Don’t Learn How To Say No, Learn When To Say YES.

I want people to like me. Let’s face it, deep down nobody wants to be hated. This desire to be liked has often lead to saying yes too often. You know back when you worked in retail and there was always that one casual worker you could guarantee would cover for you if you needed it? That was me. Even if I had prior engagements – I’d work around them so I could help out. I’ve always had to work on knowing how to say no. While I’m getting better at it I’ve realised that this, in fact, may not be my problem after all. It’s not that I need to learn to say no more often – ‘no’ is a word that screams negativity and limitation. Instead, I need to learn who and what I say yes to.

Sometimes life really is black and white and I have come to realise that I may have been saying yes to all the wrong things.

I have been saying yes to people who don’t put enough value on my time. My time is precious and should be reserved for people who respect that, people who make plans for my time and stick to it. I have been saying yes to people on the basis that they have been in my life a long time and on this basis alone. Time does not constitute a good friendship if it lacks care and support.

I’ve also been saying no to all the wrong things.

I have been saying no to new experiences with new people or, worse still, saying yes and then wishing I could bail out last minute. I wish I could leave before I even arrive because making small talk gets annoying; I might end up getting bored; I can’t be bothered putting in the effort; I might be uncomfortable. I read these excuses back to myself and all I can think is that I am intentionally limiting myself from the possibility of having fun, meeting new friends, adding a great story to my list of otherwise rather uneventful stories.

Saying yes to new things might not always work out. While I only plan on doing this for things I actually want to try, I know that sometimes this will put me in situations I wish I could run from. If that happens then trust me, I’ll run. Call a taxi and get out of there. No one is forcing me to stay. However, saying yes to new things might just end up being the reason I meet a new group of friends or land my dream job or meet my future fiancé.

I don’t want to keep saying yes to the same things just because it’s a habit. Habits will make or break you and doing something simply because that’s how you’ve always done it is the worst possible reasoning. I want to stop the cycle and think about what I actually want. I want to say yes to that.




There are people in your life who are there to push you. Push your boundaries, push your abilities. We all need these people; they help us to grow, they encourage us to achieve, they give us someone to report back to. Sometimes, when we are the sole stakeholder in the production, outcome and reward of a task, it can be hard to carry through with it. If we aren’t answering to anyone, if no one else is relying on us to get it done, if the only person affected is yourself, it’s easy to rationalise that this task is less pressing than others.

Sometimes this is true – tasks for your actual job, you know, the one that pays the bills, should come before your hobbies. But if we constantly push aside our own personal goals in favour of things ‘more pressing’ then we are essentially assigning less value to those personal goals. We are subconsciously saying they are less important. And your own goals should never fall into a category labeled ‘less important’. Having someone checking in on you and pushing you on your personal goals means you have something to answer to. It means you’re more likely to get it done. More likely to accomplish.

There are a few people who push me like this, one who stands out in particular. And I couldn’t be more grateful for it. Sometimes I don’t want to be pushed, sometimes I feel like it’s too much, like I’m being hassled. But at the end of the day, I am always grateful more than anything else. I wouldn’t get all my stuff done if it wasn’t for someone pushing me. I need that person to help me in an area where I fall short.

The problem is, I am scared. I am so terribly frightened of putting any personal goal into action even slightly because it means I’ve started. I’ve taken the first baby step to try and achieve something. And only when you try is there the possibility to fail. It’s the possibility to fail that scares me. When you’ve got in your mind an idea of what you want out of life, of what will make you happy, there are 2 key things that can shatter that idea. The first is that you try to achieve it and fail. The second is that you do achieve it, but it isn’t what you thought it would be. It’s very possible that the second scares me more than the first.

So, if you don’t try you can’t fail. There is no fear. But here’s the kicker; you also can’t succeed.