The Sacred Word “No” and How to Use It to Drive Success
The short one syllable, easy-to-say word “no” is as powerful as the word “yes”. It is the word you don’t want to hear when you need a favor from someone, when you apply for a job, when you talk to a customer, when you ask someone for a date, etc. You don’t want to hear this word from someone else because it means someone or something is standing between you and what you want. In a sense, the word may appear to be cursed. In reality, it is not. It can be one of the most powerful words you need to conquer your inner freedom and assert your positivity. You can use it creatively to gain control and focus over your dreams and to determine what comes in or goes out of your life.
Saying “no” could be the highest expression of inner freedom, of maturity, and of the desire to become the person you want to be. That simple word, most often associated with rejection, can be the only word you need to define your boundaries and maintain positive character. Great people are hardly remembered for saying “yes”, yet history will always remember them for standing up against blatant injustice. I can cite a few names that are known around for their distinctive, influential, and awesome personalities: Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and a host of others.
Why do we feel a lot of admiration for such people over the ages? The answer is simple: they dared to say “no”. They dared to remain steadfast with their choices even when everyone seemed to be against them.
No matter what your dream is, you will never get to it if you can’t learn how to say no. Every decision you make kills something in you, but don’t worry, it also gives birth to something.
In your walk towards inner freedom and the conquest of your dreams, you’ll meet a lot of opposition, both from within and from without. You’ll hurt people who depend on you when you decide to set out on your journey, and you’ll have to continually say “no” to that cocky voice that keeps telling you that you’re useless, that you can’t succeed, that you’re making an insane decision. You have to say “no” to people who use you and to those who keep pulling you down.
Saying “no” will sometimes hurt people you care about, but you have to believe and trust in the power of your choices. Sometimes you have to hurt even the people you love most in order to set them free; at times you have to hurt them so you can love them properly. You also have to understand that you can’t please everyone. Only the fool thinks he or she can get the approval of everyone. That shouldn’t be your problem. Your problem is to make decisions that help you grow, for only when you have attained maturity will you be able to understand the freedom of others.
So, how do you say “no”? To what do you say “no” and to whom should you say it?
Say “No” to Your Programming.
You will be rejecting what you have been programmed to believe, which keeps knocking you down. This is the part of the job that needs to be very radical. You’ll feel like you are standing against everything you have ever believed. At first it will hurt because you will be stepping beyond the protective walls that define your comfort zone. To succeed in doing this, you have to recognize destructive thought patterns for what they are, and you should be decided upon disassociating yourself from them. Identifying these thought patterns may not be as easy as it may sound, but if you work patiently, you’ll understand them.
So, every time you feel a strong emotion, ask yourself if you have been there before, diagnose the source of the feeling, and say no to it. Especially where feelings – yours or others you care about – are hurt, it is very tempting to look for explanations when taking a stand. You want to think that others understand why you’re making the decision you’re making. This is not necessary. Not everyone will understand you. And time will force others to accept your choice. You can’t say no and still want to control how others feel about it.
Another thing you need to do to achieve inner freedom is to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. It isn’t a bad thing to help people, to accomplish many things, and to give your all. But, as I said in the previous chapter, you can’t possibly give what you do not have. So, decide on how far you can go. A wise person doesn’t pursue every opportunity. He or she sets priorities and goes after opportunities that are in line with their ultimate purpose in life. Many people suffer a lot of stress because they think they can satisfy everyone and that they can do everything. It is better to do what you can and do it well than to want to do everything and then end up not delivering the best results. Remember that you can achieve anything you want. You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want. Only a child has the illusion that he or she can have everything.
Say “No” to the Overbearing Control Others Have on You
We don’t want to disappoint those in our circle of friends. Perhaps because they represent our moral strength and will always be there for us. Unfortunately, the kinds of friends you have can really define the type of person you become. The influence that friends have over us can sometimes be subtle and very hard to detect. As someone with a big dream you’ll want to choose your friends carefully. You can make friends with anyone, but it’s your responsibility to define what comes into the friendship and what shouldn’t. If people with whom you get along are negatively charged, you’ll certainly feel your energy levels moving towards the negative.
Say “No” to Your Crutches
I am talking about your dependencies, the things you feel like you’d fall apart if you lose them. It could be someone you think you can’t live without. When you’re attached to someone, you make that person a slave. It is only when you can actually stand by yourself, alone, that you can fully give and receive true love. Your crutches are your addictions; they are things that make you feel high and excited.
Addictions are fleeting.
There is a very thin line between passion and addiction. An addiction creates the false sensation of well-being, but passion sustains motivation; it is motivating in itself. You feed on your passion while an addiction wears you down, both mentally and physically. Your crutches are those things you depend on to perform well. The crutches are the dope you take before stepping onto the stage, the bottle you sip to induce you to sleep, or any other thing you need to feel positively charged. Anything that doesn’t help you become a better person should be shunned. Anything that robs you of your creative and positive energy isn’t for you. You have to let it go.
You have to say “no” to people, and sometimes to people you love, because you understand that hurting can sometimes be the best way to set others free.
Isn’t all this talk about pursuing your dreams and saying no to people selfish? In a sense, you’re being selfish, but it is the kind of selfishness that helps you and those you care about. I will say what I have always said to young people who are getting into relationships. If you’re not ready to stand on your own feet you’ll never be ready to stand for anyone at all. We can become very manipulative in the way we love others, because we do not even understand who we are. Dependence isn’t love. Staying with people because you’re afraid to lose them doesn’t help them. You’ll have a more positive influence on people when you choose to stand for what you believe. You do not want to manipulate others and to be manipulated. No one has the right to use another person.
When you make the choice to go after your dream, you gain inner freedom. Your inner freedom is power. It helps you position yourself where you do not get hurt and where you don’t hurt others. When you conquer your freedom, you can choose who to love, decide where to go, understand the limit of your freedom, and offer welcome to others, without feeling hurt or cheated. When this happens, your love or your connection with others, and even your hatred become mature, genuine, and enlightened. If you want to be an inspiration for others, you have to learn to say “no” and to do so wisely and at the right time.