What I learned from 100 days of rejection | Jia Jiang | TED | Summary and Q&A

January 6, 2017
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What I learned from 100 days of rejection | Jia Jiang | TED


The speaker shares his personal experiences with rejection and how he learned to embrace it, ultimately turning it into opportunities for growth and success.

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Key Insights

  • 🎁 The first grade teacher's gift-giving exercise unintentionally turned into a public roast, causing embarrassment and rejection for the speaker and his classmates. The experience stayed with him and impacted his fear of rejection.
  • 🌍 The speaker's encounter with Bill Gates inspired him to conquer the world by building the biggest company and buying Microsoft. However, he later realized that he hadn't achieved his goals, and felt stuck and stagnant.
  • 😨 The fear of rejection continued to hold the speaker back, even in his entrepreneurial endeavors. A rejected investment opportunity almost led him to quit, but he realized he needed to become a better leader and person.
  • ❓ The speaker's research on overcoming the fear of rejection led him to "Rejection Therapy," a game designed to desensitize oneself to rejection by seeking it out for 30 days. He decided to do it for 100 days and documented his experiences in a video blog.
  • 💪 Through Rejection Therapy, the speaker learned valuable insights. He discovered that by not running away and staying engaged after rejection, he could turn a "no" into a "yes" by asking "why." Mentioning doubt before asking a question helped gain trust and increased the likelihood of a positive response.
  • 🌟 The speaker's Rejection Therapy journey led to unexpected experiences, such as becoming a Starbucks greeter and teaching a college class, simply by asking. He realized that fulfilling his life dream could be as simple as asking for opportunities.
  • 🌎 The speaker found inspiration from great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus Christ, who embraced rejection and let their reactions define them in a positive way. He urges others to consider the possibilities and embrace rejection as a gift that can lead to opportunities.
  • 🎯 The speaker now teaches others how to turn rejection into opportunities through his blog, talks, book, and the development of technology. He believes that by embracing rejection, it can become a source of growth and success.


When I was six years old, I received my gifts. My first grade teacher had this brilliant idea. She wanted us to experience receiving gifts but also learning the virtue of complimenting each other. So she had all of us come to the front of the classroom, and she bought all of us gifts and stacked them in the corner. And she said, "Why don't we just ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the speaker's teacher unintentionally turn a gift-giving activity into a negative experience for him?

The speaker's teacher turned the activity into a public roast, where compliments ceased after only three students remained, including the speaker.

Q: How did the speaker's fear of rejection affect his career and entrepreneurial aspirations?

The speaker's fear of rejection prevented him from speaking up, making proposals, and pursuing new ideas, causing him to feel stuck in his career.

Q: What method did the speaker use to overcome his fear of rejection?

The speaker embarked on a 100-day rejection challenge, where he actively sought out opportunities to be rejected and desensitize himself from the pain.

Q: What strategies did the speaker learn during the rejection challenge?

Through the rejection challenge, the speaker learned the power of asking "why" when faced with rejection, how to frame his requests to increase the chances of a "yes," and the importance of staying engaged and not running away after rejection.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • At a young age, the speaker experienced rejection when his teacher turned a gift-giving activity into a public roast, causing him to fear rejection.

  • As he grew older, he realized that his fear of rejection was holding him back from achieving his goals and dreams.

  • Through a 100-days rejection challenge, the speaker learned valuable lessons about overcoming fear and turning rejection into opportunities, ultimately leading to personal and professional growth.

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