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To Say Yes or No

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

2 min read
To Say Yes or No

We say yes to many things that we don’t actually want to do.

Why is that?

Depending on who is asking – a family member, a friend, a coworker, or your boss, it’s especially difficult because these are people we support. Saying no to any of these people can be intimidating because we’ll likely interact with them again and don’t want to ruin the relationship.

With other people, we say yes not because we want to do it, but because we don’t want to come across as rude, arrogant, or unhelpful.

Due to this, we say yes, and become frustrated and overwhelmed by all the things on our to-do list.

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins suggests that instead of making to-do lists we should make “stop-doing” lists. The idea behind this is while we’re obsessing over things that don’t hold much meaning, we spend less time saying yes to things that do matter.

While the word no has a negative connotation to it, it’s important to know the meaning behind yes and no.

The word no. When used, it doesn’t mean that this person will never help, it just means that in this instance, they are saying no to one option.

Saying no is a decision.

The word yes. When someone says yes to something, it means that they are saying no to everything else.

Saying yes is a responsibility.

For instance, if someone says yes to attend a meeting at 4PM, that person has decided how that block of time will be spent. If another person comes to them, asking for help at that same time, they are already responsible to something else and can’t accept.

“Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.” Tim Harford

Your time is a valuable thing; It’s something that is seen as monetary. Therefore, when you say yes, it costs you time and is something that you have to pay back. Meanwhile, saying no, saves you time.

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything." Warren Buffett

Successful people say no to things that don’t align with their values.

Successful people say no to overworking and instead balance their time.

Successful people say no to doing all the work and instead delegate.

Successful people say no to negative people and instead spend their time with people who energize them.

“If you don’t guard your time, people will steal it from you.” Pedro Sorrentino

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

The decisions you pass on and the responsibilities you take on can either bring you closer or take you further away from what’s important to you.