Winning Through Failure


I heard about the Jackie video by Jia Jiang and his 100 Days of Rejection project. Seeing his growth in confidence and quick thinking as he interacts with people over the course of the first few weeks is really impressive. I thought I would try a similar exercise for my own purposes. I have two goals:

Become more comfortable interacting with people

Become more consistent with my blogging.

I thought an excellent way to do this would be to try a 30-day exercise: for 30 days I’ll try to go out and make a wacky request of some stranger – with the objective of being rejected. I will write a blog entry describing what I did every day, and any insights I gained along the way.

My constraints are that it must be legal, moral, ethical, and physically possible. I also must have a reasonable expectation of being turned down. Asking a panhandler to take a dollar would be a fail. Now asking a panhandler to give ME a dollar – that would likely garner a “no.” Finally, it must be something I would be willing to legitimately follow through with. So if I ask someone to buy my car, I must we willing to part with my car.

Now, Jia does a video for every interaction, and then edits it, and discusses what he’s learned. I’m not that ambitious, so I’ll just describe the event and include a picture, if it seems appropriate.

So I started yesterday by going to the cleaners where I take my clothes and asked if they would clean my room size rug. None of their pricing includes rugs, and the only non-clothing thing I’d ever seen at a cleaners was king size comforter for a bed, so I didn’t think rugs would pass the test. The girl said that, as long as they don’t have a plastic bottom, it would not be a problem.

Is there a size constraint?

You’ll need to ask the manager.

My observations: First, I was terrified to make this request. I was surprised by this. It didn’t seem particularly outrageous – I wanted to start small. But I didn’t even press the issue or talk to the manager. I just wanted to get out after the original request was not rejected. This was the same feeling I get from asking someone to buy one of my products. Very interesting. I hope a little practice will loosen me up as it did Jia.

Also, since I was so frightened, I didn’t pursue the issue with the manager, which would have almost certainly gotten me a no – the rug I want cleaned is at least 9′ x 6′.

Bottom line: Fail – they didn’t reject my original request. I didn’t muster the courage to get a definitive “no.”