PERSPECTIVES: THE POWER OF SAYING “NO”

Standard

 

“NO” is more than a word. More than a sentence. It is a principle.

 

Pick carefully what you say “YES” to. Life does not provide many – if any – replays. And Time is limited.

Being focused on something does not mean you are saying “YES” to the right things in Life. You may be focusing on something you should be saying “NO” to. And in the end you should be as proud of the things you said “NO” to as the things you said “YES” to.

 

Physical

Love and respect yourself enough to say “NO” to that which does not serve you well.

Say “NO” to the drug of over-achievement at work – short-changing and mistreating family, friends, and Life.

My pride and willingness used to let me say “YES” to every task I was given at work till it devoured 18 hours of my daily life. Ultimately a number of things showed cracks: health, relationships, quality, and more – apparent also the respect that a boss had for me.

Case in point: I used to visit the office over weekends to prepare for those who needed input from me for their early Monday morning start. Complete weekends disappeared whilst my few remaining friends recharged themselves with golf, fishing and playing cricket. One weekend I missed going in and my boss remarked on Monday that he visited the office over the weekend and missed seeing me there. I immediately recognized that I had been cultivating the wrong expectations within him – and stopped doing it. At the year-end review he told me that even though I delivered 120 % when compared to colleagues, he was disappointed that I had not been pulling my weight. Result: No raise. We parted company soon afterwards. But the mistake was mine.

Say “NO” to procrastination, eating junk food and no exercise and say “YES” to health.

My life was littered with late nights and early mornings, hard at both ends – work and play, to which I have learned to say “NO”. We now rise at 5.30am, ready for an early morning walk before I settle into a self-paced but creative day, basically saying “NO” to slumbering Time and Life away and with it a host of items that reflect on my self-respect and gifts.

 

Social

Say “NO” to those who may try to belittle you.

Recall – and arm yourself with – Eleanor Roosevelt’s powerful quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

Misery likes company. Do not be its victim, especially if someone else is trying to pull you into their vortex of self-pity.

Say “NO” to being financially challenged. Lift yourself up by your bootstraps if necessary. Today’s life offers many opportunities to maintain and advance yourself. Where there is a will there is a way. I tip my hat to an IT consultant I know who now “pumps petrol”, basically saying “NO” to letting unfortunate events at work overtake his life.

You do not necessarily have to explain yourself when committing to a “NO”. It is your Life after all. However, learning to say “NO” gracefully without hurting other people’s feelings is a skill that can be learnt. It becomes easier with a little practice – and may earn you the respect of others.

 

Mental

It has never been more important to say “NO”.

Many of us are married to – perhaps even held hostage by – a “To Do List”, either on an electronic device or tucked into our top pockets. I believe we should also have an “Ignore List” or better still a “No List”, especially in today’s world filled with “electronic noise”.

“Information overload” is a misused term. Much of what is being thrown at us should be called “garbage overload”. Information has four parameters, i.e. (a) relevance (b) useful content (c) timely available (d) packaged as required – which much of the “noise” don’t meet.

 

Emotional

Say “NO” to being abused, bullied, taken advantage of, ignored, made to feel second class, unwanted.

Learn to stand up for yourself. Have the courage of conviction and self-respect. I am well aware that victims in cases of household violence are often physically assaulted, even threatened with their lives – but acceptance of the cycle of violence and disrespect will let it continue, possibly with fatal results. Garner the strength to walk away from it. As a human being you deserve respect – and that includes self-respect.

 

Intellectual

Say “NO” when necessary to remain in control of your valuable time and energy.

It frees you from tasks that would otherwise have stolen your Life and Time away and leaves you with the energy to say “YES” to the things that matter in your Life.

Simplify the process of telling the difference between when to say “YES” and when to say “NO”. Whatever you spend your Time and Life on should basically be anchored by the principles which underpin your values that support your vision and what you see as your mission in this Life.

 

Spiritual

There is no denying it. Evil exists in this world – under different guises – none more so than under the cloaks of religion and politics. At times State and Church clash and history is strewn with many atrocities that have been committed in their name – separate or combined, but none more so where they merge with a common destructive goal as their purpose.

It is our duty to stand up and emphatically say “NO” to such evil, which is bullying and “household violence” on a much grander scale – and say “YES” to a free and fearless destiny.

 

KEY PRINCIPLES

  • Pride often lets you say “Yes” to every task you are given at work till it absorbed your Life.
  • Learning to say “NO” gracefully without hurting other people’s feelings is a skill that can be learnt.
  • Many of us are married to – perhaps even held hostage by – a “To Do List”.
  • In the end you should be as proud of the things you said “NO” to as the things you said “YES” to.
  • It is essential to remain in control of your valuable time and energy.
  • Evil exists in this world – under different guises – often under the cloaks of religion and politics.

 

ACTION STEPS

  • Love and respect yourself enough to learn to say “NO” to that which does not serve you well.
  • Live Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote that “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
  • Develop a “No List”, especially in today’s world filled with “electronic noise”.
  • Stand up for yourself. Say “NO” to being abused, bullied, taken advantage of, ignored, made to feel second class, unwanted.
  • Be in control of your time and energy. Let “YES” support the principles that underpin your values.
  • Say “YES” to a free and fearless destiny.

 

 

(“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, to be published by Partridge Publications in early 2015.

Advertisements

Hi, appreciated if you would please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s