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How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures

No one really likes to be rejected, right? Sure, some people deal with it better than others. Like if you’re a sales person and hearing “no” fires you up and gets you excited to find another way to get to “yes.” But those people are rare.

For the vast majority of us, hearing “no” or “you’re not good enough” or anything along those lines can have any affect ranging from mild annoyance to life-altering, catastrophic thoughts.

We all handle it differently. But we would all be better off if we just learned how to beat the fear of rejection and be able to handle whatever life throws our way.

But first, let’s talk about the word “failure.”

What Does Failure Really Mean?

To most people, “failure” is a dirty word. It’s just about the worst word you can be associated with. Because who wants to be labeled a failure, right? Or even have a singe failure in your life?

But let’s get real. ALL of us “fail” from time to time. And l really hate the word failure. It is so negative and implies that there is something wrong with you – or that you did something wrong.

There is nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We’re all different, and we all have our own talents.

So instead of defining failure in terms of shame, look at it as a learning experience.

For example, let’s say you’re divorced. Some people would label that as a “failure.” You know… a “failed” marriage.

Sure, it’s true that the marriage ended in divorce. But why is that automatically a failure? Hopefully you learned something about yourself, marriage, and what to do better next time.

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See? “Failure” can really be a learning experience. And it can make your life better.

Now, let’s look at how you can overcome the fear of rejection, so you don’t see yourself as a “failure.”

How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection

Now that you hopefully realize that “failure” is not a death sentence and can actually be a good thing, let’s look at how you can beat the fear of rejection.

1. Redefine the Meaning of Rejection

Just like we’ve re-defined the meaning of “failure,” we also need to re-define the meaning of “rejection.” Most people think it means you’re “not good enough.” But what does that mean, really? That’s not an objective, truthful statement. Instead, it’s completely subjective.

For example, let’s say you went on a first date and they never called you again. Sure, you could look at it as rejection and that you’re not good enough for them. Or, you could see it as a blessing. Thank God that person didn’t like you, because now it frees you up to find someone who really does. See the difference?

2. Examine Your History with Rejection

We all have a past, and it starts with our childhood. Some people are lucky and are born into loving families who build up your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself. But not all.

A lot of people are born into families who tear them down and make them feel “not good enough.” And as a result, they probably have a self-fulfilling prophecy going on in their lives.

Whether it’s not getting the jobs they want, or accepting bad behavior from romantic partners, your history with rejection is directly related to how you deal with it.

3. Look at What You’re Doing (Or Not Doing)

Sometimes we do play a part in the rejection. That doesn’t mean we’re a bad person, a loser, or a failure. It just means that we can examine our behavior to see how we can change it so we can be more successful.

For instance, maybe someone broke up with you because you were chasing them and acting needy. Well, you can change that next time! Or you didn’t get a job because your interview skills weren’t up to par. Well, you can change that too!

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See what I’m getting at?

4. Expect the Rejection

This is not what it actually sounds like. I’m not suggesting that you see yourself as a loser who always gets rejected, so you always expect it.

What I really mean is that we usually put too much negative energy into what we fear. In other words, if you envision yourself getting rejected by someone (or something), then you can get “comfortable” with it.

If you “expect it,” then when it happens, you won’t be as devastated. This is tricky to do while keeping a positive attitude, but it can be done.

5. Let Go of the Victim Mentality

“Why me? Why me? Why do bad things always happen to me?” That’s called a victim mentality. It implies that you are powerless in life and that you have no control over what happens to you.

That is totally wrong. Sure, we can’t control everything that happens to us. What we CAN control is how we react to it, how we think about it, what we do with it in the future. That is all within our control.

But if you have a victim mentality, you’ll never be happy.

6. Develop Realistic Expectations

Say if you just graduated college, and you applied for a six-figure job that requires ten years of experience. And you don’t get the job. Ummm. Why would you? Your experience doesn’t match the requirements. So technically, you weren’t rejected. You just had unrealistic expectations.

This goes for anything else in life. Sure, we’d all like to date a super model who is a millionaire, but come on, how many of those do you now? Exactly my point.

7. Look at Life as a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Sometimes we get over-ambitious or impatient with the things we want. We live in a culture of people who want immediate gratification. We want it… and we want it NOW.

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Well, life doesn’t work that way. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Just because you’re getting rejected now, doesn’t mean you will always get rejected. It just means it’s not the right time.

8. Embrace Rejection as Part of Personal Growth

You can get rejected, wallow in your negative feelings and never get over it. Or, you can look at rejection as way to grow as a person.

What did you learn from getting rejected? How can you improve the way you think, or what you do?

If you just let rejection ruin you, and you don’t use the experience to grow as a person, then you are probably doomed to repeat it.

9. Rejection Gets You Closer to What You Want

Just because someone or something didn’t want you doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone or something (or many) that DOES want you!

I look back on my life and realize that everything I got rejected from was leading down a different path, which turned out way better than my original plan.

But the problem is that you can only realize how great the rejection was in retrospect – once you gain some insight when it become the past.

Trust me, it does happen if you have the right attitude.

10. Trust Yourself Enough to Know You’ll Survive

Ironically, sometimes being rejected isn’t the REAL fear. That sounds strange, right?

The REAL fear is not being able to cope with the rejection. You think that your world will fall apart, and you will crumble as a person.

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But think about it. If you get rejected, how is your life any different than it was yesterday? It’s NOT! And you survived yesterday just fine, right? It’s just that your expectations were violated. You survived before, and so you can survive this too!

11. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

There is a great song by Garth Brooks that I absolutely love, Standing Outside the Fire. If you’ve never heard it, some of the lyrics go like this:

“Life is not tired, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”

He’s talking about the fire of life. Not everything in life feels good. We all have challenges. But if you choose not to put yourself “out there” because you fear rejection, then you miss out on all the good stuff too.

If you don’t try something out of fear of rejection, then you’re not really living. You’re just surviving.

Final Thoughts

As I hope you can see by now, rejection is all in the mind. You can’t feel rejected unless you allow yourself to feel rejected. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

So, don’t take rejection or so-called “failure” personally. We’ve all been there. And the difference between people who are resilient to it and keep going and those who don’t, is a simply difference in perspective.

Featured photo credit: Casey Callahan via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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