Why the Word "No" Will Change Your Life

The word “no” is one of the most powerful words in the human language. While many think of it as a negative word (which it is by definition), it really can be used to drive your life in a positive direction you’d never expect. In this article, I’m going to explain how the word no can be used to positively drive your life in the direction you want it to go, and why it works so miraculously well.

Note: The ideas expressed in this article should not be construed as selfish, but as placing value on your time and your energy. While helping others is a wonderful way to spend your time, it should be done without putting your own needs aside for an extended period of time. We believe in placing your own health on a pedestal and ensuring you treat yourself as well as you treat others. There is no rule carved in stone for this, so decide for yourself what works and experiment to see what doesn’t.

How do you value your time and energy?

Before we begin, I wanted to discuss the importance of valuing yourself. After all, time is the only finite resource every human being has. Think about why people are asking for your time. Do they deserve it? Do you have any to give? You obviously want to be a gentleman and be chivalrous and put others first, but you want to make sure you’re balancing the time you spend on yourself with the time you devote to others.

The thing is, people can ask for your time for many different reasons. In my personal experience, people ask me for my time because I know something they don’t feel like or don’t have the time to learn. To be fair, I spend a lot of time learning new things and typically know some things most don’t about random subjects. I have come to expect others to ask for my time, and have figured out how much I’m able to give to them without letting my own needs be pushed aside (which you may find is a lot more than you may think it is). I am constantly pulled in many directions as a business owner, fiancee, son, and friend to others, so finding the time to spend in all areas of my life while committing myself to my own needs has been a bit of a balancing act.

Do you own a business? Do you work long hours? Your own goals that require a large amount of your time or energy? Think about how much time you really need to devote to these things to stay afloat. The thing about allowing others to claim your time, is that it may not always benefit you directly, and that’s okay. Sometimes just being there for someone is enough reason to be there. However, you need to be able to decide what is worth your time and what should be passed up in order to open yourself to new opportunities or just a little self-recovery.

How do you say no?

Saying “No” is easier said than done. Sometimes it is very tough to explain to someone that you can’t help them with something just because you haven’t had a day off in weeks and you need a day to recover. But you can’t always put your own need (in this case, rest) aside. So here are 3 tips to help you say no easier:

  • Be quick
    • Don’t beat around the bush. When you know you can’t or shouldn’t do something, just say no!
    • Lying is never a good thing, especially in this case. People need to understand that you need to place your needs first, and that’s why you need to say no.
  • Suggest an alternative or ask for a rain check
    • If you don’t feel like going out drinking, suggest you go out for a movie instead. If you don’t want to spend your only day off balancing your friend’s checkbook and would rather get out and meet people, ask if there’s a better time you can help out.

Why should you say no?

  • Gain more control of life
    • When you practice saying no, you gain immediate control over how your days play out and where your life goes. You can decide what is best for you and how to get there.
  • Confidence
    • Saying no helps you build the confidence to handle more situations in your life. When you are comfortable saying no to the tough questions, it makes other conversations much easier. It also helps show you that your needs are important and that you should fulfill them instead of letting them fall to the backburner.
  • Safety from overextending
    • You never want to over promise. I’m a huge believer in under promising and over-delivering. Leave yourself some free time to do what you want, and you may find you’ll be freed up to do even more for the people you care about.
  • More selectiveness and availability for opportunities
    • When you give yourself more free time, you are able to say yes to new opportunities. You may gain a new experience or even meet the woman of your dreams! The beautiful thing is it’s all under your control.

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become"
- Carl Gustav Jung

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