Surprise Yourself

I’ve been reading Jia Jiang’s new book, Rejection Proof, in anticipation of my fireside chat with him next week on March 25th at 12pm.

I am struck by how Jia—who has become an accidental expert on rejection with his 100 Days of Rejection experiment—has tapped into a major life lesson that can encourage us all:


When you strive for your dreams, you will be surprised at how support appears.

For ten years, I have carried a laminated card with this quote from Joseph Campbell: “Don’t be afraid to follow your bliss, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” This quote is so appropriate for Jia’s message.

Jia was on a quest to be rejected every day for 100 days. He made outrageous requests, like asking to fly someone else’s plane or have a Krispy Kreme employee make donuts in the shape of the Olympic rings. What amazed him, as he proactively tried to get turned down, was that many people (not all, but some) said YES to his outrageous requests. He got to make an announcement on the intercom of a Southwest Airlines’ flight, play soccer in a stranger’s backyard, and many other crazy things.

When you decide to ask for what you want in your life, you can’t know how others will react. Often, what kills our innovative, crazy ideas is our fear of the response we’ll get when we put our dreams out in the world. Because of this, our ideas often don’t see the light of day. Silently, we let our ideas languish and we suffer the sadness of castoff dreams.

Imagine what would be possible if we asked for what we wanted, putting things out in the world, even if these things sounded outrageous in our heads. I could say out loud that I want to be part of a flash mob or ride on a parade float (really, these are two of my dreams) and to be the CEO of a million-dollar company that helps make the world a better place (also a cherished dream). Simply admitting these thing to you in this post makes me feel all jittery, and yet, that is the way that things happen.

What do you want for your life and career? Are you afraid of what others will think, so you don’t even say it out loud to yourself? What could shift for you, and for the larger community, if you were to take a deep breath, say it out loud, and then release it to the universe?

Try it…You might surprise yourself.

What is your dream? Feel free to comment and let the world know.

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