“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Ambition is having a strong drive to do or achieve more in life. Unfortunately, a lack of ambition can be an individual’s own worst enemy. Un-ambitious people sabotage their own potential and happiness through self-limiting beliefs, bad habits, and negative thoughts.
Ambitious people, however, believe in themselves and their capabilities. They understand that everyone is capable of achieving far much more than they typically give ourselves credit for. You won’t find ambitious people speaking negatively against their own interest — you won’t hear them say stuff like:Advertising
1. “I can’t do this—it’s too hard.”
Ambitious people never limit themselves or undervalue hard work with these words. They tell themselves they can do it and press on until it’s done. Nothing worth having comes easy: you’ve got to work hard to for it. As Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister says, “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”
2. “I’m not good enough.”
Ambitious people never say they are not good enough. Saying you are not good enough holds you back and makes you vulnerable to quit when things get a little rough. And quitting when things get a little rough is never a good thing. The most successful people in the world are not quitters. They are hard workers who believe in themselves and their abilities. Be confident and believe in yourself, or no one else will.
3. “I won’t make it through the obstacles.”
Challenges and obstacles are tests of your resolve and desire to succeed. Ambitious people never say they won’t make it through the hard times. They say they will make it because they know better things lie ahead—the sun always shines after the storm. Besides, as an old Arabian proverb says, “All sunshine and no rain makes a dessert.” Gold is fashioned through fire.Advertising
4. “People won’t take me seriously.”
The only time people won’t take you seriously is if you don’t take yourself seriously. Period. Insisting that people won’t take you seriously is an excuse not to do what you know you should do. Ambitious people never say these words. They respect themselves and honor their work and that earns people’s respect. Start respecting yourself and honoring what you do and people will respect and take you seriously.
5. “I’m going to fail for sure.”
Failure is not entirely bad. It can teach you valuable lessons and redirect you to the right path. Ambitious people don’t say they are going to fail and let that stop them from trying. They defy the fear of failure by taking calculated risks because they know the only time you are truly defeated is when you don’t try at all. Jim Carrey says it best: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
6. “I can’t handle success.”
Ambitious people never declare they can’t handle success before they even achieve it. Dr. Jason Plaks, a social psychologist at the University of Toronto, and Kristin Stecher, a research scientist at the University of Washington, conducted studies and found that those who think their capabilities are fixed are the ones more likely to suffer disorientation and anxiety when faced with dramatic success. Those who think of their abilities as changeable handle success far better. If you think your capabilities are fixed and say you can’t, you’re right. Confucious said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” Say you can and you will.Advertising
7. “I’ll probably make a mistake and mess things up.”
Ambitious people never utter these words because they believe in themselves and understand you can’t please everyone. Some people will consider your effort terrible, others will consider it okay and yet others will consider it excellent. Don’t worry too much about it all. Give your absolute best each time in everything you do and learn from your mistakes. Ultimately, say like Cheryl Cole said—“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, I’m thinking of making a few more.” Say it because making a mistake is not the problem; the problem is not learning from your mistakes.
8. “I’m waiting for the perfect moment to start.”
Ambitious people never say they are waiting for the “perfect moment” because the “perfect moment” to do something is a myth. Moments are what you make of them. Ambitious people simply start and really focus. It’s never too late to do something. Start now and do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Stop procrastinating and wasting your life waiting for the stars to align. There will always be reason to procrastinate and wait another day, but only those who actually start get things rolling. Keep in mind the best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is right now.
9. “I’m not as good as that guy/girl.”
As long as you are always comparing yourself to others, thinking you are inferior to them and not being your true self, you will always try to be what other people are and always fall short. Ambitious people know this and never think or say they are inferior to others. They work on being the best version of themselves. You are not that guy or girl. You are you, and that’s not bad. Everybody is unique and gifted in their own way. Situations vary and we all grow at our own pace. Check what others are doing only to learn from them. Don’t be jealous or resentful. Be happy when you see others succeed because it means you can too.Advertising
10. “I’ll never be successful.”
Words have incredible power. You won’t hear ambitious people say they will never succeed. That’s because they actually believe they will succeed one day. That conviction keeps them sufficiently motivated and driven to put in the hard work and time necessary for success. Say good words, think good thoughts, and do good deeds because what you say and believe is what you are destined to get.
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”|