This week we are talking about rejection. We look at a rejection that Taimur recently faced, and then explore the various rejections we've both faced in our lives — how we felt about them, what we took from them, and how we can improve the way we handle rejection.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

Dealing with rejection is about taking lessons from it but not dwelling on it. There is little point in dwelling on rejection. You should try to learn what you can from the experience but it doesn’t do anyone any good to dwell for too long on it.

Developing your own internal compass and avoiding being reliant on external validation to base your self-worth upon is important in dealing with rejection. We should aim to focus and control what is in our control rather than get caught up with the worldview of others. It is more effective to focus more in terms of ‘why’ and ‘what we could do’ about it than ‘this person rejected me’.

A big part of the sting of rejection is when our identity is tied up in the thing that we’re being rejected from. If your identity becomes tied to an external metric of success – classic example of exams – you’re feeling of rejection and/or failure will be intensified. The ideal is to have an identity that is entirely internally generated – i.e not relying on any external measures to be happy – that’s an ideal that we can strive for but very few of us can achieve. A more practical strategy is to diversify your identity rather than purely focussing on one metric.


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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.


Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noverthinking.

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram