Self-acceptance key to success

Paul Bixby

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Life’s funny. A week ago, I wrote a column about not being able to find a job. Four days later I got one at a telemarketing company calling people to offer them credit cards. The one thing I learned from my first day is that telemarketers get rejected. A lot. A whole lot. In fact, before they begin to call, the staff participates in “daily affirmations” to try to improve their attitudes before they must deal with the rejection. Smiley faces have been posted everywhere around the office so that everywhere you look you can see a smile.It amazes me how much people can be affected by rejection, especially when one realizes that, in the case of telemarketing, the potential buyer is rejecting the offer and not the seller. However, they have to hear innumerable variations of the word “no” throughout their workday. It is understandable, then, why salespeople can take rejection personally. As people we have a tendency to make large-scale decisions based on the estimated potential for rejection. Many students wanted to get into a different school but didn’t bother applying because they felt they wouldn’t be accepted and instead of facing the rejection letter, they instead chose colleges they knew would accept them (i.e., me: I felt the University of Chicago was not going to accept me so I didn’t try).

A friend of mine majoring in psychology hasn’t decided where he will go for his graduate studies because he wants to go somewhere that people will respect when he graduates. If he attends Bob’s Home University of Psychology, he is far less likely to get hired than if he was schooled at Harvard’s School of Psychology.

Of course, fear of rejection doesn’t just apply to educational choices either. Men, how many times have you really considered asking that gorgeous bombshell out on a date, but then turned tail and run the other way because you “knew” that she wouldn’t even give you the time of day? Personally, I don’t know if women feel the same way, but in order to keep any of my sanity I have to believe that it is so.

One thing I have learned being a somewhat average-looking man is that when it comes to rejection, you have to remember that everyone who rejects you (or what you are selling) is actually missing out on something new to them. I am a unique person and I bring something unique to every situation, so when someone turns me down for a date, they lose out on anything I could have brought to their lives or even to the dance floor. Granted, they may not be able to use what I have, but they lost the chance to find out. It took me a long time to realize it, but I don’t need other people’s acceptance or approval to feel that I am not a reject.