Ugly Stench of Rejection

18 09 2006

Another fun-filled weekend, but there were some interesting thoughts passed around that I even said at the time would be great for a blog post!

A friend mentioned that he had gotten to the point where rejection felt good, even urging me to “breathe it in” (maybe a paraphrase). At the time, I thought that was a little masochistic, nonetheless the point was obvious: once you’re past the rejection, you’ll get to the acceptance and success much sooner.

Rejection does not feel good, so you’ve got to be insane to take the rejected feeling to be a good one. My counter point at the time was that I don’t mind rejection, but I definitely don’t “like” being rejected. This slight difference in thinking could also just be a simple, slight difference in world views.

In business and in life, rejection is part of the process, so while it’s often necessary and healthy to be rejected and often – I think that unerring bravado is equally important. You’ve got to hate to lose. You’re at the top of your game when you never lose, not when you like rejection. It pushes you to be better. The natural counter-point is that this is ultra-idealistic because you will occassionally be rejected and you will occassionally lose, but hey – the ideal is the high-and-mighty goal we’re talking about here. Even Michael Jordan did learn that baseball’s not quite that easy.

So moving on to yesterday, I wandered into a random variety store with a different friend. It was an older woman with less than polished English skills, selling the most random assortment of goodies. I probably should have taken a quick camera picture, but in a nutshell, there was a HUGE sign saying “Cash for Cell Phones (up to $200)”. My friend walked in with his Treo 650 and for around 5-10 minutes, the lady proceeded to look at the Treo 650 (one of the more expensive cell phones available today, even after multiple models have succeeded it) in amazement like it was a remote control to a spaceship, look at a random notebook of papers and call random people.

It became very clear that she was not going to be able to sustain her location in the square right adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and Beach. Sometimes I wonder how places like this even continue to exist even in less desirable locations.

There’s are thousands upon thousands of examples like this. Without going into the obvious details of why, it was just another example of businesses started because they can. In business, people seem to like to flash the 80% or so failure rate of small businesses as some sort of argument to take stupid risks. It’s a cop-out, effectively. While you have to stay positive to stay sane, people take the boldness too far. It’s commendable to take risks, but it’s the smart risktakers that ultimatley win out.

There is a distinction between rejection and failure. Rejection is temporary; failure by definition is more permanent – a failed business, a failed marriage, etc.

I hate to lose, both rejection and failure (obviously failure exponentially more than rejection). I don’t care what anyone else says. But with anything, it’s a balancing act – you’ve to love it and hate it at the same time I think. Any thoughts?

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One response

18 09 2006
monish

There seems to be such a fine line between taking ‘risks’ and doing something stupid, how close to the line we tread, I think depends on our personalities and risk thresholds.

I agree with you about not liking ‘rejection &’failure’, and that you have to love it and hate it at the same time. I feel we’re always trying to put a positive spin on failure or rejection, because that ultimately spurs us to do better, its like we have no option.

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