The Art of Saying "No"

Communication is a funny thing. We think there is so much meaning to what we say; we choose our words meticulously. We hem and has over the details, wondering the correct order. How do I get what I want by a construction of characters? Which symbols on the page will lead me in the direction that I want to go? We write and rewrite that text. We lie awake in our beds, anxious, all gripped by the clutches of insomnia, tortured by the utterances that left our mouths in various situations.

And yet, none of it really matters all that much.

Though the percentages vary given who you ask or where you look, the consensus is invariably the same: most of what we say boils down to what we don’t say, the non verbal communication: tone, rhythm, body signals, and more, that govern the impression we are ultimately left with after an interaction.

Close your eyes and allow your mind to drift. More than likely, you'll recall a memory that involves another member of the human race. Perhaps this interaction was overtly joyous, but more than likely, your mind went straight for something humiliating or negative. (We’re lovely creatures, aren't we?) What really tained that interaction you had? Was it the fact that he chose the assemblage of letters that characterize the word “Well”, or was it the distant look in his glassy eyes, and the way his voice tapered off to nothingness as he said it? I'd be willing to bet money on the latter.

Even those that say they're not detail oriented don't mean it. Detail orientation is hardwired into the framework of who we are. We inspect, and observe to the point of self destruction. We glaze over nothing, so don't be fooled.

What if we were judged by our actions in the vary same manner?

The more that I have grown accustomed to a corporate environment, the more that I have grown to accept office politics. Being a boring adult and following the rules seem to have a symbiotic relationship. We bleed ourselves dry, often taking on task after task beyond measure, finding ourselves drowning, uninspired, and without cause to continue.

I've found that the people I respect most at work, and in life, are those that have found the power within themselves to say “no”. They know their limits, and they don't breach them. They're aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. They're keenly aware, at all times, of the amount of joy and passion they are able to bring to the table; if they are void of that internal fire it takes to make a project really special, they simply avoid it to begin with.

A really beautiful shift occurs in your life when you stop standing in opposition of your own happiness. If you examine your life closely, pausing to refrain from jumping to conclusion after conclusion, you might find that happiness finds you everywhere, and you are the one who chooses to be unhappy.


Please, start saying “no,” and stop saying “yes” to the derailment of your euphoria.

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