Saying “no” has a bad rap for most of us. It’s in our heads. There’s that intuition that makes us feel that saying no will seem hostile, like we are rejecting the person. We forget how pivotal “no” can be as a key to success, and it can spearhead our path to destiny.
Most of us don’t want to be an aggressor or to appear as such to other people. There’s a negative connotation to it that many people find very undesirable. So people usually choose the path of least potential conflict: complying with what appears acceptable to others.
Here’s the problem: when we never say no to others, we never have enough time to do the things that are our own. We’re always postponing things because our friends will feel bad if we don’t join them to go out drinking. Or we have to help a friend out with a project. We’re killing a key to success!
Truly, I can relate. For so long I could feel really overwhelmed and frustrated. I helped people all the time. I agreed to go out whenever people asked me to. And I would pick up calls from work late into the night. I realized why I was failing: I had almost eliminated from my vocabulary the word “no,” which successful people consider a key to success!
By leaving work early to pick someone up instead of finishing work today, we’re just putting it off to tomorrow. And there’s no guarantee we’ll be geared up tomorrow to double up our performance. Our workplace productivity is utterly affected in the long run.
Setting boundaries and making choices that add value.
In that position, our projects never come to fruition in the way we want them to. I see lots of debate about goals, leadership, and success. And it gets me thinking that the common problem revolves around setting boundaries for others and for ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that, even with the best brainpower, we can’t solve everyone’s problems. Neither can we be in two places at the same time or do everything we want to. We have to make choices, and the choice we make at any given time must add value to ourselves, not just to others.
The same logic applies to opportunities. We naturally say yes to opportunities that come our way. But to borrow wisdom from a famous United States billionaire:
The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.
~ Warren Buffet
While many of us want to say yes to every opportunity that knocks on the door out of fear that turning down an opportunity sends a message that we aren’t interested, that’s never the best way to go.
How does the opportunity fit into our immediate or long-term plans? What value will it add to us if we accept it? Is there something better competing for the same time and energy?
Saying no to some opportunities lets us focus on the best ones.
Saying no to opportunities frees us up to say yes when it counts most. Trying to do everything is a hindrance instead of a key to success, and it ultimately kills our success. To be successful, we have to start by avoiding spreading ourselves around too much. Let’s instead focus on building whatever we’ve chosen that has the potential to get us where we ultimately want to be.
Good things can be enticing. It takes some brainpower to see beyond today so we can have the fortitude to turn them down and focus on building our best.
That sounds challenging, but it’s quite doable. Everyone is born with an innate cognitive ability to make the right choices. All we need to do is use that cognitive ability.
Saying no to our phone helps boost workplace productivity.
Let’s face it: the mobile phone is a devil when it comes to the workplace. We want to check our Facebook, browse through Instagram images, look up a few tweets, and perhaps post something of our own, too.
It’s now 40 minutes later, and we haven’t yet left Instagram. By the time we log out of Twitter (the last one we check), nearly two hours have elapsed. If we entered the office at 8.00 a.m., it’s now 10.00 a.m. already, and we haven’t even started work!
There’s also the tendency to keep logging into these social channels from time to time to check how people engage with our posts and reply.
We are constantly distracted unless we can put the phone away. The challenge here is understanding that saying no to our phone is a key to success at our workplace. So to improve our workplace productivity, we can start by disciplining ourselves to avoid using the phone during work hours. Looking up my social media at tea and lunch breaks works perfectly for me.
Key to success: Wrap up.
There’s no single yardstick for measuring success. But we all have the brainpower to determine where we want to be. We also have the cognitive ability to realize when we are doing less than we should. Whatever the case, learning to use the methods discussed here to say no to distractions and to opportunities that have little value will certainly make a difference!