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3 Ways Saying No Can Turn Into A Positive Outcome

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3 Ways Saying No Can Turn Into A Positive Outcome

We live in a culture of saying ‘Yes’ all the time. We see yes as a tool to open doors to opportunities that we otherwise couldn’t have. Yes means that we are willing to put ourselves out there and get things done.Saying yes shows that you like an idea, and it seems to make sense at the time. Simply put, saying ‘Yes’ feels good.

But giving everything a big fat ‘Yes’ can lead to some big negatives over time. Wasted time, energy, or even money doing all kinds of things that don’t contribute to anything we want to accomplish. Most of the time when we say yes, it’s to someone else’s agenda. Unless we make sure it’s mutually beneficial, saying yes does not always get us more.

That’s why saying no isn’t a negative action but instead empowers you to get more out of anything that you do. Saying no can be a gateway, a doorway of opportunity if you do it right.

Here are 3 ways saying no can turn into a positive outcome:

 

1. You gain respect

Saying no can be a difficult experience for some of us. It’s natural to want to please people and have things go smoothly. Saying yes is agreeable and easy on the surface. But a no can do just as much to a relationship or project, if not more.

We sometimes confuse yes with wanting to get what needs to be done and then associate no with being difficult or holding things up. This changes when you make your no about being more effective. Get clear about what needs to happen. Really think about what you are being asked to do or about, and then see if saying yes is the best option.

If it’s not, saying no now, becomes less about turning someone down and more about getting things accomplished, which builds respect from everyone involved.

“Saying ‘yes’ to one thing means saying ‘no’ to another. That’s why decisions can be hard sometimes.” – Sean Covey

2. You can start a two-way discussion

Saying ‘No’ doesn’t always need to be a lost opportunity or closing a door, it can be a gain of any number of things. Often when we are given an option to say yes or no to something it’s because we are being approached in a one-way discussion. With a simple ‘No, however…’ you open the door to start a two-way discussion now.

This gives you the power and ability to create an opportunity for all parties involved, depending on how creative you get with the discussion. You create space to focus on what’s most important both for you and whoever else is involved.

 

3. You gain time and sanity

Lastly, the biggest gain of freedom by saying no would be the gain of time and sanity. Saying no doesn’t just give your more physical time or ability to focus, but instead the means to devote your time on what matters most.

This is a compound effect, so you get more out of what you do with your time. Since you aren’t doing multiple unrelated things, you can get down and dirty with what deserves your focus. This leads to bigger and better results in less time on it’s own.

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.” – John C. Maxwell

No is often looked at as if it’s a negative thing, but it doesn’t have to be. No is just setting a boundary of time, space, and focus. It also allows you to start a discussion and get on the same page. If anything, no opens doors that allow you and others to get what needs to be done accomplished.

So say no more, for the sake of your own time and sanity as well as others. See where no takes you and how it can be truly leveraged to give you freedom.

How has saying no helped you in your life? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

After getting laid off from her IT job in Corporate America in 2009, she ventured out into the online world and started her own business as a single mother of two. Now she is the CEO of a successful American-based Virtual Assistant company My Virtual Little Helper that employs people across America to help business owners and online entrepreneurs get more done. She is on a mission to help others do what she has done; build a career that helps others accomplish more while still having time for those that matter most. Join her at her website: Amanda Mock

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Domencia

    Oct 31, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I reduced my job in the automotive industry to only half day to go back to studies. As the volume of my work didnt reduced proportionally to my work I had to learn to say no to unimportant meetings and calls. My work efficiency increased a lot and I am very happy that I was forced to learn this lesson.

    TE people around me took this also in a positive way when they discovered that the tasks I had were completed faster than expected.

  2. hadi

    Oct 31, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    very good

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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