Two-year-olds have it down pat. They know how to say “No!” with gusto and without apology. By the time we start school, however, a lot of that natural inclination to say “No!” is trained out of us, and we spend the rest of lives saying “Yes!”
So what’s so powerful about this little two-letter word? Saying “No!” gives us the power to stop doing things that are not in our best interest. According to life coach Danielle Laporte, what we stop doing is just as important as what we start doing. As I consider Weekend Retirement, I can think of a few things I need to stop doing, things I need to say “No!” to:
- Using television as my default entertainment when there are so many other more worthwhile activities I want to do
- Waiting until I have a huge block of time before I start cleaning the garage
- Limiting my reading list to nonfiction works
Cheryl Richardson, life coach and author of Take Time for Your LIfe, advises clients to use the Absolute Yes test. When presented with a decision about how to use your time, if you can’t respond with an Absolute Yes, then say “No!” When you say “No!” to those things that are not your highest priority, you are making space for what is really important.
You can apply this concept to relationships, your home and work environments, your health, your spirituality, the work you do, and what you do with your money.
Travel blogger Ryan Holiday applies the concept of saying “No!” in a number of ways when he travels. He says “No!” to:
- Checking luggage (he manages with a carry-on)
- Reclining his seat on the airplane (he says it may provide more comfort for him, but at the expense of the person behind him)
- Packing things he “might” need (he says to just buy it there if you really need it)
Laporte uses the concept when talking about life goals. She suggests these questions when making a determination:
- Am I passionate about this?
- Do I feel like I’m “made” to do it?
- Can I make a living at it?
She says if the answers are not a resounding “Yes!” then you can take it off your list and move toward what you’d really like to do.
What are some things you need to say “No!” to?