Jia Jiang, Author
The Art of Rejection: 100 Days of Rejection therapy with Jia Jiang
Fists clenched, hidden iPhone filming from his shirt pocket, Jia Jiang stands in a glossy-tiled shopping mall in east Texas. And, as if tugged by a magnet, he ambles towards a seated security guard. With beads of sweat gathering at his temples, Jia plants his feet. The guard glances up. Jia swallows. “Can I have a hundred dollars?” This is Jia Jiang’s first foray into the world of deliberate rejection. And he will continue deliberately seeking rejection for one hundred days.
Have you ever walked up to ask someone for something, and been terrified of the response? Maybe it was asking for a raise. Maybe a bank loan. Maybe it was asking someone on a date. You feel your chest tighten, heart rate increase. And all of a sudden your little request starts looking more like Everest the closer you get. The fact is, the fear of rejection paralyzes us all.
This Chinese-born Texan entrepreneur decided to investigate why rejection was painful, and what he could do to counter it. So Jia Jiang embarked on a quest. His aim was to be rejected at least one hundred times. Enough to make the strongest person curl up into a fetal position, sobbing.
Jia Jiang’s journey towards courting rejection began when he was fourteen years old in Beijing, when Bill Gates delivered a speech at his school. Inspired, Jiang moved to America, enthused to start the next Microsoft. But like so many of us, his vivacity was gradually tarnished by the corporate rat race. Jiang enjoyed the security offered by corporate, and before he knew it, a decade had passed. To many, he was living the dream: He had a good job, big house, six figure salary.
But his childhood ambitions were not so easily dismissed. Jiang was living the high life, but was miserable. As he turned thirty, Jiang’s wife encouraged him to quit his job, despite being pregnant with their first child. The deal? He had six months to go out on his own and pursue his dream of starting a company.
Four days before his baby was born, he resigned. “It might not have been the best timing”, Jiang concedes, “but I just had to do it”. He started developing a software and mobile app company. Four months into his venture, it looked like Jiang was going to score the big break he had been working towards: an exciting investment opportunity from a prominent investor. Finally over lunch one day, he received an email. It was a rejection. Jiang had to leave the restaurant because he didn’t want anyone to see him cry. “I didn’t understand, because I thought I had what it takes to be a good entrepreneur. I thought I had mental toughness. I’m smart. I’m educated. So why would rejection still hurt this bad?”
Jiang’s curiosity drove him to research the topic and led him to ‘rejection therapy’, a game centered around the blind pursuit of rejection in order to desensitize yourself from the pain and fear associated with it. This idea resonated with him, and he decided to film each rejection with a hidden camera and upload them on his blog.
Softly spoken, you wouldn’t pick Jia Jiang as a professional risk-taker. “I used to be very shy,” Jiang says. “Not to an extreme level. I just was not comfortable with strangers.” However, his strange journey took him to jump free-fall off buildings, fly planes (with no pilot training), and drive police cars.
Jiang’s first outing was to ask for $100 from a security guard in a shopping mall. The result was a swift and confused rejection. Mission accomplished. So late last year, Jiang began making more outrageous requests to strangers in the hope of being rejected. Day after day, he approached people with a smile and a ridiculous request designed to make himself uncomfortable. Jiang confesses he was scared out of his mind, until he developed the mental edge. “Rejection itself is not inherently hurtful,” Jiang says, “especially if you detach yourself from the outcome and practice it over and over again.”
Some examples involved appearing in full soccer regalia at a random front door and asking to play soccer in the back yard, approaching a pilot at a small airport and asking if he could fly his plane. He also flagged down a police officer and asked if he could drive the squad car.
The beautiful part? Jiang found was that the more he asked, the more people said yes. He was allowed to play soccer in someone’s backyard, fly a stranger’s aircraft, and drive a police car.
This was a complete paradigm shift. “It gave me a new view of the world,” Jiang says. “A world I did not know before. A kinder and more accepting world.” He found that if he had the confidence to ask for things, people could say yes.
However, through this he inadvertently stumbled upon a much bigger, universal need: for people to overcome their fears of rejection. “I want to create a new world where people will not be afraid of rejection.”
Why has society made us so fearful of being rejected? We weren’t born with it but gradually we lose some of our courage and imagination. We start trying to avoid pain. That becomes our main motivation, and by degrees we shackle ourselves to our fear of rejection.
The solution to this fear is both simple and uncomfortable. In the words of Mark Twain, “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain”. Jia advises young entrepreneurs to get out and do the things they fear. “When you overcome the fear, the feeling is awesome”, Jia says. “Regret is the worst. So much worse than if you try something and bomb.”
The Shaolin Kung-Fu masters in China have a technique called ‘iron fist’. They strike a fist repeatedly against a hard surface over long periods of time until the fist becomes desensitized to pain. This was the mental equivalent. Jiang discovered this desensitization was equally applicable in business. “Once you have that training you can draw on your experience and start making requests that you didn’t have the strength to do before.”
Now Jia Jiang has developed a love story between himself and rejection. “It’s almost like we’re a married couple now,” he laughs. After succeeding in his mission, when asked if he still experienced that feeling of fear before making a request, he says, “That feeling will never fully leave me. But it’s minimal now.”
Ironically, through his pursuit of rejection, Jia Jiang has found mass acceptance. Since his journey began, fans have flocked to him and rallied around his cause. This daring entrepreneur has become something of a celebrity. What began as a training exercise in breaking free from fear has blossomed into a movement.
“If you’re scared of being rejected,” Jiang says, “you should do it. You ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? But it’s still scary. Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Now Jiang receives streams of email from people who have defeated their own fears: an artist is now developing acclaim after displaying her hidden talent, and a man who once feared asking waiters for ketchup is inspired to make requests to doctors who can treat his wife’s cancer.
Jiang claims he’s not a world-class entrepreneur yet, but is still on a path to improve the world by helping people where they’re at their weakest. Rejection therapy was never about making money. It was only concerned with adding value and improving lives. “If you want to make a positive impact, you can’t do that in a corporation. You have to get out there.”
Jia’s example serves as a reminder that, as an entrepreneur, you will experience rejection. The trick is to stop seeing rejection as something negative. “Rejection says nothing about me. It’s just other people’s opinions.” Through all this, Jiang has proved conclusively that rejection is not the end of the world. In fact, in the case of Jia Jiang, it was only the beginning.
- Jia’s rundown of his TEDx talk and the story of his career
- How to overcome challenges and rejections
- The importance of pushing your comfort zone
- Jia talks about why society made us scared of rejection
- Jia’s advice on overcoming the fears of being rejected
Full Transcript of the Podcast with Jia Jiang
Nathan: Hey guys my name is Nathan Chan of the Foundr Podcast and this is episode 14. We’re coming a long way, moving fast, mindful of your time, so it’ll just be short and quick. This is another recording that I’m doing just before I head off to India. I listened to this interview again because I did it about a year ago and firstly apologize for the terrible audio quality. Unfortunately, this was back in the day when I didn’t think I was gonna do a podcast. And we just recorded this interview for the magazine, but I really like it and I think it’s worth listening to over the quality production of the content.
It’s from a guy called Jia Jiang he created this YouTube video that really touched me personally and it made me want to reach out to him. It was about rejection and it’s actually something as entrepreneurs especially early-stage entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs you just go through where you want to start a business you don’t know where to start. You’re scared what other people will think of you. You’re scared what your friends and family will think of you. You feel like a joker, you feel like an imposter and Jia really helps people overcome that fear of rejection.
And there’s a lot of gold in this interview that he shares around tactical strategical stuff that you can apply to get whatever it is that is holding you back and to overcome it. And it’s a really inspiring story. Look, that’s it from me today, guys, hope you’re enjoying the podcast. Please leave us a review on iTunes otherwise check out the magazine it’s really where I spent a lot of my time and focus and it’s where I create my art. So that’s it from me guys. Let’s jump into the show.
Today we’re speaking with Jia Jiang, he’s a quite an inspiring person. I stumbled across him from his TEDx talk about rejection and it was very, very powerful. He recently did a talk at the World Domination Summit and a lot of my friends have been speaking so highly of his talking. You know I really wanted to just get inside his mind and find out how his rejection challenge is going about his current businesses and the challenge he’s faced and what we can learn from his experiences. So, Jia, thank you, thank you for coming on board.
Jia: Thank you for having me, Nathan.
Nathan: It’s a pleasure. For those that have not seen your TED talk, TEDx talk or have heard about your story, can you give us a little bit of a rundown?
Jia: Yeah so really quickly, I grew up in Beijing China and I met Bill Gates at a very…well as a teenager. And he really changed my view of seeing the world. You know I want to become an entrepreneur like him. So I came to the US when I was 16 then as a cultural exchange student and then later I went to school. So really one that’s always been my dream to build the next Microsoft. Then the funny thing is after coming here my view got polluted a lot by what’s out there, finding a job you know, this corporate rat race and because everyone else is doing it and I thought it’s a safe route that’s why I did it.
So I spent my 20s in the corporate world you know, getting pretty good jobs and making good money you know and bought a big house and everything. But the thing is that dream never left me and I wasn’t happy. So my wife and I made this pact when I was 30 and when she was pregnant that for me to quit my job. To start my company for six months so I can pursue this dream. So I did it four days before my first baby was born and you know it’s not the best timing but I had to do it.
So we started building the software/mobile app company and four months into my venture I thought I got a great opportunity to get an investment from an investor, pretty prominent investor. And I went out and tried really hard to get it and I got rejected. It felt really bad. You know it really didn’t…rejection didn’t feel good and I didn’t understand because I thought I have what it takes to be a good entrepreneur. You know I thought I have this mental toughness. I have this idea and I’m pretty smart and I loved education. So why would rejection still hurt this bad?
So I started searching and found this game called Rejection Therapy or basically, you’re asked to go out and look for rejection, you know. And so you can desensitize yourself from the pain and fear. I just loved that idea. So I did it. I said I’ll not only do it, I’ll do it for a hundred times and made a blog. I didn’t have an idea of building a big blog. I just wanted to share my story with the world and see what happens. You know like I went out and started asking for some crazy, crazy stuff.
Like you know, for example, I would hold a soccer ball or football may be in Australia and you know knock on a stranger’s door and say, “Can I play soccer in your backyard?” you know. One day I would flag down a police officer and say, “Can I drive your car?” One day I went to an airport and I said, “Can I fly your private plane?” So I started asking from crazy stuff with the intention of getting rejected but a funny thing is the more I asked, the more I found people will say yes to me. So those three examples I gave you, people said yes to all of them.
Yeah, it gave me a new view of the world and that the world I did not know before you know which is so much kinder, so much more accepting. And then if I found out if I have the confidence to ask for things, you know people can say yes. You know so had I not had a confidence to ask for those, I wouldn’t have this amazing experience. A lot of people followed my blog and told me what I’m doing is very inspiring and then I’ve had a hundred of these. And now as an entrepreneur, I discovered a whole new world which is I want to build. I want to find a world where people will not be afraid of rejection anymore. That’s my new goal now.
Nathan: Wow. And your story was very captivating and so you got this challenge and when did it start?
Jia: It started late last year and end last year…early this year. Yeah.
Nathan: And how many rejections have you gone through so far?
Jia: I went through 100 requests…actually more than 100 but I didn’t have released every video yet but I didn’t get all the rejections you know and some of them are acceptances.
Nathan: I see, interesting and I just wanted to know which has been your favorite rejection or the most or the biggest requested that it actually did not get rejected?
Jia: Not that this is the biggest but I’ll tell you the most famous one. The famous one is there’s Krispy Kreme, it’s a doughnut shop Australia do. So I went to a local Krispy Kreme store and asked the shift leader and said, “Hey, can I interlink five doughnuts and make them look like Olympic rings?” And there’s no way he was gonna say yes. You know, I’d even prepared a joke you know when she says no, I’m like start chatting. But then she took that request very seriously and she did it. You know she started Googling the color and she in 15 minutes, she made it. Not only she made it but also she thought it wasn’t good enough so she gave it to me for free. That was amazing experience for me.
Nathan: And what was going through your mind when that happened?
Jia: More like amazement. Really just I couldn’t believe it. That was my first yes. That was my first acceptance and I couldn’t believe people will say yes to that. At the moment, I was just in shock. And afterward I started reflecting on it and I thought, “Wow, this world’s very different than I thought.”
Nathan: That’s interesting. Now can you tell us a little bit about you know your business or your businesses that you’re running right now and let’s now dive into how you think your rejection challenge has helped you, you know, not being afraid of being rejected?
Jia: Well the business I was running was called Hooplus is basically on the game of five promises. You know, like when I make a promise to you, I want to say anything yes I will be on your show. When I fulfill that promise you know you can give me scores. You can say “He did it.” So basically gamify promises to make it more fun and to make people take care of their what they said but more seriously. That’s the idea of my business initially. When the funding got rejected at the Rejection Therapy and this whole new world opened up to me.
I received thousands of emails from people and how they can relate to my story. So right now my focus changed. Now being an entrepreneur is not about sticking to a cool idea. It’s really about finding a market and finding a need you can develop a solution to fill that need. So I found a much bigger need with then people having fun with your promises which is now is that everyone’s afraid of rejection. And I want to use my story and they use my developed products and I will develop solutions for people to overcome that fear.
So in terms of how overcoming fear can help you with business, I feel like I’m almost a changed person. Because I went out and saw rejection I thought rejection is… I used to think this is like this monster. This is this bag of hurt I should have just run away from. It’s something so negative so if I don’t ask for anything, if I don’t do anything crazy, I avoid that negative element in my life as a net-positive. My seeking rejection found out rejection is really just nothing more than people’s opinion, you know people’s preferences and opinions.
It doesn’t say anything about me. In fact, this is as much about that person who give the rejection than people who receive it. So for me, I no longer want to avoid rejection. I want to go out and seek rejection and give my ideas out there and ask for things. So if it gets rejected by world, that’s fine. At least I’m not rejecting it myself
Nathan: Yeah, so can you tell us some crazy, crazy goals if you have and you don’t even care if you get rejected, there’s a high possibility you might?
Jia: Crazy goals? Yeah, so I’ll give you one example. One day I just strolled into a local university you know, not sure how many of you know University of Texas in Austin, is one of the biggest public universities in the country. I went into campuses and started knocking on doors, professors’ doors and I say, “Hey, professor. I’m so-and-so. Can I give a lecture to your students?” Most people are like, “Okay, no.” Some people turn me away and it was not the best day because all professors were on vacation. But one person said, “Yeah, yeah let’s do it. You know, that sounds good. What will you talk about?”
I’m like, “I want to talk about rejection.” He’s like, “That sounds like an interesting topic. I teach communication so rejection is a big part of our communication. How do you overcome that?” So he invited me to his class and gave a talk. Now I come from a family of teachers in a four generation of teachers from all the way back in China. Having that opportunity to teach in front of a university was amazing. It’s something that made me very proud you know, and what’s gonna make my family very proud. So that’s one example I can give you.
Nathan: Wow, I think what it really comes down to is you know how much balls you have right or how much guts you have.
Jia: Balls, guts…it becomes easier. It becomes easier to do. You know at the beginning if you see my…you can go to my blog and find out all the rejection requests I have done. The first one I was scared out of my mind but now like after a while I started getting this mental edge and that started not giving a crap about what other people feel. That started trying to focus on what I do having the courage to ask what I would say. My body posture, my eye contact, the way I talk, I slowed down sending confidence through my body. That’s what I focus on instead of the other person will say yes or no
Nathan: I see. So it’s not about just going and asking like you don’t care, it’s also about trying to get that acceptance.
Jia: Yeah. So make a ridiculous request and make sure that request would put me in a very uncomfortable situation. You know this, I don’t want to be comfortable when I ask that question. That’s not fun. I want to be very uncomfortable but when I make that request, I want to do my best to get that request. And if I don’t, I don’t care, you know.
Nathan: I see because I think one thing that as entrepreneurs is if you will get rejected you’re going to make these sales calls. You’re going to ask people for help and sometimes people are just gonna say no and we all feel that I guess that gut-wrenching feeling inside when your mind tells you should be doing something. Or maybe you could do this then your mind tells you again, “No, no, that won’t work out.” And then you’re playing mind games with yourself.
Jia: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the problem. That’s the problem with seeing rejection as something negative. You know we’ve heard this word you know people call themselves, results-oriented, right? You know whether it’s on the resume or it’s when they’re telling themselves, “I’m results-oriented.” And I feel results-oriented is the worst thing because when your results-oriented when you’re a salesperson trying to pick up that phone, you start caring really, really much about are you gonna get a yes or no.
And when that happens, when you’ll hear that no you’ll feel like a failure and when you feel like a failure, that pain and that fear of not wanting to have this started playing your mind and you start taking it very personally. You start saying things about yourself you know, ‘Maybe I’m not good at this. You know maybe I did something very wrong. Maybe I should have done this. Maybe…” You know, the worse is “I’m not a good salesperson. You know I’m not a good entrepreneur. I’m not good at this.”
Pretty quickly people will draw that conclusion. What I found is you give the same request with the same word you’re saying you know, without changing anything in the same environment, you make the sale. You say the same thing to 10 people, you know maybe five of them say yes, five of them say no. Or seven of them say no to three will say yes. Your goal is not to cry over the seven. It’s actually, find those three. So when the seven happens, you’ll be like, “Sure, that’s let’s keep going until I find out those people who would be acceptive to my message.”
Nathan: You know, it’s almost like you desensitize yourself to that feeling so it doesn’t hurt you and somebody that actually is training…like you’re essentially training yourself to desensitize the feeling that you get from rejection after you know, over 100 hundred rejections almost?
Jia: Yeah, yeah. I didn’t get 100 rejections. I got…I made 100 requests.
Nathan: A hundred requests. After 100 requests, do you still get that feeling?
Jia: I think that feeling will never fully leave me, but is really just minimal now you know minimal. So sometimes when I get rejected I can always go back to my experience and draw upon the strength you know that I have, what I learned. And then sometimes I feel rejections are even motivating you know, I’m like, “Okay, interesting. I got a rejection over this. Let me see how many rejections I get before I get a yes.”
Nathan: I totally get that, and I think from just talking to you, I think it’s very powerful because it won’t go right but awareness is a very powerful thing, right. So once you’re aware of that feeling that you’re getting, it won’t play with your mind and you know, your mind won’t trick you.
Jia: Right. This is something completely psychological. Your mind or yourself is something some of the easiest things to change are also the hardest thing to change. But once you have that awareness, once you have that training, you can draw upon your experience and start it you know, just start making requests that you wouldn’t normally do or you didn’t have the strength to do before.
Nathan: Yeah, I think it’s so powerful. Just push your comfort zone and that’s when you grow, right?
Jia: Yes, that’s right.
Nathan: And and I catch myself. You know I tell myself, “Oh I should do that and then I feel this fear inside of me and sometimes…I recently read an article by my friend Benny Soo that it was a blog post called “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways” And sometimes it pops out of my head now and I’m just like, “Well, I should feel that and that’s something telling me if I’m scared or scared of getting rejected, I should do it.” Because that’s what my body’s telling me. And I think that’s very important in terms of developing hustle because as entrepreneurs you really, really need to develop hustle.
You need to go out there and ask for help. You need to be networking. You need to be speaking to people. You need to start getting contacts and asking for help and finding solutions to the roadblocks that you’re going to have. And I think what it really all comes back to just from talking with you is it’s yeah, just not being afraid to ask for help.
Jia: I wanna go back to what you mentioned about “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” I actually did just that a few days ago you know, before my WDS talk. I went on downtown Austin and I gave a public storytelling. I practiced my talk in front of on the street, you know. I had a sign saying “Public storytelling, stop by.” And I would…it was really scary. And I’m gonna say because I’m not afraid of public speaking per se because I’ve done it, I’ve done it on the stage in front of thousands of people. That’s okay.
But being on the street holding up a sign and having the people walk by and just take a look at me with a strange look that is… that was scary. That was very scary so Many moments I’m like no one knows about this, I shouldn’t do it. You know I just turn around and go home and all the world won’t know. Let me try something lesser. No, when I got that gut-wrenching fear I’m like, “Okay, this means I gotta do it. I just have to do it.” So I did it and I’m so glad I did. I got people stopping by and just listen to me. There’s something that when you overcome the fear the feeling is awesome. The feeling is awesome.
Nathan: Yeah, it is a great feeling, isn’t it? Like I was doing an interview with someone in person. His name is John de Martini that it was an in-person interview and this guy speaks to thousands, hundreds of thousands of people in a year. And I was really really scared and I just…I was so nervous I even said that I was gonna cancel it and my friend pushed me. My friend was helping with the camera stuff and he’s pushy. He said, “Now, look, just do it, man. You’re gonna be glad you did it afterward.” And that fear that I had, afterward I just was on an absolute high because I pushed myself and yeah, yeah I can totally relate. And as entrepreneurs, you find this in your journey.
Jia: Had you said no, that feeling we’ll be so bad, would be so bad it will stick with you for a long time. It’s like, “I got that chance. I let it go. Because of my own fear no one no one else told me no, I told myself no.” Right? That feeling, that regret is this worse. It’s so much worse than say you give…have an interview with a bomb. You know that’s okay, you tried. You know you gave a shot. You did your best and it didn’t work out, that’s okay. But to not do is worst.
Nathan: Yeah, I know. Yeah, look as entrepreneurs we have so many ideas going through our heads that you just want to try it now, don’t you? You just want to try and see what happens and you know you might get knocked back, you might get rejected, it might not work out but it doesn’t matter anymore, does it?
Jia: No, no, it doesn’t.
Nathan: All right, well I’m really enjoying this conversation. Let’s switch gears and I wanted to ask you about rejection on a deep level. Why do you think society has made us so scared of being rejected?
Jia: Yeah I’ve been thinking about this question as well. You know and I have a one-year-old boy and he does things. When he wants something, he just go and get it. And he hasn’t…he doesn’t have this fear of rejection at least not yet. So I feel like when we’re born we really didn’t have that kind of fear of rejection. But as we grow up we started to interact with people. We started forming these social groups. We’ll start feeling something we do we’ll get rejected by other people. We don’t like that feeling and then we quick…pretty quickly will learn, “Okay, doing this I’ll get rejected, bad.
You know, doing this I am not rejected, good. So I’m not doing this more and so other people are not gonna reject me.” So in a way we learn social skills that’s good, but that the price for doing…for learning the social skills is also we lost some of our courage, our imagination for doing the unorthodox, the unconventional. We start trying to think in conventional manners and trying to avoid pain. That becomes our main motivation. So as we grow older and older, it’s hard to get out of that trap. It’s hard to get out that…you know we all want to be liked. You know you and me, everyone wants to be liked. So to get over that fear of not being liked, not being accepted by other people is tough.
Nathan: Yeah and that kind of moves on nicely to our next question and that is what advice would you have to people that have a…you know or young entrepreneurs…everybody has this feeling that they feel inside of them. What advice would you give besides just get out there and do it?
Jia: Oh, get up and get out there and do it, that’s important. I’ll give you one advice and get out and do it. Next time you’re in a grocery store, ask the clerk, say, “Can I have a tour in the warehouse.” You know it’s very easy. It’s not comfortable but ask it. All right, the clerk is not gonna shoot you. The clerk is not going to fight you. It’s very safe but it’s very uncomfortable. Ask that question and see what happens. No matter what he says you’re gonna feel pretty good afterward. That’s the go out there and do it part.
Another thing I want to say is you have to focus on what you do, not the reaction from other people. There are two type of things in a world that’s you know, I learned it from Wayne Dyer. He’s a famous psychologist and has a long quote I like from him is he said, “There are two type of things in the world. Those that we can control and those we cannot control.” For those things we can control, you have to worry about it because you can control it. All right, just control it. For those things you cannot control, you don’t have to worry about it because the worrying does nothing because we can’t control it.
Now I learned if we focus our attention to what our action is you know, making that call, you know reaching out your hand and then speak with confidence, believe in your product. You can focus on those and you can control what you’re doing. Then don’t worry about whether the person will say yes or not. That’s one of the crucial learnings I got from doing this 100 Days of Rejection.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. That’s extremely inspiring, man, thank you.
Jia: Oh, thanks. I mean I feel it’s true. It’s really true. You know it changed me as a person. Now I have a chance to talk to a lot of people. A lot of people reach out to me. You know, I used to be very shy. You know I used to be not like to the extreme level but I wasn’t that open especially I’m not comfortable with strangers. I really am not. In a networking session, by going to a room where people just you know, form circles, oh my gosh. Thinking about those situations make me sweat. That’s why I hate networking session, I hate the word networking.
But now this has taught me, rejection therapy has taught me like go to those sessions. Reach out your hand to one person and then focus on what you’re saying. Shake their hand and start talking. Start focussing on what you do. Don’t worry about these people. They’re not all watching you. Even though if they are, don’t care. Just focus on what you do. That’s just a really strong application in terms of entrepreneurship.
Nathan: Yeah, no. Great, great advice, man and just something shouting out at me and it’s something that I I do and I’m sure everybody else does is you want to go do something but you’re scared. You feel that feeling inside but really if you ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” You still don’t want to do it. Like you can ask yourself, what’s the worst thing can happen with that feeling is still there.
Jia: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Like that doesn’t work…I mean it works to a point. Yeah, you ask what’s the worst that can happen, you might become…okay, yeah what’s the worst that can happen? That is still scary. That’s true.
Nathan: Yeah and I just wanted to say you know, how you said it’s changed your life, rejection therapy. Your friends, what do they say that’s different about you now that they have noticed?
Jia: Well they say I have so much more confidence and the way I speak…I used to be just trying to speak as fast as they can and make sure I get every word in before they say no before they turn their head. You know and I make sure I get my point across. And they see I’m just…I gained so much confidence. Now I know the slower I speak the better the effect is. That’s what I learned. And when I slow down they pay attention to me. They know what I have to say. You know people are very reactive. People reflect. People react to other people’s energy level. They really do. And so I learned how to control myself. That’s the most important improvement I made.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s really interesting to hear that. So I have one last question, we have to work toward wrapping things up and that is, I usually ask this question to every person that I interview and that is, what are some words of advice or wisdom, what’s the question that you really wanted me to ask you in this interview which you would like to answer? Just some parting words.
Jia: Wow. Okay, I want you to ask me can anyone do it? Can anyone do this?
Nathan: Yeah. Can anyone do this?
Jia: The answer is yes it really is yes. And you know looking back on my story you know I live in America but I grew up in China and came here. I didn’t know the language. I was a very awkward teenager. I didn’t have any friends. I had a lot of social rejections in this country, you know. And a lot of them were even out of my control you know. In college, I did a lot of failures. You know I had financial problems. I had my car towed. All this happened before I was 23 years old. I was a young person and I turned out to be okay. And I turned out to be okay and I had rejection after rejection. I did not give up.
I did not make judgment against myself and then gradually I found okay, as I grew older I gain experience. And now I learn rejection, I still hold down to my dream and I did it. You know I did it. I’m not a world-class entrepreneur yet but I’m on the path to my dream. I’m now on the path to change the world. Everyone can do it so don’t let rejection get you down.
Nathan: Wow. That was the best answer we’ve had just yet but you really did just put your heart on the line and it was so congruent with who you are. And you know that was amazing that…when you were telling me that, your last answer and I was thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m so lucky to be blessed, to be speaking with you right now, man.” That was awesome. That was super inspiring.
Jia: Thank you. It was my honor as well. You know it was my honor to share my thought with you and your readers.I have this idea you know we…I want to make the world a better place. You know and by doing what I’m doing I really am helping a lot of people.
Nathan: And that’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it? It’s the best feeling, isn’t it? When you get that feeling of getting that email somebody telling you, “Man, you’ve really helped change my life.” Because it feels good to give something back, doesn’t it?
Jia: Yeah it does and to me, really being an entrepreneur is that’s what it’s about. You know what, we’re doing what Steve Jobs said, right? We’re making a dent to the universe but making a positive impact. You know it’s not about making money. In fact, if you wanna make money being an entrepreneur, it’s one of the worst things to do. It’s a lot safer to be in a corporation and get guaranteed money but if you really want to make a positive impact to the world, you cannot do that in a corporation. You know you have to make…change things and put yourself out there. That’s what this is about.
Nathan: Yeah, I know. Spot on, man. And that’s one thing I’m actually starting to learn now too, to be honest. It’s not just like entrepreneurship, creating a business, doing something that…it’s not just about making a profit. It’s not about that at all. It’s really about adding value, doing something that can help others and improve their lives and that’s the real purpose behind the magazine. That’s why I get up, you know I got up at 5:45, 5:30 AM to speak to you. And this is what drives me.
Jia: Wow. You know, and really I feel that entrepreneurship…this is the difference between what’s you and I are doing than what the drug dealers are doing. Because both are about making money and think things outside a box but we’re trying to make positive impacts, another is just trying to make money and doing bad things.
Nathan: Yeah, I know. That’s right and you know it’s also, man, how good is it. It is awesome to wake up in the morning and just be excited about the day.
Jia: Oh yeah. I couldn’t have this feeling in wealth, you know collecting six-figure incomes. I couldn’t get that feeling at all even though I made good money. But right now, I get up every day thinking, “It’s a new day. This is a fresh day. This is an exciting day. I wonder what’s gonna happen. Let’s go tackle some issues.”
Nathan: Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. And you know you get emails. You mentioned you get a lot of emails. What is the most captivating story that has really touched you from your emails you got?
Jia: Yeah, yeah. I’ll tell you this. I used this example at WDS talk as well. There was a person, his name is Michael. He sent me an email one day and he said he’s been afraid of rejection he’s seen in her life. You know and that’s just who he is and even at restaurants to ask for ketchup just turns his stomach. So he doesn’t do it. He asks his kids to do it. So he’s that type of person. Last year, his wife was diagnosed with cancer and he said the American Medical system, there’s….we know there’s one thing for sure, he had to keep pushing for things to get things done.
He has to ask doctors, ask nurses, ask the hospitals. Can we do this and what about a report? So he saw what I was doing, you know my blog. He’s like, “You have a lot of guts in asking for this crazy request. But you’re doing this to train yourself. I’m really trying to save my wife’s life here. If you have the courage to ask for crazy stuff like that, why shouldn’t I ask the doctors to get things done?” So he started training himself and started asking and then, you know he thanked me. And that story has always sticked with me. And I know what I’m doing is changing people’s lives. It’s really helping people.
Nathan: Wow that’s amazing. It’s amazing.
Jia: It was pretty amazing. It’s really above…went way above what I thought this was gonna be. But now you know it’s like a discovered mission in life and that’s what I’m doing.
Nathan: It’s very powerful. Look, yeah, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, man.
Jia: Yeah, me too. I had a lot of fun and I’m pretty glad you’re doing what you’re doing to inspire young entrepreneurs and providing these platforms where people like us can you know get a message across.
Nathan: Thank you. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you and yeah, I just want to thank you for taking the time.
Jia: Thank you, Nathan. I had a lot of fun.
- Learn more about Jia on his website
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