“How do you come up with all these creative rejection ideas?” This is one of the most common questions my readers ask me. It would be fun to say I am a creative genius because I’m a secret child of Steve Jobs and Lucy Liu, but it wouldn’t be true… actually, that would be so wrong, but I digress. Although I love to think outside of the box, but imagination alone wouldn’t be enough for me to come up with hundreds of ideas. If you want to try this on your own, here are three ways you can come up with rejection ideas that fit your own personality, lifestyle and preference.
1. Do Really Cool Things
Fill in the blank: It would be really cool if they can let me _________ (a cool activity) at _________ (a place manned by people).
For example, if you have always wanted to fly a plane, ask a pilot for it. If you would love to feed the big cat at a zoo, ask the zookeeper for ways to do it. Make sure you ask with respect, and if they say yes, you will have a great experience. (But make sure you follow their lead. I don’t want to see your name under CNN’s headline – Californian Man Under Critical Condition After Attempting to Arm Wrestle a Liger.)
2. Go for Your Big Dream
What do you really want to do? Is there anything on your bucket list that involves permission from others? If there is nothing involves permission, you just need to start doing them now. No one is stopping it but you. If something does involve permission, just ask for it. For example, it has been my dream to give a lecture in college. I asked for it and got it.
I have a reader whose dream is to be involved in research on alternative universe and time travel. Though not a scientist, he wants to be a pioneer in the research subject and asked me for advice. Sounds crazy and far-fetched? I told him to google the science research papers on the subject, and email the authors to express interest. He took my advice. After a few referrals, he’s now in touch with a leading scientist at Cal-Tech. A couple decades into the future, he might be sitting on the first-ever time machine. The odds of that happening are still very low, but it was 0% before he asked.
Of course, if your dream is to become the President, calling the White House for permission isn’t the best idea. You can break down your big goal into smaller rejection attempts. For example, calling your governor’s office and asking to be on the campaign staff might be good starting points.
3. Ask for Other’s Ideas
Many of my rejection ideas come from my readers. Some of them made my best episodes. For example, I took someone’s advice and asked to be a Live Mannequin at Abercrombie.
No matter how cool your project sounds, you can’t do it alone. Even if you could, it would be a lonely road to walk. Ask for ideas from your family and friends. Don’t be afraid to be judged and rejected. If you really believe in something, go for it and involve others.
Rejection attempts are not about getting a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but about putting yourself in the awkward situation to ask for something you really want. If others let you do it, you need to be very happy to carry through. If not, congratulate yourself on having the courage to ask. You will improve yourself either way.
Feel free to share your experience publicly using comments or privately through email at jia at fearbuster.com.