Of all the fears that affected people, the fear of judgment had both stung and stunk the most for me. This is the fear of what others will think of you, especially in a negative light.
Am I portraying a lack of knowledge by asking this question at work? Am I making a bad impression by not working at night (while leaving my IM on so my coworkers can see me working)? Do I look bad in public wearing shorts to this event? If I take on this new venture, will my friends and in-laws lose respect for me?
These questions used to constantly put the fear of judgment in me, so much so that I worried about what others think of me all the time. They sapped my energy and creativity, and enslaved me to other’s opinions. This is why when I first started the 100 Days of Rejection, I was so scared and I almost threw up before I went up to the security guard asking for $100:
It wasn’t all about fearing to be rejected, but I feared the judgment from this guy – a stranger whom I’ll probably never meet again. I was terrified what he thought of me. Would he laugh at me? Would he call security (in this case, himself)? Would he check the nearest mental hospital to see if an Asian patient had just escaped?
These questions sounded silly, but they indeed ran through my mind. If the fear of judgment could actually make a guy sick when he was looking for rejection in the first place; if it made him almost quit in an environment where there was little risk or danger, think about what this fear can prohibit you from doing in real life situations.
Then this rejection attempt changed me:
After panhandling on the street, I put myself in the middle of all kinds of judgment from thousands of strangers. Some people gave me money, others didn’t. It was scary at first, but liberating afterward. I learned that if I knew what I was doing, if I had a good reason, I could do anything I want without worrying about judgment. It made me brave and cool under pressure.
Why you should try it too: asking for money like a panhandler sounds crazy, but it forces you to go out of your comfortzone and develop a thick skin. You will learn that what people think of you really doesn’t matter. You are still the same person before and after. It’s what you think of yourself and what you do that really matters.
Go out and try this: ask $10 from people, and tell them why (prepare for a good and authentic reason, i.e. donating to charity). If they say NO, ask if there is anyway they would give you the money (i.e. let them decide where the money should go). Collaborate with them to make this happen. If their answer is still NO, shake their hands and say goodbye. Hold your head high and know you just kicked the trash out of your fear.