Do you ever find it hard to say no?
Hard to say “No” to other people’s requests?
Hard to say “No” to other people’s behavior?
Hard to say “No” to your own impulses?
Even hard to say “No” to fun opportunities when they come at inopportune times? (”Come on bro, a couple of lines of coke and a few shots of heroine won’t hurt your court hearing tomorrow…” 😉 )
You’re not alone.
In fact, people who find it easy to say no are quite rare.
Not everyone struggles with saying no to the same degree. But just like you, most people have experienced situations in which they said yes when they didn’t mean to. And we have a wide variety of reasons for that:
- To avoid conflict or confrontation
- To avoid disappointing others or hurting their feelings
- To reciprocate past favors
- To procure future favors
- Out of worry for not being able to handle the repercussions (not feeling safe)
Sometimes it can be as simple as not having a specific reason to object against something. Which is why I personally used to struggle with it:
If there’s no strong reason to say no, why be annoying, right? Just say “yes”.
The Shocking Secret Life of “Yes” Revealed
You may think “yes” is a great guy. Because everybody loves hearing him. But honestly, he’s kind of a dick. He just has good PR.
The truth is: Everything thing you worry “no” does, “yes” does a million times more.
That may sound like a confusing exaggeration. But it’s true. So let’s examine it!
Because once you truly let this idea sink in, you will never look at “no” the same way.
“Yes” and “no” are both words which express a decision. Whether it is about boundaries, proposals, ideas, requests, …whenever you use these words, you use them to decide:
“I want this, not that.”
Etymologically, making a de-cision means to “cut off”. Just like an in-cision means to “cut in” and a “circum-cision” means to “cut a little boy’s wee wee”.
(If you wanna be all “pre-cise” about it, sure. Some students of Latin claim that “circum” simply means “around”. Way to ruin a joke, guys.)
Whenever you use the words “yes” or “no”, you are making a de-cision and therefore cutting something off.
Every time you say “no” to something, you are cutting off the possibility of willingly making that thing happen.
Every 2 year old knows this. That’s why they don’t like to hear the word from their parents.
However, what most people rarely think about, is that every time you say “yes” to something, you are cutting off all other possibilities in existence simultaneously.
If your neighbor invites you to an activity you wouldn’t enjoy, and you say “no”, you are stopping that activity from happening.
On the other hand, if you say “yes” to your neighbor’s proposal of watching paint dry at his apartment… Then you are, in fact, silently saying “no” to an infinite list of other things which could happen. Including but not limited to:
- Finally making time to start your dream project
- Renting a hot air balloon and filling the basket with cold water balloons. Then floating over the city with your friends, giving cold showers to unsuspecting strangers, and shouting “Hey, I just gave you free fat burning and immunity boost benefits, bro! Show some gratitude. Jeez, don’t you watch Andrew Huberman???” when they get pissed.
- Keeping your afternoon free in case Megan Fox finally matches you on Tinder. So that you can invite her over, sit on the sofa awkwardly staring at her face and then ask “Ehm… Wanna go watch my neighbor’s paint dry for a bit? I hear it’s pretty rad.”
In other words:
No, just means no.
But every yes, means a million no’s.
How Do I Learn to Say “No” With This Information?
The idea that every yes is a million “no’s” is not just “philosophically true” but also true in a practical way.
Saying yes all the time will in eventually lead to either:
- Having to say no to things you truly care about because you committed to something random
- Having to disappoint the people you said “yes” to because you don’t keep your commitments to them
So if you are afraid of no’s, let me break it to you, kid.
You should be a million more times afraid of saying yes 😉
So afraid… That in comparison, “no” becomes the safest option for any situation, unless… a yes is even better!
Because that is how a true yes feels. A true yes shines so bright that it illuminates the shadows of the million no’s it created.
It says yes to something you really want. So much that if someone were to give you a print-out of all the exact things your yes is saying “no to”, you wouldn’t care at all.
True yesses are shared at the start of adventures, screamed during orgasms and stammered at altars while tears of joy ruin the most overpriced makeup of a a lifetime.
…not sadly whispered while looking down at the floor while a parent scolds you, awkwardly smiled at a co-worker’s creepy jokes, or politely spoken out of social obligation.
So next time, you’re about to say “yes” to something out of social convention, fear, or for any other reason, really. Remind yourself:
“Unless this is something I truly want, my yes is nothing but a million no’s.”
And I’m pretty scared of no’s, let alone a million… so how about we just stick to one simple “no” and call it a day?
Now let’s put your new decision ability to the test:
Did this blog post help you?
Do you know other people who have a hard time saying no?
Would you be willing share it on your profile so that it can help those people as well?
You decide 😉