Why Rejection Isn't Such a Bad Thing After All

The fear of failure and rejection has prevented many people from taking a step towards their dreams. We caught up with Caleb Meakins, founder of the My 40 Days project, to find out how he overcame his fear of rejection in order to pursue his dreams.

As I told people what I had planned to do, I was faced with utter pessimism - I discovered this pessimism was rooted in the fear of failure.
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Give us an overview of My 40 Days

It started as a way of helping myself overcome the fear of failure. After the attention from people and companies, I'm developing it further - I want it to inspire others to embrace this attitude that without failure there is no success. So I now upload challenges but I also do a lot of public speaking in companies, schools and universities. Next I might think about a book.

How did you get started with My 40 Days? Was there a particular event in your life that inspired the challenge?

I had won an award at University for a business plan I had. It meant I got funding and support from the University to bring the idea to life. As I told people what I had planned to do, I was faced with utter pessimism - I discovered this pessimism was rooted in the fear of failure. I was then told about a card game called Rejection Therapy, and thought I could develop a social project that was similar and also challenged the culture around failure. It was there My 40 Days was born.

What one message do you want people to take from My 40 Days?

To achieve anything great in this life, requires discomfort and the risk of failing. Overcoming the fear of failure is key to success so the one message I would give people is learn how to overcome the fear of failure.

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Did you face any challenges when you started the campaign?

Yes, plenty! From not having a camera to wondering how I was going to fund this project. And even after starting it, how on earth am I going to finish it, especially after I got a job? I also had the challenge of, am I alright with looking like a fool for the sake of inspiring others?

Would you say that this campaign has opened up opportunities that you would not ordinarily have encountered?

Definitely - after Day 16, Ogilvy & Mather, a leading ad agency, offered me an internship that I took and learnt so much from. The number of people I've met due to the project has been phenomenal and the opportunity to work with such talented people has been fantastic.

What has been your favourite and most rewarding challenge so far?

I think it's been the complimenting strangers challenge; I loved it as I made people's day. But I also learnt the reason why people don't tend to give compliments is because most people don't know how to take compliments. I ended the day with a big bull horn shouting compliments at people - that does something to the atmosphere.

How do you deal with constant rejection? Is there anything you do to keep yourself motivated?
I have some tools I've been developing to help me. One I've recently found incredibly helpful, and practise every day by using it to motivate myself to have a freezing cold shower is - You don't have to believe everything you think. It's a liberating mindset to adopt. Try it.

What would you do if you couldn't fail?

I would go out to Ethiopia and set up businesses that positively impact the country, playing a key role in helping the country become a global socioeconomic success.

What do you plan to do after the 40 days have been completed?

I plan to develop the concept further, as I say, potentially a book. But first it's out to Ethiopia to do what I would do if I could not fail.

Find out more about My 40 Days at: www.my40days.co.uk