Why entrepreneur Jia Jing exposed himself to 100 rejections


Entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jia Jing spent years regretting that his fear of rejection had stopped him from starting his own business, until he embarked on a novel process to fight fear.

Jing is known for his ‘100 Days of Rejection’ video project, and in this TED Talk he shares the only thing that’s ever helped him face fear and take control of his own business projects: exposure to rejection.

After asking Google for solutions to his fears, only to be faced with clichéd advice, in 2013 Jing decided to film himself performing 100 tasks that would end in almost certain rejection.

The list started with “Borrow $100 from a stranger” and also included: “Be a greeter at Starbucks”, “Ask a girl out to dinner” and “Speak over Costco’s intercom”.

As Jing completed more and more “rejection” tasks, he discovered that he not only became more willing to negotiate roadblocks in his own business, but there was a secret to getting people to listen to requests when he worried that a question sounded crazy.

When he acknowledged the potential concerns of strangers while making requests of them—even by simply saying “this might be weird” before he asked for help—they were more likely to engage with him.

“Again and again, I learned that if I mentioned some doubt people might have before I asked the question, I gained their trust—people were more likely to say yes to me,” he says.

Jing now works as a motivational speaker and author, discussing the topics of persistence and rejection.

And after years of procrastination, he says one key lesson from the project went well beyond business success.

“I learned that I could fulfil my life dream—by asking,” he says.

This article was originally published on SmartCompany. 

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Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.