“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long-run.”
Henry David Thoreau (American Author & Philosopher)
“Unless someone truly has the power to say no, they never truly have the power to say yes.”
Dan Millman (American Author & Speaker)
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
Tony Blair (British Politician)
The fastest way to figure out what’s important to you is to first figure out what’s NOT important to you.
(Just like every failed relationship you’ve ever had has taught you what you do NOT want in a relationship, more than it’s taught you what you do want.)
This is true in even the smallest matters of life…
I may not know what I want for dinner, but I definitely know what I DON’T want for dinner.
This process of elimination helps narrow down what really matters from what really doesn’t.
Do you know what to say “No” to?
Do you recognize what you do NOT need in your life?
If not, it’s time to gain access to the magic words, “NEVER AGAIN.”
These two words can cut a lot of time-wasters and non-priorities out of your life.
They can be powerful.
We’re encouraged to just say “No” to things that are unhealthy or dangerous, and “boundaries” is the buzzword of the year, so why do these areas of strength disintegrate when it comes to personal and professional obligations?
Being unable to say “No” and “Never” is linked to increased overwhelm, stress, and lack of productivity.
It’s unhealthy to NOT say “No”.
It means you don’t value your time and energy.
It means you’re not focused enough on your goals.
It’s a weakness that will keep you stuck, immobilized, and stressed out.
Saying “No” is about self-control and self-preservation.
The University of Nottingham published a meta-analysis of 83 studies that showed how increased self-control over destructive, unhealthy, or wasteful activities showed an increase in success in achieving goals as well as protection against ego-depletion.
“This ability to attain deliberative control over impulses and abstain from gratifying immediate needs and desires is extremely adaptive and enables people to engage in goal-directed behavior to bring about long-term desirable outcomes.”
Achieving your goals is impossible without protected focus.
The study linked derailment and lapses in the ability to be disciplined and focused to a host of social and behavioral issues.
Successful self-regulation leads to increased professional success, improved emotional and physical health, improved relationship satisfaction and increased resilience to the impacts of stress.
Saying “No” is integral to protection of focus and your sense of feeling in control of your life.
What’s more… it’s not just THAT you say “No”, it’s HOW you say “No” that matters.
Side-stepping and passive avoidance techniques of saying “I can’t” instead of “I don’t want to” or an outright “No” don’t count.
Not being able to say “No” strongly and directly is actually disempowering and doesn’t give the same internal benefits of being able to be your own advocate with a brief, direct, and honest… “No”.
Given the benefits of using the right tools in your right of refusal, why do we often shrink back from it?
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology’s study out of Columbia University reveals that being timid when asking for help or rejecting it with a “No” causes stress and is interpreted as a negative event because of the fear of rejection, fear of hurting someone’s feelings, or fear of disconnection.
Very simply… we don’t say “No” because we are afraid.
We are afraid of loss of respect, connection, and acceptance.
The anticipation or reality of all of the above cause a bigger impact in the brain than positive feelings and events, so we just shrivel up and say “Yes” because it feels safer in the moment.
Even though the cost to our self-integrity is huge and the cost to our long-term progress and goal achievement is even bigger.
Here’s How To Stop Wasting Time And Sabotaging Your Progress By Saying “No”.
“No” is NOT a dirty word.
We live in a sea of people-pleasers and attention-seekers striving for praise.
We also have social conditioning playing against us.
It’s rude to say “No”.
You’ll hurt someone’s feelings.
You have to say “Yes” ― it’s the polite and right thing to do.
We were better off when we were little kids and belligerent.
When we crossed our arms, defiantly frowned, and said “NO!”
I don’t want to.
But over various stages of development, we were conditioned to take the easy road, avoid confrontation and negativity, and just say “Yes”.
Social conditioning of politeness has made us forget that our time and focus has value.
For everything and everyone we say “Yes” to, we are saying “No” to something else.
Trading and bartering our time to other people and tasks that don’t add value and hold us back.
Here are 3 ways to stop wasting your time by saying “No” and “Never again”…
1. Say “No” to useless tasks.
Becoming a master of “No” is your ticket to freedom.
Your ticket to increased productivity and focus.
Beyond the weight lifted when obligation is revoked, saying “No” reduces stress and overwhelm, boosts confidence and respect, and increases productivity.
“No” isn’t a weapon ― it’s a tool.
It’s a tool to control your time and resources while increasing your emotional intelligence.
It opens up room for “YES!” to the things that really matter to you, that bring you joy, that deserve to be priorities in your life.
It’s about smart time management, which begins with tracking your time.
Get tactical with how much time you’re wasting on social media, answering emails, working overtime, getting stuck in traffic, waiting for appointments, waiting in line, and watching TV (yes… Netflix is TV.)
If you’re spending 4 hours scanning Facebook every day ― that’s 4 hours of time that’s being robbed from other tasks.
Your family… your relationships… your business… your own personal development… your happiness?
If these aren’t important to you, do nothing.
But if they are important to you, start setting limits on time-wasters that steal from the core areas of your life.
What can you outsource or delegate?
What do you need to stop doing altogether?
There are toxic, unhealthy tasks that you’re wasting time on right now.
These tasks are slowing you down in life.
By not saying “No” to time-wasters, you’re saying “Yes” to a mediocre life.
You’re saying “Yes” to being average.
Get smart and start using time management strategies to trim and streamline your day.
Success and goal achievement come from having the discipline to say “No” to things that distract you from your purpose… without feeling bad about it.
2. Say “No” to useless people.
Your boss who wants you to work overtime… all the time.
Your co-worker who constantly asks you to help with their projects.
Your needy friend who bombs your phone with whiny texts in the middle of your most productive time of the day ― every day.
I don’t care who it is.
Users, losers, toxic people, drama queens, inconsistent friends and anyone else that’s a little too comfortable with all the things you’ll do for them…
You need to say “No” to your boss ― even if it freaks you out.
Saying “Yes” to everything keeps you on a leash and adds stress and resentment.
Your boss will respect you more if you know your value and can set boundaries around your time (and you’ll feel 100x more powerful).
You need to let slacker co-workers fend for themselves.
You need to leave needy friends, clingy exes, and other negative people behind.
You’re the one who lets them into your life.
Now be the one to get them out of your life too.
Stop giving your productive time to people who are wasting theirs and yours.
You will only sink with them.
Say “Never again”.
You can be polite, but you need to be direct, honest, and firm.
Don’t over-explain and don’t apologize.
Get rid of the ones that won’t take “No” for an answer.
What’s harsh is being a wet, floppy mop in life because you never stand up for yourself.
What’s harsh is getting to the end of every day and realizing you’ve made no progress.
It’s realizing you have no time for yourself.
It’s realizing you have no satisfaction because you gave it away to people who stomped all over it.
You will never have the life you want if you surround yourself with people that use you and waste your time.
Start being deliberate with who you let into your life.
3. Create non-negotiables.
After you’ve learned how to say “No”, you’re going to have to repeat it.
If you’ve said “Yes” to things in the past, you get to change your mind and say “No” to them now.
Are you going to craft a life you want or not?
Stop allowing yourself to be locked into other people’s agendas.
This is your life.
Live it your way.
Once you start saying “No” to the things you don’t want… you’ll be able to see the things you do want more clearly.
What brings value, happiness, and progress into your life?
Be very aware of the people and actions in your life that bring you closer to both your short and long-term goals.
Once you’ve become aware of the things that add value, set up non-negotiables in your life to protect this value.
Set up non-negotiables to keep out bad habits and bad people.
Go beyond “No” to “Never again”.
What are the things you must NEVER do again in order to live the lifestyle you want?
Look ― you can’t complain about your business being dead in the water when you’re wasting your time on meaningless tasks.
You can’t say you’re too busy to focus on your goals when you’re allowing your mind to be an undisciplined mess.
And you can’t whine about your job or the condition of your relationships when you’re allowing everyone to use you up and spit you out.
Nom nom nom.
That’s you ― a chew toy.
Unless you start setting up non-negotiables in your life.
A non-negotiable is simply something you will never compromise on.
There’s a lot of power in the word “Never.”
But you have to mean it.
You have to take it seriously and never, ever break it.
If you take them seriously, you can use non-negotiables to strictly organize your day.
The best strategy is to first bookend your day with two non-negotiables.
For example, you’re NEVER going to skip waking up at 7AM to go to the gym.
Or, you’re NEVER going to stay online past 9:30PM at night.
Then, bookmark the middle of your day with 1-2 other non-negotiables.
You’re NEVER going to check your phone before lunch and get sucked into your friends’ drama.
Or, you’re NEVER going to check email more than once a day.
There’s real freedom in refusing to compromise on yourself.
Start using the power of “Never again” to your advantage.
Protecting what is important means learning how to say “No” to things that inhibit your progress and steal your focus. One of the ways to get clear on what you want in life and what you need to say “Yes” to is by looking at the areas of your life where you’re wasting time and start learning to say “No”. In some cases, this means taking an honest look at your behaviors, habits, and circle of influence and saying “Never again.” And meaning it. Get comfortable with the phrases “No” and “Never again” and establish the value of your time so you can focus on achieving your goals.
To learn more about how to stop wasting your time by saying “no” to people, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.