Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saying No is a Valuable Life Skill

No is the new Yes. That’s the way I am interpreting it. ‘Yes’ has been my standard answer to everyone’s request of me. Pleasing people was my directive. If people of a certain age can wear purple, then I can say ‘No’. It may shock people. I suppose I should have started saying ‘No’ much sooner than I have. I am not being flippant about a ‘No’. I believe that a ‘No’, can be positive. There may even be power in a ‘No’. A positive ‘No’ may be one of the most valuable life skills I have picked up since retiring.

I raise this theme because I needed to say no to a great opportunity recently presented to me. My reasons were personal and legitimate. It would have required a considerable investment of myself and my time. I have other preferred personal projects on the go. Love that alliteration! As I considered the proposition I felt the pressure of meeting expectations. The “P’s” are dominating this paragraph. At other times in my life I may have said an immediate yes, or a reluctant yes which I might regret later. This time I felt justified in saying no. I feel good today that I did say no. It was a struggle for me.

Understand that I still have a high sense of responsibility to God in my life and I won’t say no to Him, so my ‘no’ was predicated upon a subjective inner peace that I am not being disobedient by declining a human invitation.

What this is pointing to is freedom. A free person has the power to make or to refuse social interaction with other willing people. This is freedom to say no, freedom to be independent of others’ expectations. I look back now on a life of service to others which I do not regret yet I am surmising that I should have said no more frequently for the sake of my children and my wife and maybe at times even for my own sake. No has the power to transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to the things that truly count. It’s hard to say No when you don’t know where you are going and how you want to get there. To lose weight I have to say No to Krispy Kreme. To live within my retirement budget I must say No to iPhone. Maybe you don’t but my point is my success is based on my ability to say NO.

A book has been written entitled ‘The Power of a Positive No,’ offering advice for saying No in any situation. It emphasizes saying No without jeopardizing relationships by saying it clearly, respectfully and effectively but for the purpose of arriving at the right Yes. Saying No is a valuable tool for time management, avoiding overload, overtime and Stress with a capital ‘S’.
PS. Guys can do purple too apparently. There is a Purple Store Website.
Some sports teams do purple.

1 comment:

  1. Ron, I've just reread this article for the 5th time and each read gives it even greater power!

    Your humour comes through in purple colours!
    It is also written with a winsomeness that will whet people's "no" with a greater clarity and positiveness.

    Calling no a "Valuable Life Skill" tops it off!

    Who says retirement is dull!
    Hugs, Esther