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Monday, February 18, 2008

Strange Form of Self Rejection

Everyone hates rejection; it's one of the main fears that hold people back from doing the things they want and achieving the success they deserve. I hate it too, but I recently hit a new low when I got rejected by myself (or at least by my email system)

I send out an e-zine with a humorous article every two weeks (you can see it and sign up here: As a check, I keep myself subscribed to my own list. Last week I sent an article to my list. When I checked my Spam folder a few hours later, I saw my own e-zine in there! My email filter rejected mail from myself! What chance does my e-zine have of getting through to subscribers if it can't even get to me?

(Of course this does beg the question of whether self-rejection is a form of low-esteem or high-esteem. Are you not good enough for yourself or are you too good for yourself...hmm, that's kind of like a Zeb Koan, I'll have to go under a waterfall and meditate on it)

I have to say, there was a weird feeling of sadness and betrayal as I clicked on the "not Spam" option in my email. "Et tu, Gmail?" I realize that taking your email program's behavior personally is ridiculous, like people who assume their cars break down just to spite them (and you know who you are)

Of course, I'm the guy that feels bad when my microwave beeps at me twice. My microwave is designed to beep when the food is done, and then beep periodically to remind me that there is food in there. This in and of itself seems stupid - when was the last time you put food in the microwave and forgot about it? The microwave beeps, loudly and repeatedly, when it's done. If you can't remember that the microwave beeped, you have bigger problems than just forgetting food. But my microwave beeps like 5 seconds after the time ends as a reminder. And it sounds annoyed. Everytime I wait too long and hear the second beep I feel this sense of, "all right already, I heard you!" It's like an impatient delivery person ringing your doorbell a second time before any human would have had time to answer the door. Inanimate or not, it's annoying.

So I shouldn't take it personally, but it's hard not too. I mean, I spend more time with my email than with most of closest friends (don't snicker - add up the hours and it'll be true for you to). Google is supposed to be smart; doesn't it recognize me when it sees me?

Beyond the recognition betrayal, there's the whole realization that Gmail doesn't feel my e-zine is of value and that it's spam. Now that hurts.

It's like when you come up with a brilliant idea and you rush to share it with your spouse, or closest friend or colleague, and their first response is to point out why your idea stinks. When you go to your closest friend, you're looking for support and validation...but I suppose that's too much to ask from an inanimate web-based email application.

Lesson #1 - if even I can't get my e-zines, then it's a fair bet a lot of other people aren't. So reach people another way - hence this blog (that's what makes me better than Gmail - I learn and adapt)

Lesson #2 - if I can feel a pang of sadness at a software program's rejection, then you know it's a powerful thing. Rejection can and will happen - be willing to accept and face that, and you will be well on your way to success.

Lesson #3 - I am still pretty sure Gmail did this to me on purpose. This is why humans and machines can never peacefully co-exist. If you don't believe that, watch "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" on Fox...

1 comment:

Jeff Porten said...

Your next step: take a look at the spam comments and see *why* it got rejected, so you can avoid such in the future. You're right that getting trapped in one place is likely indicative of getting trapped elsewhere, so a review is a good idea. No idea where this happens in Gmail, though.