Why You Should Start Saying “No”

When You Say ‘Yes’ Without Giving It Much Thought You Can End Up Living Someone Else’s Schedule.

Derek Sivers was one of the first fellas I followed online. He’s the creator of CD Baby, which he sold for a good chunk of change. He’s also figured out how to find clarity, something that few people on this planet understand.

In a sea of opportunity and distraction, the two are often indistinguishable. If you don’t know specifically what you want in life, from life, or to become in this life, you have no hope in hell of deciphering what demands your attention and what doesn’t. As a result, most people spend a good chunk of their time doing things that pull them away from their goals and dreams.

I mentioned Derek Sivers because of one particular tactic he used to determine what deserved his time and what didn’t. If it’s not a ‘hell yes!’ it’s a ‘hell no!’

Mind you, this hell yes or hell no attitude came after he’d achieved some success. When you’re first starting out it’s not a bad idea to say ‘yes’ to everything because you never know what might lead to an opportunity and often opportunities disguise themselves somewhat cleverly.

Once you begin to figure out what you’re doing and you achieve some form of success,  ‘yes’ can become a negative. What you end up doing is living on someone else’s terms. You take invitations without thinking clearly about whether or not they’re beneficial to your bottom line or your overall goal.

Take media, for example. It sounds good to write articles for magazines or other sites, and it’s a great way to build a business, a website, and drive traffic to said website. At some point, however, the time you put into writing a high-quality article for someone else may not pay dividends like it once did.

Take podcasts or interviews. They can be excellent ways to introduce yourself to a new crowd, but there are a lot of them, and not all of them are worthy of the hour plus of energetic conversation required to perform well in such a platform.

The ‘Hell Yes’ Barometer 

This measuring stick goes beyond work and into life. The point is to spend your time doing only things that excite you or will benefit you in some way. If you have no ‘hell yes’’, and this barometer ends up having you on your ass all day, you’re going about it the wrong way.

Whatever invitations come your way, or even ideas that pop into your head, should be – at the right point in your life and career – passed through this line of questioning.

To be effective at using this gauge you need to know what you want. You need to have a plan and values that guide your actions and an idea of what will get you to where you want to be and what will hold you back.

Too often we let saying ‘yes’ become our default, and without much thought we live our lives on someone else’s schedule, never giving our time and energy to things that propel us to where we’d like to be.

Treat invitations of any form with care. Don’t be frivolous with your time and energy. It’s cliché, but time is counting down, and thus, it should get the respect it deserves.

It should either be a hell yes, or a hell no.

There’s no room for ‘okay’s’ or ‘alright’s.’ Life should be something that excites you, and time has to be something you hold in high regard.

Next time someone asks you to do something or provides you with an opportunity, take the time to determine which end of the spectrum such an invite is on.