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Day 3: Be ruthless to the things that don’t matter

“How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!”


How many times have you wasted your energy and emotions on doing things that don’t matter just because you can’t say NO? We all are caught in this cycle. I personally struggle a lot with this. It always starts small when you say that is just one tiny thing and you will do it only once but before you realize it becomes a pattern. Doing things in which your heart is not set and is not aligned to your growth for a long time can prove to be very taxing.

What are some of the reasons people are afraid to say NO to things:

  • Didn’t want to hurt someone by saying No
  • People pleasing. Many people have this inherent fear of rejection and that the belief that they won’t be liked anymore if they say no. In today’s world, it is known as FOMO
  • Some people don’t like confrontation and hence they say yes to things they don’t want to sign up for
  • When you are saying no to someone high in authority, you also fear repercussions

Now considering above hiccups how can you learn the art of saying No. Below are some of the points that might help you in this:

  1. Find your ‘Yes’
    Whenever you say ‘No’ to something, you are saying ‘Yes’ to something else too. So, before saying No you need to analyze that why are you saying no. Is it because you are angry at your boss, or you are feeling lazy, or you are scared of things. If these are not the reasons then you need to find how saying ‘yes’ conflicts with your core principles. And once you find it becomes easy to say no to anything
  2. Borrow some time
    This might not apply to all situations but for other important decisions (especially when it requires a certain level of commitment from you) you can ask for some time. Sleep on the idea. It will help you to say both Yes/No with more confidence
  3. Be polite
    You need not be rude just because you are saying no. You can be polite. Start with an apology but don’t get carried away here. Don’t get into too many details as there also chances of being talked out of the reasons
  4. Say a firm no
    Don’t say ‘maybe’ or “I’ll try”. Give a clear no. It helps another person also to look for alternatives
  5. Suggest an alternative
    If possible, do suggest some alternative which can be acceptable to you or can be done in some other way. This way other person feels that you have given some thought and it’s not an outright no.
Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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