Are You Addicted?


Are you addicted to the approval of other people? If so, how much? Watch this short video I taped in Louisville, Kentucky during a recent speaking/media tour. I’ll look forward to your comments.    Steve Siebold   (1:55)

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  1. Brigham says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’m a fist time writer/poster on here. I’d love to hear more about systematic desensitization, the concept makes sense but it’d be great to hear you teach about it some more. Any of your books that touch a bit deeper on the subject?

  2. Adriana Gamble says:

    Hi Steve,

    My painting, “Snow Walker” is part of the permanent collection at the APH Art Gallery in Louisville. (You’ll notice that he is wearing a toque, scarf and gloves!)
    But I digress . . .

    Rejection is an interesting word because there are such strong, opposite emotions associated with it namely, fear and love. Early childhood learning and conditioning lies at the root of this association and if we choose, it will remain an obstacle to moving ahead. Solution? Remove the emotion association and rejection is just a 9-letter word. It all boils down to attitude.

    Attitude shapes who we choose to become and where we choose to go in our lifetime. The power to change and to grow lies within each of us. We just have to know where to look.

    Rejection is no an issue for me and I guess that makes me a #7 on the “Siebold Scale”. In the past few years, I took the time to get to know myself. This experience empowered me with renewed confidence and inner wisdom that helps me to channel creative energy. I do not expect to win the hearts and minds of everyone I meet. That’s life. Just take a deep breath and carry on. The important thing is that in my mind I possess confidence, focus, talent, and abilities that shine through and will positively impact the lives of some people along the way.

  3. I know about certain people and certain situations how I can become rejected by them can really devastate me. Depending how much I believe they mean to me. in terms of my job I love to test and try new things and I’m not afraid to fail. Great video Steve. I love your book.

  4. Jeff says:

    So far Mike makes the most sense!

  5. What’s subtle is the approval people need – addicted to – they either don’t realize or deny. Rejection can be personal – being rejected from a club for bad behavior – which you cause. More often it’s a misnomer – the other person isn’t rejecting you or what you offer because of you – it’s not what they want.

    The need to fit in is universal and culturally set by peer pressure to fit patterns. Breaking the patterns can be destructive or creative. Sometimes breaking the pattern either way is a clear choice, other times it’s an obsessive behavior that’s built into the person’s genes.

    In sales we’ve learned we don’t want to approach every person with a list of over coming objection tactics and anti rejection cliches. We need to engage, answer questions and give information, determine if the other person can be trusted and respected, and if what we offer is wanted.



  6. Matt Mattero says:

    I would have to say Steve I am a 7, I have attempted to be a rock artist, classical concert pianist, and contemporary gospel artist and have received all kinds of rejection letters! I am used to it and I never take things personally which I think is the key to handling rejection.

    I am very much used to rejection!


    Matt Mattero

  7. Joseph Bohannon says:

    Steve – you did hit Louisville on probably the only bad day we’ve had the entire winter.

    We are all raised seeking the approval of the authority figures in our life – our parents, our teachers and our coaches. We are conditioned early and often to do this. We are all taught, or programmed, to think, act and do things a certain way – in an socially acceptable manner. No wonder when we reach adulthood that we have such an aversion to disapproval by others.

    I think the best way to deal with this would be to take a job as a telemarketer – which is probably one of the worst ways to have to make a living. You sit there all day dealing with rude people, no’s and rejection. But, you would be getting a massive dose of desensitization. I’m about a 3, so I’ve got some work to do on overcoming this.

  8. Prakash says:

    I don’t handle rejection well.

    The worst kind of rejection is from yourself – when you tell yourself that you’re useless. That happens after years of listening to other people telling you that, especially authority figures in childhood, so you kind of begin believing it, and for the rest of your life, you carry on where they left off.

    It’s pretty horrible.

    However, I am working my way out of it, and have made some progress – else I would committed suicide long ago.

  9. It appears YOU ARE NOT desensitized to the frigid COLD!!! 🙂

    To answer your ? directly, a 5. But so far, I end well after applying a technique I learned while studying metaphysics.

    After studying psychology and metaphysics to an extensive level, it isn’t what people say or the rejection itself. THE TRUE deal is WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THOSE THOUGHTS? DO YOU FIGHT THEM AND WIN OR DO YOU LET YOUR MIND CONTROL YOU AND FOLD?

    Of course being balanced and grounded help a great deal to add to your success in life. Yet, proior to any of this work, we need to KNOW OURSELVES, and feel confident in whom we are.

    Love your work.

    When we are content with whom we are, there is no need to please others in a negative (addictive) way. There is just LOVE!

    Thanks soooo much! Look forward to connecting sooooon.

    Caterina Casto

  10. Vincent Leuzy says:

    …being a steadfast person, when confronted with such a situation, I’ll listen and question the person’s objections, disaproval, fear of or any other display of negativism…I have forged many tools over the years and use them to better understand …when faced with negative encounter, my first reflex is detachment from the sender, it helps me to listen better and create a neutral zone to receive it all where I can then establish a better perspective…I know that reaching a goal is seldom done in a straight line and that it requires planning, skills and fortitude …I also know that few people posess and/or practice mental ”long distance ” endurance…often their negativism reflect who they are in fact and that’s all right…”you are not me and I am not you” but it is ok to talk.. .understanding how the mind works also helps…by that, I mean acquiring the understanding of our mental organs, how they interact and communicte …the more you know the better equipped you are to deal with others and deal with yourself…Steven Pinker’s book ”How the mind works” is a good place to start one’s journey, add to that a good dose of ”critical thinking” aptitudes and you’re on your way to conquering what ever you decide to put in your mental line of sight !

    I am now in Orlando enjoying balmy weather…looking forward to meeting you next week!

  11. “Systematic Desensitization”…Love the concept!!!

  12. Patricia L. Kite says:

    Dear Steve:
    I am an avid fan of yours and have your book 177 Mental Toughness Secrets and the wisdom in your book is always current and relevant. I met you personally at a WFG convention and whether you realize it or not, i do consider you a friend.
    Your questions of whether I am a people pleaser really hit home. I was a single parent for a number of years and wanted to be mother and father to my 3 children, putting their needs ahead of mine. Now that they are adults, they still think I should be there for them and not have a life of my own.
    We are now estranged while finally coming to realize that I no longer need to please everyone else in my life, my needs are starting to come together and this makes me very happy.
    My occupation is financial educating and see rejection from people that do not want to help themselves, it is sad, but the best thing to say is “NEXT.”

    Appreciate you and your sharing you thoughts and ideas with me.
    All the best,
    Patricia L. Kite

  13. What a great topic and it really hits home. My wife and I discussed this frequently through the years, because I actually was called a dreamer and told I would fail when I started my business back in the 80’s.

    Despite the fact that rejections still do get past my thin skin at times, I found that in a round about way of using Susan Jeffers’ “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” I can ‘feel the rejection and do it anyway.’

    Assorted rejection will always be present no matter what we go after, and I think it is human nature to worry what other people will think, as evidenced by the terror people feel over speaking in public. I think your systematic desensitization is key to the best way of dealing with it–getting used to working through it. It’s kind of like getting in a swimming pool–it feels cold and uncomfortable at first, but after a while you’re used to it.

  14. Mike Jacobi says:

    we all want and need positive feedback. So we are looking for approval. The important question is, if this feedback comes from a well meaning coach, or a negative detractor. Either way, for the feedback to affect you, you have to agree with the content of what is being said. If a bum on the street calls you an idiot, you laugh it off and move on. If you best friend says they same, you give it more thought, But ONLY once you agree with him, does it have a negative effect on you. So the critical thinking question should be: Does this comment help me or hinder me to achieve my goals? Then act accordingly.

  15. Amy Szoka says:

    Hey Steve…

    It has taken me well into adulthood to recognize and chisel away at the inner approval addict that I am. I attribute that to my years of catholic school upbringing…and that’s a whole other blog!!

    Once you recognize the addict within you have two choices: let the behavior rule you or you rule the behavior. We shouldn’t let the limiting beliefs of others become our own. Face your fears (rejection) and move through them. Keep a network of like-minded individuals close by to help you stay intact!

    ~Amy…from warm sunny Florida!!

  16. Steve

    I can not believe you have left Palm Beach to freeze in KY, but I am sure it is well worth it.

    I think rejection is the natural reaction when no value or the perception of need has not been established in the story. By exposing myself to the answer of “No” when I ask someone to make a commitment or an economic decision, I am not sure if I get numb to the effects. I think what happens is the practice helps the story get better and we can answer the rejection or at least understand it. So I actually look for lot’s of rejection so I can get better.

    Garry Hiebert

  17. Tim Tapp says:

    The “fear” of disapproval (reworded rejection?) is probably yet another reason for not getting started. The paralyzing effect, if your concept of desensitization is implemented, can be overcome and replacde with confidence.

  18. Adrian Brown says:

    The people who reject or give you negativity about your goals are actually doing you a favour. They are unwittingly giving you a little (or large) nudge in the right direction. The key is not to take it personally but realise that even having goals and doing somthing about them is very threatening to most people, thats why they give you negativity. At each “rejection” turn it into fuel to help you take another step forward towards your objective.

  19. Larry DeKay says:

    Dude – You need to plan better. This winter in Louisville is going down as the winter that never was. All the snow that has fallen here this year – you pretty much captured in your video. As for the temperature – it was like 50 degrees the day before your visit and 50 degrees the day after your visit. Normally Louisville’s weather is mostly to completely crappy. This winter has been the exception. It’s actually been almost excellent by Louisville standards. Congratulations on experiencing the worst day of our winter this year.

    Sorry I missed hearing you speak while you were in town.

    On another note, I just recommended your book on the http://www.connieandsheilatalk,com blog. I’m working on becoming World Class. When I get there, I’m going to buy a lot of copies of “How Rich People Think” and give them to pretty much, everyone I know – starting with my kids. I plan to arrive at World Class on a red-eye in early 2013. Hope to see you there!

    Keep up the good work!


    Human relations courses attend to this phenomena of handling rejection. People can become addicted to handling rejection. It becomes fun to be in a position where you cannot be intimidated by rejection. Rejection of others can be used as a tool to cause defeat in your opposition. Once you become desensitized you become to immune to rejections so as not to be intimidated. You become mentally at ease with yourself and as a result become resourceful.

    Personal attacks as a rejection will demonstrate the inability of the reject-er to reason intelligently. Personal attacks on the advocate in court can be effective to damage their mindset by emotionalism. Emotional responses can have debilitating effect on you and your opposition.

    This is a great subject for discussion. Now, I will look further to other aspects of the study of rejections and the effect pro and con.

  21. paulene says:

    Hi steve

    While its nice to be agreed with at all times when this doesn’t happen we just have to move on and say well they’re the losers…..I’ve left many people behind in my life who didn’t agree with my ideas, thoughts, strategies and where are they today??? and where am I???…let them decide…
    this is a great question is really shows up the middle class thinkers….

    all the best paulene