Social Experiment: Accepting Rejection

When it comes to rejection, I’ve always been optimistic than most. I believe that we all have to deal with it at some point, whether it’s a break-up, a job interview or even just a straight up “NO” by your parents for whatever reason. It’s a part of life and this is why it was incorporated into my Gap Year experience at UnCollege. One of our mid-week workshops was to go out on the streets of San Francisco and collect a whole bunch of “No’s” from people by asking them ridiculous questions, you wouldn’t ask otherwise.

Jesi, who was my partner for the exercise, and I were pretty nervous at first, approaching people isn’t as easy as I thought and even though I wasn’t expecting anything, I surely did not anticipate how nerve wrecking it would be. Anyway, after talking each other into it we spoke to about 5 people out of which we got 3 No’s. I wasn’t disappointed because that was the whole point of the exercise, However, I didn’t think people were actually approachable until I did this. The outcome of it was better than I thought and I’m glad I was a part of it.

So it was towards the end of the exercise and we hadn’t reached our goal of No’s yet so we stumbled upon a small cafe shop and thought it would be fun to ask if we could do the mannequin challenge there. We approached this with an open-mind that if we get said ‘No’ to then we reach our goal and if we get said YES to then we’ll be the only people in our cohort that got to convince complete strangers to become mannequins for about 60 seconds. We noticed a man, who looked like the head chef and Jesi explained everything to him. After a little more convincing, he said ‘Okay’. We were thrilled, we couldn’t believe he said YES, so we pulled ourselves together and made an announcement to the 7 people that were seated at the cafe. They were all on board and the camera started rolling, I went around the room, got everybody to be super still and clapped once I had the whole video. The people were so friendly, they even exchanged contact details for a copy of the video. I was unable to process what we had just done, we thanked the man over 10 times and started running back to the workspace. We presented it to the rest of the class and got everyone super jealous. We didn’t win the Rejection challenge but we got a mannequin challenge so to me, it’s a WinWin! :)

After walking back to the workspace, I reflected on what I had just experienced and felt a rush of calmness flow through me, I got a sense that we are all just human beings and fear is just a bad taste in the mouth. I was probably the only one still smiling for being rejected because it was a learning experience for me. My approach was different towards this project and it gave me a clear perspective on how to go about my life having minimal expectations out of people.