Learn to say “no” for life and for FIRE (financial independence retire early)…
|Kaminski House Museum, Georgetown, SC|
Steve Jobs: “Focusing is about saying no.”
Now that I’ve lived through half a century, there are some truisms that I’ve learned through my personal experiences. One such thing is the ability to say “no”. Saying “no” seems so easy, yet for many people, this is just not the case.
Growing up, there are plenty of circumstances that call for the “no”. For example, your friends from school want you to try drugs, but you don’t want to, or your friends dare you to bully someone they don’t like, but you don’t want to.
As we get older and have to work with others in a work environment, plenty of opportunities will present itself for you to say “no”. Such examples are when your colleague asks you to do his work, but you’re mobbed as well, or your colleague tries to take advantage of you by asking you to lie, so he won’t get into trouble.
I do want to clarify when you should say “no” and when not to say “no”. Generally speaking, when your boss asks you to do something related to work, then you shouldn’t say no. For example, your boss asks you to work extra two hours to cover for a colleague who had to go to a hospital, and you’re able to. If you refuse, you may end up as the odd man out when it comes time for company to downsize.
When your loved one ask for a favor that is doable, then you shouldn’t say no. For example, your spouse asks you if you can pick up her parents living in another state to bring them to your place, and you have no issues with it. Otherwise, you’re going to have a fight on your hands!
When your friend asks for help or favors and they’re deemed normal/doable, then you shouldn’t say no. For example, your friend needs a ride to summer school, and you drive but he doesn’t, then you probably shouldn’t say no.
The time you say “no” should be because of one or more of these things: you can’t, you deem it wrong, it’s not legal, it’s not ethical, it doesn’t pass your bullshit meter, and/or it’s just not right.
The example I gave about a colleague who asked me to lie, is actually a true story. A colleague who worked in the marketing department asked me to lie and say the reason she missed her deadline to submit a proposal, was due to a problem with the IT department! This was not true, so I called her out on it. I stood my ground and said flat out, loud as it can be, “NO!”
There are times when you have to stand your ground for what you believe in, otherwise, too many people will take advantage of you. It’s important to know (and feel) deep in your gut, what is right from wrong. Your justice scale is hopefully honed enough by the time you become adults, that you can judge someone’s intentions correctly.
For me, I judge a person based on these very important criteria:
- How does this person treat his equals but more importantly, his subordinates?
- You don’t need to be agreeable
- Peer pressure is your first real test as a human being…
- Work environment requires the ability to say “no”
- Achieving financial independence requires saying no even more…
- Be true to yourself