The Opposite of "Yes"

You are exploring how powerful and liberating the word "no" can be in your personal and professional life.


The words yes and no, are some of the shortest we (who speak English) can use. They are known across the world regardless of language. We can almost feel the words; we can see them worn on people's faces daily. So how are these words so powerful?


Unpacking this will allow you to understand that you are either opening up or protecting yourself when you commit to one of these words. By exploring the power in these words, we can use them to our benefit, whether in our personal or professional life.


I have come to find, through my personal experience, a correlation between those who prefer the word yes and their ability to balance their objectives effectively. Please understand my message. I am not implying that your answer to every appropriate question should be "no." What I am suggesting is the need for balance in your commitments. If necessary, this leaves you with an opportunity to kindly turn people away if you don't feel comfortable with proceeding. Regardless of the setting, our objective is to obtain respect. This is done by setting clear boundaries and keeping them in place. If your answer is always "yes," that is the boundary being set, inviting those you help to ask more and more of you.


Setting the tone for what you can and cannot do is never easy, but it plays a critical role. Keep in mind you are the main character, the priority. Be sure to understand this; any decision you make for others will affect your ability to make decisions for yourself. This is by no means a negative; this only brings the value of self to center stage.


“The oldest, shortest words – ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – are those which require the most thought.” Pythagoras


I'll bring this to a close with how I respond to situations I am placed in when I am in a position to say yes or no. I want you to be honest with yourself while reading this, and I will be honest with you in exchange.


Truthfully, I think, how can I benefit from saying yes? Or better yet, how could I benefit from saying no? I often think this can be attributed to being an only child (thanks, mom). But then I tend to think deeper about why it's so important to ask these selfish questions. The answer is simple; it always has been the fact that our time is valuable. It has taken me years to understand this; it's hard to think about this the way one should. Especially considering my choice to proceed down the academic path. Graduating college is a mad dash to any opportunity, and we can worry about time to value later in life. Not only is this common, but it is dangerous to personal development. You may be doing something kind or something sentimental; the fact is we place value on doing those things for others. Recognize the importance of time so you can genuinely negotiate with yourself and understand where your energy should be placed.


Keep balance at the core, knowing commitments can be made but must be offset. Make time for yourself to commit to the things you enjoy, help others, or relax. There is never a wrong answer; again, you, the priority, have every right to your time...its more valuable than you may realize.



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