What are you saying ‘Yes’ to?
In today's world there are constant pressures to do this or that, read this, act on the right now moment. These constant pulls on our attention, our time, our energy, they leave us scrambling. We’re always busy.
But the question is, busy doing what?
We have been conditioned to say yes. Yes to avoid conflict. Yes to avoid the FOMO. Yes, yes, yes. So often we’ve said yes, we’ve forgotten what it really means. Sure we’re busy, but we’re busy operating on someone else’s plan. And we’re okay with it, because we said Yes!
From the time we’re old enough to start making decisions, we are being conditioned to say yes. This desire to please everyone starts to become ingrained in our minds, our operating system. Soon enough, we forget what it means to say no.
No is disappointment. No is conflict. No means we’re not part of what’s going on. These are the thoughts we have, this is how we’re conditioned. But we’ve got it wrong.
We haven’t forgotten how to say “No”. We actually say no all the time. You see, every time we say yes, we’re also saying no. Yes to a social night out with friends means no to date night. Yes to that extra project or overtime at work means no to our passion pursuits at home. Yes to those unhealthy snacks means no to our health plan.
The problem lies therein, to how we process decisions about saying yes. Because we all have limited resources, be it financial, time, or energy. And due to these constraints, we can’t do everything. Recognizing this, and understanding that every yes is a no to something else helps us regain clarity to the bustle of our daily lives.
What should we do?
First, we need to work on our decision making skills. Making a decision is a skill, and through practice, we can become better at it. This means we need to step out of our default state of saying “Yes”, and give the request some serious thought. And once we know what to say yes to, and why, we get to the next step, saying “No”.
Just as we need to practice making decisions, we need to practice saying no. After years and years of “yes” being ingrained in our behaviors, saying no will feel uncomfortable. We need to practice saying no to become comfortable saying no. And make no mistake, at first saying No will feel uncomfortable.
As we take control over the small, seemingly insignificant choices we say yes to right now, we will start to see remarkable changes in our lives. We begin to find time, energy, even money that we can spend in areas that improve our lives. And that improvement? That is growth. That is success.