The Power of NO... And How to Say It

NO is the key to your success, but only if you say it often.

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

Tired of getting little accomplished?

Say NO. NO is among the most powerful and ancient of words. Although often viewed as a negative response, its effects can be positive in nature when employed properly.

Let’s first visit the positive power of NO.

NO focuses. It is a lens through which meaningful things gain clarity. “Focusing is all about saying no.” [Steve Jobs]

NO concentrates. It dismisses less meaningful things. “It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that really matter.” [Scott Belsky]

NO distances. Bad influences are arrayed before you like a minefield. “NO puts distance between you and the wrong influence.” [Jim Rohn]

NO cares. A hectic life full of clutter wears you down. It gnaws at you from the inside out. “Saying NO can be the ultimate self-care.” [Claudia Black]

Of the words YES and NO, which one holds the most power? “The power of saying NO is so much more than the power of saying YES.” [Julianna Margulies]

But saying NO is difficult. How do you say it confidently?

You want to please people. You hate to disappoint. You dare not appear rude. But think about it. Isn’t a dishonest YES rude? Doesn’t it often lead to disappointment?

Even worse, “a dishonest YES is a NO to yourself.” [Byron Katie] When you say YES to one thing, you say NO to many others. What are you giving up by trying to please other people?

How to say NO:

  • Be firm and polite.

  • Remember and express your needs.

  • Just say it... quickly and in the moment.

  • Briefly state what you must give up by saying YES.

Don’t give in to pressure tactics. Your needs matter. Be honest about them, and don’t give a dishonest YES.

To be successful in this life, you must say NO often.


🤔 Food for Thought:

How difficult is saying NO for you?

What have you given up by saying YES?

Don’t your needs matter?


⚙️ One Small Step:

The next time you are confronted with YES vs. NO for something that doesn’t meet your needs, say NO without delay. Be firm and polite. If there is resistance, briefly explain why it doesn’t meet a need or what you must give up by saying YES.