Rejection Therapy

by on October 7, 2010 at 11:32 am in Education | Permalink

Jason Comely writes to me:

Rejection Therapy is a real life game with one rule: to be rejected by someone every single day, for 30 days consecutive. There are even suggestion cards available for "rejection attempts" (although they are not essential to the game).

I designed the game for myself about a year ago because I wasn't getting out of my comfort zone anymore. I was afraid of rejection. Rejection Therapy was a way I "incentivized" getting out of my comfort zone, and being rejected became a desired end result.

Are you comforted to learn that?:

Rejection then must be the sister of death.

And yet…you are not supposed to reject others.  Every blogger should ponder the implications of Rejection Therapy.

1 Kevin K October 7, 2010 at 8:01 am

Does the internet encourage people to be super-annoying or were they like this before and I wasn't aware?

2 Brian Moore October 7, 2010 at 8:06 am

What happens when someone you expect to reject you doesn't? That would be embarrassing in certain situations.

3 Jason October 7, 2010 at 8:18 am

@Kevin K

A rejection attempt in Rejection Therapy should be a win/win proposition for both the asker and the respondent.

4 Barkley Rosser October 7, 2010 at 8:29 am

There are two obvious problems with this one. For it to really matter, you have to have some sort of connection or relationship with the person. It may be annoying to be "rejected" by some random anonymous person, but ultimately, so what? But for the sort of people who may need this therapy, do they actually have 30 relationships close enough that it would matter if those people rejected them? Somehow this indeed seems more like a superficial game than anything serious enough to be called "therapy."

5 Jason October 7, 2010 at 8:47 am


Rejection Therapy is about pushing back the constricting walls of fear: fears that keep us from asking our boss for the raise we want, or the job we need, or the relationship we crave. It dispels the myth that comfort is happiness. It's not. Comfort is the enemy of personal progress and exploration during this short sojourn in mortality.

Our lives are defined by fear more than we realize. People need to become cognizant of that.

6 Jason October 7, 2010 at 8:53 am


In Rejection Therapy, that would be a failed attempt, since I wasn't rejected and didn't ask too much (therefore defining my limitations).

On the other hand, I'm happy to be your friend ๐Ÿ™‚

7 Superheater October 7, 2010 at 9:07 am



8 Eric October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

>> What happens when someone you expect to reject you doesn't?
I think the key is to ANTICIPATE rejection, but be pleasantly surprised when you are not.

9 Jason October 7, 2010 at 10:03 am


A sad story ahead, so get out your hanky: Since my seperation and divorce 10 years ago, I have been single and living alone. Not because I enjoy living alone, but because I have a viscious social anxiety disorder. I often get panic attacks engaging with women I'm attracted to.

I'm not sure if you know what that's like, but to me it's like living in an invisible cage. I see my friends in relationships, yet fear has kept me from having someone to share my life with. Why? Fear of rejection. Fear that I'm not what she thought I was.

After a decade of avoiding attractive women – even some of my friends were thinking I was gay!

Rejection Therapy was my way of rethinking fear and rejection. It turned the tables on it. It continues to give me hope and the small victories I need.

The cards for Rejection Therapy were the result of a year of game testing. There were days when I needed inspiration to get out of my comfort zone. I have had the tendency to avoid social situations altogether and stay at home on the computer (not good for a single guy who isn't getting any younger). The cards give you that poke when you need it. They definitely offer value that way.

Oh, and my profession choice me (not the other way around) just as my religion has (I am LDS, aka Mormon). I have heard disparaging remarks about both. I'm used to it.

10 Jason October 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thank you Jim.

11 Jason October 7, 2010 at 10:42 am


When playing Rejection Therapy, make requests for things you want and are outside your comfort zone. If you don't want it and/or don't feel the fear – don't ask for it. You should also always expect rejection, because that counts as success in Rejection Therapy. It's as simple as that.

There is an exception to the rule, and that is if you're using the cards. The cards will suggest actions to take (called "rejection attempts") so you don't regress to a more protective and comfortable state.

Many of our fears are irrational, which is why I suggest "players" of Rejection Therapy go into a state known as Buddhist "no mind". It short circuits the mind and the fear that the mind creates, allowing you to make a rejection attempt with less discomfort.

One amazing thing I noticed about Rejection Therapy – getting rejected is hard! People are a lot more accommodating and willing to give you what you want than you can imagine! Try it and see for yourself!

12 Mo October 7, 2010 at 11:19 am

PhD Program in Economics = Rejection Therapy

13 Andrew October 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Yeah, some of us need this like a hole in the head.

My favorite was when the "potential collaborator" suddenly asked "have you passed your qualifier?" and with my answer "not yet" he turns and walks away in mid-paragraph.

14 Michael G Heller October 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I guess to be a successful blogger you accept you must be toughened up by the scary duel of rejection and reception. Not easy to be in that therapy 365 days a year, but probably rewarding.   

15 Peter October 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm

As an insurance salesman I would happily sell my soul and burn in hell for all eternity if more people would reject me. Because most people are too cowardly to say "no," they resort instead to complete lies. I know they're lying, and they know I know they're lying. Typical ways for a coward to say "no" without actually uttering that dreaded syllable:

Let me think about it.
My schedule is totally crazy, I don't know when I'll be able to meet with you.
Let me ask my wife.
Let me check my schedule and get back to you.
All insurance buying is done by our home office. They're in the process of moving and don't really have an address right now, so there's no way to contact them.
My brother is in the insurance industry, I do all my business with him.

I have heard each one of these in just the past few weeks. The "let me think about it" is the most common, I get that several times a week.

16 FMT October 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I tried to buy the Rejection Deck but my credit card got rejected.

17 Candadai Tirumalai October 8, 2010 at 5:47 am

I myself think that there must be better

ways of getting out of one's comfort zone

than Rejection Therapy.

In my experience those who practise rejection

by pointedly and unjustly excluding someone

hope to get that person to change their ways

or point of view or do what is in the rejecter's

personal interest. Rejection is a form of abuse.

There are undoubtedly other ways of

viewing rejection but I have very strong reaction

aginst those who use rejection as a deliberate


18 Jason October 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

@ Sleepy_Commentator

Thanks for your insights in your last comment. I'm sorry you have a social anxiety disorder (I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy) and I hope you haven't suffered from it as I have.

Now, what irked me about your first comment was the assumptions you made. I ask that you and I revisit them.

> "entirely unscholarly, ill-informed person"

You don't know what I know, or know the books I've read, or the discoveries I've made testing "Rejection Therapy – The Game" for the last year. You're probably not familiar with the successes people have enjoyed playing the game, or my successes. And you have no idea what I have suffered through in my life. So to say I'm an "entirely unscholarly, ill-informed person" was speaking from an uninformed position. You haven't even tried the game for yourself, have you?

I am an entrepreneur who imagines new concepts and business models. Rejection Therapy was launched as a MVP (minimum viable product). It's completely free, and accessible to anyone on the planet with internet access.

Rejection Therapy – The Game will evolve and grow organically. It's a young product with a lot of maturing to do.

> I fabricated "a 'therapy' out of old pop-psychology ideas"

Rejection Therapy is the brand name of a game, not a therapy. The concept was borne from personal testing and experience, but there is a similar technique called "flooding" that has a strong base in behavioral therapy.

Besides, I don't need or want your permission (or anyone else for that matter) to make public and/or monetize any concept I've created. I don't need your approval either. I'll let the market decide if Rejection Therapy is of value. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

> I presented Rejection Therapy "with well-known, practically boilerplate marketing techniques"

I have studied and practiced UX/UI (User Experience / User Interface) and marketing for years, and they are sound practices that bring coherence to a message. I don't apologize for that.

> "The guy is selling 30 cards with one-liner suggestions for $16. That's the theoretical framework within which this 'therapy' was constructed."

This statement baffled me the most. Were you looking over my shoulder every day that I conceived, designed and tested the game? Obviously you weren't, because that wasn't my thought process or the sequence of events.


P.S. And yes, Mr.Cowen's links are definitely worth clicking. Assorted Links are like surprise bags of mind candy ๐Ÿ™‚

19 Felix October 9, 2010 at 3:58 am

Wow! Do you need a game for that?
I've been looking for a job for over a year now. I've been getting my daily dose of rejection (and some days more than my daily dose) day in and day out.
Believe me, I don't know what a comfort zone is anymore. Maybe pain is now my comfort zone and having a steady income would be getting out of the comfort zone?
I think it's lame that you need a game to experience what most people out there consider to be… life?

20 mb December 6, 2010 at 3:32 am

Can you please send me a free deck?

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