game where you can only win
A friend once told me about Rejection Therapy, here’s how it goes:
The idea is to place yourself in uncomfortable situations, with the goal of being rejected at least once a day for a period of time.
For example, walk to a stranger eating a sandwich and ask them to give them half their sandwich. If they ask you to fuck off, congratulations! You’ve been rejected, you’ve accomplished your goal for the day. If the stranger says yes… well, now you have half a sandwich. Keep working on it until you get rejected.
This way you expose yourself to rejection gradually, in a controlled environment. The worst case is already expected – hell, it’s even the most likely outcome. The best case is a positive answer, or even the beginning of a fun story you’ll be able to share with others later.
You can find ideas for your crazy requests online, with quests like asking a stranger to borrow $100, asking for free fries on a restaurant, or a free upgrade to first class in your flight.
My own favorite situation was the day I sat on a chair by a public restroom and asked for donations. I didn’t make any money, but we had a good laugh.
Try it yourself
If being shy or afraid of rejection has held you back, I recommend you giving it a try. You can play with some friend, or simply make it your personal adventure.
It’s easier to do in places where nobody knows you. Take your first steps and make sure you make really crazy requests – the crazier, the easier they will seem, in the safety zone of the “game” you’ve put together.
As you get more comfortable in being rejected in the game, those skills and confidence will translate to real life situations. And that’s as skill you’ll take with you for life.
Here’s some inspiration from a fearless comedian. Don’t try these at home!