This blog post was supposed to be a review of a chapter in a book. And although the chapter was titled “saying no when it matters the most”, it turned out to be more focused on investing rather than daily life. So, I will in addition to this book, draw from personal experience and talk about how saying no is the most important skill we can ever learn.
Here, let’s start with this quote from the chapter I mentioned at the start.
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of the non-essentials.” -Lin Yutang
The main reason why I find myself saying yes to things that I would rather say no to is that I am a little vary of offending the person who is putting a request across. While over the years this instinct to say yes just to keep the other party happy has died down a little bit, it still resurfaces every now and then. This in no way is the only reason why we say yes to things we’d rather not do. Another reason is sometimes we are not able to gauge correctly whether we really want to do a particular thing or not.
Tim Ferris, in his book ‘Tools of Titans’ mentions a fantastic tool he learnt from Derek Sivers. Sivers says the choice is never between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, the choice is between ‘Hell Yeah!’ and ‘No.’
His point is this; whenever you’re unsure about whether or not you want to do something, you should probably not do it; because unless something makes you go ‘Hell Yeah’, it does not stir your insides up enough to warrant your time and attention.
Off course when one is starting off, things are different; at that time, we don’t have the liberty to say yes or no to things. We have to take what we get. So, first we have to work for that liberty, to be able to say No to things, and then we have to use that liberty well.
A long life is far from guaranteed, nearly everyone dies before they are ready. So, whenever you are doing something, or you want to do something; ask yourself these three questions:
Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of?
Are you doing what you were placed on the earth to do?
Can you be replaced?
I will leave you with this quote from the only physicist I love reading, Richard P. Feynman:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”