Learn To Say No


Time and again I end up discussing about importance of saying No with my friends and colleagues. I believe that yes should not be the answer to most requests that comes our way. Still, most of us end up saying yes out of obligation or just to be accepted and part of the crowd.

Yes has no meaning if we never say No.

Saying No to most of the choices help me focus on few things. There is no point in becoming jack of all traits and master of none. This is a lesson that I have learnt after wasting many years playing with many things.

Why we say Yes?

There are many social and psychological reasons why saying yes is much more easier than saying No.

  1. You want to oblige to people so that you don’t hurt their feelings.
  2. You don’t want to be excluded from social group.
  3. You don’t want to be alone.
  4. You don’t want to disrespect your elders.
  5. You don’t want to hurt anybody’s feeling.
  6. You don’t have guts to face the truth.
  7. You don’t want to explain your rationale behind saying No.

Saying No Makes You Say Real Yes

When you don’t do something, you have option to do something else. Richie Norton beautifully articulated in his quote

Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.

You work on tasks that you truly believe in. You go out with people you want to spend your time with. You behave the way you are. You are not faking or putting a mask to be liked by other people.

Saying No Simplifies Life

Life is a mess these days with so many options to choose from and so many things to say. We are living in a world of information overload so we have to limit ourselves to few things to make it easy for us to digest and not get influenced. You start making right choices evaluating all the options you have and picking something you truly believes in.

Say No Without Having To Explain Yourself

Stephanie Lahart summed up very well

Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.

Saying No does not mean you are selfish

When you start saying No, people will start perceiving you as a selfish person. I don’t think caring about your needs and time is selfish. Even if it is considered selfish it is for your own good. If you can’t do good to yourself, you can’t do go with others as well. Suzette Hinton put it beautifully in following lines:

We must say no to what, in our heart, we don’t want. We must say “no” to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say no to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else’s. We must say no.

Even Steve Jobs Believe In Saying No

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