Jia Jiang: “Why Rejection is Awesome” | Talks at Google

By | January 23, 2020

I’m Rachel O’Mara. I’m based in San Francisco. And I’m here today with
a very exciting speaker. I’m really excited to bring Jia
Jiang here from Austin, Texas. He flew in all the way just
to be here with you today. And we are going to talk about
how awesome rejection is. Who’s excited to
talk about rejection? AUDIENCE: Yeah. RACHEL O’MARA: Yeah cool. Well, rejection means a lot
of things to many people. But I think what we’ll learn
today is how you can really think about rejection
differently. A lot of times rejection stirs
up not the nicest emotions for people– maybe a little
bit of fear in there, a little bit of anxiety,
all kinds of things. And what Jia has done is really
mastered this as an art form, I would say. It’s actually an art form now. And what I think is really
interesting is that if you shift how you think
about rejection, and actually jump into
the fear, lean into it, and use rejection to
learn about yourself– whether it’s what you are afraid
of or what you may not have done but want to take a risk
— you learn a little bit more about yourself. And you learn about what, maybe,
is stirring that up for you. And you get an
opportunity to work on yourself and
personal development. So that’s why I think
it’s pretty cool. So I actually wish
all of you to have as many rejections as possible. [LAUGHTER] RACHEL O’MARA: Whether
it’s today or one a day, like Jia, or whatever it is. And think of it like an
opportunity for yourself. And when you jump into
that and think about it, it’s really a way to work
on yourself really, and not tiptoe around something
that you may have thought wasn’t necessarily something
that you were in to or wanting to look into before. So embrace. It love It. And Jia is here to
talk about it and what he does for it on a daily basis. And then just a
quick note as well. I met Jia last summer at
the World Domination Summit. Has Anyone actually
heard of that? Has anyone actually been to it? Good, good. So the World Domination Summit
is hosted by Chris Guillebeau up in Portland, Oregon. And last summer, we had about
300 bloggers, travelers, and just life
enthusiasts gathering. And so Jia was one of
our keynote speakers who got a standing ovation. He’s also on a TEDx talk
where he spoke about rejection in Austin. So we all loved
what he had to say. So that’s why I thought it was
really important to bring him here. He’s also working on a
book about rejection, so there’s no books
for sale today. But it will be
available in the future. So with that, I will
pass it off to Jia. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] JIA JIANG: Thank you. So it was a warm
November afternoon. It was Sunday in Austin Texas. A man in his 40s just sitting
in his living room just minding his own business. Actually, the Dallas
Cowboys was on. And it was actually
going to overtime. And then the doorbell rang. And he was like, that’s odd. Because his kid
and wife are away. Who could that be? And is that a sales person? Who does sales on Sundays? Then the doorbell rang again. Well, there must be some
really motivated sales person. So he got up kind of
reluctantly and opened the door. Instead he saw a 6 foot
tall guy with a soccer ball with a uniform, and cleats,
and shin guards, and all decked out. And he’s asking, “Can I play
soccer in your backyard?” And the guy’s name is Scott. And the guy who was asking
the question was me. But by now you’ve probably
figured out what I was doing. But you might be asking why? Why did you do this? What were you doing? What were you thinking? It was a love story. It was really my story. I was in a love
story with rejection. When people run
away from rejection, I really love rejection. For a period of 100 days, I
dated rejection every day. And the end of me almost
here was rejection. It was like we’re a
married couple now. But just like all
good love stories, it didn’t start with
me embracing it. It started with me running away. It started when I was a
teenager boy growing up in Beijing, China. Some people want to ask what
I want to do in the future. What’s the meaning in life? And I got that figured
out pretty early. I want to be entrepreneur. I want to someday build
a company like the one I’m standing in right now. I had that dream. And when I was 14,
Bill Gates actually came to my hometown to speak. And it was a big deal. It was the first time
he visited Beijing. And I remember he was
in Peking University. And there were people hanging on
trees just listen to him talk. I had no idea what he said
because I don’t know English. But you all sounded
so good to me. [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: I thought
he was the prophet. He knows everything. There he is. I have no idea what
he held in his hand. I’m sure it’s not an
Android or an iPhone. It’s probably not
Windows Phone either. But I was mesmerized
by his story. And ever since I want to
be a great entrepreneur. In fact, I wrote a letter to my
family telling them by age 25 I will build the
greatest technology company in the world. I will buy Microsoft. Yes, I really embraced
his spirit of domination. I didn’t make it up. I actually wrote that letter. I found it. And you don’t have know
Chinese to read this. It’s not good writing anyway. I marked some key words. [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: So I didn’t
just have a dream. I actually acted on it. When I was 16, I was
given the opportunity to come to the United States to
do cultural exchange program. It’s idea is for me to live
with a American host family. And I go to high school. Then go to college later on. Funny thing is in
that letter I talked about I want to go to Houston. Somehow I want move to US. I want to go to Houston
to achieve that dream. I have no idea why
picked Houston. It’s probably because that
was the year the Houston Rockets win the
NBA championship. And I am a fan so I’m
like, Houston sound good. It’s all about
branding, you know. But when I came here,
and I landed in the US, I went to the host family. And it’s a place I
did not sign up for. It’s not Houston. It’s not Silicon Valley. It’s not LA or New York. It’s rural Louisiana. So I’m not sure any of you
are from there or been there. It’s a town of 500 people. There are more cows than people. You get on Google Earth. You type in Simpson, Louisiana. And you zoom in and zoom in, and
do that about 10 times you’ll start seeing some streets. There’s only a few streets. But the thing is at
the time, I thought, this is the start of a dream. I’m just starting small. This is small town. I’m from Beijing– 50 million. That’s OK. I’m here. I here in America now. And then over the subsequent
years I did achieve a dream. I did. But actually it’s
a different dream. It’s not the dream I thought. It’s not the dream I
wrote on this letter. It’s called the American dream. Basically, I went to
school, got a job, made money, went to a better
school, got an even better job, made even more money, got a
care, got a house, got a dog, got married, and everything. And one day I woke
up, I’m 30 years old. I didn’t achieve–
I was comfortable. I was living in
a situation where 99% of the people
on Earth would envy. But I didn’t achieve this dream. Instead I actually chose a path
of security and conformity, and looking for family approval. The thing is no one
rejects you when you are 30 years old
making a lot of income at a Fortune 500 company. They think you’re doing great. In fact, some people
would ask me for a job. And I’m sure people here
get that all of time. People think you
are doing great. But I’m not saying everyone
should an entrepreneur. But for me, this is my dream. And I didn’t go for it. And I really kind of run away
from the risk and rejection. And in the end I
rejected myself. I couldn’t stand myself anymore. It felt so shiny on the
outside, so wrong on the inside. I remember, it was last year
2012 just about 15 months ago, July 4th weekend. I was going to community
park, sit on the grass. There were families
all around me. Dogs, kids, and ice
creams, and laughters. And I was as depressed
as I could be. My wife was, at the time,
nine months pregnant. And I was watching the
colorful explosion in the sky. When everyone was
enjoying it, what I saw was a mental slideshow
of what’s the rest of my life’s going to be. I’m going to have more
responsibilities at work. I’m going to develop
more processes. And I’m going get promoted
and build a big 401(k). And at home, we’re going to
have two or three more kids. That’s always our goal,
two or three more kids. Our life will be in a
cycle of sending them to school, summer vacation,
send them to school, and then holidays. And then we’re going to through
that cycle about 18 to 20 times and we’ll be old. And I would not make no
real impact in the world. The slideshow ended with
a picture of my funeral, of my eulogy. That eulogy is very touching,
but I would hate to have it. I would hate it. And I cussed. And I’m not an actual cusser. So when I cussed, my
wife was concerned. It was like, what’s
going on with you? And I told her I would die
full of regret some day. And she’s really concerned now. [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: It’s like,
lady, what’s going on? And I told her about
this situation of me right now, this dream I had
and why I’m not pursuing it. And then I actually expected
her to give me a lesson. I expected to tell me that,
hey, our life is great. You should be grateful. Be a great husband. You’re going to be a great
father in about a month or so. But actually no. She told me, you know why I met
you and fell in love with you? It’s because you
told me the first day that you’re going to be
entrepreneur some day. And I need that man in my life. How come you’re not doing it? [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: And if you’re
not happy, I’m not happy. We can have another car, another
house, another great job. But you cannot have
your life back. So why don’t you try this? Go out and for six months,
build your company. Just go give it a try. At least to do your best. Six months. At that moment, I
knew I married up. So I did. This is the day my son was born. And four days before,
that I quit my job. And I turned in my badge. And I asked my manager
to take a picture. I don’t think she was happy
because it wasn’t good picture. But I remember that day I
walk out my office building. And this moment of joy but
also nakedness came to me. Because before I could
always blame that, hey, I have a company. I’m making money. Now, the only thing in
between me and my dream is me. I’ve no more excuse. It’s all on me now. So I hit the ground running. I did. And I formed a team. It’s a lot of rejection,
but I used LinkedIn. I used a local network, and I
built a team of five engineers. I’m the only engineer guy. But I built a team
of five engineers and across the country,
actually across continents. And we used the Lean
Startup methodology. Interviewed customers. Built MVP. We did all that. We built our prototype
and a lot of people like what we’re doing. Four months into
my venture– really I didn’t have a lot of time. Four months into
my venture, I was presented with a major
investment opportunity. And I actually thought, this
is the answer to my prayers. I’m going to get it. This is fate. This is dream come true. This is destiny. I believe in destiny. I thought, there’s no way
I’m not going to get it. I even dreamed about on,
five different occasions, I dreamed about getting
that investment. And I remember vividly
in those dreams I woke up and got the investment. I called my wife. I call my parents and
telling them the good news. I remember those
feelings still today. But then those were dreams. The reality hit. One day, I was at the
restaurant celebrating a friend’s birthday. It’s a bunch of friends. And then my phone vibrated. And I pulled it up
and I saw email. The email was from the investor. It’s a very simple
letter basically said no. And I had to just walk
out of that restaurant so other people wouldn’t
see me cry in front of them. It felt personal and
impersonal at the same time. And I don’t know why
I was hurt that bad. Because I thought
I’m mentally tough. I’m well-educated I’m
actually prepared for no. I know there’s a
possibility for no. I prepare for it. But still when it comes, I want it so bad,
it really hurt. And I started thinking,
maybe this is not to be. Maybe this is some sort
of Higher Being telling me that this is not your destiny. You should go back to work. I’m like, if I
look for a job now, I could save two more months. And it’s a lot of income. So I told my wife. I started talking with my wife. My wife’s like this
quarterback grabbing the offensive lineman’s face
mask like he gave up a sack. She’s like, I gave
you six months. I didn’t give you four. So you have two
more months left. You got to keep trying. Leave no regret. And but I try. But, you know, I don’t want
to go through the whole thing and get rejected again. I learned how easy it is for
investors to reject ideas. They’re presented with ideas
all– great presentation– all day long. So I’m like, more than
likely I will get rejected. And I don’t have enough time. But I thought,
would Bill Gates get crushed like I was with
a single rejection? Would Thomas Edison
get crushed like that? So I started thinking. It’s not just about
this investment. If I want to be a
better entrepreneur, if I want to be a better
professional if I go back to work, want to be a
better father a husband, I need to not be
afraid like this. Not be afraid of rejection. So I started searching
online and using, guess what? Google. Google is my friend. And I searched how can I
overcome the fear of rejection. I came across a website
called Rejection Therapy. It’s a game that
basically asks you to go out and look
for rejection. The goal is to
desensitize yourself from the pain of rejection. And you know what? I love the idea. I’m like, this is a great idea,
one the greatest I’ve heard. Let’s do it. Let’s blow this out. Instead of doing this just
kind of a half-heartedly, I’m going to build a blog. I’m going to record the process. And I’m going to do this
for 100 days every day. So the world will
keep me accountable, and I wouldn’t quit halfway. So I did. This is the original blog. And I started asking for some
crazy stuff to get rejected. You see I was asking to play
soccer in someone’s backyard as day six. For example, one day I
saw a police officer. I flagged him down saying,
hey, can I drive your car? It’s my revenge for pulling a
police officer over, you know? And then one day I thought,
what would it be like to fly? So I went to an air field
and saw a pilot and say, hey, can I fly your plane? He’s like, do you
have a license? And I was like, no. [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: I don’t know
anything about flying I just want to fly your plane. But the crazy thing happened. People start saying
yeses to these requests. The three things I said,
they say yes to all of them. And here’s the proof. So and now I’m all like, whoa. I’m looking for rejection
but I’m getting yeses. What I do? I’m confused. And then there’s one
instance where it actually made national news,
that it really encompasses the idea of looking
rejection and not getting it. And here it is. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -I’m driving toward
Krispy Kreme. I’m going to ask them to make
me some specialized doughnuts. And we’ll see what happen. -What kind of
specialized doughnuts are you talking about? -I like to have getting–
you link the five doughnuts together make them
look like Olympic symbols. -And when are you
looking for these? -Huh? -When? -The next 50 minutes? -Let me see what I can get. -OK. -But what do you think? -Wow. That is really good. That’s really good.
[LAUGHS] Yeah. All right, so do I pay there? -Don’t even worry about it. That one’s on me. -Are you serious? You serious? -Yeah. Extremely. -Wow. -Extremely. -[INAUDIBLE] today. All right. Thank you. -You’re very welcome. -All right. See you. Give me hug. [LAUGHS] OK. -Enjoy. -All right. Thank you. See you. -You’re welcome. [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] JIA JIANG: I will never
forget that doughnuts. It’s very sweet. But the spirit is
better than it tasted. So I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. And then I posted it online. And in about a week or so,
it got over 5 million views on YouTube. And the Krispy Kreme
stock actually went up. [LAUGHTER] JIA JIANG: I cannot prove
this scientifically it’s all because of this. But I’m sure this didn’t hurt. People who saw this and they
started following my blog. And they started finding what
I’m doing somehow inspiring. And they started sending
me thousands of emails. Today, I got over 3,000
emails from people, just from strangers
all over the world. And on social media–
on the Twitter, everywhere– they send me
stories about their rejection. Why they are afraid
of rejection. So for example, there
is an artist in Austin. Her art is beautiful
and profound. But no one noticed. She didn’t tell anyone because
she’s like, this is my art. It’s my baby. I don’t want to share
with the world because– But one day she saw this. It’s like, those
doughnuts are pretty nice. But I’m real artist. If that video can go
viral, why shouldn’t I share my art with the world? And she did it. And then it made national
news pretty soon. She went to Washington,
DC and has own show. Then there’s this man. He’s afraid of rejection
his whole life. And he said for things
like going to a restaurant and ask for ketchup
would churn his stomach. And so he sent
his kids to do it. But just last year, his wife
was diagnosed with cancer. And he learned, for
good and for bad, the in the American
medical system, you have to keep
pushing for things. You have to keep asking
the doctors, the nurses, the hospitals to
get things done. And he’s like, if
you have the courage to us crazy stuff for some
sort of rejection therapy, I’m trying to save
my wife’s life here. You know, why shouldn’t I ask? So he did and he thanked
me with a letter. It’s me getting these kind
of a letters every day that give me a chance to
see rejection face-to-face. I thought this is
some sort of monster that everyone’s afraid of, but
I started reading more on it. I started talking to people–
talking to successful people– how they see rejection, how
they overcome rejection. And here’s what I found. Rejection is not what
I thought it was. One it’s constant. Rejection is constant. And some people write me
emails saying, yes, I’m afraid of rejection. But I might want to try
something on my own. I might want to
try some new idea. But let me get to a certain
place in life first. Let me get that promotion. Let me get higher in the
corporate ladder somewhere so I cannot get rejected as much. Actually, that’s not true. In fact the higher you go,
the more you’ll get rejected. For example, President
Obama, right? He gets rejected
more than anyone. Think about it. Even in the last
presidential election, he won 51% of the popular vote. All right, he won. He’s a big winner. He’s cover of “Time” magazine. He’s the most
powerful man on Earth. But he got rejected by
half of his country. And think about this is
the leader of free world. He got rejected
61 million times. And I’m sure Google is probably
the pinnacle of technology world. And I’m sure you
guys get rejected. It’s not like there’s no
place that’s rejection proof. And then I learned that
rejection is actually just a number. There’s no mathematical
way, statistical way for you to have an idea and get rejected
by everyone in the world. No way. No matter how crazy, how
good or how bad you idea is. You’ll find someone who
would agree with you. And it’s true. And I just learned a few
days ago J.K. Rowling, her work “Harry Potter”
was rejected 12 times before the first
publisher would take it. And it was because of the
chairman’s granddaughter. She insisted on it. It was like, this has got
to be– Grandpa, please. But think about if she quit any
of the 12 times when she got rejected. We would not know who won the
fight between Harry Potter and Voldemort, right? And we wouldn’t know he existed. No wait, he doesn’t exist. But anyway, we would
not be introduced with that amazing world. And there’s also you think
about Abraham Lincoln. We heard the story that he
got rejected eight times before he was elected
a president, right? He lost in the election, local
election, state election, the national election. Then he became the president. But what I was interested
was the movie “Lincoln”. Last year, it almost
won the Oscar’s. It came in second, I think. The director, Steven
Spielberg, he actually tried to convince
Daniel Day Lewis three times before the actor
would say yes to be Lincoln. He got rejected three times. All right, this is not some
up-and-comer in Hollywood. This is Steven f-ing Spielberg. And he can get
rejected three times. But every time
instead of saying, how can you say no to me? He actually re-wrote the script,
completely re-built the script, and went back to
Daniel Day Lewis. It’s like, so does this work? It’s like oh, thank
you for doing this. It’s great. But for some reason, I can’t. He went back, re-wrote it again. He did that three times. And in the end, the
movie was a masterpiece. And lastly rejection is
nothing more than opinion. I feel the world
needs many things. It needs more trees
and love and sympathy. Definitely more free
drinks and bathrooms. Google has that
covered, I’m sure. But one thing we’ll have
plenty of is opinions. Everyone has them,
and they’re more than willing to give you for free. But somehow, when
they get rejected, rejection is really nothing
more than the preferences and opinion of the rejector. It actually says
more about the person who’ll give the rejection than
the person who receives it. It’s about the fear,
how he grew up, his opinion, his preferences. It’s about that person. It’s a lot about that person. But somehow, we twisted it. When we get rejected,
we think about that as some sort of objective
truth about who we are. And we take it so personally. Rejection is really
like chicken. It’s either yummy or yucky,
depends on how you cook it. But it’s the fear of rejection
that really cripples us. So much so that we’re more
willing to reject ourselves so others wouldn’t reject us. Have you had idea
that you thought is a really cool idea
that you want to try it. But you thought, this
is kind of far-fetched. There’s no way
it’s going to work. Or maybe you take it out. You ask for opinions. People tell you,
that’s a stupid idea. That’s not going to work. Then you’re like, OK
that’s not going to work. Then maybe a few years later,
you saw someone else did it. You’ll start kicking yourself. Or a more common example,
have you had a crush on a girl or see a girl or
guy that you like that you’re afraid to
ask that person out because you don’t
want to get rejected. I heard people writing
me this email a lot. They’re like, I know this
girl and, oh my gosh, I’m leaving school
in about two months. What do I do? I feel like I’m not going
to see her again afterward. And then you don’t do it. And you thought
about what’s it like? You always fantasize,
oh, what it’s like if my life I spent
with that person? Actually I had these thoughts. Sometimes I have those
thoughts as well. But the thing is when
whatever happens, you have to leave no regret. You have to keep
asking for things so you don’t get rejected. So you don’t leave regrets
saying, would that ever happen? I’ve never heard of
one person who actually say I regret trying something. I regret asking someone out. I regret making this initiative,
making that conversation. I haven’t heard it. So I learned a lot
about things– business, communication, sales through my
rejection therapy for 100 days. It’s actually amazing the
body of knowledge, actually, I’m rang into. Because I have a camera, I
talk to a stranger and asking something crazy. I started learning
it’s like, wow. Actually, if I do
with this– and I started analyzing other
people’s reaction. I found actually
you can say things, you can act a certain way, and
get people to say yes to you. I’m going to write
this in the book “What I Learned From 100
days of Rejection”. I’ll just share one thing. For example, we thought
about sales, right? We thought about
sales is about maybe trying to convince other people. Trying to do something. Trying to buy something. We watch movie like
“Glengarry Glen Ross”, right? There’s, “Always be closing,”
you know the rah rah talk. Actually I found that to be
the opposite of my experience. When that company I’m trying
to be closing something, trying to convince someone
to do something, I started feeling anxious. I started trying to
analyze the reaction. I started trying to say
things I didn’t mean. I started becoming who I’m not. So instead of actually
trying to convince someone, I learned I try to make a good
argument, make a good case. They sound like
they’re pretty similar. They’re actually very different. Because the metrics, one,
is on the other person. You get a yes or a no. The other one is for myself. I can totally
control what I say. I can totally control
my body posture. I control my confidence. I cannot control that person
say yes or no because that’s his preference and opinion. But I found out if I focus
on who I am and what I do, I’m liberated by other
people’s opinion. I’m liberated by this
desire to get a yes. And it turned out, I
will get more yeses. In this 100 days,
I got almost 50% yes with no matter
how crazy I went. This is just one small things I
learned and they’re a lot more. But I’m actually start to
work with some professionals, and sales professionals, and
people in customer service about how actually to turn
this into helping them to not be afraid
of which rejection, how to be better salesperson. But the most important thing
I learned are just two words. Just ask. Just ask. Remember I told you I asked
the pilot to fly his plane? When I think about
flying, they I think about going
through the airport, and taking off my belt, and
make sure my pants don’t drop. And I walk through that
cancer-inducing bone scanner. And charging my phone
on the dirty carpet. That’s what I
think about flying. But that day, I had the
best flight of my life. I’ve never forget it. For a minute I was two
feet above the cornfield. I was just skimming through. I felt like I was a seagull. I was looking for
fish above ocean. And then the next minute,
I was 1,000 feet into air. I felt like an eagle. And all this time, I just kept
looking back and thought, wow. What if I didn’t ask? What if I wasn’t crazy
that day and asked them to fly someone’s plane when
I have no permit or nothing? I would have none of this. Then I thought about my life. What if I didn’t ask? Or people who write me emails,
what if they didn’t ask? Companies might not be built. Or they might be
quit prematurely. Art might not be shared and
appreciated by the world. And lifesaving treatment might
be delayed or not even happen. When we think
about rejection, we think about as something
so negative, so terrifying. So by actively avoiding that
rejection, by not asking, we’re avoiding a
negative feeding so it’s and positive, right? That’s actually a lie. That’s a lie that people
say to themselves every day. I say that to myself too. But I learned that if I’m not
going out there and getting rejected on a daily basis,
I’m actually rejecting myself. And as a result, I’m getting
ignored by the world. I might get rejected,
I might get accepted. I won’t let someone else do it. Not myself. As a result, I will not
let the world ignore me. So what’s next for me? This “100 Days of Rejection”,
I’ve completed it. I am actually writing a book. I just not too long
ago I got a book deal. It will come out until the 15th. But that’s actually
not the most important. Like writing a book,
being and inspirational speaker or keynote speaker. That’s actually
just sounds good. But what I really want to do is,
when I think about rejection– now I know what a
rejection– is I start thinking about
rejection in history. And I found that
the people who made the most impact in the
world in this history are the people who get
rejected, sometimes violently. We think about Mahatma Gandhi,
Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela,
even Jesus Christ. They met the most violent
and gruesome rejection in the world. But in turn, they made history. They changed history. And I want to do that as well. Remember I wrote this letter? I said I want to
conquer the world and be like next Bill Gates? Actually I don’t want to
conquer the world anymore. I want to make it better. I want to find a new
world in this world where no one is
afraid of rejection. I want to see what it’s like. I want to see, out
of this curiosity, I want to see how many more
lives will be fulfilled. I want to see how many more
ideas will be realized. How many love stories
will be written. I want to see that world. Being an entrepreneur
is not about making a whole lot of money
or having a cool idea. It’s about finding a
need and developing solution for that need. And by accident, I found
one of the biggest need in the world which is
we’re afraid of rejection. And I want to find
a solution for it. Now, I’m at Google. This is where the
smartest people are. And I’m going to give
you two challenges. One is– I, personally,
I will write a book, and I will continue blogging. I’ll be a speaker. But you know what? Deep down, I’m a technology guy. That’s why I quit my job before. I want to build the
greatest technology company. I want to ask you for ideas. How can I use technology
to develop solutions so people are not
afraid of rejection? It’s not just, yeah
let’s do a game. Let’s do an app. It’s actually what
are the goals? How can I actually
make that happen? How can I encourage people? And two, if you have
friends or loved ones, or family members who’s
also afraid of rejection, share my story with them. Just tell them that this guy
actually so scared of rejection he went out there for 100 days. In the end he changed his life. Share story with them
and see how they react. And it’s going to help. It’s going to help. If it doesn’t help, buy
them a box of doughnuts. It will always help. All right, thank you. [APPLAUSE] JIA JIANG: Yeah, I guess
I have a few minutes to do a quick Q&A. So if
you have any questions, let me know. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]? JIA JIANG: Right. How do I record? I own a iPhone. The thing about iPhone
is it’s small, right? So I hang it on my chest and
I don’t actively hide it. I just hang it there. And so most people
will think it’s just an iPhone that I would
listen to music to. But actually, when they
ask me, I always tell them. So– Why didn’t I try to be an
entrepreneur in Beijing? Do you know what Beijing
was like in 1995? It’s different from
Silicon Valley. A lot has changed. But I learned where
Bill Gates is. And actually I thought,
I might knock on his door and be his partner something. But America has
this– if you want to be technology entrepreneur
you had this dream of coming to the US and
making that happen. So that’s why I
wanted to come here. Go ahead. Yeah, so the
question is if I get rejected, most of
the things I’ve done are not going to be
life-changing things. They’re going to be like,
rather if it didn’t happen, it’s OK, right? Well first of all, it’s hard to
have life changing rejections. A hundred of them. But I see this as in like
practicing basketball. The games are won and
lost not on the court when they’re 20,000 people watching. It’s in the dark gyms where
you are practicing free throws. And I see the courage
and I see the gumption to ask these questions,
not to be afraid. It’s almost like a muscle. You have to keep practicing. So I use these type of
things to practice myself. And you can try some of them. These are the things, some
of them are just frightening. Like small things, am I going
to lose my live after this? No, it’s not. But before you do it,
it’s actually frightening. But gradually I found
out, toward the end, I’m not afraid of
asking anything. I’ll ask anyone anything. I’m not afraid. But at beginning, I
was a different person. So I see this as a practice. I see this as a course for
myself to develop more courage. Go ahead. That’s actually a
very good observation. The thing is– OK, the question
is what about a sports analogy. In baseball, you take a swing. You might miss and, I
guess, strike out, right? In basketball, sometimes
you take shots or you pass. When do you pass? When do you take a shot? Is that the question? So I feel like instead of
worrying about making shots, instead of worrying about strike
outs, I worry about my form. I worry about my mentality. I worry about the posture
when I stand up plate. I worry about making
the best decision when the ball comes to me. And in basketball, I worry
about in that situation, should I shoot or should I pass? So it’s not about
getting that score. That’s not my metrics. I worry about making
the right decision. And somehow, this
rejection therapy thing, after I’d done
this for 100 days, I started making decisions
a lot more clearer. Because in the past,
when you are afraid, we are wanting to win so bad,
you want to get a yes so bad, you started trying to–
it does cloud your mind. You started trying things
that you didn’t mean. But now, I learned
that I actually don’t care about yes or no. I care about making
the right decision. So I think that’s how I would
answer that sports analogy. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. JIA JIANG: Absolutely. The comment is I
should be talking about doing this more on a
more academic approach, right? Doing more research and
experiments, and with test groups, and find the
right sample size, and start experimenting
to see how it would work. Actually, yeah. That’s in my plan. A couple of things. One is the most thing
that I know is my story. I know this from firsthand. I know the impact it made on me. And I know the impact it made on
the people who actually go out, and they saw what I’m doing. They start trying this. And they came back to me
to say, this is amazing. That’s a lot anecdotal evidence. And that’s actually
very strong evidence. I see this in the
mirror every day. But as you were
mentioning, as someone who wants to develop
technology, this is highly crucial
to me to someday to actually be able
to do the research, be able to have the data
to back it up as well. So it’s not just anecdotal. Here and there. So the question is
when I get rejected, how do I repair myself? One is I see rejection
differently now. I used to think you equate
rejection with a failure. And I use to equate
rejection as something that says bad about me. But now, because of how I
see rejection differently, I get rejection I almost laugh
at it, almost celebrate it. Just because, again it says
more about that person than me. In fact, I found that
rejection, actually, is a lot a way to
qualify that person. Do I want to do business
with that person? My goal, I found, is not
trying to convince someone who doesn’t like me,
doesn’t like my stuff. My goal is to find a person
who is open to my idea, and then to try that. And I don’t get hurt anymore
because of how I see rejection. And also I should start
trying to celebrate it. And here and there. Go ahead. So the question is what do with
my kids with the rejection, right? So that’s a great question
because the rejection is so relevant in any area. Parenting is a huge area, right? You don’t want to get
rejected by your kid. But you ought to have
your kid to learn how to deal with rejection. Because I feel like
in modern society, especially in a rather
affluent upper middle class or middle class,
that our goal is we try to make the kids feel good. That’s our only goal, trying to
feed him and make them happy. I think that’s important. But also one very
highly important thing for being a parent, what I
learned from my experience is I actually need to
expand his comfort level. I need to tell him
that it’s OK to get no. Actually, why don’t you go out
and keep trying and getting no’s. And I wish I’ve done
this when I was eight instead of when I was 30. So I hope it answers question. Yeah, I do. Because the whole thing
is to look for rejection by ridiculous request. But when I get there, I
try my best to negotiate. And I have again, I’ve
developed a body of language. There’s a couple
things I learned. For example, when
someone’s saying no to you, instead of turn around,
instead of just looking for a place a hide, you
actually start a conversation. You ask why. Why would you say no to that? And sometimes the why is a lot
more important than the what. If you can find out the reason,
and if you started negotiating, started trying to tackle
the reason he has fear, it turned out more
than likely they would come back and say yes. And sometimes they think
you are crazy asking this. That’s why I did say no to this. But then when you
start talking, it’s like, huh, this
guy looks normal. He’s very respectful. Let’s talk about this. So you have a style. And also there are things like
when someone said no to you, one of the ways, you can
actually provide alternatives. Ask them, what about this? If you can’t do this,
what about that? And then what I
learned is sometimes when the people start
collaborating with you, instead of negotiating, instead
of sitting across table, if you sit on the same side
and trying to tackle a problem, the solution is actually
better than what you thought you would get. Because that person
has the expertise. And he has a resource
that you need. All right? Go ahead. So the question is as
a Chinese American, how culturally does that
have an impact on me? This is very deep question. I actually got
this question a lot with especially people
international, like immigrants, first generation immigrants
or even second generation. They send me letters saying,
wow, what you’re doing is great. But actually, what’s more
awesome is you’re actually are talking to white people
and black people and every one. And to me, that’s actually
to allow deeper issue on cultural difference. Because someone wrote
me letter saying, I’m afraid to talk
to people that’s not my race because my
mom told me don’t ever talk to a black guy or white
guy because they have guns. I literally heard this. And that sounds
laughable, right? But when you are told like
this in the beginning, when you are young, it
does have an influence of how you behave in the future. Even subconsciously. Even now you think is laughable. Even your colleagues are
people from different race and culture. So what I have
found is deep down, I can’t believe
how similar we are. Yes, people look different. Yes, they have
different languages. Yeah, they’re from
different places. But deep down, we
have the same fear. We have same aspiration which
is we just want to do better. Right? We want to do better. Mostly, we are kind. So I started looking
past the race. I started looking
past the culture. Actually, it never
started with me that looking at people
who are different. I just see people
are human beings. And in that way,
the connection is a lot stronger than I thought. Great point. So the question is
he wants to think about things in the other side. It hurts to get rejected, but
what about rejecting others? And I found how unwilling
people are to reject you. I found firsthand. Because people are generally
nice, it’s hard to say no. And then I learned
in few instances where someone said no to
me, but the way they said it make me a fan of them. And this has a big implication
in customer service because in customer service
you got to say no all the time. You can’t just say
yes to every request. But how do you say no
and improve your brand? That’s very important. So it’s a couple things. Instead of saying
no, make it upfront. We can’t do this. And tell them why you cannot
do this and be very honest. We can’t do this because
of here are the reasons. But here’s how you
can get to a yes. There are alternatives, and
they’re a path to a yes. And here’s what you can do. Now you put the ball into
the other person’s court. And it’s on him to
actually fulfill those requirements to get a yes. So it is tough to
give a no sometimes. But if you learn
how to do it, you can do it and still
make people like you. No and because when I do
it, I’m very respectful. And I don’t expect a yes. And I don’t come
in and I would say, I will make you feel
bad if you say no to me. This is what I
learned very early is I don’t want put
people in a situation where they would feel
bad saying no to me. I want to make it like,
it’s OK to say no. It’s really OK to say no. I’m all about having this
playful spirit when I do this. In a lot of cases I
actually become friends with these people,
strangers I met. And some of them are
like– for example Jackie from Krispy Kreme who did this. I talked to her many
times after this. And she was grateful that I
would ask this kind of question because it’s like,
my job is boring. Like, I would love to
be challenged like this. Just come on out. I hope everyone tell me
to make something good. Yeah the most
common reason people fear rejection is they
take it very personally. It sounds very easy. We talk about research. The fear of rejection goes way
back to our hunter gathering states where you get rejected
by your tribe, well you’re out. And you cannot
survive on your own. Right and that fear stayed
with us for over the centuries, over the millenniums. We in here know
actually the people done study in their
brain and they’re both psychological
and physiological. They find out when
you get a no, the pain is the same type
of pain that you will get if you’re kicked
somewhere or get hit somewhere. So it’s psychological
but physical reaction is the same as physical. RACHEL O’MARA: Yes. JIA JIANG: OK. All right. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

58 thoughts on “Jia Jiang: “Why Rejection is Awesome” | Talks at Google

  1. Christian Meder Post author

    May I ask for 50 minutes of your precious time ? This request will probably get rejected by quite a lot of people. Nevertheless I just have to ask you.

    "Rejection is Awesome" hit me with a lot of familiar stories and situations; inspirational and encouraging …

  2. Christian Meder Post author

    May I ask for 50 minutes of your precious time ? This request will probably get rejected by quite a lot of people. Nevertheless I just have to ask you.

    "Rejection is Awesome" hit me with a lot of familiar stories and situations; inspirational and encouraging …

  3. collectivelight Post author

    Great talk Jia.  Thank you for sharing this with us!  I wish you success with your future projects!

  4. Michael Sprawson Post author

    To be rejected by one's kindred spirit/s is sad, of which a possible cause could be the anti-social in our midst, who turn decent, albeit naïve people, against each other.

    However, to be rejected by proactive miss-fits themselves, is truly a blessing, because, it leads to the joy of freedom from pathological conflict, now THAT is surely Awesome.

  5. mayra alfaro Post author

    very glad I watched this video. this was insightful, helpful, funny, honest and genuinely inspiring!

  6. Vasile Surdu Post author

    i saved this on my mobile and listening every day i'm out..
    helped me a LOT

  7. Melinda de los Santos Post author

    Not just another motivational speech. He connects. How does the saying go? He talks the walk and walks the talk … 😀

  8. sheraks7 Post author

    Thank you! Help me see rejection in another light. Much appreciated.

  9. Sean Spear Post author

    Great talk about looking at rejection in a more positive light. There are a lot of things to learn from this video, and afterwards you will see that rejection can be turned into an art form.

  10. Samundra Shrestha Post author

    I got to this link randomly browsing on youtube. Gave it 5 minutes and then 10 and then time got unnoticed. An awesome video on Rejection. Glad came through it.

  11. Phil Carter Post author

    Our minds make it impossible to see reality and be fulfilled by it. The present moment with the mind distorting it is not fulfilling at all. It leaves you empty.

    To get control of your thoughts and negative emotions, be sure to open the present at truthcontest►com as soon as possible. This is the get-away from the illusions…

  12. martin schoen Post author

    I have been to China..making Business.I have lived quite some time in the region. My report home to my head quarter was.. we can not make business with these guys, since they are so different and do not work to our European Business Codex. But this contribution ..made me remember what I liked so much meeting this people..experiencing this way of life and this way of feeling and communicating it. So different to my European Culture and Business world… but so human and so nice.

  13. dragon fly Post author

    Ask this gude to ask out 100 hot girls on a date. Lets see his experience

  14. Ashley Mcmiller Post author

    Excellent Video Jia!! I needed to see this 😉

  15. Office Man Post author

    Very inspiring video, it change people's life by watching your video.
    I will share it accross, thanks and godspeed.

  16. Peter Zhao Post author

    This was an excellent speech Jia Jiang! You have to fail before you succeed.

  17. Jay MacDonnell Post author

    Joe Rogan has a great perspective on this subject. To paraphrase: "Show me a man who's never failed and I'll show you a a man that's never done anything".

  18. Roiben F. Blitzkrieg Post author

    You want me to LOVE the fact I was denied a job? That technology is and necessity is always out-of-reach? That My boyfriend turned and fucked my best 'friend' in my own house? How about FUCK YOU.
    This is not a decent Ted talk.
    Edit: Why the fuck is this in a TED Talks playlist?

  19. Chandima Rajapaksha Post author

    very helpful speech, this video is very helpful for most of the people in our society who afraid of REJECTION

  20. Juarez Silva Post author

    Rejection is better than getting girls. I promise you.

  21. NinjaOnANinja Post author

    For the record, it doesn't count if it is recorded and a public spectacle.

  22. Andrew Rice Post author

    Looking back I remember a lot of key times in my development that pushed me to fear rejection rather than openly talking with people.

  23. Stephen B. Smith Post author

    I've been rejected by every girl I've talked to. And I attest that rejection is indeed not awesome.

  24. Terry Tyler Post author

    The guy is sharp. Most prizes hide on the other side of the limiting factor.

  25. Betül Yılmaz Post author

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your story with the World! I am very impressed with your actions what you've done! I am from Turkey and I am going to share your lovely, encouraged story with my family members and friends. You are also going to touched to all of us! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  26. Hussein Labib Post author

    Rejection could be very expensive, blanket check rejection is not wise, we should always calculate the risks.

  27. Chitra Sahai Post author


  28. Farah Dzainuddin Post author

    i need this guy to motivate me after every rejection i get. i get rejection from my lecturers like everyday … now i know its not a bad thing right

  29. LALC Post author

    To have someone accountable. If you can build a platform where I can call after and share the experience, where sales people, entrepreneurs, join to hold each other accountable for their frustrations, ideas. Most of the people do not want to share this, but maybe a place where everyone can go and share that exactly
    That would be maybe adding technology Jia Jiang

  30. Mo Tahoon Post author

    I loved your speech, out of the many public speakers with logical idea here, your video is different in that strong impact of a true personal experience of an everyday man who DID manage to cross, Best of luck 🙂

  31. Sahar Mohammed Post author

    Great ideas. Positive thinking. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Witt Allen Post author

    For those interested, I compiled Jia Jiang's 100 Days of Rejection Therapy into a playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWEbQ-Tyu0RwyJo_NYrkGWC-BnojZNQT

  33. Michael John Field Post author

    A great talk. This was even better than the previous one I'd watched on Tedx. Love the question & answer session at the end and the finishing point on being left out from the tribe – it made a lot of sense.

  34. Anca Post author

    Hey, you should know God, you should know Jesus. Please read the bible. Jesus was rejected so that you could be accepted. Life is not about financial succes. Good luck to you.

  35. Ken Post author

    he is very genuine, and articulate. He's like the guy next door.

  36. Sarfraj Alam Post author

    I watched his All his 100 day rejection therapy videos…he is truly inspiration💗

  37. HAPPY MIMI16 Post author

    Great point when he says rejection is more about the other person and their opinion

  38. Rosco Post author

    i would love to reject you Jia! very inspiring. i hope i can be rejected soon.

  39. Ennis Whalen Post author

    Rejection is AWESOME . . . .and women avoid approaching men .You cannot have this both ways.

  40. longORjames Post author

    I got rejected a lot, I had this best friend for 6+ years, who I was really into, 2 years in our friendship, I asked her out, got rejected, she stopped talking to me for a couple/few months to reflect on her feelings, a few months later after we started talking again, I tried asking again, same thing she tried to refocus her feelings, 3rd time about a year later trying to be more serious about it, she told me she had too much in her life going on and couldn't think about dating, when she came back around again she ended up asking me out, and then I started pestering her why she finally asked me out instead cause I wanted to know what changed, because I felt like I didn't do anything to warrant a change.
    Then when I told her how I would act as a boyfriend, how much of a loving/ touchy-feely type of person I am when I actually commit myself to a person I love, she freaked out and felt uncomfortable by that type or level of love/commitment. After a few days of us officially "dating" even online-shopping for promise rings, she decided it wasn't a good idea for us to date, and I agreed because I felt like she wasn't happy with the way I show affection, and I was okay with not being with someone who won't or doesn't appreciate or want to be loved the way I love them. At first, she kept apologizing over and over about how terrible she felt, but the multiple rejections, especially by the same person, just kinda numbed or desensitized me to the rejection, and I just felt okay about it, I was no longer sad about being turned down.
    But through this rejection process, I learned a valuable thing about how to love. You shouldn't just focus on that idealized love you have in your head, some people just aren't meant to receive it. And you are probably better off with someone else who's more accepting of you for you.


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