Lately, I have been making an effort to say No.
Growing up, I was always a people pleaser. I liked making people happy. I liked making people proud of me. I liked making people’s lives easier.
So, anytime someone would ask a favor of me, I would respond with a Yes before they could even finish the question.
Little did I know the negative impact this was having on me. At the time, I didn’t realize how draining saying Yes to everything was. While I was making a ton of people happy, I was making myself miserable.
So, I did something very simple, I started saying No.
And it changed my life.
Here are 3 reasons why I think you should start saying No, too. I hope you find this practice as freeing and empowering as I did.
3 Reasons You Should Say No
1. You Will Become Less Flaky
In college, I was widely considered ‘flaky’ amongst my friends. When one of my friends would ask me to do something on a Friday night, I would say, “For sure, I will hit you up.”
Then another one of my friends would ask me to grab a bite to eat that same night, and I would respond, “Yeah! That sounds great, I will let you know.”
Then my girlfriend would ask me to watch movies and spend the night fighting about pointless shit with her and I would say, “Okay, yeah. I should be able to do that!”
Before I knew it, I would have plans on the same night with three fucking people, two of which I would have to disappoint.
If you are reading this and are under the age of 30, you are flaky. You fucking suck at making plans and you need to make a serious effort to fix it.
How do you fix it? You start saying No. If you think there is at least a 25% chance you won’t be able to follow through with something, say No.
Today, while my friends can say I am always busy, they can never say I am flaky because I choose to say No.
2. Saying No Opens Up Your Opportunities
Many people have the misconception that saying No actually eliminates their opportunities, this is false. When you say no to something you don’t really want to do, you are freeing your time up to say Yes to something you actually want to do.
Let’s just say you feel obligated to sit on your neighborhood's board of directors -- The Willow Creek Cul-de-sac Committee of Goodfellows. Once a month the committee meets and discusses disconcerting issues tarnishing the good name of The Willow Creek Cul-de-sac.
"Bob Rogers has had his massive bass boat parked in his driveway for the past three days and it's offensive."
"While the widowed Iris Patterson is elderly, she needs to be doing a better job of maintaining her landscape -- her hedges are creeping over onto the Brinklebach's front lawn."
"Dear God, there was an anonymous complaint last week that The Crawfords were heard fucking in their Jacuzzi at 2 a.m. -- this is simply not The Willow Way!"
So, this position on The Willow Creek Cul-de-sac Committee that you don't want to be a part of, discussing topics you couldn't give a shit less about, takes up 5 hours a week of your time.
Plot Twist -- your best friend from college asks you to volunteer to teach jazz flute lessons at his church. You fucking love playing jazz flute like an Indiana University sorority girl loves white affluent fraternity boys in chubbies and basketball jerseys.
But guess what? You have to say no to teaching the Jazz Flute lessons. Why? Because you said yes to sitting on that stupid fucking committee.
3. Saying No Gives You More of The Most Important Non-Renewable Resource -- Time
Whoever said time is money was a moron. Time is not money. Time is so much more valuable than money that it’s incomparable.
I can always figure out a way to make another $100, that’s not difficult. I will never be able to figure out a way to add more time to my life.
When I am sitting on my deathbed, staring at my hot ass wife and her beautiful boobs, I can’t imagine I will be thinking to myself, “If only I had made more money during my time on Earth...”
No, I will be praying that God gives me just a little more time to spend with my wife and my kids and my kid’s kids.
Okay, so that just got really fucking deep, but this is something all of us need to seriously consider. How are you spending your time? If you died tomorrow, would you be happy with how you spent the last 24-48 hours of your life?
If the answer is No then you need to be spending more time saying No.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be spending my time playing basketball with my dad, watching a Netflix series with my mom, drinking coffee and listening to vinyl with my girlfriend than spending my time doing something I feel obligated to say Yes to.
You will never get the time you spend back, never. So spend it wisely. Be selfish with it. Spend it on exactly the shit you want to spend it on.
In the words of your 6th grade D.A.R.E. Officer, that definitely smoked some good weed in his day, JUST SAY NO!
How to Say No
Saying No is very easy, I have been practicing it for a few months now and it is hugely empowering.
Here is the rule I follow when saying No -- If it is not a “Hell Yes” than it is a No.
In other words, if the opportunity doesn’t make me giddy just thinking about it, I say No to it.
People may think this is selfish, but it truly isn’t. When you say Yes to things you don’t want to do, you end up doing them half-assed -- not only wasting your time but wasting someone else’s time too.
Just because you don't give a shit about The Willow Creek Cul-de-sac Committee, doesn't mean that head chairman Bernard Wimpleburgh wouldn't lay his life on the line for the organization.
That to me is selfish -- half-assing something someone else is very passionate about.
I will finish with an example. The other day, a business got in contact with me about hiring me to do some writing. They offered to pay me $50 an article after I had explained my rate was $150.
The Yes man in me felt obligated to say Yes!
It’s money. They are a small brand and just starting out. It would be a nice thing to do.
The No man in me chimed in and emailed them back…
“Dear So-and-so, While I am so appreciative of you considering me for this writing opportunity, I will have to decline. Our rates, unfortunately, do not align. I wish you and your organization the very best of luck as you continue to build your exceptional brand.”
It was short, sweet and to the point.
I said No because it wasn't a "Hell Yes!"
You should start saying No, too.