The Art of Saying No

Have you noticed that saying NO is probably one of the most difficult words to say. Surprising, considering the first word that most 2 year olds thrive on is the word – you guessed it – NO. So why then is it so hard for an adult, who is probably extremely busy and has enough things going on in their life have such a hard time to say NO?

I think it has has to do with one of two things – either you don’t want to deal with the hassle of negotiating and so it is easier to say yes or it is your personality and you really don’t know how to say No.

I know of many women who have a hard time saying no (including yours truly) but that is because it is the nature of the person, you are used to doing things for others at the expense of sacrificing your own things. You are always afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. However you are going through major anxiety because you would rather be doing something else.

Maybe it is a woman thing – but I know many men who have the same issue. Some husbands are careful how they word their choice for fear of upsetting their wives, they need the wife to hang around and look after them (good choice!). And then there are some men who really don’t have any problems saying no when a no is required.

But there is an art to saying No. When softening the blow with an explanation seems to work in a corporate setting. The dangerous part is when you don’t say anything – because usually saying nothing usually is taken as agreement. It is always better to say something to the effect of – I still need to think about it – instead of keeping quiet.

Sometimes it is better to say No and be done with it – that way there is no question of procrastinating the decision making and you can move on – however there are some things that you really do need to think about before you say No.

However when my teenager starts a conversation with Can I ask you something – my response is usually – NO. Considering how many of those conversations start like that I am getting really good at saying NO.


It must be a control thing. Asking for permission and granting it. I know as a child you have to ask permission for everything. Not that you will be granted permission but it is good manners to ask. As you grow older – it is almost like second nature – where you ask permission but you don’t expect to be denied permission – it is just courtesy.

Then you grow up (or if you read my last post – you age chronologically) and other people ask your permission. And it feels great. Wow! The power you have over some one else’s decision making.

But herein lies the issue – when someone asks you what to do and you give an answer – you expect them to do as you say. That does not always happen. Sometimes they ask you because they want to know what you think. If you expect them to do as you tell them, then you are foolish.

But there is another aspect to asking permission. When you ask someone else’s permission to want what you want you are giving away power. You cannot decide on a choice based on someone else’s decision. It took me a long time to figure that one out. You make a decision and stick with it. Sure you can ask people, and they will tell you if they are for or against it, but that does not mean they are giving their permission.

You cannot get someone else’s permission to justify what you want to do and then complain when things don’t go your way. Asking permission to want what you want is an act of cowardice – which means you are not willing to take ownership of the consequences of your actions.

It is about the courage of conviction because even if the going gets tough – the tough keep going.

Growing up

Age has nothing to do with wisdom. Neither does growing up. Some are late bloomers and some learn young. If you are within the norm – it is expected however if you are an outlier, you are looked upon with reverence or laughed at – it depends on who is doing the laughing or the revering.

The hardest part about growing up is realizing that there are some things you cannot change – be it the society or nature and you just have to deal with it. After all the only person you can change is yourself. Once you recognize that, a lot of things become easier to deal with in life.

There is a difference in the eastern and western philosophy towards life. The eastern philosophy focuses on duty, following the path of dharma, doing the right thing, where as the western philosophy focuses on the self and what makes you happy. The children who are born here of parents who follow the eastern philosophy seem to have a handle on how to make it work – a good blend of eastern and western and they still seem to do just fine.

And those of us who were born and brought up outside the US thought we had it tough!!! I guess some things you can learn from your kids.

So what do you say to those outliers who are later bloomers?

Be happy, don’t get angry, have the courage of conviction and whatever happens right now it is because it is good for you.

Entreprenurial spirit

Sometimes you have to be pushed to the wall before you decide enough is enough and decide to work for yourself rather than work for someone else. Sometimes you are just born with that independent streak and sometimes it does not matter what – you will always end up working for someone else.

I have seen it with myself and those around me in this economy, with my parents and those in their generation and among the young generation as well. The security of a job while working for someone else includes a regular paycheck and health insurance along with 2 weeks vacation a year. But didn’t that bubble burst a few months ago when the entire economy tanked and the term job security became obsolete? So now what?

Necessity is the mother of invention. I truly believe that this recession has made entrepreneurs out of all of us. We are looking for ways to cater to a need, Obama is doing his bit by making it easier on taxes and affordable health care – right now at least, of course the banks are holding on to their money – so you are forced to do something where you don’t need the bank.

In this day and age, where the Internet has opened up to a million different avenues to meet the demand of the consumer – the opportunities are endless. What separates an entrepreneur from someone who is not is the taking of risk and the absolute faith one has in his plan. There is no fear of failure. There is no fear. Period. Of course they dream big.

And for those who will never start something on their own – I guess they won’t need to if they are needed in whatever capacity they are are in now. They are meeting some one’s demand.

Once the entrepreneur bug bites,it never really goes away.

Make it happen!

There is something to Vision boards. I have been hearing it about it for a while now but never really put it into practice. But you may have noticed that once you are conscious of something, you see it all around you – be it in conversations, on the web, books or even hear people talking about it.

Writing down your goal or vision also has some power to it. Actually that is the first step to making anything happen. I noticed that once I started writing what I want from life – things around me began to materialize. Now it was a question of picking up and running with it.

But then there is the thought in my head that says that I should not, it is too fast, what if etc etc. You will see that the major difference between the people who are successful entrepreneurs and those who are not is the speed and conviction that they proceed with. Fear does not hold them back. They do not worry about what other people have to say about what they can and cannot accomplish.

Therein lies the difference. My teenager was upset cause she did not understand why everyone tells her she cannot make it to her dream college. Not that they have anything against her, they are just telling her what they have heard based on the facts.

If you really want something – go for it without letting anything else get in the way – focus on it and live and breathe it – write it down and put it where you will see it all the time and then it becomes a part of your sub conscious, imagine what it would be like to accomplish it, dream about it and you can be rest assured that not even God will get in the way.