We’ve all been rejected at least once in our lives. It never feels good, and because the feeling of being dismissed isn’t something most desire to experience, many people fear it.
Jia Jiang is one of countless people terrified of being turned down, so he decided to tackle his distress head-on by starting what he dubbed his 100 Days of Rejection Therapy.
On his third day, he had a surprising response to his unusual request.
“I tried to overcome my fear. Instead, I got hope.”
In November 2012, Jia Jiang began his 100-day journey towards learning how to accept rejection. According to his blog, the idea was for him to purposely seek out a turndown—and hopefully after several months of that feeling, he’d be desensitized.
For his first attempt at getting someone to refuse his request, he gave himself the task of asking a stranger for $100— not surprisingly, the man he asked declined.
Jiang believed that after 100 denials, he’d no longer fear them.
The second day’s request was even more outlandish than the first: ask for a burger refill. Again, he was turned down.
But on the third day when he asked a Krispy Kreme employee in Austin, Texas, to make him doughnuts that looked like the Olympic rings, he was taken aback by her response.
On day three, Jiang walked into a Krispy Kreme and asked for special doughnuts.
He explained to an employee named Jackie how he was interested in doughnuts that resembled the Olympic rings.
“Oh,” she said in an interested sort of tone. “When are you looking for these?”
Jiang was caught off guard. He admitted he wasn’t prepared for her to consider his ridiculous request.
Jackie seemed willing to make the doughnuts.
As Jackie started to sketch the rings on a piece of paper, Jiang hoped she would dismiss his idea, but she persisted.
“I may not be able to link them, but I may be able to make them look like they’re interlinked,” she said as she tried to figure out how she’d be able to fulfill her customer’s order.
After arriving at a potential solution, Jackie got to work while Jiang waited.
Not long after Jackie began working her magic, she approached Jiang with a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts not only in the shape of the Olympic rings, but also in the same colors.
On his third day he failed.
“To my astonishment, she not only delivered, but showed me the determination and kindness that made me her fan,” he wrote on YouTube.
Several days later, he visited Jackie again. He explained how he expected her to refuse him, but shocked him when she enthusiastically produced gold medal worthy doughnuts.
Jackie called the moment “surreal.”
“The funny thing about it is, you caught me that night, but had you caught Paul or Lisa or any one of the other members of our management team or any of the people that feel confident in their own artistic skills, you probably would have got the same response,” she told Jiang.
Since Jiang uploaded the video, it’s received over 5 million views.
Jiang went on to complete his 100 day challenge and learned how to turn rejection into something positive. Following the completion of his challenge, he gave a TED talk and authored a book on the subject.