Best of Articles: Rejection Therapy

By Jen McHenry

In the first few minutes of this video, you see the doubt and disdain from the judges and the audience in reaction to Susan Boyle’s dream of becoming a professional singer. If she had listened to all the rejection and negative feedback that she had received all her life, she never would have made one of the most inspirational success stories to ever come out of any singing competition.

Lifehacker (a website I highly recommend for a quick mental sorbet) published this article about Rejection Therapy. There is one simple rule to participate: You must be rejected by another person at least once, every single day. The implication of this in your life is that you put yourself out there in some meaningful way, in hopes that something will come back positive. For all you New Product Developers out there, you see the implications for your work as well.

Don’t be afraid to put a crazy idea out there for fear of being rejected. Don’t get caught saying “should have,” “would have,” “could have”. Instead, push yourself outside the bounds of what is immediately acceptable. You never know when or if you may get the same reaction Susan Boyle did.

Sometimes, I hear a criticism in brainstorming sessions, that allowing people to say crazy things that could never be done is distracting and not useful. I have seen those same people become converts when a crazy idea sparks the insight for the real, breakthrough one. To support innovation fellow innovators and colleagues should say “Yes, and…” to help build on a raw, absurd idea to make it something truly great.

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