Have you ever noticed that we’ve been socially conditioned to say yes to everything? From new job opportunities, to volunteering to help out friends, it seems as if saying no to partaking in certain activities has become a thing of the past. To “make it” in today’s world, or at least to be accepted by everyone, it seems like saying YES is the key to getting where you want to be.
Let’s examine today if that’s actually true.
Is saying yes to every opportunity truly the way to make your dream life come to fruition?
It is true that when you do good things, people notice. If you lose weight, people are going to tell you how great you look. If you put together an amazing project for work or school, the feedback is going to make you feel good, and it should, because you worked hard on it. There is nearly always an award for doing things well, and even more so for doing things in a truly great manner. You may encounter a few haters along the way, but generally speaking, our world wants to acknowledge your successes.
But what happens when you finally find success? New opportunities present themselves, right?
Sometimes, great things happen that align to the lifestyle that you are trying to live. Back to the weight loss example, maybe now you’re hanging out with a group of like-minded women or men that like to spend time at the gym, and you’re on the invite list now. That’s a beautiful thing, as you now have the power of influence on your side. If people notice that you’re building a successful business, people might start asking you to do some work with them. It’s more money, after all. They are doing you a favor, right? It would be a dumb decision to say no to that. Right?
Maybe, but maybe not.
What if any or all of those new opportunities were to impede your ability to find even more success? What if partaking in an entirely new lifestyle actually threw you back down the laundry chute to where you were before you found success at all?
First, let’s brainstorm. Why do we say yes to things, even if sometimes, they aren’t things we want to say ‘yes’ to?
Here are some of the reasons that come to mind immediately:
- To please others.
- Because we feel like it would be rude to say “no”.
- Because we feel like we’re being given a new opportunity.
- The peer pressure of others (family, spouse, etc.) to not “miss out”.
Here’s the problem with saying yes to everything. We only have so much time on this earth, and the reality is, we can’t do everything. Life would have no meaning if we were immortal, because there would always be time to get up and try new things. People that find success often struggle to maintain it as they attempt to live a life that everyone else wants them to live, forgetting about their own true needs in the process.
Truly successful people understand that you must stay aligned to the things you want. They acknowledge that you have to have a higher purpose, a connection to something great. They’ve surrounded themselves with a support system that knows how much they care about what they are working on.
People who say “yes” to everything are just people who haven’t yet established a compelling enough reason to say “no”.
When you are aligned to a big vision, you don’t have to feel bad saying no. Sure, you are going to hurt a few people’s feelings in the process. There are going to be some people who judge you, or think that you are selfish for not being a “team player”. But if you take the time to establish what your vision is for your life, it won’t matter. You’re striving towards what you want, and that’s the most important thing. If you stay aligned to this vision, you will no doubt find yourself surrounded by people doing the same thing much faster than you think. Your success will attract other successful people. They will understand the very same thing, which means they will only ask you for support when they truly need it, too.
The alternative is that you continue to say ‘yes’ to everything. New jobs, side jobs, parties, bad food, money spending binges, you name it. Whatever your go-to’s are, the principle remains the same. If you know that something you are doing is only happening because other people are asking you to do it, you are setting yourself up for a mediocre level of fulfillment. Compounded over time, being afraid to say “no” to things will ultimately put you in that dangerous zone where life is just good enough to not ever hurt, but never good enough to feel happy or fulfilled.
Take some time to reflect. What have you been saying ‘yes’ to over the past few months or years that needs to stop? Is it partying? Is it working too many hours and not spending time with your family? There is a compass inside of you that knows you are pulling yourself away from your own magnetic north. Listen to it, and think about what those things may be over the next few weeks.
You have one actionable today- Decide exactly how you’re going to say NO to participating in that activity next time it presents itself.
It doesn’t have to be rude, it just has to be effective. A simple, “No thanks, I have work to do tomorrow,” might be all it takes. That might make the difference between you being at the disposal of other people’s influences or being aligned to the things you want out of life. You have the power to make that choice.
Lastly, remember that saying “yes” can be a good thing, too. If your friends need help moving on a lazy Sunday, never say no. Be a good person and build relationships with people, because ultimately, living a lonely life is not something anyone should ever have to do. Never think for a second that you shouldn’t help people in need, but always make sure that your priorities are fixated on the person that matters the most in your world- you.
Just remember, there are things in life that saying “no” to will make your situation better. Find those things, and get to work.
Yours In Saying ‘NO’,
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