AlwaysWin®: Walk Away a Winner® From Any Situation or Circumstance
Dr. Gallatin on Broadway, New York
The author is reprinting Chapter 1 for the benefit of the reader. The cartoons, items contained in boxes, and sources have not all been included, but may be found in AlwaysWin®.
Copyright © 2005 Martin V. Gallatin, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Chapter may not be used without written permission.
You Can AlwaysWin®
“A champion is one who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey
You can AlwaysWin® even if no one believes you. Walk away a winner from any situation or circumstance. The greatest unspoken concern we have in our personal and business lives is the dread of losing—that is, of being rejected. But you do have to deal with rejection, for better or worse. Since you never know when you will find yourself in a losing situation, you want to be prepared with the confidence and tactics to overcome any difficulty with poise and aplomb. End the tyranny of rejection right now.
When you are rejection-free, you will become that hopeful, upbeat person you were meant to be—a person whose dreams will come true. AlwaysWin is not a survival manual. I didn’t spend years writing this book in order for you to be able to merely survive. In the world we live in, either you win or lose—and the choice is up to you! As Earl Nightingale said, “It’s easier to win.”
AlwaysWin will show you how to quickly decipher the clues hidden in a situation, and to determine any possibilities for rejection in that situation. You will be able quickly, effectively, and permanently to neutralize any rejection as soon as you spot it. When you have defeated rejection, you will be free to be you, to live the way that you choose.
Never again will you allow anyone to take advantage of you because you were hesitant or feared disapproval. And the more you systematically apply the strategies and techniques found throughout AlwaysWin, the more you will win while others lose and drift.
Could it be that you or a loved one is facing another trial today and you can’t see the end of your ordeal? The weeks ahead may include surgery, unemployment, bankruptcy, divorce, a death in the family, or any combination of these and other hardships. No matter what you face or why, you will AlwaysWin when you use AlwaysWin.
You have beaten rejection when you can move on with your life and do whatever you want without allowing a crisis or a serious negative social or professional event to hold you back. Today, more than ever, you need to be rejection-free and able to respond instantaneously to any situation or circumstance.
When you find yourself becoming negative or you feel that you “can’t” do something, the words of Glen Bland—“Quit thinking about all the reasons why you ‘can’t’ do something and think of all the reasons you ‘can,’” —will put you back on the right track. You don’t have to be a business mogul, a celebrity, or a college graduate to AlwaysWin.
You live in a culture that says winning and being a star are everything, and the mass media reinforce this by glamorizing monetary success, high-living entertainers, sports figures, and business tycoons. If the appearance of winning is all that matters, you will too often find your choices influenced by values that have painfully little to do with your own deepest convictions. When you are not happy, money and fame may not be enough for you.
In a society that worships success, the mere thought of not getting what you think you deserve, or of losing, is unbearable. Rags to riches stories in the mass media reinforce the idea that if you don’t make it big-time, you are a loser. If you don’t happen to have a high-status job, even if you make a good living, you can feel like a loser if you are not thinking straight. Living in such an environment makes it difficult to maintain high self-esteem and to put rejection in its proper perspective. When you use Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach to beating everyday rejection, presented in Chapter 3, you will see the possibilities, not the futility, and be more hopeful even when things seem bleak.
What It Means to AlwaysWin
You AlwaysWin, even if a particular person or situation doesn't work out, when you do everything you can to make winning possible. When you take full advantage of every opportunity that makes sense, you AlwaysWin. Your positive attitude, determination, and the knowledge you have gained in your prior experiences prepare you to maximize the outcome of the next situation and walk away a winner.
When you believe that you can AlwaysWin, your mental health will remain strong under tragic circumstances or ongoing conditions with no chance for improvement. Virginia had a stroke at forty-four that makes it difficult for her to get around on her own. She refuses to give in to her circumstances and insists that she’ll get back to her old self. Virginia goes about her business, managing the best way she can. She doesn’t complain; therefore, she walks away a winner. Virginia may walk more slowly than you or I but she will get where she is going long before we will if we have the wrong attitude. You AlwaysWin when you don’t let any disability shut you in or shut you out.
It is truly amazing what you can do if you want to do it, even under “impossible” circumstances. Joni Eareckson Tada, after being paralyzed at seventeen in a driving accident, met a man who was not afraid of her physical condition and they were married two years later. To give you an idea of the nature of the situation imagine your spouse helping you “floss your teeth, blow your nose, put on and take off your makeup, and empty your leg bag.”1 Can you imagine being in that situation? How would you handle yourself?
When you face a seemingly insurmountable situation, that doesn’t mean that the world has come to an end. It does mean you will have to make some major changes in your beliefs and expectations and the ways you do things, to work around what happened in order to stay sane. It may take every ounce of your physical and mental energy to hold up under the pressure. The more you use the techniques you have learned in AlwaysWin, the better you will do and the faster and more complete your healing and recovery will be.
A cheerful disposition and a hopeful outlook make the difference whenever you have one of those difficult days or periods. It is my experience that good things usually don’t happen when you are negative. Being positive doesn’t mean looking at bad things through rose-colored glasses or believing that the sun will shine every day. When you use Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach for preventing and beating rejection and getting back on your feet, the sun doesn’t have to shine every day but you can. Winners operate from inner strength and conviction and make the most of even the worst situation. When you have a deep belief that things will be all right, you will do everything in your power to make sure things work out as well as possible, no matter what happens or why.
When you call on Dr. Gallatin’s approach only when you have a crisis, you will be acting out of sheer desperation and depending too much on luck and the need for a miracle. Miracles happen less when you are desperate. When you are seeking an answer and are frantic, you are not yourself, and are more apt to act foolishly and make careless mistakes. Review your life and you will see your greatest triumphs came when you wanted them but didn’t have to have them. Desperate people’s lives are filled with endless problems and sadness. When you use Dr. Gallatin’s approach, success becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and is a miracle.
What Rejection Is and Isn’t
You have been rejected when a person, group, or organization is not as interested in you or what you have to offer as in what someone else has to offer. It does not mean the rejecter is not interested, just that she is not interested enough. In other words, you are not going to get what you want from a particular individual or group at a particular time. It doesn't mean you will never get it—even from the same person or business—but only that you won’t get it now. Your timing may be off, that’s all.
To put it another way: for some individuals you are too tall, for some individuals you are too short, and for some individuals you are just right. Find the individuals who think you are just right. If a man is looking for a wife, he won’t be inclined to ask a woman for her number, regardless of how attractive and delightful she is, if the woman is not the right height for him. The rejection has nothing to do with the woman personally, but she probably won’t know her height is the reason that he says, “I have to get going now,” rather than “Where do you live?”
I was sitting in Washington Square Park in Manhattan one balmy spring night while I was still working on this book, when a woman sat down on the same bench and struck up a conversation with me. I was tired and not interested in her, but I continued the conversation for a while anyway. At one point she told me how much she had enjoyed talking with me. While I could have said, “I enjoyed talking with you also, but I can’t ask for your number because you aren’t my physical type”; or, “We are in different places in life,” instead I said, “Good night,” with no further explanation. I could also have said, “I enjoyed talking with you, too, but I am in a serious relationship and if I weren’t involved with someone I dearly love I would ask for your telephone number,” which would have lessened the chance of her feeling rejected.
What would you do in such a situation? What? This nice woman had no way of knowing why I wasn’t interested in her and may have assumed she was undesirable in some way, which wasn’t the case. When you are turned down you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
After you have finished reading AlwaysWin, when you are rejected you will have a much clearer idea of why you were turned down. You will know the type of rejection that you have received—personal or circumstantial—and how to correctly analyze the information you received. You will be upbeat, reassured, and move on in the right frame of mind even when things looked hopeless just a few minutes before and you didn’t get what you were seeking in a particular situation. You will do what is best for you, consider the needs of others, and get along with difficult people whom others don’t know how to handle.
When you get a no, that doesn’t mean no is the final answer by any means. Twenty-four publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book. The author didn't stop submitting the manuscript to publishers just because a particular editor or a particular publisher at a particular time didn’t see its value. Dr. Seuss’s books have sold more than one hundred million copies and counting.2
After receiving a no or a series of no’s, winners continue when it makes sense for them, even when others have little or no understanding of how or why success will happen. Successful people believe that they will win and keep doing what needs to be. Winners get more of what they want sooner and have an enjoyable time doing so. It feels good doing what you want and winning, doesn’t it?
If Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, had listened to others, he wouldn’t have been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2000. If Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, had listened to his professor at Yale University, who gave him a C on a term paper outlining his business plan for a reliable overnight delivery service, he might be just another bright man doing strategic planning for a bank. His professor said, “The concept is interesting and well formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.”3 Whom are you listening to? Whom?
Rejection Is Not an Either-Or Thing
We naturally see rejection as an either-you-love-me-or-you don’t proposition. Sometimes the answer is no, “I never want to see you or talk with you again.” Most of the time you are accepted for what you are, warts and all. For example, your lover is nuts about you (approval) but is unhappy with your table manners (disapproval). Your lover plans to marry you and hopes to improve your table manners.
Contrary to popular opinion, being rejected isn’t so simple or so clear-cut. In my students’ evaluations of me on one of my online Principles of Marketing courses at Touro College, I received a “grade” of 5 out of 6 overall. One student wrote, “The prof. should be more involved.” Another student said, “It was great.” Whose opinion should I listen to and why? One’s experience is in the eye of the beholder. You can look at rejection and social approval as being on a scale from 1 through 10. The diagram below illustrates the possibilities that range from total rejection to total acceptance.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
TOTAL REJECTION PARTIAL ACCEPTANCE TOTAL ACCEPTANCE
If you get a 9 or 10, you are totally accepted. If you got 4 through 8, you are partially accepted. If you get 1 through 3, you are totally rejected. Most rejection you get will fall somewhere between these extremes. In order to know whether you have been accepted or rejected and to what degree, you need to objectively evaluate each situation.
If someone says you are the greatest, that would be a number 10. If someone tells you that you are a nice person, that equals a 7, revealing that you are partly accepted, which is pretty darn good. If you are turned down for a membership in a country club, that would be represented by a 1, meaning you have been totally rejected. Total acceptance and total rejection are a rarity.
A State of Mind
Not everyone sees or experiences a rejection or upset in the same way. For one person a particular rejection is dreadful, for someone else the same rejection is sad, and for a third person it is just a pain in the neck. While an organization may not do business with you today because your price is too high or the firm is satisfied with its current supplier, it may do business with you a year from today if conditions change.
How you interpret a particular rejection is based on your approach to life, your personality, family history, life experiences, education, awareness, attitude, expectations, and where you are in your life. Reminders of your past mistakes, disappointments, and recent setbacks affect your interpretation of what is or isn’t a rejection. You may not even be rejected when you think that you are being rejected. Feeling slighted or rejected is a state of mind, not necessarily a fact. Here is an example from my own experience.
When my book Lover Shopping® came out, I was sent on a media tour. I arrived a day early in Hollywood in order to do some sightseeing. I was picked up in a stretch limo and taken to a hotel that looked old and in need of some work. Frankly, I was insulted. The next day I took a bus tour and, to my utter amazement, the bus stopped at my hotel, the Chateau Marmont. I discovered this was not just an old hotel, but that legions of movie stars had stayed here because of its layout, allowing for privacy and invoking plenty of intrigue. When I arrived back in my room I took a second look around and wondered who had slept in my bed.
Until you conquer the fear of rejection, you are at a distinct personal and competitive disadvantage. When rejection is your “silent partner,” every time you get a no or think you will get a no you will be upset, and will waste time and energy trying to figure out what went wrong and why you were turned down, or could be turned down in a similar situation. You will never be at peace. Life will be a constant battle that you will feel you can’t win. You will be wearing a scowl rather than a smile, and not achieve your potential when you could and should and others are.
Despite popular opinion, rarely being rejected is not a sign of being a winner unless you are a star, like Oprah; a famous sports figure like basketball legend Michael Jordan; or a business magnate like longtime General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Until you beat rejection you won’t take chances. In meetings you won’t offer suggestions because you could be voted down. When you don’t take chances, your life is more predictable and less interesting than it could be. Don’t lose out by not trying out.
Types of Rejections
For all practical purposes there are two major types of rejections. I call rejection that you can do something about personal rejection. I call rejection that you cannot do anything about circumstantial rejection. When you understand the difference between the two major types of rejections it will help you mentally to beat any situation or circumstance, no matter how important or how upsetting.
Both personal and circumstantial rejections can be benign (harmless) or serious (disruptive and life changing). See sidebar for examples. Serious rejection can ruin your life if you don’t know how to deal with it. When you know how to correctly look at a personal rejection, you will minimize its effects on your psyche and your everyday life.
You can mentally and spiritually prevent most personal rejection and move forward with your life. That’s right: You can prevent most personal rejection. Circumstantial rejection, on the other hand, is rejection that is not controllable and there is little that you can do to prevent it. But you can prevent circumstantial rejection from ruining your life by detecting it in advance or as it is happening, and taking appropriate action. You will never be the same—that’s my unequivocal pledge.
You will find a complete discussion of personal and circumstantial rejection in Chapter 2.
Beat Rejection Even if No One Else Can
Most people believe that you can’t prevent or defeat rejection. They are wrong. You can beat any rejection mentally, which is where you have to confront it. In his book Adversity Quotient, Dr. Paul G. Stoltz says,
THIS CRITICAL ABILITY TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY HAS LONG BEEN THE FUEL FOR MANY INSPIRATIONAL STORIES, YET IT SEEMED TO BE A QUALITY ONE EITHER POSSESSED OR LACKED FROM BIRTH. NOW WE KNOW BETTER. THE ABILITY TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY CAN HELP EVERY PERSON, NO MATTER HOW SUCCESSFUL OR DESTITUTE, AND IT CAN BE LEARNED.4
It is best to deal with a serious rejection as quickly and quietly as possible—no matter how unpleasant or tragic—and move forward. Most people act as if it is easier to run away from rejection, negativity, and adversity than to fight it. They don’t have the confidence that if they fight they can win. They believe it is too difficult to conquer rejection, and so they surrender. They are wrong. When you start confronting rejection head-on you will quickly develop the ability to beat it back and you will begin to feel powerful.
The better you become at beating back rejection, the less the possibility of being rejected will concern you. When you are confident that you can beat rejection, you will handle yourself appropriately—no matter how sad, annoying, or serious a particular rejection might be.
When you are not concerned with a benign rejection, and you can accept or manage a serious rejection, you will be yourself, be more outgoing, and win acceptance. As psychiatrist and best-selling author Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin says, “Allowing oneself to be rejected—actually permitting rejection and gradually becoming inured to it as well as to any so-called failures—is liberating beyond belief. We are then truly free! We then become able to knock on any door, to try many things, to ask, to explore, to be enterprising in all areas of life.”5 Amen.
Put Up Your Dukes
Don’t accept a rejection without a fight. By fighting, I mean not giving in without doing everything that makes sense to win. Losers don’t fight, they just move on. You need to know when and how to fight and when to walk. The more you fail, the more you win when you learn from your mistakes. When questioned about his persistence despite his many setbacks, inventor Thomas A. Edison said, “I failed my way to success.” To win you have to believe in your gut that you will win.
A loser would rather complain than get his or her hands dirty. For a loser, complaining is a way of life. A typical loser has plenty of “war stories” detailing how unfair the world is, how things are not what they used to be, and how nobody cares anymore. I have been saying for years: make the world good for you and your loved ones.
When you use Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach you will walk away a winner, regardless of the situation or circumstances, even when it appears that you have lost. It takes the same energy to win big, as to place, or show. In other words, it takes the same effort and energy to come in first, second, or third, so come in first. Think about it for a minute. If you are renovating your home, the only difference between ordering 100 or 1,000 square feet of plywood is one zero.
You don’t want to fight unless you have to, but at times you don’t have any other choice or you will lose your job, a relationship, or a special opportunity. If you pull out all of the stops when it makes sense to fight, you will find yourself getting more yes’s more often. A good old college try will put you in the running to win mentally, which is your key to your immediate and long-term success.
At the first signs of a potential rejection most of us run as fast as we can for the fire exit rather than stand our ground and put up our dukes. Giving up is often undetectable to others. You may become a doctor or an accountant when you wanted to be a decorator or a playwright.
When you change your goals out of fear of being rejected and settle for a lot less than you could have, you will be unhappy with yourself and the quality of your life will be diminished. You may suffer physical and mental problems over time and others will wonder why, as you appear successful.
A good prizefighter mentally begins defeating his opponent before he steps into the ring. Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali used poetry and theatrics to throw his opponents off-guard. When you use Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach for beating everyday rejection you will keep your opponents and competition off-balance and knock them out of contention, without any gimmicks.
The psychological price of giving up too soon when it makes sense to push on is diminished self-esteem and loss of confidence. No matter how hopeless a situation looks in the short term, there is always a positive way to handle it and walk away with your head up. Keep in mind winners are in it for the long haul. When you fight you win, even though in a particular situation you may appear to have lost in part or in whole. You haven’t lost until you have surrendered mentally. John Scott describes how he survived certain death:
WHEN I WAS TWENTY YEARS OLD, I WAS ON A SHIP THAT WAS STRUCK BY A GERMAN SUB. WE DRIFTED IN A LIFEBOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN FOR MORE THAN TWO MONTHS. OUR PROVISIONS RAN OUT IN THREE WEEKS. WE CAUGHT EVERY DROP OF RAINWATER, BUT THE HUNGER WE EXPERIENCED WAS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE THIRST. I DECIDED TO ACCEPT WHAT EACH DAY BROUGHT, RATHER THAN STRUGGLE AGAINST IT. ONE BY ONE, THE MEN WHO COULDN’T GET THEIR MINDS OFF THE THIRST DIED.6
When a particular situation cannot be turned around or is not worth turning around, AlwaysWin will help you to see the big picture so you can put the rejection in perspective and be prepared to be successful the next time out. Rejection is so emotionally charged that, too often, we see the picture in black and white instead of color.
When you get a no, and you have done everything you can to get a yes, you are a winner. The next time you get a no, keep your chin up and say, “Who’s next?” or “What’s next?,” and realize that the no you got was not necessarily a reflection of you or something you did; and it doesn’t mean you have lost anything or everything. If you handle things correctly and think properly when you experience a setback, your rejection and disappointment will be annoying but acceptable because you will know they are only temporary.
Rejection Is Temporary
A rejection is temporary if you picture it right, handle it correctly, and remain hopeful. Each time you forget that a rejection is temporary and believe that there is nothing you could have done about it, you will be subject to bouts of negativity and disappointment. When you feel like throwing up your hands and running for the hills, remember what Thomas Edison said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
When you or one of your projects gets rejected, it doesn’t mean someone doesn’t like you or your idea is bad or permanently dead. You may simply have to present yourself, your product, or service in another manner, at another time, to another person. There can be any number of reasons for a particular rejection, from poor timing to someone not being in a good mood. Your day will come; if it isn’t today, there’s tomorrow.
Good Intentions and Hard Work Are Not Enough
Your parents, guardians, and teachers promised you in one way or another that if you got good grades, worked hard, and treated others with respect the world would be your oyster. I’ll bet your caregivers protected you from much disappointment, frustration, and serious rejection like mine did. When you ventured out on your own, I’ll wager, you weren’t prepared for how difficult it would be to make it when you faced real competition in the business world or your personal affairs.
When you started looking for work and began sending out your resume, it didn’t take long for you to find out you could suffer some unnerving setbacks, even when you had impeccable credentials. Sure, you found a job, but not necessarily in the field or with the firm or at the salary you had your heart set on. Losing out to equally qualified or better-qualified candidates will knock you for a loop if you aren’t prepared, haven’t trained yourself to beat rejection, or haven’t yet learned to put things in perspective.
Good intentions and hard work are not enough to shield you from the pain and suffering of serious rejection if you aren’t emotionally and practically ready. Kind words and reassurances from loved ones and friends go a long way in helping you to keep on trying when things don’t look good.
Three Ways to Look at Rejection
The subject of rejection has been overlooked for too long because the conventional wisdom says there is little that you can do when you are rejected but keep plugging away, tough it out, keep your chin up, and survive. My problem with this approach is that it’s defensive, you spend your valuable time trying to ward off rejection, and you can never be yourself or at ease. AlwaysWin advocates beating rejection once and for all so that you never again have to concern yourself with it.
When you downplay or, worse, ignore rejection, you are going to pay the price with a reduced possibility of success and the constant fear of failing, even if you happen to have already “made it.” You need an approach to dealing with rejection and adversity that you know will work and can call upon whenever you need it, for whatever reason. When you are turned down and don’t have a rejection strategy, you are vulnerable and unprotected and you have to work very hard to recover your balance and regain your confidence. Using all your energy just to survive in this way, you lose out most of the time, are dependent on luck and circumstances to see you through a touchy situation. Without a trusted, effective approach to rejection, rejection becomes your “silent partner,” a nemesis that almost guarantees you will never win, causes personal and business failure, and results in make-do living.
Now let’s go over each way to manage rejection.
Way No. 1: There Is No Such Thing as Rejection
The first way says, “There is no such thing as rejection.” Proponents of this school of thought claim that no’s and maybe’s are merely mismatches. For example, when a single man approaches a woman at a party, asks her to dance, and she politely refuses him, the proponents of the “There is no such thing as rejection” way say the man wasn’t turned down, it just appears that way. The man should understand that he has not been personally rejected because there was no match in the first place. It’s simple; he was not her type—nothing more and nothing less. Believers in the other two ways to look at rejection see the “There is no such thing as rejection” way as a form of denial and an excuse for not making the best effort.
Way No. 2: What Is Meant to Be Is Meant to Be
The second way says, “What is meant to be is meant to be.” When you, a friend, or a loved one is rejected and says this, you are saying you believe there is nothing you could have done to prevent the rejection. In other words, you are not responsible in any way for being rejected. While you feel let down and bad when you are rejected, your belief that the rejection was beyond your control helps you live with it and even accept it.
My trouble with the “What is meant to be is meant to be” way is deciding between “What is meant to be” and “What is not meant to be.” How do you know for certain that something is meant to be? How do you know when you make a sales presentation and the answer is no, that if you had done things differently you wouldn’t have written up an order? If you had carefully read AlwaysWin and followed my advice you might not have gotten rejected, and it would not have been “meant to be.” When you adhere to “What is meant to be is meant to be,” you are ruling out your ability to influence things. While luck and fate may play an important role in what happens in your life, what happens to you is mostly a result of what you consistently do or don’t do.
Way No. 3: You Will Win When You Decide to Win
Dr. Gallatin’s way says, “You will win when you decide to win.” Everything you do leads to potential criticism and setbacks. Deciding to win will keep you going when things go haywire and all seems lost or even impossible. You will beat any potential rejection when you know what to do, and do it at the proper time.
Winning doesn’t just happen, but is a result of desire, planning, hard work, support, timing, and persistence. To be successful you have to have a clear-cut goal that has meaning, a workable plan to carry it through and, finally, the know-how to prevent and beat any rejection that comes your way.
Don’t Be Beaten Before You Start
Losers never get started and don’t live up to their potential, because they are beaten mentally before they start. David Remnick, in an article in The New Yorker magazine, quoted Mike Tyson’s trainer Atlas, who said: “Tyson was a fighter who depended solely on fast hands and the image of extreme violence. Nearly all his opponents were beaten before they ever got in the ring…Challengers entered the ring to meet Tyson without the confidence needed to defeat a ferocious fighter.” 7
Make a Place for Criticism
We all resist unexpected and unwanted criticism, especially when we don’t understand the reason for it. When you believe that you can AlwaysWin you will appreciate constructive criticism because it will allow you to eliminate obstacles to achieving goals and dreams. When you have beaten rejection, a criticism, or the possibility of being criticized, will be accepted for what it is: something that you want to know although you don’t like what you hear.
You may be embarrassed, annoyed, and furious, even if you don’t publicly show it, by the manner of the delivery—in front of coworkers—and the words (“you shouldn’t have made a mistake”). How a criticism is presented should be less important to you than the content. When a criticism is on target, you need to accept it (at least privately) and make any necessary changes. There is a natural tendency to take even a constructive criticism personally, to become more cautious, and then to take even fewer chances. A winner doesn’t want to repeat an unnecessary mistake and fumble.
I have never met anyone who has beaten rejection who is afraid of legitimate criticism. Helpful criticism keeps you on your toes and alerts you to changes you need to make to get what you want in the short and long haul. When you have trouble accepting a constructive criticism, it hinders you from being all that you can be and prevents you from being as successful as you could be in the business world.
Criticism is a powerful tool that can be used to manipulate and control anyone with self-doubts, if the criticizer is allowed to get away with it. But you don’t have to let a manipulative criticizer exploit you, even when the criticizer is right and puts you at a disadvantage. Napoleon Hill, the author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, said it well: “Few fears hamper a mind so quickly as the fear of criticism. It can stop you before you start.”
When someone criticizes you, instead of becoming defensive—which is what the criticizer is counting on—just say thanks for letting you know and change the subject. Keep your facial expression and voice the same and act unperturbed. If the situation calls for it, simply say, “It won’t happen again,” and let the boss or accuser think he has gotten something over on you. What’s important is that you know he hasn’t.
When you have learned to apply Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach, a criticizer may think he has pulled a fast one, but you will quietly have the last laugh. Sometimes it’s better to play along with the criticism so you can keep the peace and get what you want in the long run.
Silence Isn’t Golden
It has now been clearly established that your physical and mental well-being are closely linked to your attitude about yourself and your life circumstances. In other words, the more you fear being rejected and the more upset you are when you are rejected, the more your mental and physical health will be affected. Mental symptoms of stress include avoidance, anger, rage, and depression. Physical symptoms range from stomach problems to heart disorders. The more optimistic you are, the more you will feel in control of your life, the less stress you will experience, and the more you will win and enjoy yourself.
A 1999 New York Times story on stress carried the headline: “Study Confirms Risks Caused by Stress.” In the largest study of the subject yet, the researchers found that “people whose hearts show signs of poor circulation in stressful situations like speaking in public face triple the usual risks of death in the years to come.”8 When you are not worried about being rejected, your stress level is going to be greatly reduced, you will deliver a better speech, enjoy the applause, and live a longer, happier life.
Taking both legal and illegal drugs, drinking heavily, and systematically avoiding reality in other ways only mask the reality that you will have to face eventually. After the drugs and the alcohol wear off, you are back to square one. You may have to work harder to beat what you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Don’t Be Beaten After You Start
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The fear of rejection makes cowards of us all.” Despite any concerns that you have about rejection, from time to time you attempt things that you could fail at. Shortly after you start dating someone new or looking for the kind of job you want, doubts can begin to enter your mind about whether you made the correct decision. When you are struggling with yourself, you end up losing out or settling for a lot less than you could have if you had more confidence and knew what to do. When the no’s start piling up, individuals who believe that they can AlwaysWin will persist and regularly get what they are seeking with a minimum of problems and stress. Unless you put everything you have into each new effort, you will give up too easily when you meet even minor resistance.
Getting Rejected Can Be a Good Thing
The conventional wisdom says that being rejected is terrible, even horrible, and you won’t recover. At times you will be better off being rejected, and will walk away a winner. That’s right, at times you will be better off being rejected. If you have a small consulting firm, you need business, and a marginal client turns you down—even after you have lowered your fee and made other concessions—you are better off without the client. Sound familiar? With the energy you would have devoted to trying to satisfy this client, you can find a better client who will pay your fee, be happy with your work, and refer other people to you. Whether a rejection is a blessing or a curse depends on the circumstances and your attitude about it. Being rejected may be just what you need in a particular situation to wake you up or get you on track when you are in a rut.
There are some people who will not reject you no matter how you treat them. You would be better off being rejected by these people because they waste your valuable time, drag you down, and distract you from achieving your personal and business goals. The trouble is, you are used to these “friends” and feel sorry for them. Replace every negative friend, one by one, with individuals who can make your life better. It won’t be long before you are jumping with joy because you won’t have to listen to all their tribulations.
Be a Realistic Positive Thinker
I call the positive thinking I use realistic positive thinking. A realistic positive thinker sees sunshine and rain. When a situation or circumstance seems untenable, a positive thinker knows he will hold his own and be okay even when he’s struggling.
A realistic positive thinker doesn’t believe in pie-in-the-sky in the bye-and-bye, but in knowing as much as possible about a situation so she can handle what comes up in the best possible way. A loser is underprepared to deal with what she is up against. She will not know what to do when she has to face the music, making unnecessary mistakes and getting clobbered, thus reinforcing her negativity. As Pema Chödrön says in When Things Fall Apart: “If you see your glass as half full and your pal sees his glass as half empty each of you will take a different course of action.”10 With realistic positive thinking she can AlwaysWin because she knows the score, can think clearly, and can decide on the best course of action to prevent or beat a rejection, even if she is more upset than she would like to be.
A realistic positive thinker keeps things in perspective. A man entering a cab on a ninety-degree-plus day with high humidity in New York, mentioned how hot it was to the cab driver rushing him to the airport. The cab driver smiled and told him he had just spoken to his relatives in Egypt and they told him it was 128 in Cairo, with stifling humidity. When the gentleman got out of the air-conditioned cab and a blast of hot air hit him, he realized how fortunate he was to live where he could be in air-conditioning most of the time when it’s hot.
Being optimistic is part of American culture. Despite all the optimism, there are many negative people. A negative thinker believes that he is more realistic than a positive thinker, who, he believes, is living in a dream world. Does a negative person have a more accurate view of reality than a positive person? That is the crucial question. A negative person says yes and a positive person says no. There are a number of critics of positive thinking who have pointed out the benefits of negative thinking. Tom Tiede says, in Self-Help Nation, “When you hit rock bottom, it can be salubrious to dwell there for a time, look at it, get afraid of it, so that you are reminded of what it is that you want to avoid.” 11
Dr. Julie K. Norem contends, in The Positive Power of Negative Thinking: Using Defensive Pessimism to Harness Anxiety and Perform at Your Peak, that negative thinking is a superior way to deal with anxiety. Psychologist Norem believes that, for many people, positive thinking doesn’t work and is a barrier to coping with the anxieties and stresses of contemporary life. She advocates “defensive pessimism” and says, “Defensive pessimists expect the worst and spend lots of time and energy rehearsing, in vivid, daunting detail exactly how things might go wrong.” 12
A realistic positive thinker looks at all aspects of a situation or circumstance and doesn’t ignore its negative aspects. A negative person assumes he or she will be rejected and a positive person assumes that he or she will be accepted. When you are looking for negative circumstances and reasons, you will surely find them. When you are avoiding a negative situation or circumstance, it doesn’t lessen the anxiety; it simply makes the problem worse the next time the situation or circumstance arises. When you are avoiding a negative circumstance you may become more anxious, realizing that you don’t have control of the situation. Losers are universally negative.
Yet, too much positive thinking can also be perilous to your personal welfare and hold you back from being successful, or more successful. If you don’t recognize the potential for defeat, you may be emotionally shocked by any adversity you confront, even a benign one. It is important to understand how over optimism can blind you to potential trouble. You need to acknowledge the benefits of thinking objectively if you want to win.
A negative person consciously and unconsciously looks forward to difficulties, problems, and rejection. When something bad happens it reinforces the negative person’s view that the world is scary. Do you know anyone like this? Do you? Since a negative person believes that the deck is hopelessly stacked against him, he says why bother taking any chances since you can’t win anyway and can be in worse shape than you already are. As the New York Lottery says, “You have to be in it to win it.” The positive aspects of a situation may not be immediately evident, and if you are negative you won’t ever see them.
There Is a Way around Every Predicament
There is always a way around any difficulty. Whether you can’t pay the rent, have a serious medical problem, or are not doing well in school, Dr. Gallatin’s 1-2-3 Approach allows you to see and seize an opportunity and work around any expected or unexpected problems. Positive people are not afraid of being rejected but are only concerned with the consequences of a rejection.
I don’t know about you, but I am not looking for any trouble, yet trouble has a way of looking for me, if you know what I mean. Does trouble have a way of finding you? Does it? When you use Dr. Gallatin’s approach and a problem does develop, you will be well prepared to deal with it in the best possible way with the least amount of anxiety and a minimal effect on your everyday life.
See Chapter 8, “Nothing Is Impossible, Nothing,” for a complete discussion of overcoming what you may believe is an impossible situation or circumstance.
Everyone Can Win
The beauty of Dr. Gallatin’s approach is that when you win no one else has to lose. What is good for you is not bad for anyone else. When you are winning you are acting as a good role model so others can emulate your behavior and everyone can win. However, just because others can also win doesn’t mean your competitors will, or even that you have much to be concerned about.
Most individuals whom you will meet are so used to the way they are that unless pushed in a different direction by circumstances, they will continue to do things the same way they have always done them, even when not getting what they want, believing this is the best they can do or it’s “what is meant to be.” As time passes losers by, they will turn increasingly negative and become resistant to new ideas and suggestions that could turn their circumstances and lives around. It’s only a matter of time before losers give up. Winners know they can do better and will do better as time goes on.
Start Today and Get Results Today
You can start using the ideas in AlwaysWin immediately. Don’t wait to get in the mood or until you fully grasp every technique, concept, and nuance. From the moment you start using Dr. Gallatin’s approach, you will start winning mentally like never before and get all the tangible and intangible benefits. When you wait, tomorrow never comes.
All your goals can’t and don’t have to be immediately accomplished for you to go in the right direction, feel good, and see light at the end of the tunnel. If you are faithfully using Dr. Gallatin’s approach, you will be zipping along in the right direction at a speed that you can handle. It may take a little longer to win a particular battle, or war, than you would like, but you will win if you make up your mind you aren’t going to lose and you give the situation reasonable time and attention.
We live in an impatient world where a minute can seem like a long time. When you use the AlwaysWin techniques and ideas you can turn life around and immediately experience the benefits. As psychologist and author Dr. Sol Gordon reminds us, “It is also possible for a bad situation that has lasted for years to change in minutes.”13
Now that you know that you can AlwaysWin you are ready to move on to Chapter 2 and tackle personal rejection. You will discover many things you thought about personal rejection are preventing you from being you and being free from the tyranny of rejection.
You Can AlwaysWin®