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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.149 – How To Deal With Rejection

How To Deal With Rejection

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells us how to deal with not getting what we want in life.

  • David Tian Ph.D. emphasizes the importance of building our self-esteem.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. explains why it should start with self-acceptance.

Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and in this video I answer the question: “How do you deal with rejection?”

Welcome to Man Up Episode 149!


Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and this is Man Up!

Hey! It’s David Tian, Ph.D. and for over the past ten years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, and happiness and fulfillment in life and love, through the application of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research. And here I am in Tokyo. You can see behind me this is a view of Shinjuku from the balcony. I’m actually in an Airbnb this time. I know, it’s crazy. I’m in hotels most of the time, but – it’s Golden Week for the Chinese, and I think the tourists have bought up – the hotel rates are stupid. So anyway, this is a nice view from the balcony. It’s getting a little bit chilly out here.

This is Episode 149, so welcome to Episode 149. Answering a question which is pretty basic, and I get this a lot. “How do I deal with rejection?” And this is in the context of a man approaching a woman, being rejected. It’s also in the context of a man, or a boy, trying to get into a relationship – when he confesses to his crush that he is in love with her, even though he’s just a friend. And not even that, usually just an acquaintance, sort of borderline stalker, and he’s like, “Hey, she didn’t want it. How do I get over it?”

And first of all, I’m like, “Well, get a therapist. You need a lot of help.” But I guess a bigger answer is, how do you deal with not getting what you want in life? And this is going to happen a lot to you. First of all, when it comes to other human beings, a healthy individual will never think of it in terms of rejection. Because if you like yourself – like in other words, if you actually love yourself, not in an egotistical way, but if you accept yourself fully and you give love to yourself, then if somebody rejects you, the object of your love should be you first and foremost, that is actually saying a lot about them – saying a lot more about them.

In fact, it’s never going to be a rejection of yourself. Nobody can reject you unless you reject yourself first, and that’s the biggest problem. All these loser guys feel like they don’t need to improve themselves. They don’t need to become who they want to be, and instead they just basically want to be losers, and stick around, and basically just wait it out until the girl gives up all hope and then says, “Yes, let’s go together. Let’s get together.”

Or he approaches her and allows her reaction to dictate how he feels about himself, which is stupid. Imagine – it’s such an easy example. Can a random homeless person asking you for money, who then rejects you when you stick out your hand with a dollar bill, make you feel really bad? You’re like, “Oh, I got rejected by this homeless man!” Or even a better example is some kid on the street, literally a five year old kid, you give them some candy, he’s like, “No, I don’t want your candy.”

Do you feel rejected? See, for the average guy he says no, right? And the reason there’s a difference between a homeless man that you don’t really care about, or the kid on the street that you just met – and their rejections to you don’t matter, whereas this girl’s rejections to you matter, besides the fact that she’s physically more attractive and all – but why would that make a difference? Here’s why: because you don’t actually like yourself in relation to her.

So, here’s the problem. First of all, he’s got no self-esteem. So, you’ve got to build your self-esteem, and that can be done – and I’ll get to that in a second, but you got to build your own self-esteem. And once you have self-esteem, then you can take this lesson into account. And I heard it best said at a press conference with Conor McGregor. He said he was quoting his coach, and it was, “You win or you learn.”

And the really important thing is self-esteem is ultimately based on your confidence or trust in your ability to learn; that you can handle the situation because you can figure it out, because you can learn. And it may take you for your whole life, but you’re going to figure it out. And it’s your confidence and your ability to learn. And the second part – you win or you learn – is actually a really important part. A lot of people don’t realize that. You win or you learn means that you trust that you can learn.

So, in fact, if you win, you’re not actually getting a great opportunity to learn much. You learn best from not getting what you want and figuring out way, or having certain plans and having them not go according to plan and figuring out way. A great example is Thomas Edison who invented the electric light bulb, I believe, and the journalist said, “Do you feel bad about having to fail a thousand times in creating this before you figured it out?” And he said, “No. Those weren’t a thousand failures. Those were a thousand steps on the way to figuring out how to make it work.”

So, if you look at it that way, it’s not like, “Hey, look on the bright side” or just like cheering somebody up; it’s not that. You actually don’t see that as a failure. You don’t see it as rejection. You don’t see it as a mistake. You see it as data so that you can learn. Because without that, it’s much harder to learn. It’s actually hard to learn from winning, especially if you win the same way repeatedly. You might learn that on the first time you win that way, “Hey, this actually works so I’ll do it again.” And you do it again and it works.

And then subsequently, if you just do it again and it works, you don’t learn anything else. But whereas if you don’t get what you want, what some people call rejection, failure, mistakes, I see those as the steps, the steps to actually learning. I get a lot more excited about meeting people who can challenge me. I get a lot more excited about being the dumbest guy in the room. I get a lot more excited about being the poorest guy in the room. I would get a lot more excited about being the least fit or the weakest guy in the room, because I know at that time that I will learn, I will improve, and I will get better, and I will get the most benefit, the highest ROI out of anybody in that room.

I actually pay money to be the poorest man in the room. I pay money to be the dumbest man in the room. That’s how I grow. That’s how people who succeed grow. So, I don’t consider – if somebody else doesn’t like me as a rejection. It actually tells me – it’s a data point about them, that they can’t see quality. It’s like if you’re an amazing bottle of wine, and all those idiots who will only drink that shit, they can’t tell that it’s an amazing bottle of wine. I’m that amazing bottle of wine.

Or it’s like cigars. Some people who are so used to smoking cigarettes in their lives, and they can’t appreciate the cigar, and they’re like, “What is this horrible thing? Give me the cheapass cigarette” because they’re used to that. So, quality; not everybody can appreciate it. And that’s just one of those things. If you know you’re quality, then you’ll never be seeing it as a kind of rejection. You’ll see it either as a data point about them, or a step towards greater learning. And ‘you win or you learn’ is a great way to encapsulate it, but that only makes sense if you actually have some self-esteem.

And to build your self-esteem, you have to build your ability to learn. Your trust in your ability to learn. So, all of our courses in the Man Up primer, which you can access by joining the private Facebook group, tapping on the pinned post, and then that takes you to a link, and that page on the link will give you all these free courses. So, we’ve got a whole bunch of complimentary courses for you that I’ve worked hard that, and this is a culmination of over ten years of experience and coaching in this area.

So please, take advantage of that. Take advantage of me. Putting out all this complimentary stuff as much as I can, to give out as much value as I can in the world, and improve my chops. Because we do have programs and services that are more involved and require a lot more work for my team, and it’s a way for us to let you know we know what we’re talking about. And if it works for you, great, then maybe you want to get more coaching and more help.

But we’ve got so much stuff for free, so much stuff complimentary, and a great place to start is the Man Up group. Join the Man Up group. Click the link below. Join the group. We approve requests every day, and I’ll see you inside the group.

Just to sum up: you win or you learn. A thousand steps to figuring out how to make the electric light bulb. And build your self-esteem so that you don’t actually see – when people don’t want to hang out with you or don’t want to be girlfriend with you or whatever, that it’s not a rejection of you. It’s actually a rejection of great product quality, which is you.

So, make yourself the best product you can. And starting with self-acceptance, starting from accepting where you are and where you’ve come from in your life. Okay, until next time. I’ll see you in the private Facebook group.

Until then, Man Up!