I’m starting to think that the word “No” is a pretty powerful word. I’ve heard in the past that “Yes” is a far better word, that it endears you to people, that it makes you appear flexible, and that you are more “likable” (whatever that is or means). I’m not sure about that, I’m starting to think that only suckers say “Yes” all the time.
Maybe I dislike the word yes because there is a lot of pressure to always say “Yes:”
“Yes, I would love to buy some magazines/candy bars/girl scout cookies.”
“Yes, I would love to pick up your kids for the umpteemth time”
“Yes, of course you can put your name first on our paper.”
Saying Yes is for suckers
Think about all the times we say “Yes” to something we really don’t want to do. We know we don’t want to do it but we say “Yes” anyway. Why do we do that? It could be any number of reasons. Maybe we don’t want to come across as mean or rude or unfriendly. Or maybe we want to help and don’t really think about the time commitment involved.
Think about the last time you said “Yes” to something you really didn’t want to do. It probably created a lot of other feelings in you: discomfort, anger, nervousness, anxiety
So why keep doing that to ourselves? Saying “No” is far more difficult because it upsets expectations and norms.
Saying No upsets the order but it can change the world
Rosa Parks had the courage to say “No.” She refused to move to the back of the bus. She said “No” and threw down for the civil rights movement. Pretty powerful if you ask me. Now I know that most of us are unlikely to change the course of history by saying “No” but maybe we can change our little corner of the world? Think about what would change if you said No:
Would you have more time to spend with your kids?
Would you have more money in the bank?
Would you have less crap cluttering your house up?
Would your employees enjoy working less overtime?
Would you have some time to yourself?
Would you be a fitter person?
Would you be a happier person? Less angry? Less bitter? Less resentful?
Sometimes we have to endure some initial discomfort to get the things we want: time with our families, a break for our employees, time to work out, or a truly relaxing day at home. It’s okay to say “No.”