It’s time for a new personal challenge because it has been more than a month since I have finished the last one (100 Days of Writing) and I’m ready to get out of my comfort zone again and achieve new things and new heights. I have completed two challenges so far, 100 Days of Writing and Run a Marathon in 100 Days, it was hard completing them, at times I was asking myself why am I putting myself through this, that it’s a waste of time, energy, effort and so on, the challenges required me to get more creative and to push my limits but in the end, all I can say is that it was worth it, I’m now looking back at those few months of my life – I did both challenges during the same period of time – with a feeling that I did some memorable, something special, something unusual in the graph of my life.
New Challenge: 100 Ways To Get Rejected
I was inspired in creating this challenge after watching this TED Talk by Jia Jiang titled “What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection”.
The fear of getting rejected is one of the most common fears in us and has deep roots in evolution. This fear comes all the way from the times in which we were living in small tribes and groups and when the rejection of our peers and our group was equivalent to a death sentence. Being cast out from your group meant that you had to find a shelter, fetch water, fetch firewood and keep the fire going, gather or hunt food, fight off huge animals of prey like the Smilodon (now extinct, also known as the saber-toothed tiger) or the huge cave bear (Ursus spelaeus, now extinct), fight off the members of a rival group or tribe – all by yourself. The fear of public speaking is actually the fear of getting rejected, public speaking exposes us in front of the whole group and directs their attention onto us – making us afraid that something we might do or say will upset the group and make it reject us.
One of the harshest prison punishments is solitary confinement, which reawakens the ancestral fear of getting rejected by the group and leaves the prisoner alone with his thoughts between four walls. In Ancient Greece, a harsh form of punishment was the exile or the ostracization – which comes from the Greek word “Ostracon” used for a piece of broken pottery used in a vote and that had written in it the name of the person who was to be exiled or not. We can find in history a lot of examples of people who have been exiled for various reasons: Ovid the Roman poet, Napoleon, which was exiled to Elba and then St. Helena, the famous womanizer Casanova, writer Victor Hugo, Dante the Italian poet, the Dalai Lama and many others.
This fear of getting rejected makes a lot of sense in the context of the early human history and the early human groups but nowadays is pretty much irrational and can be a hindrance to survival rather than an advantage. Today, the human groups are much more numerous, have much more members and have various degrees of organisation and stratification, we now call these groups teams, schools, companies, cities, countries. If you get rejected by one of these groups, even if it’s your fault or not, there is no smilodon around the corner waiting for you, instead, what you can find is another team, school, company, city, country and so on to which you can contribute. Now, the fear of rejection can stop you from asking out that girl that you like, from asking for that long due pay raise, from negotiating a better deal, from asking for help and so on, in other words, the fear of rejection can make you miss a lot of the opportunities that you have in life.
I’m doing this challenge because I want to get over my fear of getting rejected, to find opportunities and to improve my life. I’ve already written a list of more than 100 ways of getting rejected, some of them are downright crazy, hilarious, difficult, impossible and will put me through a lot of different situations, it will make some of the people that I will interact with question my sanity, consider me an idiot, a beggar, some kind of pervert, a time waster, a conman, a brave man and so on. I will probably be the subject of ridicule and insults but also admiration. I will be in situations I have never been before. It will probably be one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Now, the rules for this challenge are: I have to get rejected as much as possible in various ways. There is no time constraint as it was in my previous challenges because it’s hard to quantify how much it will take me to go through the list. I’m giving this challenge about a year to do but it might take more than that, some of the rejection scenarios require only a few hours of work while others require a lot more work and also some special conditions to be met.
Another thing: in some cases I might go for “soft rejections” meaning that I won’t go for a full-on rejection and act “full retard” to accomplish this, in those cases I have more to gain if I’m not rejected, or I’m only partially rejected – I call those cases “opportunities”.