“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
People who succeed in life generally have one thing in common. They have the uncanny ability to tune out the noise of the Could’s, Would’s and Should’s of external opinion; focusing instead on steering the wheel of their own lives. Listening to other people tell you how to live your life might feel reassuring at the time, but rest assured it is a road to nowhere. They don’t know what it really feels like to be you. They don’t know your emotional make-up, what makes you tick, your hopes or your fears. So why place any type of life decision into the hands of anyone else but you?
Here are 10 reasons why people who march to the beat of their own drum are more likely to court success:Advertising
1. They understand that advice is good, but not everything.
One important thing that successful people seem to intuitively understand is that any advice proffered should be taken with a pinch of salt. A sound piece of astute business advice can be a wonderful thing, especially when received in the midst of launching a newly burgeoning business. The power of someone else’s experience should never be underestimated and might just save you from making an expensive mistake.
But those that climb to the pinnacles of their career also understand that it’s important to put any advice received into context. They listen to their gut, if the advice resonates with them they tend to go for it. If not, they say thanks but no thanks.
2. They know the importance of tuning out the noise
Those that succeed have learnt to turn down the volume of other people’s opinions and tune into their inner dialogue instead. Whilst friends or family might be coming from a good place with their concern for the risks you are choosing to take, listening to any echoes of doubt is just not helpful. The importance of tuning into your own inner voice should never be underestimated.Advertising
Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best when he said; “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
3. They also know the importance of turning within
At the end of the day, only you know what really works for you. Everyone else might have an opinion, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Listen to yourself instead. You are the only one that possesses an intimate knowledge of what works for you, how much risk you feel comfortable with, how far you like to push yourself. Tuning within ensures you climb the rungs of your own ladder of success, not someone else’s.
4. They understand the difference between being respected and being liked
People who succeed in life pointedly distinguish between approval and respect. They understand that being liked by each and every one is not only impossible but completely futile; therefore their resolve to be treated with dignity and respect is uncompromising. As they navigate their career path, they are simply not interested in winning any popularity contests. Their goal is to be emphatic and self-assured, but not aggressive, and the byproduct of this type of behavior is that people respect them for it.Advertising
5. They know that chasing approval is a waste of energy
Here’s the thing about being liked by everyone; much like a dog chasing its own tail, it’s a complete waste of time and energy. There are some people in life who, no matter what you do, will simply not like you. It’s a sad reality but in accepting that chasing approval leads you nowhere, it can also set you free. At the end of the day, the only acceptance we should be chasing is self-acceptance.
6. They appreciate the fact that you can’t control someone else’s opinion
Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. But those that succeed know that they have a choice as to whether they choose to listen or not. They understand that people hold steadfastly onto their opinions and sometimes there is nothing you can do to change their mind. As a result they don’t waste their time trying and instead focus on the one opinion that matters the most, their own.
7. They are aware that the need for approval kills freedom
People who succeed in life have a deep understanding that in seeking someone else’s approval, they are effectively becoming their prisoner. In choosing not to mold themselves into a shape of someone else’s making, they are effectively removing any barriers to accomplishing their goals. When the motivation behind any decision or action doesn’t come from a need to please but from an individual desire, the need for constant reassurance falls away.Advertising
8. They have a sound sense of self-acceptance
Choosing not to listen to other people is no easy endeavor yet successful people appreciate that in order to bypass the court of public opinion one attribute is required. Self-acceptance. Carving out an individualistic path in the world is not easy, but if there is a foundation of self-acceptance, it can make the journey more meaningful. In accepting themselves for who they are, warts and all, the self-destructive patterns fall away.
9. They trust their ability to make decisions
With self-acceptance comes self-trust and this leads successful people to be able to firm in their decisive capacity and trust in the outcome. One of the main attributes to running a successful business or successful life is the ability to comprehend any risks involved in a certain matter and then make a calculated decision. Those that succeed appreciate that self-doubt can be incredibly destructive and lead to second-guessing. In reaching a place where they feel comfortable listening to their gut reaction and acting accordingly, this removes one of the main barriers to success, indecisiveness.
10. They don’t let small minds convince them their dreams are too big
Here’s the thing about small minds, they all come from the same place: fear. And so in choosing not to listen to a small minded person verbally dismantle your dreams you are choosing not to associate yourself with fear based thoughts. Whilst friends and family might have your best interests at heart, if they are coming from a place of fear, whatever they say will leave a residual seed of doubt. People who achieve success in life understand this and surround themselves with people that inspire them to be the best they can be.
Featured photo credit: pretty sad hipster girl. black and white photo via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on January 24, 2021
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. 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.
Table of Contents
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.
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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.
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:
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.
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 to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.
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.
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
- How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life
- 12 Rules for Self-Management
- 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself
Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com
|||^||Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You|
|||^||Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out|
|||^||Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”|