Hello there everyone, hope you had a great day!! Recently, I have been reading a small pamphlet entitled “The Power of a Positive No” and it has led me to do some serious thinking on the topic. Dave Ramsey says that “NO” is America’s most underused word and I would agree. I met him the first time about 26 years ago right after he came back from bankruptcy when he was teaching the only Financial Peace University class there was. So as I go through my day, I have been listening for how often people tell me no, and he is right because it does appear that our nation is full of many “YES” people. In this post I will outline very briefly why it is so important to say no and how it can help empower your life.
As we all know, toxic people can turn up when we least expect them especially in this narcissistic, fame chasing self-drenched society we are living in but the question is must we let them into our lives? The obvious answer is no but many times it is not that easy, perhaps they are coworkers or a boss, maybe they are family and we live with them, or it might even be ourselves. If you have been raised as a “yes” person then it may seem foreign to you to think that you have the right to say “NO” to anyone or anything for any reason and no you need not explain yourself all the time. As a society we are taught very early on to “go with the flow” and not to “rock the boat” so we can be accepted but the question is what are we really signing up for? One need not look far to see that billions struggle with saying no to themselves especially in the areas of food, drink, medications, alcohol, and spending.
Typically, it is the yes people who can often find themselves deep in financial debt. In fact, the average American family is approaching about $150K in debt and it is rising all the time. There was a time in this country when debt was a horrible thing. If a person had ANY they were an outcast from society, family, and friends. America’s debt problem is directly linked and hardwired to widespread and pandemic levels of depression, anxiety, and stress and you can take that check to the bank and cash it…I personally guarantee that one. If we take a healthy, productive, happy, intelligent, whole, proactive, informed adult and we break them down mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally with the wrong “foods”, refined sugar, tobacco, alcohol, soda, caffeine, medications, and misinformation and they become depressed and anxious, then simple logic tells us they are not as well equipped to make the right decisions and their defenses will be down. They will say yes when they want to say no and won’t even be fully aware they are getting into trouble.
Corporate America is often a machine with no soul and that is just the straight up truth and many of our clients as well as consultants do not work for corporations due to their own personal boundaries. I am not saying all corporations are bad, not at all, I am saying most of them have one thing in mind and it is not your health but rather transferring your money into the bank accounts of the stockholders and employees. There are “sales” everywhere, always the latest and greatest to be had, and people demand to be entertained and you can put those $300.00 concert tickets on the American Express train to slavery thank you very much!!! Learning to say no is so very important for survival in life. No to toxic people, no to bullies, no to an abusive spouse, no to a hateful boss, no to the wrong foods, no to that one more drink, no to a sedentary lifestyle, no to a 30 year mortgage, no to flashy cars, no to big student loans, no to credit cards, no to spending and consumerism, no to debt for our businesses, no to punching two hour holes in our days from watching movies, and no to living in a fantasy world.
On any typical day during the course of business, I say no to people all day long and that is HOW I do business. It helps me define my boundaries and keeps my life balanced and healthy which in turn produces vast happiness and unending contentment. Of course I enjoy saying yes also but when I do, it is very carefully thought out because commitment is extremely important and should not be taken lightly. I am under the impression that right now as YOU read this you do NOT have to do anything you don’t want to…we may THINK we have to do things but that is the language of reactive people and as it states in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, that sets us up with victim mentality thinking. My experience has been that the more I exercise my “NO” the happier I am and I feel more in control of my life…yes, many people get upset, they will be offended, they will call you names possibly, they will act childish, they will sulk and pout and do all manner of strange things but we have a right to our “NO” and should use it accordingly.
Many times, the hardest person to say “NO” to is ourselves especially in the areas of entertainment for the majority of American’s and wow do they pay a price for it. It has been said that the best things in life are free and I agree completely. Any time I need to spend money to have “fun” or be entertained, I need to stop and question what is really in my heart and mind and do I need it at all. The best way to find happiness is to enjoy the little things in life, the free things, and the best defense for that is staying healthy and fit and that is up to you my friends but we can help. Every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step so I highly recommend you learn to say “NO” and use it often. You will be amazed at how much control and freedom you gain. Today I didn’t necessarily want to go run but I told myself no, you don’t get to sit there, and off I went and I ran just like always and when I finished, it was amazing. Stand up for what you believe in and never give up, no matter the pain and suffering, for where there is “NO” pain there is “NO” gain!!!
Marc White USN-RET MCP CEO