Whether you got turned down after asking the hot barista at Starbucks for his or her number or your professor rejected your paper thesis and gave you a D, everyone has encountered some form of rejection, and it sucks. It’s an experience most of us try really hard to avoid, so why are a growing number of people actively seeking it out? It’s all a part of a game called Rejection Therapy.
Created by Jason Comely, a 40-year-old Canadian web designer, the 30-Day Rejection Therapy Challenge has only one rule: you must be rejected by at least one person every day for 30 days. It sounds simple enough, but according to Comely, it’s harder than you would think to actually get rejected. He writes that "as I was playing the game, I realized people were a lot more willing to give me what I asked for than I realized." It was his own self-imposed limitations that stood in the way of getting what he wanted. The number of people saying “no” was far less than his expectations.
Comely created the game as a way to help ease his own social anxiety disorder. He needed a way to build his self-confidence in order to interact with business clients and other strangers, but he was also obsessed with imagining how his life could be better if only he was able to take more chances. He eventually "realized [that his] comfort zone was like a cage keeping [him] from exploring a lot of opportunities” and was determined to find a way to force himself to develop more self-confidence. He decided that since rejection seems so scary and potentially devastating, it would be the perfect experience to seek out in small doses. He started small and gradually gained confidence until he was able to ask others major requests. He documented his efforts on his blog in order to keep himself honest and not abandon the project.
Although originally created for personal reasons, Comely’s therapy now helps numerous people who either want to increase their self-confidence or just like a challenge. It’s creative because it is original in the way it repurposes a negative event into an experience worth searching out. It can be considered useful because it helps improve people’s self-confidence, especially those who are usually shy or self-conscious. Some psychologists have even incorporated the game into their patients’ treatments, which is an example of some members of the field embracing the product.
If you want to try the 30-Day Rejection Therapy Challenge, Comely recommends starting out small and working your way up to truly make-or-break requests. Try out a couple basic questions that tend to result in rejections like asking strangers to take their picture or requesting a discount at stores or restaurants. You never know what the answer will be until you ask!