Say No Before You’re Ready

The word “no” has many benefits: More time, more energy, more attention. Less misery and better focus. It also compounds over time. The more nos we accumulate, the more space for randomness we create — and it’s often in that randomness that we find happiness.

However, since we don’t know what we’ll find in our pockets of freedom, there’s no guaranteed replacement for each thing we say no to, and if there was, well, then we wouldn’t really be saying no, would we? We’d just say yes to something else.

Saying no before you’re ready can be scary. It’s hard to turn down something with no backup plan. Ask anyone who’s ever quit their job without their next gig lined up. Even if it turned out fine, in the moment, it likely felt terrifying. That terror hints at something else we gain from saying no: courage. There is no courage without fear, and where there’s fear, usually, some form of courage is required.

Sometimes, one of the many platforms and software tools I use makes an unacceptable change. Do they ever happen at a convenient time? Rarely. But do I say, “No. This is not okay. I am going to leave and find another solution,” regardless? Absolutely.

Say no before you’re ready. You’re more creative, adaptable, and resilient than you think. Every now and then, it’s nice to use this two-letter word and find out just how much.