Saying no is one of the most important ingredients for success. It’s the ultimate access to direction and focus.
Being someone who uses No a lot helps develop your best bullshit detector. It seeks out “what’s wrong with this”. No calls out the shit that just doesn’t work. It encourages and causes inquiry rather than blind ignorant acceptance. It protects you from the fakers in life.
No is your best filter. No ensures you curate your life, your business and the use of your time, mind and words down to the essential. It protects you from the takers in life.
No helps you achieve your goals by creating focus.
No allows you to just be associated with the very best in life. You are faced with a firehose of possibility, options and information every day. No is the funnel, filter and tap to control that.
No is obviously as bad by society but that is because it is an opposite to the alternative, it isn’t compliant, it disagrees. You could rethink your association with No to be simply a choice not to, a decision to disagree.
Seeing no as bad is in the eyes of the beholder. People see rejection, argument, disagreement and pessimism. They could choose to see these in an alternative way. Choice, challenge, alternative and risk aversion.
If you are always a ‘yes’ person with a child appreciation and gratitude disappear. Devalued by dilution. They stop hearing, feeling and seeing the gift of yes. You’ve unwittingly, silently, disemboweled it. You will turn them kids into snowflakes with little resilience to the word ‘no’ and little reason to improve themselves because they are so used to getting a yes without earning it. They will may say yes to everything in life, without a filter. That’s what they know.
Instead, when you are careful with your use of yes, and thus you really mean it from the bottom of your heart, they will feel it in theirs and it will be seen and felt as the authentic reward and recognition that it is.
Anyone can influence people, children or animals to comply with positive reinforcement but that in itself can be inauthentic if not done carefully. You are removing the opportunity of that person to learn from failure or do something from their own conclusions and motivation. You are replacing that with a reward that taps into motivators like desire, addiction and recognition to achieve your end. Like giving a child a lollie to get them to comply to your command.
The positive approach, heavy on yes, uses intrinsic motivators against a victim (often unaware of whats being done) for self gain actually feels quite dark when you look at it from this perspective.
So embrace you No’s as close friends. Use their power to ensure you are focused on what works best for your life goals. A form of productive pessimism. That is what is in the best interest of those people around you that you care for the most.
It’s ok to say no to yourself when you choose friends, experiences and things present in your life. It will help you achieve peak performance or win at achieving your goals. Say yes intentionally and appropriately increases its power.
Yes should be seen as a rare gem admired and gifted to help you and others achieve success and not frivolously devalued into the mediocrity of every day use.
Photo by Andrew Neel