How to leverage on the power of no?

Have you ever been in the situation where someone asks you for something, and you know that you should decline, that you should just say no, but you can’t? Maybe it was the last time a friend asked you to help paint the kitchen during your exams, or when you had to run errands for your sarcastic boss.

The truth is, we’ve all been there, and learning how to take hold of those moments and just say “no” is one of the greatest feelings imaginable! The book, The Power of No by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher gives us more tips on how to leverage on the power of saying no.

We all know that there are some things that we should do more often than others, but in the end it all comes down to everyday choices. When faced with these choices, it’s easy to get pulled into situations you would rather avoid or to ignore your well-being. But if you want to get the most out of life, you should choose life.

Choosing life means not pursuing habits that quite literally cause you to die, like poor nutrition or smoking. By abstaining from harmful foods and smoking, you are less likely to die from heart disease or lung cancer, and will have chosen life.

Another way to choose life is by ridding yourself of negative and abusive people. Say no to the people who drain your positive energy or stir up feelings of guilt or fear. It frees up resources, like your time and energy, that can be directed towards your inner circle.

But how do you know who belongs in your inner circle? This exercise will help you figure it out:

  • List all the people you engage with at least five times per week. Then rate how these encounters make you feel on a scale from one to ten (ten being the best).
  • Start focusing on the people you’ve ranked higher than eight by spending more time with them. Spend less time with everyone else on your list, and distance yourself even farther from those ranked lower than five.
  • Taking distance from these kinds of people may be a challenge at first, and like any major change in behavior, starting to say no might require you to overcome destructive behavioral patterns.

Have you ever wondered in the middle of a project: “Is this really me? Or am I just trying to please my boss by laughing at his stupid jokes?” Maybe you’ve had similar feelings about one of your relationships.

It’s time to stop doing things you don’t want to do by using your assertive no. If you ignore what you really want and keep doing things you don’t want to do, you may begin disliking the person you are trying to please or disliking whatever it is you are doing for them.

Not only does the assertive no help you avoid the unpleasantness of doing tasks you don’t care for, you can also prevent other people from feeling bad for making you do things you don’t want to.

Think about the last time someone was helping you out when you knew they didn’t really want to – maybe they were helping you paint your house or babysitting your children. Did you really appreciate their help? Or did you just feel guilty for being a burden?

You don’t have to conform to other peoples’ expectations. You are unique; choose your personal storyline, one that fits your unique wants and needs. So, if you don’t want to go to university, don’t. Follow your passions instead and forge your own path.

One way to figure out what that path should be is to go to a bookshop and discover which books you’re interested in. If you find yourself continually drawn to coffee table design books, maybe you should look into something like industrial design or architecture.

When you listen to these personal inclinations and start exploring your interests, you’ll simultaneously increase your mental muscle as well as your appeal to other people. Remember the last time someone spoke about something with an infectious passion? Enthusiasm is attractive! And when people like you more, they’re more likely to trust both you and what you say, as well as enjoy your company.

Check out my related post: Do you have the loss aversion bias?

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