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5 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Say No

5 Reasons Why It’s Okay to Say No

In today’s fast-paced and caffeine-driven world, it seems like the need to say no is absent in most people. You can’t say no because people will look at you with judging eyes. You can’t say no because you will most likely upset your colleagues. And you can’t say no because you feel guilty and scared that no one will like you anymore.

I understand your situation completely. Confession time? I used to say yes all the time too because the thought of saying no cripples me.

Now, though, I regret the times when I failed to say no just because of peer pressure. Let’s learn to face the music here: saying yes to everyone is stressful. It’s selfish. And it’s definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health!

My friend, it’s time you start saying no. No to people you don’t like, no to parties you don’t even fancy and certainly no to activities that don’t make you a better person.

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Go ahead and say no, because:

1. You don’t owe anybody anything.

Contrary to popular opinion, you are not really obligated to do something to someone.

Sure, your boss pays you to be productive at work and to produce effective and efficient returns, but you’re not obligated to be at his call every single second of every work day.

Yes, you’re married to your life partner and you love him very much, but you’re not obligated to be the subject of his whim every time.

And of course, your parents raised you and still love you, but you are not supposed to bend your convictions just to suit their own stereotypical beliefs.

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Life isn’t a day in the office where you have all these obligations to distract you and make you feel busy. It’s an enriching and satisfying adventure that you have to tackle in order to be productive and fulfilled.

2. You can never control everybody’s opinion of you.

Whatever you do, whatever you say, people will judge you either fairly or harshly. Don’t sweat this small thing. Don’t let it ruin your day.

If you’re basing your decision whether to say yes or to say no on the fact that you care about what other people will say, stop. It’s not worth all the trouble.

3. You’re the only one who can really identify your priorities in life.

Your happiness will be made up of the choices that you make in life. If you’re not sure about something, say no to it. If you’re hesitant because you know deep inside your heart that you’re not too thrilled about the idea, say no.

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If it’s not really what you want, say no. No one can tell you which specific activities you should be doing to feel happy and fulfilled in life. You are the only one who can do this for yourself.

4. You’re your number one citizen.

A lot of people ignore this fact but it still is true: you are the person who is going to be mostly affected by the decisions you make in your life.

If you decide to do something and fail to follow through, you’re the one who’s going to be most stressed. If you say yes to a drunken party at 11 in the evening, you’re the one who’s going to have a massive hangover and a horde of angry clients the next day. If you say yes to a lifetime commitment that you’re not really happy about, you’re the one who’s going to suffer terribly in the long run.

5. Life moves on.

Life flows, it moves and it progresses whether you say no or not. You can spend the rest of your life hurrying, fast-tracking and running around because you say yes all the time…

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Or you can spend your life relaxing, moving at a gentle pace and savoring every minute because you say no to the things that don’t really matter.

It’s your call. Live the life you want! Make your own destiny. It can all start if you realize that it’s okay to say no.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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