How to accept a “No”?

Hi everyone,

There’s a fear that weighs heavily upon many of us every minute, every single day, through our whole life, whether we think about it  or are aware of its existence or not. That is the fear of rejection, the fear of not achieving what we aim for.  In other words, it is the fear of “No” – no acceptance, no agreement from someone, no gain, no achievement…

Many decisions we make every day are indeed based on the fear of “No”, although we may not know it. Reading information about a scholarship, we think it’s “out of my league”, and we switch to another column.  The same with job recruitment info.  Not to mention that we don’t even look for jobs or apply anywhere, because “No connection means no way in”.  We spend a whole day writing poems about “my lonely life” because “I love much but never try to make acquaintance”. Years and years pass by and we let the dream of owning our own company die because we “haven’t got enough experience about business”. Not to mention so many children drop out because they don’t believe that they can study!

It seems that everyone of us has been stopped by “No” many many many times in our life. But why are we so afraid of it? Will an earthquake happen if the girl you like rejects your invitation for a date? Will it cost more than a letter and several pennies for a stamp to apply for a job? Then why are you so afraid?

Yet the truth is “No” causes many of us to become “frozen”. The reason is that “No” has the magic power to make us face our own self, facing our limits, our imperfections, our weaknesses.

But this is the main point:  Human is of course limited, imperfect, and weak. Superman only exists in novels and movies. A normal human being is not more than 2 meters in height or 100 kg in weight, cannot live longer than 100 years or jump higher than 3 meters, and cannot live without sickness. We have no problems accepting these facts, then why are we afraid of not getting a job offer, not receiving a nod to an invitation, or not getting attention for our words?

Our life has been surrounded with “Nos” as naturally as breathing. “No” is easy – all we need to do is no eating, no studying, no working, then of course we will have all the other “Nos” in the world.  It is the “yes” that matters.

Furthermore, the “Nos” that we receive every day usually have nothing to do with our values. Not being offered a certain job doesn’t mean that we are lousy; it may just mean that the job has already gone to someone else before our application arrives, or our talent is more suitable for another job.  People don’t buy what we sell, not necessarily because we don’t know how to sell; it may be that they don’t need what we sell. Someone doesn’t accept our invitation for a date, probably because s/he has already plans with someone else. There’s no reason to bang your head against the wall every time you receive a “No”: “It’s my fault, it’s always my fault”.

Moreover, it is a matter of course that we have more “Nos” than “Yeses” in our life, as there is only 1 job offer for every 100 job applications, only 2 out of 10 new companies will be successful, only 2 out of 10 clients that you approach will buy your products, and only 1 out of 5 love-birds will be chosen. Considering the probability, it’s easy to see that everyone of us has more “Nos” than “Yeses”.

Therefore, instead of sitting around to mull nonsensically over “my weaknesses”, we need to think more logically and scientifically. If on the average there are 100 job applications for only 1 job, then you should send out 100 applications, and you will almost surely get a job. If you prepare well and write your cover letters carefully, the probability of success might triple, i.e., for every 100 letters sent, there may be 3 job offers. If you even make use of your network of relationships, then you may double your current probability, that is, 1 job offer for every 15 letters sent.

Moreover, we need to look at “no” in a positive way based on probability:  Every “No” is a step closer to a “Yes”.  Three clients have not bought anything this morning, so at most 1 or 2 more clients will get me the deal.  Twenty applications have been sent out, no response, so at most 10 more letters and I will have at least some feedback. “Yes” is the inn ahead for us to eat, sleep and rest; “Nos” are the current steps; there is no way to reach a “yes” if we don’t walk through the “Nos”. Therefore, we need to know how to count the “Nos” positively – one “no”, two “no” … ten “no”… fifteen “no”…so “yes” must be very near.

In addition, we earn some experience for every “no” we receive. After 15 job applications without results, you have learned a lot about job hunting , to increase your average ratio from 100 / 1 to a very high ratio of 10 / 1. If for some fortunate reason you got the job on the first application (applying at a company where your mother was the boss, for example), you wouldn’t have gained any job-searching experience at all. And experience is the capital that is never lost, nor worn out. You can never predict the future, something minor that you experience today may be a great help to your big business in the future – for example, the experience of being a waiter/waitress today might get you an invitation to be a shareholder of a big restaurant  company in the future.

Thus, pity those who are frozen by the “No”. They don’t understand the probability of failure and success in life and don’t get the real meaning of the “No” – a step towards the “yes”. Their life becomes poor and pathetically passive.  The world is big, with lots of opportunities and challenges out there waiting for you, my friends.  Just open the door, walk down the streets, plunge headlong into life, and you will discover tons of beautiful things, and meet numerous smart, wonderful people.

To sum up, I want to leave you with a question. Of course we can tell ourselves, “No is a step towards yes”.  But if a friend of yours is persistent in working out a business that keeps failing, will you say to him/her “Very good. Try harder. Keep trying and you will succeed. I admire your persistence,” or you murmur to yourself, “So ignorant but still wants to dabble in business!”? And when answering this question, you should also think about how to educate your children to be more active and positive.

Wish you all a joyful day!



(Huyền Vân translated from Vietnamese)

Original Vietnamese article:

Làm sao để nhận chữ “Không”?

Một suy nghĩ 2 thoughts on “How to accept a “No”?”

  1. Reading over your post, the post makes me think of other situations in life. Not about “Noes” and “Yeses” , or ” weakness” and “strength” , but about ” bad people” and ” good people” .

    Thank you for your post .

    Have a great day!


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