I've shared whatever I've learned: Ambi Parameswaran

Ambi Parameswaran, Brand Consultant, Coach and Founder of brand-building.com, on his new book ‘Spring - Bouncing Back from Rejection’

e4m by Dipali Banka
Updated: Oct 8, 2020 8:55 AM

In October 2018, when Ambi Parameswaran was invited by Jagran Lake University in Bhopal to talk to their mass communication students about his experience in the world of marketing and advertising, a girl asked him a question that he has had a good education and a successful career but they as youngsters were just starting out and felt that they were not prepared to handle rejections on the way. It struck a chord for Ambi.

Youngsters thought that successful people have had an easy ride, but they have had their share of struggle. Again during a lecture in November at IIM Calcutta where he spoke about three things one should learn at a B school, the first one being readiness to face rejection, and his talk got a huge applause. That got him thinking and penning down his learning, experience and research on ‘Bouncing Back from Rejection’ in the book ‘Spring’.

We spoke with Ambi Parameswaran, Brand Consultant, Coach and Founder of brand-building.com, about the book and what went behind putting it together.

You have drawn learnings and cited examples of various authors, sports people, clients and your colleagues too in the book about how they went about handling their rejections. Can you tell us more about the process that went behind putting this book together?
In my case, non-fiction writing follows a very different path. First you need to think of the idea, the overall concept of the book. Then you write maybe one or two chapters, and then you start doing research. So, I started digging and reading books and articles on the topic. Unfortunately there's not too much from India. So, I identified about 10 different people to talk to and I started structuring the book in a particular way. There were going to be 20 chapters, of which I could write about myself in 5 chapters but we had to book stories in 15 other chapters. I went through several articles on psychology, and pulled out certain concepts like silencing the inner critic.

So compared to my previous books, which have all largely been on marketing, advertising and branding, I have gone somewhat wider this time. I've spoken of business people, scientists, sports people, authors and bureaucrats.

Does one require a good mentor to come out of or handle rejection?
I talk about this in this section Rejection Processing System. There are three steps to handling rejection. One is you should be ready to face the rejection. When you're hit by a rejection, you should not crumble, collapse or blame yourself. You need to face it. You feel bad for a day, a week and then you have got to get on with it. Next is processed rejection. Processing calls for what happened. So, for this you sometimes need to have a mentor. It may be a mentor, a friend, a colleague, maybe your boss – someone has to put his arm around you and say, “Look, I think you did this wrong. I think you underestimated the complexity.”

Important thing is to find someone who can give you a very unbiased feedback on what you're doing wrong and that you need to think through.

You have closed the loop of the concept of Rejection by actually giving worksheets on handling rejection at the end of the book.
Actually, my literary agent and I had a debate whether we should include those worksheets or not. He said young people get scared by worksheets. But I insisted that the worksheets were in the end and by the time the reader would reach there, they would be ready for it.

Today's youngsters have gone through a fairly good and sheltered life, which is why they say they're scared about rejection. Which is why it's all the more important.
Every chapter has its own trickiness but you also ensured that you don’t sound too preachy in the book. This book is for a 25 or 35 year old and they don't want to be preached at. A lot of self-help books have a very strong preachy-ness to them. That's actually because they are written by preachers. I don't want to do that. I just want to say, this is what happened and this is what I learned from it. Now, you decide what you want to learn.

The book is a lot more relevant today in the pandemic and lockdown scenario. Did you also have that in mind in terms of releasing the book?
Actually no. I do my books in a particular way. I take two years to write the book, then do the launch and travel across cities for it. Even this time I had a similar plan. Ideally the book was supposed to be out in April but we delayed the launch due to the pandemic. My publisher said that the bookshops are gradually opening up and that we can launch. I actually asked them to hold on, as opening up of airport books was likely to take time and my books tend to sell well at Airport book shops among business travelers. But we went ahead with the launch plan. However, it turns out that the book is more relevant today than it would have been in January this year.

The book gives a lot of takeaways to the readers in terms of handling rejection. What has been your key takeaway or learning after finishing the book?
After finishing the book I realized I don't know enough. There is so much to this topic, that I have only given the readers a condensed version of this topic. For example, this whole idea that there is a huge amount of neuropsychology involved in facing rejection, I have touched about it in one of the chapters. The pain you feel during rejection, the brain is processing that pain in the way it processes pain if when you sprain your ankle. And to relieve yourself from this temporary pain, you take a medicine but rejection is psychological pain, and then the brain processes very differently. There is so much more to study on this topic but I think I've done my bit. I've shared whatever I've learned and I move on. Someone else will pick it up and follow the thread.

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