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Stop Being a Pushover: Learn To Say No in 10 Steps

Stop Being a Pushover: Learn To Say No in 10 Steps

When I was a child, I never wanted to say no to anyone. I was so eager to please, I found myself agreeing to things I didn’t want to do with people I didn’t want to be around. By the time I graduated from high school, I realized I needed to take a stand and live my own life. I started by flaking out on things, and quickly realized that’s a terrible way to be. Instead I adjusted my perspective and took the steps necessary to learn to say no. Here are 10 steps you can take to stop being a pushover and learn to say no.

1. Prioritize your life

    You need to get your priorities straight immediately. What’s important to you? Write out a list of the 10 long-term goals you most want to accomplish in your life. This makes it easier to make decisions, because you’re basing them on your priorities. When you’re focused on your priorities, you’ll be too busy not to turn down offers.

    2. Envision a path

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      In HBO’s new show Silicon Valley, protagonist Richard Hendricks’ biggest problem is he doesn’t have a vision for his company. This lack of vision is the catalyst for the first season’s plotlines, as investors are excited by his technology, but they all demand to know his vision for the future before they’ll trust him. Series creator Mike Judge hit on an important point. You need a vision of your future in order to reach it.

      3. Stay succinct

        When telling someone no, simply saying no is enough. You don’t need to go any further into reasons why. Simply tell them you’re not interested. High pressure salespeople will prod for more information to keep you talking so they can sway you, but there’s no need to waste any time when you know you’re going to turn them down anyway. Instead of arming your opponent with knowledge, just say no.

        4. Repeat a mantra

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          When you have advanced warning that you’re going to be presented with an undesirable proposition, you have time to prepare yourself. Repeat over and over in your head that you are not going to ____. Even if you don’t have advanced notice, it’s not a bad idea to remind yourself of the things you don’t want to do every so often in case you are. Never forget yourself.

          5. Assert yourself

            Be assertive when telling someone no. If they push, assert your position. As a human being, you have the freedom of choice. Rather than relinquishing that power to someone else, exercise your right to choose your own adventure. At the end of the day, you’re the one that has to live with your decisions, so choose what’s right for you.

            6. Focus on the positive

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              Just because you’re rejecting someone doesn’t mean you have to be rude or cruel about it. There’s no need to tell someone you’re not interested because it’s a terrible idea. Tell them it sounds great, but you’re busy. When you focus on the positive aspects, you’ll maintain the appearance of friendliness while still pursuing your own agenda.

              7. Don’t fear the outcome

                The world won’t end if you tell someone no. They may or may not be upset with you, but it’s not your problem to worry about. Has anyone ever told you no? Did they hold your hand through the entire thing? If it’s not happening to you, you don’t need to do it for anyone else. We’re all adults, and we can handle rejection. Don’t fear rejecting anyone–focus on you.

                8. Avoid being defensive

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                  It can be easy to get on the defensive when rejecting someone. You may feel like you need to defend your stance, but you don’t. Once you’ve said no, it’s over; end of transaction. Don’t defend your choices to anyone. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone.

                  9. Stick to your guns

                    Once you’ve said no, stick to it. Don’t let yourself be persuaded. You don’t want people to think you’re a pushover; it’s viewed as a sign of weakness, and some unscrupulous person is bound to take advantage. Pick a lane and stick to it. You’ll be happier in the long run.

                    10. Practice

                      Like everything else in life, saying no requires practice. Start with little things, like the times you already say no. After you order at a restaurant, for example, they ask if there’s anything else you need. Your server will also come by the table a few times while you’re eating to ask if you need anything. You’re likely saying no to these people without even realizing it. Use that momentum to say no to others.

                      Featured photo credit: John Y via therecoveringpolitician.com

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                      Last Updated on September 24, 2020

                      17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

                      17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

                      In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

                      The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

                      Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

                      1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

                      Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

                      For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

                      2. Use the Pareto Principle

                      Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

                      Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

                      3. Make Stakes

                      Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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                      However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

                      4. Record Yourself

                      Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

                      5. Join a Group

                      There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

                      6. Time Travel

                      Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

                      Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

                      7. Be a Chameleon

                      When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

                      Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

                      “Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

                      Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

                      8. Focus

                      Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

                      Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

                      9. Visualize

                      The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

                      Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

                      Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

                      10. Find a Mentor

                      Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

                      Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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                      If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

                      11. Sleep on It

                      Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

                      Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

                      12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

                      Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

                      His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

                      Check out his video to find out more:

                      13. Learn by Doing

                      It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

                      Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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                      14. Complete Short Sprints

                      Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

                      One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

                      15. Ditch the Distractions

                      Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

                      Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

                      16. Use Nootropics

                      Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

                      Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

                      Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

                      17. Celebrate

                      For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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                      The Bottom Line

                      Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

                      More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

                      Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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