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Milton George, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
One of the smallest words in the English dictionary, ‘No’, is the most powerful word that will help you grow personally and professionally. ‘No’ liberates you, in contrast to ‘Yes’, which commits you.
People try to please everyone and say yes all the time. As a result, they end up pleasing everybody else, except themselves. Keep in mind every time you say yes to a new commitment you end up spending less time with your loved ones or doing something that really matters to you.
Time is your most valuable resource, an average lifespan is around 75 years, that’s 27,375 days, don’t waste them pleasing everyone else except yourself. Every day, whether we like it or not, we make a withdrawal of 1 day from our lifespan “bank”. When the days run out, we eventually die. Everyone can make more money, but noone can make more time.
The simple truth is that other people are not concerned about your time. We almost always end up saying yes to all the requests made of us, because we fear being criticized, disliked, or losing a friend. It’s better to decline a request if you’re not completely committed to fulfilling it, rather than saying yes and afterwards not delivering your promises.
Dr. Vanessa Bohns, assistant professor of management sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario says: “One of our most fundamental needs is for social connection and a feeling that we belong. Saying no feels threatening to our relationships.”
There are also devices and applications which “steal” our time. All it takes is one notification to outflank all your productivity. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Apps, Emails and Messengers are all competing to steal your time and spend more time on their platforms; that’s how they make their money.
The solution is to give yourself permission to say no and declutter from all the noise. Sometimes you need to put your needs and yourself first. Saying ‘No’ protects you from distractions and helps you to stay focused. Keep in mind, that turning down a new request doesn’t mean you’re turning down a person, and there’s nothing personal about it.
To innovate and achieve greatness you need to focus. If you accept every new request you will never focus on what you’re building at the moment and you will never reach your full potential.
Windston Churchill and Steve Jobs have great sayings about this.
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” -Windston Churchill
“Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” -Steve Jobs
So, want to achieve the best of your ability?
Say No to any relationships which don’t make you happy and drain all your positive energy.
Say No to useless meetings that don’t have a specific agenda or outcome, they’re the biggest time suckers.
Say No to new ventures if you’re not sure of their longevity, because it takes a lot of commitment and energy to succeed.
Say No to social networking but rather prioritize which relationships are more meaningful to you and deepen those rather than meeting new people all the time.
Say No to anything that’s not important to you and concentrate on what is.
Write your goals and what’s important to you first. Once you write them down, ask yourself every time you receive a new request, is this important to me? Will this help my long term goals or will it just distract me again?
Once you’re super clear about what exactly you want, you will stop being susceptible to what other people think you should do and you do only what’s really important to YOU.