5 Ways To Grow Up, Stop Being a Fucking Crybaby, and Get Rejected

“You want me to do what?” said the handsome protagonist. (Fine, it was me.)

“Go sit down between them and start talking,” replied Jesse.

“That’s crazy. Isn’t that invading their personal space a bit?”

“Try it, you’ll be surprised.”

With a bit of trepidation I responded, “OK!”

If you’ve read this essay you know about the rest of this story and others like it already.

Those of us who grew up in a modern, developed, society were likely socially stunted because from a very young age we have been protected from rejection. We’ve become a bunch of grown babies.

It started with our Parents, who meant well, but “let me do that for you” didn’t do anybody any favors.

Then it was our Teachers, who maybe also meant well, but “this is how it is and there is no other way” didn’t do us any favors either.

Eventually, we’d become so indoctrinated into a system of approval and following the herd we didn’t even notice what happened and how weak-minded we’d become.

How do you fix that? Get rejected. This has nothing to do with romance (except when it does), so if you’re married or in a relationship don’t worry, this is for you too.

During the Simple Pickup bootcamp, and afterwards when I began playing what I called Rejection Theatre, I was probably rejected 500 times in 30 days. Eventually, I was so desensitized to rejection that it almost stopped affecting me, positively or negatively. It was the healthiest social exercise I’ve ever completed.

But for you?

We’ll start small.

1) Say hello to a stranger.

Ramit wrote a whole post about this here.

It’s weird that saying hello to a stranger brings about such a gut-check for so many people. “Hey, how are you, what’s that [book, music, magazine, doohicky]? Any good?”

No need to worry about getting into a conversation. Just “hi” and a question. You will probably almost never be rejected doing this, which is why we need to move on.

Note: if you say “hi” to somebody while they’re walking and they don’t hear you because you talk like a baby that is not a rejection. Speak up. Show some respect for yourself.

2) Say hello to a stranger who has headphones on, is talking on their phone, or is running/riding a bike.

A year ago doing stuff like this seemed absurd and socially unacceptable. Until I started doing it.

It takes a bit more work to get somebody’s attention when they’ve got headphones on, but not much. A little hand wave so they realize you’re speaking to them. “What are you listening to? It looks like you’re really enjoying it.”

If somebody’s on a bike (yes, I’ve done this) you need to do a bit more to get their attention. (Do not get in their path and get run over!) If they’re running it’s often a double whammy since most people run with headphones on. Running with headphones on while talking on the phone? You get a gold star. Two gold stars if you get rejected.

3) Ask a stranger for a phone number.

OK, you’ve progressed to speaking a little bit to strangers, now ask for a phone number. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or a girl you’re speaking to. If you’ve had a bit of a conversation and think, “hey, this person is cool” then ask for a phone number.

If it’s non-romantic it helps if you were talking about something specific. Let’s say you were talking about fitness or sports: “My friends and I play basketball every Wednesday, you want to join? What’s your number?” You’ll need to adapt this to your own situations.

Feels scary. Remember, the goal here is to get rejected. You mostly will.

If it’s a potential romantic encounter: “You are brilliant/cute/funny/etc, what’s your phone number? I want to call you and take you out.”

Notice you don’t ask weakly, “Uhh, mmm, hmm, do you, uhh, maybe, uhh, want to go out some time?” If you do it this way it’s a great way to practice rejection because you’ll probably be rejected often (but definitely not every time). The other way sets you up for more success, though you’ll still get rejected a lot. And again, rejection is the goal. Get the most “No” responses and you win this round.

4) Ask for a little more.

Enough with the random strangers bit.

Back when I was on the RollerCoaster tour eating well was difficult. As far as restaurants and fast food go Chipotle is the nearest thing the US has to something that could be considered somewhat healthy. (Veggie bowl!) Every time I’d stop into a Chipotle I’d ask for 3 things, in increasing order of difficulty. (Gets a person into the “yes” habit.)

  1. “Can I have an extra scoop of black beans please?” This is an easy one and had a 100% acceptance rate. Woo! I love black beans.
  2. “More fajita veggies please?” This was also often accepted, but sometimes the person would say it’d be extra if I wanted extra.
  3. “Extra scoop of guac?” This one was hit and miss. If I was bantering well with the server during Steps 1 & 2 they would often say something like, “well, I’m not supposed to, but ok.” Sometimes they would say something like, “yeah, but just a little.” Sometimes they would flat out say no. Sometimes they would say, “let me ask” which was also a no. And sometimes they would say, “well, it’s going to be extra.” My acceptance rate here was probably around 25% for free extra guac.

If you try this at Chipotle, even if you get a no on 1, ask again on 2, and then again on 3. Three rapid fire rejections means you win the Chipotle rejection game. Nice work.

Next time you’re somewhere it’s possible to ask for a little more, ask. (Say you get soy milk in your coffee and it’s usually extra, see if you can get it free.) It’s an awesome feeling when it’s accepted and it doesn’t hurt when you’re denied. With either outcome you’ll get a bit of a high. But if you get a yes ask for even more next time. Find the “no” point and get rejected.

5) Negotiate.

To take “ask for a little more” to another level you need to negotiate something.

For example, if you’re in credit card debt, call up your credit card company and negotiate your APR. It really is great what happens when you just call and ask. If you’re buying new shoes ask if you can get 10% off. Actually, if you’re buying anything ask for 10% off.

There is always room to negotiate, even when you’re in a place where most people do not haggle.

I bought a guitar here in Poland a week after I arrived. Since I thought I’d only be here for a few months I bought the cheapest guitar I could find. I know that on the low end it’s hard to negotiate since there already isn’t much profit margin. (Or maybe I’m just telling myself that.) But I always ask. First I tried to get them to lower the price. When that didn’t work I asked for a set of new strings and a pick. That worked. It’s not a huge win, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d be buying those strings and that pick anyway, why not try to get them free? In this case my negotiation fall back was to “ask for a little more.”

Part of the reason this works is anchoring. You ask for a lot or something that’s not normally asked for and that’s where the anchor is set. When you don’t get that and you ask for a little less it feels much easier for the person you’re negotiating with to give it up. You probably did this with your Parent(s) a lot as a child.

Since you are trying to get rejected it’s probably better to start the negotiation higher. Anchor it at 20% off. (Also, check out this comment about discounts sales associates are able to give.)

Rejection Therapy

To take this to a different level check out Rejection Therapy, a 30-day game that you play on your own. I bought the download for $10 last year and the suggestions are great. (I don’t get paid for this and don’t know the people behind it.)

I particularly like the five objectives of Rejection Therapy:

  1. To be more aware of how irrational social fears control and restrict our lives
  2. Smash the tyranny of fear and reap the treasures (treasures include wealth, relationships and self-confidence)
  3. Learn from, and even enjoy rejection
  4. To not be attached to outcomes, especially when it involves the free agency of other people
  5. Permit yourself to fail

For more inspiration check out the 100 day rejection challenge. <– seriously, this is great

Bonus: One of the little know benefits of Extreme Pushup Bootcamp is the social challenge, which helps build your “rejection muscle.” The command to “Drop and give me 20!” can go off at any time. You might be walking down the street, relaxing at a cafe, dancing at a club, or grocery shopping. It’s scary to drop down and do pushups in front of a bunch of strangers. Everybody in your vicinity will watch. I know most people ignore the notification, but not you because you are not a fucking crybaby.

The Sad Truth

Less than 1 out of 100 people who read this will complete more than 1 of these exercises. Now you know why so few people ever see any semblance of the success they say they’d like to see. It’s easier to be a crybaby. You just lie there, shit your didies, and suck on a teet. Wait, that doesn’t sound all bad …

26 Responses to 5 Ways To Grow Up, Stop Being a Fucking Crybaby, and Get Rejected

  1. Haha Karol! Killer as usual. Love your no bull approach. One other aspect of this is the buzz, whether it goes well or badly I get a rush, just from knowing I’m pushing my own boundaries (more so if it involves a cute girl, sure).

    Keep on being yourself.


  2. I need to look at this in a very different way. The 5 exercises you mentioned, I have done them plenty of times but with the goal of being accepted never with the goal of being rejected. And yes, I asked once a guy for his number and asked him on a date back then when I was in my 20s and the challenge was a dare between college students, never to be taken seriously.
    You can always develop tricks to overcome fear of rejection and whenever rejection is the only thing you get, then there are many lessons to learn form that too. No need to over think it just a matter of changing your attitude towards situations that scare you.

    • It’s a subtle distinction. If you go into it trying to get rejected you’ll go after more than normal … and when it works you’ll get more than you thought possible.

  3. You know you don’t have to put yourself through this “Extreme Rejection Bootcamp,” unless you just want to expedite the experience and practice being rejected. Everyday life presents itself with mega opportunities to respond and grow from rejection. It really is the negative, hard times, and disappointments that help us to get tuff. You know the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” But, it only makes us strong if we learn from the rejection and hard times and keep going. We have to decide when we are rejected that we will fall forward and keep keeping on. There’s a lot of reasons that rejection hurts and can devastate some people. One is our low self-esteem and another is that we forget that Murphy’s Law is true and always active. And that is, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And often when we get rejected we are surprised, and we shouldn’t be. It’s a fact of life. We chose either to live or die. And if a person continues to stop trying, whine, complain about life and hide from life, then they will eventually die. If not physically, at least emotionally and socially. All of us need a tougher hide.

    • Most people would benefit from expediting the experience, because they’ve already been dragging it out their whole lives. Working on their issues “someday.” But, as the venerable John Fogerty sang to us 43 years ago, “Someday never comes.”

  4. Oh man, a sad truth indeed. Your post creates a very uncomfortable feeling in my gut, in kind of a good way, like I haven’t felt for years :)

    Even my hands are trembling, but incidently today I have the perfect opportunity to start the game. Thanks for the push.

  5. I must have been raised funny or I’m just a certain type of person, because most of that is already my ‘normal’. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for something without first asking for a discount or a deal added in somehow. (That’s not true – online shopping! I don’t call to ask for deals, but maybe I should start).

    I am totally going to check out the Rejection Therapy. I wonder if it will help at all since I’m already routinely rejected/ignored/hit by flying objects from a two year old.

    Have never done the second suggestion. Maybe that will take me out of my comfort zone and I can feel a new level of rejection and fear, followed by learning and freedom.

  6. Awesome and yes I loved your extra links stating that I was a f@%King crybaby. LOL. Thanks and will have to try all of the above first chance I get.
    Not afraid of rejection have dealt with it a lot not just in the job or romantic departments either. Guess you could almost say I am a master at rejection and checkout your link. Not sure I have the balls or huevos to actually get in a police car but, who knows I might be calling you for bail money lol.

  7. Saying hello to a stranger…If you’re tired of dealing with harried, worn-out cashiers while shopping, here is my daughter’s strategy for changing the whole experience. A couple of days before Christmas–when every sales associate is totally stressed out–she walked up to the Marshall’s checkout counter and immediately said to the cashier, “Hello Beautiful Lady!” The woman melted into a big smile and by the end of the transaction, Caitlin had injected another dose of her unique love medicine to someone who really needed it! On a side note, my daughter is intellectually-disabled. She does not quake at rejection as I do–and I am a grown woman. She gifts me every day with her fearlessness and ability to love others.

  8. hey Karol,

    this is awesome. I was looking for a step by step plan in getting desensitised to rejection as I am going well in my business but need to take the next step and start talking to more people.

    Thanks a bunch! Again!

  9. This one spoke to me, Karol. I’ve read (and quickly dismissed) similar challenges in the 4-Hour Workweek — while I like to think of myself as someone who “does the exercises,” when it comes to this type of challenge, it always feels like it’s so hard it’s not even an option.

    But perhaps it’s being called a fucking crybaby that’s making me realize I should do this stuff. Or rather, I need to do this stuff. (Like what I told you was my biggest takeaway from Seth Godin’s event — that what the Resistance most fights you on is precisely what you need to do.

    I still don’t know how I’ll do it. Getting past step 2 seems impossible. Does it get easier as you take the first small steps, even if no rejections will likely come of them?

    • Hey Matt,

      1) It is hard.
      2) It doesn’t get easier until it does.

      Obviously I took a certain angle for this article, but a year ago I wouldn’t get past Step 1. Step 2 was an insane thought. Step 3 would happen naturally sometimes, but never on purpose.

      The thing is, the goal here really is to get rejected. That’s not just a ploy. It’s the truth. You need to get rejected. Over. And over. Until it doesn’t feel like much of anything.

      • I would also like to point out that I’m not immune. I chicken out a lot. I wrote in the “pickup” article that my ratio is probably 80% not chickening out to 20% chickening out. That was true then and it’s true now (though it’s different because I don’t hit on girls anymore). My ratio used to probably around 2% not chickening out to 98% chickening out. So it’s an improvement. Anyway, let me know how it goes and e-mail me if you want to bounce any ideas off me.

  10. Read this post last night and instituted it today. I was definitely drained by the end of the day but I was glad the world didn’t fall to pieces around me as I had imagined. Great exercise! Trying more of it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this information Karol!

  11. Wow, boy did this open up my eyes….. I have always had fear of rejection, my mother ingrained it into my head that a lot of bad things happen to people when they are bold, but adobe grown older I’ve realised I’ve got a lot of mental problems with social situations and learning experiences. Hopefully I can remember to try a lot of these out but for some reason things really slip my mind. ( in one ear and out the other unintentionally). I was hoping to find some advice originally on how to learn from my mistakes and how to become more self aware of myactions BEFORE I do them… There that’s step one. I’ve realisedmy problem, but now unjust stuck on how to constantly remember. Again I’m afraid of failing the people around me. I hope this guide will also help those issues of mine. Now I just need to start looking for rejection.

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