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The Secret to Creating a Life of Incredible Stories

The Secret to Creating a Life of Incredible Stories

As a kid, I always found myself in trouble and looking for adventure.

I’ve listened to lectures about what not to do more times than I can count. Being extremely gullible, and a bit of a daredevil consistently landed me in front of teachers and parents discussing my future.

I can’t help it. I love spontaneity, being myself, and living on the edge. And I’m competitive and have an unyielding belief that one’s thoughts control the outcome of one’s life. So I never hesitate to take opportunities that others are afraid to engage.

The truth: I’ve always wanted the best stories to tell my friends and family. Consequently, I do. The funny part is that I don’t work hard to makes my life filled with great stories. Instead, I simply take the thousands of opportunities given me:

  • A beautiful girl everyone is scared to talk to at a party, but me.
  • Giving in when someone asks me to go with them on a last-second road trip to explore Yosemite National Park.
  • Or even the one time when my brother convinced me to swing on a branch hovering thirty feet over a canyon.
  • And the countless other stories…

Not all the stories have ended in a positive way, but each one is a learning experience. Also, I’ll talk about every story, even the ones that hurt, and that’s why I have so many to tell. What I realized: If you can’t speak about your stories that are painful, then you won’t take the risks to make your life filled with stories.

It didn’t take long to understand why I put myself in risky situations and uncomfortable settings—I believe in magic. Not wizards casting spells, but the magic of life’s truth that you can become almost anyone.

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For most of us, we believe this when were younger. It started when I was a little kid playing pretend war with my friends. We threw acorns that we pretended were grenades and used Lego and K’Nex to make hand-held weapons and armor. We caused so much of a ruckus that we had to duct tape everything we made. For us, our imagination was our reality, and no one could tell us different.

Going to sleep and waking up as a kid who believes they are their own hero is truly magical. Whether you want to believe your Superman or Tony Stark, it’s time we comprehend the impossible is possible. Hopefully, you don’t forget this feeling as you age. Even though some of this feeling is likely to disappear, but for those who live a life of incredible stories, the best part remains: believing you can be anyone.

I don’t know about you, but I think that to be true. Each obstacle and opportunity to live my intended story—I take. It’s not always easy, you’ll find your hero moving in unintended directions. But then you remember that even heroes have to overcome hurdles, and that’s a critical part of each story, too.

We should all trust ourselves that we can live our stories and not someone else’s. We don’t need to live through celebrities, T.V., or movies because we should be living a life of stories worth telling. Moreover, a life full of stories doesn’t take time for anything ordinary when we should be extraordinary.

If you’re wondering who your hero is, then think about your favorite books where you have the strongest connection to the protagonist. It’s possible that’s the story you should strive to create out of your life.

I fell in love with stories that have an adventurous protagonist who conquers evil. Correspondingly, I take many risks and live life on the edge. Reading a story about a small kid who grows up to become a warrior and defeat a dragon leads me to believe I can go up against anyone.

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It’s a fact that fiction novels help people beyond increasing their vocabulary and keeping the interest piqued. Reading fiction books can aid in developing a stronger emotional intelligence; as a result, this can give your success a nice jumpstart.

The best part: Great fiction stories are memorable.

Sad to say, but many college graduates can’t name ten things they learned in post-secondary education. However, they can tell you countless stories of risk and adventure. Stories are clearly one of the best channels to absorb information.

The hard part is that stories are not created by themselves. You have to take the initiative to make them happen. But the easy part is that you don’t have to look far because the opportunities are everywhere. Remember, creating stories is not so much about risk-taking as it is about creating a life worth living.

Let me ask you:

If you’re creating a story not worth being told, then why are you living?

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The next time you see one of the thousands of opportunities around you, don’t doubt yourself. You can become whomever you want. That’s how people become president, and Elon Musk becomes Tony Stark.

You have the ability to live a hero’s life where you never waste an opportunity.

So what we need to ask ourselves: Why did we stop believing?

We became convinced that we couldn’t live as a hero unless we went through systems ingrained in our culture like attending college and working specific jobs. Progressively we accepted that we are not heroes, we are not unique, and dreams only live in fiction books.

It’s time to stop listening to the people who tell us what we have to do. Instead, listen to the people who turned their dreams into reality so they can see their hero every day in the mirror. These are the ones who know the world’s best-kept secret: you can turn fiction into fact.

If I stopped my child-like curiosity and dreams from propelling me forward, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful as I am now. Sure there have been a couple of bumps in the road, but no one starts as a hero, they must conquer challenges to become a champion.

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Just like fiction heroes can overcome their fears, we can too.

I’ve never sat through a lecture and felt inspired. What has inspired me were fiction stories that told me I could be better than a student falling asleep in a college lecture. These same stories told me I could improve a small part of the world each day if I worked hard enough. Those are the ones I believe in because life is not worth living if that’s not true.

Keep in mind: If you don’t see yourself as having potential to change the world, then you won’t ever change it.

Ask yourself: What hero do you want to see in the mirror?

Remember, a hero always has an inner fire to drive them through the toughest times. And just maybe part of overcoming your hardest obstacles is understanding you are your own hero.

And because we can’t live someone else’s life, we must face ourselves.

The secret to living a life of incredible stories: find your fiction and turn it into reality.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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