How to deal with rejection

Chengeer Lee
7 min readApr 7, 2021


We all are very different and we all have different coping mechanisms but what I am certain of is that those mechanisms can be developed over time.

Everything is in your mind.

We do not react to reality. Only to our perception of reality.

Do you want to cope better? Change the way you see things.

Many things that I often say might sound philosophical but try to accept them with an open mind — shift the way you see the role of philosophy in your life. Philosophy is not a subject that you study once in a while with a cup of latte in your hand on a nice Sunday afternoon. Philosophy is an instrument that you must sharpen every day as it is your tool of thought that you either use as your mightiest weapon or let it harm you if you let it rust.

Here are some puzzle pieces that might help you assemble that bulletproof perception.

1. There is no such thing as rejection. Only redirection.

Every conversation that turned to be a door that has been closed in front of you is an indication that the door is not yours. Look back at your life. How many times in life have you thought, “this is the end — nothing can be worse than this.” You thought that your world is collapsing. But it wasn’t. You were. However, now, when you are here, sitting in the present moment, you can clearly see why all the things that happened to you had happened. Everything happened for a reason. All these life experiences have intertwined into the chain of events that led you here.

This is what makes us human. We have a very limited capacity to foresee the future. When we are inside the situation at times it feels like we have blinders that create this tunnel vision laser-focused on our adversity. But there is the other side of the tunnel. And you will get there, you will understand your current experience, and you will be grateful that this experience has happened and taught you so much about yourself and about life.

There is a variation of the future in which you are happily employed, working in your dream team, doing what you are destined to do. This point in time and space does exist. You just have to “sail” to it navigating your way around the obstacles. And then again, by the time you arrive at your destination point, you will gain the ability to see — the obstacle is the way.

2. Act without expectations.

These are the words of Lao Tzu (recommended read: “Tao te ching”) that will never lose their actuality.

More often than not, we get disappointed not at how things turn up, but how misaligned they are with our expectations. There is one thing that you can always do — train your mind how to decrease internal importance.

“I don’t know what I am going to do if they say NO”. You see. Listen carefully to the language you use for yourself because this is how you program your mind.

Exercise negative visualization. Always ask yourself, “What is the worst-case scenario?” And no, it is not about programming yourself for failure. It is about knowing that if things go south you’ll be fine. You won’ be dwelling in sorrow for weeks sobbing about all the could-have-beens that were never meant to happen. Quite the opposite — you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on to generate new opportunities without wasting much time.

You will always notice how the internal importance is rising when you have your next shot. Detect it. Gauge it. Tame it. Your internal importance is never your friend, it is always counter-productive. Do your best with what you have where you are, and let the life unfold before you.

3. Practice Stoicism.

Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern. One of my favourite tools of thought that you can practice at any moment.

Ask yourself, “Am I in control here? Is it something that I can change?” And if it is not, just drop it. Take a piece of paper and spend 20 min jotting down all the things that bother you. To which circle do they belong? And if they are not in the former one, then stop feeding them with the energy of your attention. They don’t deserve it.

Keep practicing and at one point this mechanism will move deep to the subconscious level. You will be thinking much less about all the things you can’t control and your mind will be readjusting your focus automatically to the things that you can have an impact on, and that can have an impact on you.

Amor Fati. “Love of Fate”. This is another great tool to adopt. Learn to love the things that have happened to you because no other things have. It is very similar to the philosophy of choice — “there is no such thing as a good choice or a bad choice, only the choice that has been made.” You can train your mind to see the good side of things. You can nurture a grateful mind.

You can create and read your gratitude mantra, write a few bullets in your gratitude journal, or just simply watch some YouTube videos about all the people who were not as lucky as you in life.

At this very moment, there are people in pain out there. Some were born with a disability. Some were born with a flawed brain. Some live in a warzone. Some are starving and don’t have access to water. Some are dying from a terminal disease. And there are millions of people in the world who would do anything to be where you are.

Live a grateful life. You woke up today. You are breathing. It means everything is possible. The change is possible.

4. Decide what kind of stress is good for you.

Kelly McGonigal. Love her. She’s done tons of research on stress and willpower, and I will drop some links below for you to check but one thing that stands out for me in the context of our conversation here, is this:

If you consciously make a decision that certain stressors are good for you, you can start reaping the benefits of that stress.

And I am not saying that you should be enjoying being rejected. Not at all. Rejection sucks. It hurts our self-esteem, makes us have ‘funny’ dialogues in our heads, and overall does not serve us very well in maintaining our mental health.

However, we can start shifting our minds to thinking that the stress of rejection is actually doing us some good. You’ve probably seen how fighters train their abs. In one of the exercises, they have their partner systematically punch them in the belly. They contract their muscles to absorb the hit, and over time the abdominals get stronger and denser. They “grow a thick skin”.

Rejection is a punch in the belly. It makes you lose your breath. But also, every single one makes you stronger. Take the punch to develop an iron chin. You never know when in life you’ll need it again.

➡For Kelly McGonigal check here:

5. Responsibility breeds empowerment.

This is the foundational principle of coaching.

The more responsibility you take, the more empowered you feel. And the opposite is also true, the more responsibility you relinquish, the less you will feel that you are in control of your life.

Accept 100% responsibility for your results.

Not everyone will respond to your messages. People will ignore your cold emails. The form of help that is offered by others will sometimes be different from the form of help you expect.

The question is — what are you going to do about it?

No one will come and serve that job on a silver platter. No one needs your resume, your cover letter, your LinkedIn profile, your relationship-building skills, your success more than you. Why?

You are nobody’s priority.

I am sorry, it may sound harsh, but that is the truth. Don’t wait for people. Follow up. Make yourself a job-hunting pro. Do your research. Come prepared. Do not ask questions the answers for which can be easily found on the Internet. Always bring your A-game. And above all those things, have faith. Have faith in yourself.

Don’t be a job seeker. Be a job hunter. Or you can do one better — be a company hunter.

Make all your approaches laser-focused, your words purposeful, your resolve formidable.

Dispel all doubts on who is the best candidate when you enter the room. You have to leave them thinking, “we need to get that person no matter how much they cost”.

Be proactive. Do your best to come from the place of abundance. And trust me, in the end, you will be the one turning down offers.

You’ve got this.

Rejection exists only in your head. Expel it. Flush it out from your system. And make all those who said NO to you watch how far you can go.



Chengeer Lee