“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Are you the kind of person who gets a high from cancelled plans? Yeah, me too. You also say ‘sorry’ a lot when it isn’t your fault, right?
Problem is, getting excited about cancelled plans means you said yes to something you didn’t want to do in the first place. You did it to be a people-pleaser, or because you didn’t have the ability to say ‘no’ in the moment, even though you wanted to.
Saying NO is easier for some people than others. It is also easier to say to some people than others.
I’m anticipating a lot of replies to this article like: “But I can’t say NO to my X, I’ll get Y” (X = Boss, Wife, Husband, Kids, Aunt, Patreon Patrons, Russian handlers), (Y = Fired, Divorced, Yelled at, Squealed at, Berated, Lambasted, Tazed.)
It’s important to know that I’m going to cover the complicated nature of saying NO to the different people in your life to whom you have various obligations. But, for today only, let’s start small. Baby steps.
Today, I just need you to practice say NO to one thing.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing; you don’t need to tell your boss you won’t be filing that report by 3pm. It can be as small as saying NO to a second round of drinks. (It’s an election week so I know that’s tough) but just try it to see how it feels on your mind. Feel how it sounds coming out of your lips. NO. Say it quietly to yourself. NO.
Believe me when I say the people you say NO to won’t be half as offended as you’re expecting them to be in your head. Try it. Just once.
PS. If you’re trying to be hilarious and respond with NO, I won’t be angry.