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16 Things You Don’t Need To Say Yes All the Time (Though You Think You Do)

16 Things You Don’t Need To Say Yes All the Time (Though You Think You Do)
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There are two words I consider one of the most powerful and influential, namely “yes and “no.” The right combination of them and using the right one according to the situation guarantees you more happiness, health and wealth.

To be nice and avoid hurting others, we often say yes though we feel like saying no. Whereas empathy is a good feature to have, being a people-pleaser has terrible consequences.

If you ever regretted saying yes, these 16 examples will help you to not make the same mistake again.

1. You don’t need to say yes to people asking for your time.

Some say time is money, but in reality, there’s one thing that makes time the real wealth. Namely, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Whereas money can always be made up, time never goes back.

Now, don’t misunderstand it with being insensitive ignorant, it’s far from that! When someone ask for your time, don’t say yes when it conflicts with your personal priorities. If you think this person deserves your attention, schedule one day of a month when you can devote your attention to them.

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2. You don’t need to say yes to people asking for your money.

There is an adage which says don’t let your friends borrow money unless you don’t mind never getting it back. If you can’t accept them never paying back, it’s a sign you should decline. Borrowing money can destroy your relationships with other people and make your life really tense. Oftentimes, it’s better to deal with the temporary discontent when you say no than experience the problems later on.

3. You don’t need to say yes to people who clearly exploit you.

When someone approaches you only during struggles, you are just a tool to solve their problems. It’s when somebody only takes and never gives that you should consider stop saying yes. Sure, you should contribute value to other people’s lives, but folks who batten on generosity are not ones who deserve it.

4. You don’t need to say yes to please your friends.

Saying no to a friend is tricky. You care about them and feel obliged to act accordingly. The truth is, a real friend will accept your refusal because they value your close friendship. It’s false people who leave you in case of disagreement.

5. You don’t need to say yes while under social pressure.

Social pressure can be a huge obstacle to overcome. People expect you to go with the flow and please them. Saying no requires courage and confidence but oftentimes it’s a lifesaving decision. Every time you don’t say yes under a big group pressure, you clearly show your values which everyone respects even whey they don’t admit it.

6. You don’t need to say yes so you fit in.

Similar to the previous example, people in the crowd subordinate so in order to not stick out, you are expected to submit to their influence. But at some point everyone comes to the conclusion that fitting in is unnecessary and only causes regrets.

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7. You don’t need to say yes when rules and dogmas limit you.

Different environments set clear expectations toward behavior within the group. Whereas some rules are necessary so the society can function, there are many dogmas you have a full right not to follow. Embrace who you are and don’t let the outdated doctrines change it.

8. You don’t need to say yes to tradition and religion.

Born among people who set religion and tradition as the highest priority, you are expected to worship these values. If, however, deep in heart you don’t consider them as truths, that’s a clear sign to refuse following them.

When I stated to my family that I see religion differently than they do, I faced disapproval. As the time goes by, however, the tension expires and you feel proud of being your true self.

9. You don’t need to say yes to your parents.

Being able to do this is might be as hard as it is to differentiate between following your heart and being unappreciative toward your parents. They love you and want you to live the best life possible, but sometimes it’s you who knows better your deepest desires.

When you parents expect you to choose a certain career path, remember it’s you and not them who will be obliged to that lifestyle.

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10. You don’t need to say yes to your boss.

Be cautious, I don’t intend to make you lose your job! But then again, if you do have alternatives and your current boss destroys your life, maybe it’s time to say goodbye and part ways.

11. You don’t need to say yes to things that make your priorities secondary.

If you don’t respect your values, nobody will. You are responsible for what happens in your life and it’s the moment when you fully accept this responsibility when you can finally give your goals the top priority.

12. You don’t need to say yes to things fighting for your attention.

Today’s world attacks you with distractions on a regular basis. A skill to ignore stuff begging for your attention is invaluable to survive. Remember, whatever you decide to pay attention to, you might be neglecting things that actually matter.

13. You don’t need to say yes to sales and extra offers.

I know it’s often hard not to lose your mind during the sales. And marketers are people who know it best. Various psychology tricks are applied to make you say yes and follow the sales funnel.

At first, you feel instant happiness, but then, as your wallet gets thinner and what you bought collects dust, you begin questioning whether saying no wouldn’t be a wiser decision.

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14. You don’t need to say yes to email offers.

As someone who likes to subscribe to interesting newsletters, I know how  tempting certain offers are. You are presented with an almost perfect offer. As a result, a new need is created and a product for its satisfaction sold. But if you wouldn’t open the email, would you even desire that very product or service?

15. You don’t need to say yes to time-suckers.

Television, Internet or Social Media, these are all the wonders of technology which revolutionized the world of communication and information. But if you don’t control them, they will control you. It’s easy to get lost staring at the screen and mindlessly wasting your time. Your brain tends to say yes to comfortable situations and time-suckers definitely count to that.

As we determined in the first point, your time is the most precious resource so protecting it is obligatory.

16. You don’t need to say yes to notifications.

I disabled every possible digital notification, expect an app that reminds me to work out and it does it at the right time. But it wasn’t always like that. Facebook notifications would immediately catch my attention and destroy my focus. Almost any serious app makes sure to notify its users so they stay engaged and active.

Whereas it’s definitely beneficial to the founders, it’s incredibly harmful to yourself. Turn off every unnecessary notification and never again say yes to distractions begging for your attention.

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Featured photo credit: web4camguy via flickr.com

More by this author

Oskar Nowik

Oskar is a blogger and the author of "Brightening: The Positive Attitude That Will Change Your Life"

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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