What do you really want? You can’t have it. Ever.
It’s going to be difficult to write a blog about rejection because most people have an automatic reaction to rejection. The word tends to be experienced with negativity. Not sure if that is true?
Stop what you are doing and be introspective. How do you feel about the first part of this blog? The part where I told you that you can’t have what you really want, ever. Most people who look inside experience some sense of negative reaction to the idea of never having what they really want. That is a simple thought experiment on rejection.
“To the brain, there isn’t a difference between pain and rejection.”
Depending on the mindset and personal situation, people experience the automatic body and mental reaction of rejection.
Rejection hurts. Brain scans show that rejection is processed in the same way as it experiences physical pain. To the brain, there isn’t a difference between pain and rejection. The amygdala, where fight or flight signals are produced, simply wants to get as far away from the pain of rejection as possible. If it can’t escape, it wants to fight and destroy whatever is causing the pain.
At the risk of oversimplifying my point, a recent ex-girlfriend could be driven by their brains’ effort to fight the pain of rejection resulting in a Taylor Swift level reaction; slicing tires, deep dents, and metal level scratch in a new truck.
If rejection hurts so much, why write about it? I write and research about rejection because it’s grossly miss understood and miss applied. For many years, rejection and the potential of being rejected held me back from getting what I really want out of life. Now it’s a key technique in getting the best in every scenario.
Here is another way to put it. I believe that the reason people rarely experience the best things in life is that they do not reject the good and better things in life. I don’t like the phrase “people settle for less.” It’s missing a key point. People don’t settle. They say ‘yes’ too soon and don’t say ‘no’ enough.
“Rejection secrets in a job offer: Reject the first offer.”
Imagine a person gets a job offer and the initial salary is about what they expected to make, or maybe less. It’s close enough so they don’t reject the first offer. They say yes. I don’t believe that people in that situation are settling. They are simply responding to a good situation with a quick reaction. They are also avoiding the awkward feeling of having to reject a good offer.
In every job offer, the initial offer is typically a good offer. It’s not their best offer. So what can a person do in that situation? Don’t say yes. Ask a question that the company would reject.
“Is that your final offer?” That is a terrible question. It’s too easy to say yes. Unless they are concerned with being rejected. Open the door for a yes, but save it for the best offer. A better question is “I appreciate the offer and this position requires a lot of time, experience, and details that only a select few, like myself, could fulfill. I’m curious, what is the best salary available for this position?” Two things can happen with a question like this. One: Well, we can budget this higher amount. Or option two: NO. This is the best offer we have right now.
Option one opens the door for a person to get more out of the offer. Option two lets the person know that they are firm on their salary and can decide if it’s the best for their situation, or if they’d like to explore other options. In either case, don’t stop there. After they share out either option, ask “I see that this is the best salary. Working for this company comes with other non-pay benefits. I’m curious if we could look at… (more PTO, Sick Time, Health Benefits, Retirement Matching, ETC.)?” The same two responses are applicable. The secret is to keep asking until you’ve been rejected and verified that the best offer is on the table.
Rejection secrets in a job offer: Don’t say yes to the first offer. Keep asking if there is more room in the budget for better pay to match the skills and job requirements. Once they reject any other increases, don’t say yes. Seek out additional benefits that are not related to salary. Once they reject any other additional perks you’ve got the best salary on the table and the best benefits on the table. Now you say yes to the best job offer possible.
They say curiosity killed the cat. It’s a lovely alliteration. It is not very helpful in the real world. Curiosity is one of the best approaches to circumventing the negative, automatic reactions of rejection. This is what it looks like: Rejected. Ouch. “I’m curious…”
Perhaps you can see how a rejection of a job offer can help people get more out of the offer. Either they get more, or they get the assurance that it’s the best offer. Rejection is good for getting the best out of life because it gives us the power of Thors Hammer to lightning bolt through good and better and conquer the best things in life. Cheesy metaphor. But the point is that rejection is powerful, painful, and can strike at any time. A person who is ready to harness that power gets the best out of life.
“If we can get a firm stand on the grounds of rejection, then we can more effectively deal with suffering, which is a form of rejection.”
Can rejection bring happiness if the brain experiences it as physical pain? Rejection brings happiness but not in the way you would think. Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, an ancient philosopher and teacher, is attributed with teaching on the foundation of all unhappiness. He taught that suffering is the inevitable state of unhappiness in life. In his time, he called it Duhka which translates into “suffering”, “unhappiness”, “pain”, “unsatisfactoriness” or “stress”.
When I sit back and think about it, I find that I agree that suffering is part of unhappiness. It may be said that suffering, pain, stress, unsatisfactoriness are all foundations of an unfulfilled, lackluster unhappy life. If those are the foundation, the earth upon with they are built is rejection.
If we can get a firm stand on the grounds of rejection, then we can more effectively deal with suffering, which is a form of rejection. For example, pain is a rejection of comfort; stress is a rejection of a calm mind. Dissatisfaction is a rejection of being satisfied. Etcetera. Etcetera. The point here is that rejection, in my mind, is at the root of all negative things in life.
Comparing rejection with being the earth and Duhka or suffering as the foundation to all unhappiness, is a helpful analogy because we don’t have to stay on the foundation suffering. We can reject how we automatically react to suffering. We can be grounded on the earth and enjoy the fruits of rejection which when done right, can lead to the best things in life.
Ever since I was a middle schooler, who had to transition from homeschool to public school, I’ve actively sought out effective ways to deal with rejection. Over the last seven years, I’ve spent time diving into the academic literature. From cognitive, psychological, behavioral sciences, and pop-culture self-help books. All bring unique, and helpful insights into rejection.
In this series of blog posts, I’m going to share what I’ve learned over decades of personal development, academic research, and conceptual rejection methods to help anyone who may be interested in learning new and time tested ways of overcoming rejection.
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