by Dato’ Vijay Eswaran

Rejection is a central platform of all networking endeavours. Anyone who doesn’t understand why rejection is such a powerful and yet intricate tool of learning does not really understand networking. Take the word ‘networking’. Ultimately it’s about working a net. If you see a spider building a cobweb, in essence that’s where the term net/web originated from. It’s a concept we have pulled from nature per se.

First the spider pulls one single thread from point A to point B. And this is the most difficult, most strenuous, most daring, most imperilled venture by the staid spider. Because it is one thread and hanging by that single thread, the spider tries to span an expanse of space. And generally it fails about 99 times before connecting the thread. And because it’s so tenuous, it breaks again about 99 times. The actual percentage of success is about 1%.

But the web itself upon completion can be an extremely powerful and extremely intricate construction. In nature, there is nothing that comes close. Man, despite all technological progress, cannot match the intricacy and strength of a single cobweb even today. The strength of a single spider thread is still far stronger than the strongest steel cable known to man, if one were to measure it proportionately. Hence, it is the ideal example to use in this field of business/networking.

The first thread fails 99 times out of 100. But yet, this is the basis of the entire network that is yet to come and it will be the strongest thread that spans that space. Upon that single thread being achieved the spider goes back to its centre and then drops again to create another thread. Hence, you eventually see the entire cobweb over a period of time. Now how does this  affect the term ‘rejection’?

The spider has no ego, it has no pride. It has no intellect in terms of counting how many times it fails. It is focussed on the objective and keeps on striving and trying till its objective is reached. It can only focus on one thread at a time. But this is how the most complex, intricate, dynamic networks are built.  The only thing that differentiates us from the spider is this concept of pride/ego/self-awareness/social intelligence.

Hence, you would find that some of the most successful networkers, who have been able to completely build huge networks (that is, consisting of 50,000/80,000/120,000 people), have done so because they have never looked beyond the next thread or person that they are building upon. This so-called simplistic approach is so powerful because there is no expectation, there is no pride in achievement… there is only the next step forward.  So why this fear of rejection? Rejection doesn’t demean you. It doesn’t deride you. It does not deny you. It certainly doesn’t defeat you.  It doesn’t even defy you.  So why let a single rejection or even a hundred rejections stop you?

In the words of a good friend of mine who is a great networker, “Rejection is just another gust of wind on my face. It cools my brow and is gone in the next instant. If I know it not, how can it affect me?”

Through rejection, there is so much to be learnt. In every rejection, there is a new lesson.  In every rejection, there is a different map of who you are internally, a different part of a map internally being projected. If you can piece your rejections together, you will begin to see who you really are.

A rejection teaches you what you should not do next.  A rejection teaches you where you went wrong, and therefore teaches you, if you care to learn from it, what you should do right.  It is an excellent opportunity that allows you to experiment just as a painter does with his canvas. If you can only remove your expectation out of the way; if you can only remove your ego out of the way, then rejection becomes a gift divine.  It becomes a true teaching tool and the master plan teaches.  There is so much more to be derived from rejection than there is from success.

Embrace it and it would guide you. Repel it and you will be forever entwined.