These days we’re hearing a lot about the need for grit or resilience but I like how author Dan Pink describes a similar trait: buoyancy. He notes that to be successful at persuasion or to keep going when facing a multitude of rejections, it requires the ability to remain mentally afloat.
A tolerance for rejection was also a theme that Guy Raz discovered in many successful entrepreneurs. He learned that one of the skills of founders is that they have rejection immunity, built by early experiences of repeatedly hearing no. Many entrepreneurs have a mission background that cultivated perseverance in face of hearing no more often than not. While the person may not have had great success as a missionary attempting to convert others to their religion, the frequent rejections developed buoyancy that allowed them to persist when facing business rejections.
There are several strategies for increasing buoyancy that Pink describes in his book To Sell is Human, but one I find so easy to deploy. He suggests asking three questions when something bad happens: 1) is it permanent? 2) is this pervasive? 3) Is this personal? More than likely, you’ll find the answer to be no. “The more you explain bad events as temporary, specific and external, the more likely you are to persist even in the face of adversity,” Pink writes.
As we’re called to persevere in challenging times, consider these questions as a life preserver. The boat may still be on choppy waters, but each wave of rejection can help to instill some buoyancy to keep you afloat during the waves.
To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink, 2012