Why Hearing “No” is the Best Thing Possible

August 27, 2013


Hearing “No” after asking a question is a blessing in disguise. Or, depending on the question, it’s just simply a blessing. When you go to the store and see something you really want but can’t afford, the frugal person in us (however small a percentage s/he happens to be) says “No.” Some of us expand on that and ask ourselves if we really need that item. For some of us, that frugal side wins out; others, it doesn’t. But what are you missing if you stick with that first “No” answer? A shiny new toy, perhaps extra junk food, but ultimately it ends up being less money in your pocket.

What about when you ask yourself if you can take your side business full-time? Most of you probably said “No” the first time, citing answers like “I don’t have enough business,” or “I’d rather keep it small” or any other number of reasons. Perhaps you went with those answers and carried on for a while. Until that question popped up again. In the middle of creating your product, sourcing it, or even getting that order from an unknown stranger across the country who liked your stuff enough to dish our their hard-earned cash, the question surfaced. “Could I do this on my own?”

Some of you still said “No.” But each time that you’re asking yourself the question and denying yourself an easy “Yes,” a thousand other questions pop up. “Why not?” “Well, what if I did this?” “If I shuffled this around, could I make it work?” The “Yes” answer is the easy way out. When someone just tells you “yes” (even if it’s yourself), you mostly stop thinking about how to make it happen. You’re no longer trying to come up with the best reasons as to why you should do a certain thing, you just do it. You purchase that shiny new toy; you quit your job and go with your side business full-time.

But did you plan for the consequences? That shiny new toy cost you a bundle, and now you’re in the red in your checkbook. What do you do then? Maybe you can return it, maybe not. But what if the situation is that you quit your day job and things aren’t looking so good? It’s a situation we can all sympathize with and is probably our 2nd most terrible nightmare. Saying “No” to yourself the first (or second) time might have saved you.

I’m not saying to deny yourself for everything. Or for all time. But the large decisions require some planning. Ask yourself all of the questions associated with the decision. “Can I really afford this?” “What happens if I fail?” “What backup options do I have?” “What happens if I grow like crazy; am I prepared for that?”

The “No” answer is to make you think. Perhaps it will stop you from making some bad decisions. Hearing “Yes” all the time can just make you feel entitled. It’s one of the reasons why you don’t hire people who have the same mindset as you. Dissension spurs creativity and a stronger drive to create the best solution possible. Hearing “No” in answer to your question is your friend. It makes you think more, be more adventurous in your problem solving, and may just save you from all that impulse buying.