The Fear of Rejection: How to Stop Worrying and Take Action

fear of rejectionAre you terrified of failure? Almost everyone has experienced a moment of fear that they might not achieve their goals. Fear of rejection is a completely natural feeling –a blow to your confidence that everyone in history has been forced to deal with.

Just like any other fear, the fear of rejection is something you can overcome through rational thinking, self-analysis and action. In this guide, you’ll learn eight tactics for overcoming your fear of rejection and taking decisive action to achieve your goals.

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Treat rejection as a learning experience

idea generation techniquesIn many ways, rejection is a good thing. While it never feels good to be rejected, the perspective you gain when you’re turned down for a promotion, a job, a date, or any other opportunity can give you the knowledge you need to change your life.

After all, if you’re never told you aren’t suitable for something, you’d go on living in ignorance of reality. Sometimes, rejection is the painful truth you need to make the right long-term decisions.

The next time you’re rejected for something, don’t take it personally. Treat it as an opportunity to examine what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and how you can change your life for the better.

When you’re rejected, ask for feedback

fear of rejectionAn important part of learning from rejection is gaining information about why you didn’t achieve your goals. The next time you’re turned down for an opportunity, ask why to learn about what you can change in the future.

Asking for feedback after a failed job interview isn’t a faux pas – in fact, many people appreciate someone that’s interested in learning from their mistakes. The next time you don’t get the outcome you expected, use it as an opportunity to gain feedback.

This tactic can be applied to more than just unsuccessful job interviews. The tactics in our course, How to Interview Your Customers and Get Useful Feedback, are ideal for entrepreneurs and marketers that want to learn and grow from their mistakes.

What’s the worst that could happen?

fear of rejectionA great deal of fear is irrational. From flying on an airplane to asking out a stranger, many things that seem risky or dangerous actually have very few consequences of any significance.

If you find yourself feeling anxious or worried, ask yourself a simple question: What is the worst that could happen? When you analyze a situation, you often discover that the negative consequences are far less serious than you originally thought.

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Learn to ignore your own opinion

fear of rejectionAre you turning into your own worst enemy? Many people are far too critical when it comes to themselves. This is a side effect of intelligence and education: the more you know, the more you think you don’t know.

Some of the smartest, most capable people fail to achieve their goals because they convince themselves that they’re unrealistic, idealistic, or impossible. Defeat this attitude by learning to ignore your voice of doubt and self-critical opinions.

Instead of reminding yourself why you can’t do something, take a positive approach and tell yourself why you can do something. When you start ignoring your negative mind, conquering fear and taking decisive action becomes second nature.

Do you need help developing a positive, action-focused attitude? Learn how to make positive psychology a fundamental part of your mindset with Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Success.

Remember, everyone gets rejected

am i depressedIn the late 1970s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned down for role after role. With the benefit of hindsight, the reasons for Arnold’s constant rejection are comical: his accent was too strong, his muscles were too big and his acting skills rudimentary.

In 1919, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star. Why? Because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Lady Gaga was rejected by her label after less than three months, while Jerry Seinfeld was fired from his first television sitcom.

Study the backstory of any successful person and you’ll find one rejection followed by another. Instead of letting rejection define them, the world’s most successful people trust their vision and take action when they encounter an obstacle.

Do you need help bouncing back from rejection or personal failure? Check out The Science of Happiness: Hacks and Skills to Flourish, to learn the most effective strategies for putting failure behind you and taking action in your life.

Turn weaknesses into strengths

fear of rejectionIconic essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson had a great quote for making weaknesses a thing of the past: “Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.”

Almost every weakness you have, from poor concentration to a lack of knowledge, can be turned into a strength with the right attitude. Through hard work (or smart work) it’s possible to overcome any weakness and make it a defining feature.

Are you terrified of public speaking? Start small and practice talking to a tiny group of your peers. Can’t afford to expand your business? Focus on creative, cheap tactics that grow your audience without depleting your bank account.

Creating opportunities out of obstacles is one of the tenets of stoic philosophy. Join our Introduction to Philosophy course to learn more about using philosophic ideas to solve problems and create the life you want.

Create routines to make action easy

Running Man On StairsWhen your next step is a mystery, it’s easy to convince yourself that you can’t make any progress. One of the best ways to defeat your fear of rejection is by simplifying complex and difficult tasks by breaking them down into easily achievable steps.

Achieving ambitious goals is a lot like learning to swim: you can’t just dive into the pool and expect success. Instead, you need to break it down into several steps and focus on learning each one before the next.

Being able to create step-by-step routines is the key to achieving your goals. Learn how to break down complex skills and difficult tasks into manageable routines in our Learning to Learn course.

Constantly challenge yourself

fear of rejectionOne of the most common irrational fears is fear of the unknown. When you aren’t familiar with something, it’s easy to assume that it’s more dangerous and serious than it really is.

Think of an extreme sport like skydiving. To a novice, it’s a terrifying activity that requires nerves of steel. To a seasoned expert, however, diving out of a plane is an everyday activity no different from riding a bicycle or rowing a boat.

The reason for this huge gap in comfort is familiarity. When you challenge yourself and constantly try new things, the fear of rejection and failure begins to fade away, often to be replaced with a new sense of confidence in your abilities.

Do you want to increase your confidence and make rejection something that doesn’t scare you? Join over 1,600 students in our Double Your Confidence course and learn the secret to feeling more confident than ever before.

Do you want to feel inspired?

From Walt Disney to Steve Jobs, many of history’s most successful people dealt with rejection time and time again in their careers. Learn how the world’s most talented people overcame rejection in our blog post on the work habits of entrepreneurs.