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15 Signs You’re Born to Be A Free-Thinker

15 Signs You’re Born to Be A Free-Thinker

Free-thinkers are confident, logical and intelligent. They give birth to their own ideas and resist the dominating mantras of the simple-minded. Having a mind that is free and the courage to express it will often mean free-thinkers have only a few close friends (who are equally interesting and intelligent). Though they are proud of their brilliant minds they are also sensitive and seek harmonious relationships with accepting partners. It can be exhausting to resist the overwhelming myths of popular thought on a regular basis. Free-thinkers are intellectual heavy lifters in our world and their non-conformist, irreverent wit and insight shines a light on the fallacy of often illogical beliefs in many areas.

1. You Are The Pope Of Your Own Life

Speaking of dogma… as a free-thinker you live by your own set of rules and no one,  not even your beloved mother, can tell you to live otherwise. You came by your beliefs through your own experience and curiosity. You tested them and they stood up to your tests. It’s impossible for you to kowtow to religious or secular bylaws that were created to control people.

2. You Are Outstanding In Your Work And Play

A free-thinker does not understand mediocrity! You give everything your all. You don’t need to do a non-traditional job to be a free thinker. Because of your insight and imagination you may be the best legal secretary in the land but no-one knows that every weekend you jump into a uniform that looks like a space suit and go longboarding down mountain highways. Most people are happy to spell-check their way through their days, but you write life at a higher level.

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3.You Have Unique Style

Who wants to fit in? Free-thinkers stand out and you don’t need tattoos to do it. You may have them but you’re not following a trend; you’re expressing your life. Most people you know let their jobs dictate their style of thought and dress. Not you. You’re dapper, edgy or classic. You wear what you want and you wear it well.You’re Oscar Wilde or Baudelaire.

4. You Are Creative

Free-thinkers engage in creative thinking on many levels. Socially, emotionally, logically and spiritually. You may make movies that question deeply held beliefs, paint pictures that challenge conventional thinking about love, write stories that provoke people to question their place in the world or sing songs that dispel myths about sexual orientation. You think creatively because you think freely.

5. You Have Been Called Weird

Normies don’t get you. Nine to fivers think you’re wasting your life. Buttoned down bankers who profit from the funds of dictators and other (more local) criminals think you’re morally bankrupt because you don’t buy into the American dream. Free-thinkers see that the dream is crushing the reality. You go off to live in the woods off the grid and raise a bunch of hippie kids. You spend a year traveling to see every work of art you’ve ever wanted to see. You start a publishing company focusing on books for old people. You do what your heart calls you to do and that’s pretty weird.

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6. You Think For Yourself

As a free-thinker it goes without saying that you think for yourself. Ever since you heard your friends who are outside your faith are going to hell you’ve thought for yourself. There has been some seminal moment where you rejected the authority over you and started to think secret not-so-secret radical thoughts. You are so determined to think without constraints that you question your own thoughts and beliefs on a regular basis.

7. You Question Authority

A free-thinker knows that more knowledge or power does not mean you have a superior belief system. Historically, people with vast intelligence and power have been a destructive force in the world. The atom bomb was devised by some fairly smart dudes but they did some serious damage in the world. Even the most learned can be wrong. You know you don’t have to believe them but you also know you can if their ideas pass your qualifying tests.

8. You Have Friends With Whom You Disagree

Free-thinkers agree to disagree. Your book clubs are pretty raucous events. Eight people read the same book and have eight different takes on it. All of them make you think. It’s a pleasure to be in the company of people who spark your imagination. You think dinner parties are better when they sound like an old joke: “So, a Jew, a Catholic and an atheist come to dinner.” A closed community is a boring community. You’re not much for boring.

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9. You Have Heard Of The Kardashians (but know nothing about them)

Free-thinkers know what is going on in modern culture but they feel no need to buy in. You’re definitely not dead to modern culture. You think freely enough to have friends who watch this stuff but you don’t have time for it. The real estate in your brain comes at a higher cost than the price of admission charged by so called reality TV. You’d rather eat rusty nails.

10. You Don’t Watch Television

A free-thinker won’t find entertainment in a mind control box. There is nothing on TV that appeals to you and you don’t want your mind numbed and your money stolen by the marketing messiahs who promise a better life (if you only eat their brand of yogurt). TV is dead anyway. You can find your entertainment climbing mountains, dining with friends or selecting movies you want to watch when you want to watch them. Your mind will not be tamed.

11. You Read

A free-thinker likes to read. Yes, you read books. Whole books. With big words in them. You read more than headlines. You read more than articles. You like to fill your mind with well thought out, complex ideas – not sound bites. E-readers or actual books are equally of value to you.

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12. You Don’t Pay Attention To Labels (Except Food)

A free-thinker is label-free. Gay, straight and everything in between – you could care less and it’s likely you’ve tasted from the smorgasbord of Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian – you listen to all and come up with your own ideas. Feminist, Humanist, Pacifist, Realist – if there is any thing in any ist you like you adopt it but you don’t go wholesale to the point of exclusion or inclusion. The only labels you read are the ones that list allergies.

13. You Understand There Are Many Ways To See The World

A free-thinker is multi-dimensional and sees the world that way. Your best friend studies Buddhism, doesn’t eat meat or onions or garlic and stays away from the demon liquor. Your mum goes to church, runs a mission for orphans and refrains from the naughty words. Your favorite professor is a passionate communist, marks too hard (and with his bias showing) and has worn the same elbow patched stereotype of a tweed coat every day for at least the last 25 years. You like it all.You see the value in each and every way of being and it makes you happy that these people are in the world.

14. You Never Stopped Asking Why

Free-thinkers are confoundingly curious buggers. From about the age of three you’ve been asking why and you’ve never stopped. You now know why you poop, why dogs smell everything and why the caged bird sings. The bigger questions about life fascinate you and you love to explore them. Having said that… you’re still curious about the little things too. A visit to the dentist opens another world for you – so, when you eat sugar, microbial bacteria on your teeth release acids that cause cavities. Interesting…

15. You Have Fun

Free-thinkers don’t take things too seriously when they don’t have to. It’s fun to wrap your head around new ideas. It’s fun to try new things. It’s fun to eat new foods. Life is full of adventures and free thinkers are up for adventure.

Featured photo credit: Young hippie in a red dress dancing in the middle of the road on a hot summer day via shutterstock.com

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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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