Masters of Rejection


Ross Perot was rejected 77 times before he got his first yes after he left IBM.

77 no’s until he got his first yes….

I hate being rejected but I’m also an expert at being rejected. Most people can’t deal with it. They’re afraid of the tribe kicking them out.

George Strait was turned down by every major record label in the 70s.

Ross Perot and George Strait, masters of rejection. So good at being told, we’re not interested. Maybe, or I’ll get back to you. Maybe means no. Let me think about it is rejection.

Average, good, and great. Average people get rejected and it stings and puts them out of commission. Good people get rejected and they go down for a bit but they eventually get back up. Great people laugh at rejection. They give rejection the finger.

How to give rejection the finger. “F” you rejection. I’m not great. I admit. But I’ve been around plenty of great people who know how to tell rejection to go “F” off. (I’m too professional to say the F word)

I’m amazed and in awe how different people deal with rejection. I have a PhD in rejection. I got my first taste of it when I was 5. Mom and Dad split up. Dad took my sister and I. All of my life I’ve felt rejected by my mom.

Here are reasons why rejection is common and how to get over it

It is easier to say no than yes

Do you want to go to dinner with me? No! Do you want buy my product? No! Do you want to have sex? No! Do you want to fall in love? Hell no?!

No is just easier. Everybody meets you and thinks no, not really. You really can’t blame them. It is hardwired in us to be suspicious of people not in our tribe.

Studies show that it is 76% easier to say no than yes. Not really I just made that statistic up. I don’t know what the studies show but we all know more people say no than yes.

You’re not in my tribe

For thousands of years we lived in small tribes. Living in big cities is new to us. Even though a majority of people live in big cities we still think and act like we live in the woods.

Evolutionary psychology points to our tribal roots as the main cause of a majority of people who reject new ideas.

People reject us because we are not apart of their tribe. Back when you and I were more like Tarzan we trusted our tribe to share food and shelter with us. It meant we had a greater chance of survival.

Even though we don’t live in the woods anymore we still hold true to our tribal roots.

No trust

I don’t trust you. You just called me out of the blue? Who the hell are you? I’ve never heard of you.

Trust is earned in small steps. Then one big step. Rejection comes in small steps. With each incremental move towards trust you get small doses of rejection.

Pattern recognition

The no pattern is easier to spot than the yes-pattern. Let me explain. Most opportunities are dead ends. We are hardwired in the woods to spot all of the no’s around us.

Don’t eat that it tastes like shit. Don’t walk over there the snake will bite me. This looks like that damn leaf that gave me poison ivy on my ass. No way.

We don’t live in the woods anymore. But we are still experts at spotting “no patterns”. Which is a good thing. You are here today because your ancestors were great at saying no to most things.

The no pattern is important because our brains can’t recall enough knowledge to know everything. We can’t have Google brains so we need to recognize patterns. Pattern recognition works and requires less knowledge.

Saying no to most things is right

Remember the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey? Great movie and it is funny because life would be really strange if we said yes to everything.

Life is too complex to say yes to everything.

Women can’t say yes to every guy.

The egg can’t say yes to every sperm.

The soil can’t say yes to every seed.

The publisher can’t say yes to every book.

The sun can’t say yes to every planet.

The universe can’t say yes to every star.

Everyone can’t say yes to this post.



Passion can ruin your life


Steven Pressfield wrote the best book on turning pro. He doesn’t talk about being passionate. I don’t remember one single line in the book about passion. The War of Art, I’ve read it 3 times. I’ll read it 3 more times.

Most passion is bull shit and will get you in trouble. My passion gets me in more trouble than helps me. I don’t know anything about passion helping me at my job. It usually freaks people out.

You have to follow your passion? Blah blah blah. Following passion may cause you to fall off a cliff or into the wrong person’s bed and at the wrong end of a shotgun.

I’m completely qualified to discuss how passion can ruin your life. I even won an award for my passion. I don’t know how that happened.

Having passion sounds sexy and cool. Having passion may even get you around more beautiful people.

Pursuing success and passion are the rabbit hole. “Take the red pill and you wake up in Wonderland”.  Passion is The Matrix.

Passion is a byproduct

Gasoline is a byproduct of oil. Invention is mostly  a happy accident of curiosity and tinkering. Batteries, a happy accident, a byproduct of something that happened in a steel mill. Really smart people call it the adjacent possible.

Passion is the adjacent possible that comes from pursuing any work or venture out of curiosity and then passion shows up late to the party. You think wow what took you so long passion.

Measuring Passion

Measuring passion  is like trying to measure the current in a river. It is fleeting. Just when you notice it is here it is already gone.  A pro knows that passion comes and goes. Some days you are in love and other days you hate your kids.

Passion makes me a terrible father. Commitment and routine make me a better father. Passion is fire that left unchecked will burn a hole in my chest.

But don’t you have to love what you do?

Love is not passion. Love is altogether something different. Love doesn’t just arrive at the door when you ask her to. Love has to be nurtured  and developed. Like a delicate flower that grows serendipitously.

Passion is more like lust. You have to be right. They have to be wrong. You just have to have the forbidden fruit. You must have the object of your desire.  I have to be rich. If I can just be the boss then everything will be better.

If I can just ….(fill in the blank)

We can go on for days here. If I can just be promoted then my wife  will respect me.  If I can just be passionate about Tax Law then I won’t want to blow my brains out.

If I can just get her to notice me then she will let me have sex with her and then we can have a house, kids, dogs, and credit cards bills.

If I can just get my boss off my back then I’ll perform better.

If I can just be passionate about my job then I’ll be happy.

There is no “If I can just “ it’s the red pill in The Matrix. This constant thought pattern will ruin your life. Add some passion to this thought pattern and then you are in for a disaster.

You can’t stop the thought pattern from coming. You can stop it from running wild in your mind. Be aware when the “If I can just” thought pattern infests your mind and makes its home in your brain.

Curiosity is better than passion

I’m curious about people. I don’t know why. I go anywhere I want to hear your story. Others would say wow he is really passionate about people. I’m not really. I’m curious.

I sell for a living. Selling from a position of curiosity works better for me than selling from a position of passion.

1 + 1 = 0

Being passionate about your work plus working for a company who is passionate about other things equals zero.

For example, you are passionate about improving your company’s product. The company is passionate about cutting costs. This formula equals zero. Go to the higher ups. Determine what they are most interested in. If there is alignment then you have something. If not, plan your exit strategy.

It is difficult for your personal  passion to align with your boss or even the CEO. Finding that alignment is key. When there is alignment your job is 10 times as fulfilling.

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about. That’s okay. Be grateful that your passion isn’t digging you a deeper hole where you are at.

Stop trying to find your passion

Worry less about what you’re passion about. Instead focus on what you are curious about. Do an inventory of what interests you. Ask those you are closest to what you’re good at.

Ride the river of curiosity and along the way and the currents of passion will carry you.



Asking for a raise

Asking for a raise

He printed off a list of all of his accomplishments and what he had achieved the past year. Brian was a strong recruiter no doubt. He embellished a few of those achievements. Did he deserve a 10% increase in salary? Sure, why not. But that’s not the point.

As an employee you work at a discounted rate so that your employer can make a profit on your work. Those are the rules to the game we all are playing.

Asking for a raise is not a bad thing. If you go in asking for money be ready to show personal arbitrage.

For me asking for a raise is awkward, self absorbed, and very risky. There are so many variables beyond your control.

Do you bring 5 times, 10 times, or 20 times a return on the money you are currently paid?

Asking for a raise is a math problem. I’ve been hearing this term a lot from business guys.

Asking for a raise is not a “worth” issue. If you look at the raise through the lense of your worth then you’re hosed. Your comp is a line item on the balance sheet of a department or company. That’s it. Math. Accounting.

Money is personal

I know money is personal. We all compare our worth and salary with others in our field and we want the respect. Stop thinking that way. It will ruin your life.

I’m going to contradict myself. You can’t control the “salary is my worth” thinking. But you can channel it and observe that those thoughts are going through your mind. Don’t let them linger.

Math problem

Needing 28K is a math problem. Ask yourself why you need the extra money. Because money is almost never the issue. Unless you are stuck in living below the poverty line.

If you are a linchpin (check out Linchpin by Seth Godin) then you stand a good chance of getting the raise.

Another great book, Eat the Frog, by Brian Tracy will teach you how to position your value to make more money.

He tells the story of a guy who showed his boss all the mundane time sucking tasks that generate very little return on his time.

By taking those tasks off his plate he was able to focus more on the high return work that made the company more money.

His boss doubled his pay. It is rare to get your pay doubled. I had it happen to me. I didn’t ask for it.

Boss’s hate talking money

I could be wrong here. I probably am. Talking about how much money you are worth is really uncomfortable for your boss. I hate talking about how much money I need to make to my boss.

Your boss is looking at a budget and seeing 28K as a new hire. That person will know nothing and contribute little at the beginning. They may not see the equation the way you do.


If you are going to ask for 28K then the burden is on you to show how you bring in 5 times or 10 times that in value. Show them how you added 300K to the company.

That is how business works. If the business isn’t growing and flourishing it’s dying.

Thinking you deserve a raise because of what you did in the past is like putting a bullet in your brain. Don’t do that. That’s negotiating suicide. Nobody cares about what you did in the past.

Real players want to know what you can do now.


I have NEVER asked for a raise. Maybe I’m not qualified to answer this question. I have been given significant raises through-out my career.

Add value is a cliche and is over-used, I know. To make more you have to change your mindset from the employee to that of an owner. Or from a taker to a giver.

Owners, producers, and givers make more. Earners, employees, and takers make less.

Money is only a byproduct of value. It is the market’s way of saying thank you for delivering.

Every time I’ve been greedy and stingy money hides herself from me.

Every time I’ve given, money magnetizes herself to me.

Brian got a 2% raise and he quit 6 months later.