- Happy Accidents
- Happy Accidents #047 - Jia Jiang
Happy Accidents #047 - Jia Jiang
Bold requests yield unexpected results
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This week we set out to uncover the unexpected journey of Jia Jiang, an entrepreneur turned resilience advocate, who stumbled upon personal growth through an unconventional experiment, the "100 Days of Rejection."
Let's dig in, shall we?
SETTING THE STAGE
This is the part of every Happy Accident story where we see every successful outcome starts with the person putting themselves in a favorable position. They work hard, they try new things, they meet new people. They're not just sitting around 'hoping' to be successful some day.
Born in 1982 in Qingdao, China, Jia Jiang spent the majority of his youth there before venturing to the United States to pursue his education at Duke University.
After some corporate jobs, Jiang caught the entrepreneurial itch and ultimately ended up co-founding a tech startup, "Wuju Learning," specializing in educational apps for children.
But his curiosity and his most intriguing discovery was yet to come.
Little did he know that a transformative experiment soon awaited him, reshaping his life and career.
THE HAPPY ACCIDENT
This is the part of every success story where there's a chance encounter, a serendipitous moment, an unintentional discovery (or Happy Accident) that paves the way for the next steps. In some cases, a Happy Accident can even be disguised as something bad in the moment.
Intrigued by the topic of rejection and self-confidence, in 2013 Jiang embarked on what he called the "100 Days of Rejection".
His goal was to intentionally seek out various forms of rejection for 100 consecutive days, aiming to conquer the fear of refusal. Unexpectedly, his audacious requests led to surprising positive outcomes.
Jiang was discovering that his perceived fears were much worse than reality and was surprised by many of the responses he was getting.
One stranger not only allowed him to plant a flower in their backyard but also extended more opportunities for him to beautify their garden, showcasing the power of bold asks.
In another instance, Jiang's unconventional request for a "burger refill" at a fast-food joint was met with humor and creativity by the staff, turning an odd query into a memorable and positive experience.
These and many other outcomes underscored the resilience-building potential of facing rejection head-on.
Jiang desensitized himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.
Just like Happy Accidents don't just fall into your lap (you need to set the stage first), they also don't turn into anything if you don't recognize them and take action. This is the part of every success story where we see people capitalizing on their Happy Accident.
Armed with these surprising results, Jiang decided to seize the opportunity to capitalize on what he’d learned.
His experiment, documented in a TED Talk (see below) and his book "Rejection Proof," propelled him into the spotlight.
Jiang also started a new site called Rejection Therapy where you can see your rejection resilience score and learn how to become more resilient.
Beyond overcoming his fear of rejection, the experiment paved the way for a successful career as a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author!
Jiang leverages his experiences to inspire others, turning rejection into a stepping stone for personal and professional growth.
Jia Jiang's accidental discoveries through his experiment not only reshaped his life but also became a beacon of inspiration for those seeking to navigate rejection with resilience and turn unexpected outcomes into pathways for success.
NOTE: Special thanks to Nathan Magnuson for suggesting this story to me
TOO LONG; DIDN’T READ (TL;DR)
Jia Jiang, initially an entrepreneur, stumbled into personal growth when he undertook the "100 Days of Rejection" experiment, intentionally seeking rejection for consecutive days to overcome his fear.
Unexpectedly, audacious requests led to positive outcomes, such as beautifying a stranger's backyard and turning an unconventional burger refill request into a humorous and memorable experience.
Documented in a TED Talk and his book "Rejection Proof," this experiment propelled Jiang into a successful career as a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author, emphasizing the transformative power of facing rejection head-on.
AND ANOTHER THING…
Check out this post on LinkedIn from Sahil Bloom where he shares a fascinating experiment about luck.
Some fun facts:
Jiang's experiment resulted in unexpected positive responses, challenging the notion that rejection is always negative.
The "burger refill" request showcased the transformative power of humor and creativity in turning unconventional situations into positive experiences.
The 100 Days of Rejection experiment was covered in publications such as Bloomberg and Forbes
Jiang’s TED Talk has received over 5.9 million views on TikTok!
The lessons here:
Embrace Rejection: Jiang's experiment demonstrates that facing rejection directly can desensitize the fear and uncover unforeseen opportunities.
Bold Asks Pay Off: The experiment highlights the potential for positive outcomes when making unconventional requests, proving that audacity can lead to unexpected yeses.
Resilience Matters: Jiang's journey underscores the importance of resilience in navigating challenges and turning setbacks into opportunities for growth.
YOUR Happy Accidents
Do you have a Happy Accident story of your own? I’d love to hear about it! Reply to this email with your story and it just might end up here in the newsletter!
Hey, Dennis Geelen here. Author of the Happy Accidents newsletter.
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