If Saying “No” Isn’t Considered A Super Power, It Should Be

We all have the power. We all should be using it.

“If the answer isn’t a definite yes then it should be a no.”
Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

The thing about having a choice is that the ability doesn’t matter unless you exercise it.

And we do exercise the power of choice, hundreds of times per day, but mostly at some unconscious level.

The alarm goes off, we choose how to respond: hit “snooze” or get up.

We stumble to the kitchen and then make coffee — a choice.

We feel hunger pains, we get something to eat.

These are the easy ones. Not much thought involved. The correct answer to these choices is an easy “yes”.

The challenge comes when the choices are not clearly speaking to some present, animal need.

For instance:

Should I marry this person?
What should I study?
What should I do with my free time?
What should I do with my life?

In the face of these kinds of decisions, we can continue to answer without thinking, and most of us do. But when we do so, we are not using our power.

We are, in that instance, denying our power.

We are, in that instance, giving away our power.

How much different would our lives look if they were the product of intentional decision making processes?

If we sat down when faced with big decisions and counted the difference in costs between a yes and a no?

What might happen if we really honored ourselves by reserving our “yes” for only those choices that represented for us a “definite yes”?

Why do we fear exercising the power of the “regular, daily no?”