Quick Tip – No Is A Powerful Word

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I was sent this article from One Willow Apothecaries and it really resonated with me. One of the shortest words in the English language holds a lot of power.

So without further ado…

It’s been too long since the last super-cheesy graphic, no? You’ve just gotta love that font!

Time is the most important thing we have. In fact, as long as we’re alive, it’s literally the only thing we can count on. With that in mind, it seems worth considering when we should be saying yes, and when our answer should be no.

Not so long ago, I would end up agreeing to almost anything that was offered or asked of me. Whether it was days of work, social occasions, requests for favours, or whatever else. I was particularly bad when it came to working, always feeling obliged to say yes, no matter what the cost to my personal life.

Recently, I’ve been trying to develop the habit of really giving each item some consideration before answering one way or the other. Asking myself “Is this something you really want to do, or is there some external factor making you want to say yes?”

As a result of questioning myself in this way, I’ve gotten far better at saying no. It’s really changed my outlook. I wouldn’t be anywhere near as far along with this blog if I’d said yes to every single opportunity/request/offer that had come my way of late, and that alone has made me feel happier and more productive in my life overall. Also, because I’m being more considerate in what I’m choosing to take part in, I end up enjoying the things I have agreed to do far more than I would have otherwise.


As far as I can tell, there are two perceived doubts that can creep in with this line of thinking. Firstly, that we feel like we are letting someone down by saying no to their request, and secondly, that we ourselves are going to miss out by turning down the opportunity. So let’s deal with these in the order I just wrote them (seems logical, right?).

If we ask someone for a small favour and they say no, we would rarely take any offence. But when the roles are reversed, it can seem like we’re going to cause offence by saying no. This clearly isn’t logical, and I think is caused by the hunter-gatherer aspect of our brains not wanting to risk being kicked out of our tribe. Luckily, the stakes are far lower now and we won’t go hungry for standing out!

As for the feeling of missing out; the key point of this whole process is to really ask ourselves if we want to do whatever it is that’s being asked of us. So if we end up agreeing to do something just because we feel like we might miss out on something, we won’t end up enjoying it anywhere near as much. Largely because we didn’t actually want to do it in the first place.

Next Steps

Ok, it’s some time in the future. You’re starting to get a real grasp on what you should be agreeing to, and now you’ve got more time in your life than ever. You might now be wondering what to do with it all.

We could all use a little more of this!

Well fear not dear reader, I have relevant articles to recommend! First up, set some intentions of what it is that you want to do, and then turn these into a reality by effectively planning each day.

Or perhaps you want to make the best use of your new found time with the pomodoro technique? Or maybe you’d like to finally give the wonderful practice of yoga a go?

What would you spend your time doing if you had that little bit more of it? Let me know in ye olde comments below.






5 responses to “Quick Tip – No Is A Powerful Word”

  1. Bryony avatar

    This is something I have improved on in he past year or so, however his has reminded me to stay guilt free. Although I am better at saying no then I used to be, I often find myself wasting time worrying about the effect my decision will or has had. It would be useful to say no with ease and eliminate the emotional stress! So thank you for that. A good thing to keep in mind heading into the season of social temptation and a TEFL course to finish.

    1. Craig avatar

      You’re more’n welcome! Thanks for your comment.

      That’s good to hear. As I say, I think some of it comes from not wanting to be kicked out of our tribe. One of the upshots of supermarkets is that we are now far less likely to go hungry and as a result, we no longer need to be an upstanding member of the tribe that will bring food to the table. But, some of our emotional response (including elements of our guilt system) are still living in tribal times, which is why we can tend to get stressed when faced with a modern world decision.

      I love the idea of the season of social temptation, so true!

  2. Maz avatar

    I’d spend a lot more time making music and trying to get to where I really want to be with my life! Something that I’ve experienced though is that I often do really want to say yes to things at the time, for example going to an event or doing some mad 2-week extravaganza of seeing all my friends and doing fun events and exploring my hobbies, without going home once. But then when that time comes, I’ve pencilled in so many things that it’s actually really stressful and I no longer really feel like doing any of it! It’s a hard one… how do you say no to yourself when you feel up for it at the time?

    1. Craig avatar

      As with a lot of these types of things, it’s that difficult task of finding a balance. I guess in your case some of it comes down to trying to sort your priorities. When an opportunity comes your way, instead of agreeing to it straight away. Take a second to consider whether that time could be spent devoted some element of music making, this might then lead you to having a better idea of which decision to make.

      That being said, it’s not an easy feat to accomplish, as there are loads of factors at play. Some of which you don’t even know when making the decision. Something else I’ve been doing recently is blocking out days for myself in my calendar. I treat them (as much as I can) as if they are immovable appointments. I find this can have the added benefit of getting my subconscious ready for the day ahead because I know what I’ll be doing when the time comes, and it allows me to enjoy my ‘free’ time with less guilt because I know I’ve got time booked to work on my personal projects.

      Hopefully, that’ll help a little bit. Best of luck with your time juggling!

  3. […] The Power of No (Not to be confused with The Power of Now) […]

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