You Can Learn From Rejection
I didn’t fail 1000 times. I successfully discovered 1000 ways that didn’t work. – Thomas Edison
One of the great paradoxes of life is that it’s difficult to learn from success. When you have an easy success, you have very little frame of reference for why you succeeded. Was it all due to a combination of perseverance and skill, or was it a case of the universe lining up perfectly and leading to a once-in-a-million chance?
You can learn a lot from failure, however. Repeated failures let you refine your process, eliminating errors and mistakes and narrowing down your pathway to success. Failure is the greatest teacher you can have, and this is doubly true when it comes to dating.
In my own journey towards getting better with women, I have been laughed at, ignored, shot down, dumped and otherwise rejected more times than I can count… and as much as it sucked in the moment – and let me tell you it sucked – each and every failure I experienced was infinitely more valuable than the early successes. Every time I fucked up, every time I fumbled an easy score, every time I choked1 it meant I did something wrong, and once I figured out what that error was, I could eliminate it from my repertoire.
It’s like I said earlier: rejection only has to be horrible if you frame it that way. If you see it as being a learning experience – something that will only prove to make you stronger in the long run – then rejection can be incredibly valuable to you.
I’m a big believer in documenting everything in your dating life. It’s part of how you troubleshoot your skill set, after all. When you get rejected, it means something went wrong along the way, and once you can figure out what it was, you can take steps to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Now it can be difficult to be detached and analytical when you’re in the moment… but when you’ve had a chance to get home and put pen to paper, you should be taking notes about everything. What you said, what she said, how she said it, whether she mentioned having troubles with her boyfriend, stress from work, everything. You want to be able to take an honest and appraising look at what happened. After all… it could just as easily be a fault of bad timing as something you did. Maybe you made an off-color joke that she took badly, or perhaps outside influences lined up in just such a way that she was not in a position to be receptive to your advances.
The more you’re willing to see rejection as something you can learn from, the less rejection will bother you.
Confidence = Fear + Survival
Once you’ve had more experience with rejection, learning to control your reaction to it and how to learn from it, you’ll find that you won’t fear it as much as you did before. You’ll be in a better position to go out and risk getting rejected and not letting your fear hold you back.
Now this doesn’t mean that making your move will be easy at first; in fact, you’ll almost certainly still feel anxiety. This is ultimately a good thing; after all, you should be making an effort to get outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. However, the more you experience rejection, the less it will affect you or ruin all of your progress. In fact, after a certain point in my development, I welcomed the harshest rejections… in fact, if I got an especially bad one, I would turn it to my advantage. I would actually tell the girl “OK, hold that thought for just a second, ok? I’ll be right back.” Then I would grab my wingman or wingwoman, bring them back and re-introduce myself. “This is my buddy,” I’d say, ” and he totally needed to see you shoot me down like that. Could you just do that again? In fact, could you make that even meaner?”
Sometimes I’d get a laugh out of her and turn the entire interaction around. Sometimes she’d ignore me entirely. Sometimes she’d be even harsher… and then I’d turn to my wingman and demand a high-five. “See? I told you that was awesome!” I’d say as we walked off. I may not have gotten her number, but my friends and I would turn a negative into a positive experience. We would have the confidence to face rejection head-on and not flinch. Because we had learned how to handle rejection, process it and make it into something we could use, we would take the risks… and reap the rewards that came with them.
Rejection hurts. But while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Rejection may suck, but you can turn it into more than it seems and use it to become even stronger than you ever were in the first place.
And then you won’t be getting rejected as much again.
- literally, a couple times. Be careful when you’re hitting on women while drinking, is all I can say [↩]