Now that you have opened yourself to a myriad of possibilities, you must also prepare yourself for the possibility of facing rejection or experiencing setbacks. Winston Churchill once said “success is not final, failure is not fatal but it is the courage to continue that counts the most.” I feel that this advice is apt for individuals embarking on the path of entrepreneurship.

Rejection is part and parcel of the learning process. While we all want to have a smooth path it is not always so and if the road to success is smooth sailing and seamless then we may miss out on learning important lessons and gaining insights on how to improve ourselves. The euphoria of success may serve to work against us in the long run as we may not be equipped to deal with failure that we may encounter in the future. If we open ourselves to the possibility of failure then we are actually opening ourselves to opportunities to learn from our mistakes which are invaluable in strengthening an entrepreneur’s knowledge and resolve.

Being receptive to learning from failure is what entrepreneurs do best. What sets them apart from others is that they do not dwell on their failure but rather question why they failed and then prepare themselves for the next task. People often ask me how to deal with failure and rejection.

I recently stumbled upon a unique way of dealing with failure. Other than keeping a positive outlook and turning every setback into an insightful lesson, one can also prepare oneself to handle failure before starting ones entrepreneurial journey. Let me share the unique example of entrepreneur Jia Jiang who embarked on a project named “100 Days of Rejection Therapy” after he failed to secure funding from a major investor for his technology start-up. He was adversely affected by rejection but instead of lamenting over his failure, he decided to undertake this project to condition himself to hearing “No” in order to strengthen his resilience. As part of the project, Jia Jiang approached people with absurd requests hoping that they would refuse him so that he could handle rejection. For instance, Jia Jiang asked a Southwest Airlines flight attendant if he could give the on-board safety announcement and also asked an ice cream shop to invent a flavor especially for him. Of course most people said no to him (some did say yes, but just a few). Jia Jiang’s approach towards dealing with failure is insightful as it reflects the importance of remaining confident in light of adversity. He conditioned himself to accept failure and rejection, quite a unique thing to do, which most of us will never think of doing.

Entrepreneurs are likely to see failures more than success, so its best we learn to handle rejections and failures. The real success lies in an entrepreneur’s ability to pick himself/herself up when he/she falls.  So, be open to all possibilities, dream big but be prepared to fall and get back up again.

Inderjit Singh

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