For Life on Purpose Episode #18, I’m joined by entrepreneur, author, and speaker Jia Jiang for an inspiring conversation about rejection, fear, conscious intent, kindness, and his new book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. Jia was a guest on my previous show Radio Enso (listen to that chat here) after he wowed the crowd at WDS 2013 with tales of his rejection experiments; it was great to catch up with him again and hear more about his book and what he has planned for the future.

About Jia Jiang:

Jia Jiang is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, and speaker. His brand new book is entitled Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. Several years into his career in the corporate world, he took a life altering risk and stepped into the unknown world of entrepreneurship, which resulted in everyone’s biggest fear… REJECTION.

This became the catalyst that set him on the path to his true calling. To conquer the fear of rejection, he embarked on a personal quest and started a blog to face 100 Days of Rejection. His journey revealed a world that was hidden in plain sight, a world where people are much kinder than we imagine, discovering that rejection can be much less painful than we believe, and that it’s the fear of rejection that is much more destructive than we know.

He’s taken that message to the stage and is an outstanding keynote speaker. His TEDx talk is among the top 200 most-watched TED talks of all-time. His story has also been shared on Bloomberg Businessweek, Yahoo News, Forbes, the Huffington Post, and many more.

RejectionProofAbout Rejection Proof:

Jia Jiang came to the United States with the dream of being the next Bill Gates. But despite early success in the corporate world, his first attempt to pursue his entrepreneurial dream ended in rejection. Jia was crushed, and spiraled into a period of deep self doubt. But he realized that his fear of rejection was a bigger obstacle than any single rejection would ever be, and he needed to find a way to cope with being told no without letting it destroy him. Thus was born his “100 days of rejection” experiment, during which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis—from requesting a lesson in sales from a car salesman (no) to asking a flight attendant if he could make an announcement on the loud speaker (yes) to his famous request to get Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the shape of Olympic rings (yes, with a viral video to prove it).

Jia learned that even the most preposterous wish may be granted if you ask in the right way, and shares the secret of successful asking, how to pick targets, and how to tell when an initial no can be converted into something positive. But more important, he learned techniques for steeling himself against rejection and ways to develop his own confidence—a plan that can’t be derailed by a single setback. Filled with great stories and valuable insight, Rejection Proof is a fun and thoughtful examination of how to overcome fear and dare to live more boldly.

To learn more about Jia and Rejection Proof, visit

Episode Summary:

In JUST the first 10 minutes of our inspiring conversation, Jia and I discussed:

  • Rejection as a universal human condition: “Some of us are less afraid than others, but underneath the appearance or facade we put on, I think all of us are somewhat uncomfortable with rejection. But most of us are terrified of it!”
  • Rejection’s (likely) evolutionary roots: “When we think about rejection, there’s this life and death feeling, even though intellectually we know there’s almost no life or death involved in any rejection. But we still feel it. And that’s probably genetic.”
  • His definition of rejection: “Rejection is basically one person going up to one person or a group of people to present an idea, a proposal, a product, or even sometimes themselves but the other person says no.”
  • A great post from his blog in 2013, What Rejection Is, Isn’t, and Could Be: “We sometimes think that rejection is maybe for the less fortunate or for the less powerful, but actually we all face rejection. The more successful we are in life, the more rejection we’ll get. Because the more influential we become, our decisions and ideas will impact more people. So rejection is really an equal opportunity giver.”
  • Rejection as an opinion of others: “We often mistake rejection as some sort of universal truth. In the end, it’s just one person’s opinion. It could be his/her mood that day, that person’s background, upbringing, education, prejudice… Who knows? We can’t control any of those things… But we take it so personally. We think it’s all about us. But sometimes, it’s so much more about the other person than you.”
  • His analogy of rejection as a muscle that you build “In my 100 Days, I basically put myself out there every day to get rejected. Then I made a video blog about it. By getting rejected once per day, I was gradually putting myself outside of my comfort zone, little by little. And then my comfort zone expanded. And in the end, I felt almost invincible, that I could ask anything of anyone, anywhere!”
  • PLUS much more later on including his TEDx talk, his WDS speech, and his new book Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection.