A Better Way to Handle Rejection

In Chapter 16 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "How Do You Deal With Rejection?"  Goswami notes how rejection is a part of life.  He shares how he learns to respect perspectives of others and keep an open mind of what may be right and what may co-exist. 

Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas.  He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully.  Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software.  Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History. 


Erik Michielsen:  How do you deal with rejection?

Bijoy Goswami:  Rejection is just part of life. Rejection is also making an aesthetic decision that whatever you're doing is not part of what they might be doing.

It’s great. I don’t think I'm gonna be able to talk to everyone in the world. I'm not gonna be able to interact with everyone and I don’t want to. So, to me like, you know, I think rejection is part of it.

Now, I think rejection could be done differently but in terms of when I'm rejected I don’t see it as, I don’t see it as anything but an aesthetic or a personal choice and someone’s prerogative is to reject things that they don’t like and one of those things could be me or an idea I’m promoting or whatever and so I see that as a very natural, natural course of things. I think where we make a mistake in terms of how we treat each other is that we, we reject – Because we need to say, we have to reinforce our idea of what’s right rather than say these two different ideas can both coexist. We have to then reject the person. We have to reject, you know, we have to do a Rush Limbaugh. We have to attack the person and bring them down and do all this stuff because we’re afraid of something in ourselves.

So, that to me when people do that, that’s I think called projection rather than rejection and that’s, you know, I see that too. I'm like, all right, you know, that’s fine. So, I think it starts from I'm not trying to get everyone on board, I'm not trying to get this – I’ve already accepted myself and so I don’t need other people to accept me. If we haven’t affirmed ourselves and other people reject us then we think I'm wrong and we take it personally. When we’ve affirmed ourselves and we know who we are and we know what we’re about then rejection is just part of the game.