Unrejectable: How to overcome the #1 fear on earth.
- The fear of rejection is the human heart’s greatest fear, even scarier (ironically) for most people than death.
- To be unrejectable is to develop the self-mastery of the stoics or the selflessness of the saints.
- When you believe in something that’s far greater than you (some powerful purpose) so much that you’re willing to give up your life for it, you can either group.
“[Self belief is crucial in my swims], but the most powerful form of self-belief does not come from within. It comes from believing in something greater than you.” – Lewis Gordon Pugh, endurance swimmer and ocean advocate (Pugh swam 1 kilometer at the North Pole in only a Speedo swimsuit).
Two weeks ago I crossed the Mexican border into Tijuana and was immediately met with rolls of razor wire and poverty I had somewhat forgotten. I was uncomfortable.
I thought of safety, for myself… my car… and mostly I thought about the lack of it. As I thought about fear I thought about my life and what I’ve feared most and I narrowed it down to one thing: rejection… or perhaps more accurately: the fear of the feeling of being rejected.
Pugh did what no human had ever done and most scientists said not only couldn’t be done (swim a kilometer through the icy waters of the north pole in a skimpy swimsuit) but was life-threatening. Why did he risk his life to do this? He believed in something greater than himself (saving the world’s oceans from global warming) so much that he was willing to put his life on the line.
I (unexpectedly) came to Mexico to visit my friends at Youth With a Mission (YWAM) who are doing amazing things for people living in poverty. My (what became a 14 day) visit was inspired by this group of people known as YWAMers who’ve devoted their lives to a cause greater than themselves. They risk their own safety (although Baja Mexico is much safer now than years ago) to serve others. This enables them to be fearless, perhaps almost… unrejectable.
When I say unrejectable, I’m talking about the feeling of being rejected. As you may know (if you recall IX principle #3), the problem is not the problem, the problem is the state you enter when you think about the problem (OR… the problem is your judgment of it).
Over the last decade coaching some of the best athletes in the world I’ve seen a common thread of fear: It’s the fear of not being good enough, not winning enough, not producing enough. Not being enough. Rejected.
While fear can be a strong motivator (I think it’s helped some athletes become world #1), it’s a very poor companion and an awful teammate.
The greatest desire of the human heart is to be fully known and fully loved. Why? Because if we’re fully known and still fully loved, then we can be our true selves 100% of the time, never questioning if we said or did the right thing. It would bring total freedom.
To be fully known and fully loved would mean we would never be rejected (by that person). It’s the same as unconditional love. If you know you’re loved no matter what you ever say or do, you could be unrejectable.
And if you “sacrifice” your life to make the world a better place, and you make this the unconditional purpose of your life, then you can walk in the fearlessness of love. Unrejectable.
Sacrificing your life for a bigger purpose brings an unexpected benefit: it brings the humility and grace to let go of how others perceive you and how you compare.
Here’s how one superstar recognized how the willingness to accept a life sacrificing his ego made him a superstar:
“The absolute lack of glamor and/or normalcy drove me wild… what a completely offbeat, nonsensical existence. I thought, OMG, I want to do that. But what if I can’t? What if I’m not funny? I remember thinking, well I wouldn’t have to be that funny anyway. I just have to be funny enough to buy a loaf of wonder bread and a jar of skippy peanut butter a week. I could easily survive on that. It was all I ate at my parents house anyway. Even if that was all I had, it would be a better life than any I could envision. I was more than happy to accept being a not-that-funny comedian over any other conceivable option. Without realizing it of course, this attitude is the exact right way to start out in the world of comedy. Expect nothing, accept anything.” – Jerry Seinfeld, Is This Anything?
Seinfeld’s mindset was powerful because it was win/win. He could get booed off the stage and still make enough to be filled with Wonder (bread). Without the fear of rejection, he went on to become Jerry Seinfeld.
How to be unrejectable
1. Realize that rejection is a blow to the ego, not to you as a person. What you did or said or even how you came across was rejected, not you the person. Even if that person wanted to reject you, they rejected their internal version of you, not you.
2. Remember that every time you take a risk, every time you perform, it’s win/win: enjoy the small victory or take a step towards mastering your ego. (Note: you master your ego when you “fail” by embracing your humanity and taking the learning; facing the “embarrassment” instead of dodging it.)
3. Devote your life to a purpose you’re willing to die for, something beyond yourself that will make the world a better place. If you believe in that purpose deep enough, so deep you’re willing to give your life for it, you can be unrejectable.
4. From here on in, every rejection will be not a rejection of you, but of that world-changing purpose that can never be taken down. You’re now immersed in the power of the universe… as crucially integral as every star, tree and bumble bee. Rejection is not about you, you’re just the messenger.
5. Listen to this recent podcast I did with Woody and Walker (on their Price for Paradise Podcast) about the IX disciplines. It will help you get your heart (the source of all fear of rejection) sorted out. It’s also their most popular episode ever.
Let me know how it goes!
We passed 1,000 subscribers to this letter last week. Yay! Small but growing. 🙂 Please share this letter if you find it helpful. It’s been almost a year and half, so hopefully we’ll hit 2,000 in less than a year. 🙂
We also went over 100 5-star reviews on Amazon the past few months for the book. To those of you who took a moment to give an Amazon review, thank you so much! If you haven’t, would you mind taking 5 seconds to click on this link and give it your star rating, or if you have 55 seconds, give it a written review as well. Thank you!
A big boost came when [British] Open winner and two-time winner on the PGA tour last year Stewart Cink listed Read Inner Excellence by Jim Murphy as his #1 tip for success on golf.com.
Update on my life: I’m writing this from the relatively ritzy upscale life of Southern California (Just finished my eggs benedict and sipping on an oat milk latte at the Crema Cafe Artisan Bakery in Seal Beach, Ca). In a few minutes I’ll be headed up the California coast towards the beautiful PNW. My time in Phoenix is over (thanks for your wonderful house James and Michele!). I was driving to Seattle to spend some time with family when I took an unexpected detour (as I mentioned above) to Ensenada, Mexico to visit my role models at YWAM San Diego/Baja. It had a huge impact on me so much that I’ve decided to come back in December. Mark your calendars for Dec. 27-30, 2021 and a trip to San Diego/Baja. Something special is brewing down south with a potential YWAM Homes of Hope house build combined with the first ever Inner Excellence retreat open to the public.
History of YWAM