5 Psychological reason to say YES when you really mean NO
7 min read
Most of us tend to confuse the word doing something and being productive are the same thing. I bet you would have heard your parents or teachers say this statement "Try to be more productive" tbh, this is wrong.
Being productive is the next step to doing a task, so both ain't the same but a follow-up. Let's assume you are creating a fence for your garden that is getting ready from being empty land. Your goal is to see this place with lush green plants with colorful flora. But what you all have now is land and some seeds or saplings. There are various ways to reach your goal and you could pick any of them to make it happen. But how fast or effectively you do concerning your time, energy and finances define your productivity.
Why is NO a hard thing to say?
This habit of saying No doesn't come naturally to many of us. Saying No has been stereotyped to be rude as well egoistic in the concept of human socialization.
The root cause
From our childhood, this value has been imposed on us as a good value trait. Even parents in general hate to get a NO as a reply from their child. And surprisingly, it's a global parenting trait. But all of a sudden when we become adults saying NO seems to be the ultimate productivity hack. How the dynamics have changed is a simple adaptation to reality.
So, as a child, we can understand the various ways we have been trained to be a YES all the time. But why is that a huge blockage in adult life?
5 psychological reasons to say YES
Ofcourse, most of us tend to say YES but are all intentions the same? Likely not. saying YES can be for varied reasons like social emotions, productivity myth, positioning self-worth, growth investment, and respecting authority.
- Emotional Management:
People’s ability to confuse the difference between kindness and responsibility. Saying yes to the people we like can be out of kindness but the responsibility we take to do the task would add up to our to-do's. And when the person for whom we did the task doesn't seem to utilize the support with sheer dedication then that opens the door toward contention.
For example, let's assume we sought help from our siblings. They would go out of their way to do it(most likely) and then expect the same dedication from you in the follow-ups. This leads to contention, see the things is people's way of approaches could be different for various tasks, but the effort we took out of responsibility works differently than the ones we did out of actual kindness.
Maintaining a relationship and saying No to the ones that are not worth your time are completely two different things, try not to mix up these both.
- Productivity Myth:
Some of us think that saying Yes to the task that comes our way is a part of learning especially because this suits well for the Jack of all trades type of personalities. But what we miss is sensing the pressure we take upon ourselves. Of course, this won't be the case more often but when the fine line vanishes between learning and pressure is the thing that messes up our whole schedule.
For example, a sort of workaholic would be happy to take up any overtime tasks for the pay cheque or the respect they earn around their workspace. But all this pressure takes them further away from their personal life and eventually, this leads to emotional damages which could be hard to repair.
- Positioning Self-worth:
Some people use the Yes word to prove that they are capable of anything and they are the go-to person for anyone to rely on. What they fail to understand is that the people who have a go-to guy would have anyone who has time and resources for them to support. Self-worth is what we have over ourselves and not what others have over us.
For example, The person who competes to be the best has a hard time managing relationships. They believe that they have to be that person everyone looks up to but the reality is people look up to various people for various reasons which may or may not be justifiable. So, others' respect for us isn't bulletproof.
- Growth investment:
Some people see the responsibility of a new task as their investment towards the growth of their intellectual ability, which they don't necessarily evaluate to achieve their goal. But what to keep in mind is nothing works better than an undiverted focus on their goal.
For example, people who are preparing for a competitive exam to set their career may also invest in other job roles to make sure that they could have some job prospects even if they flop the exam entry path to their dream job. But as mentioned earlier nothing works better than an undigested faith and focus toward one's goal.
- Respecting Authority
I believe many of us would fall into this category, being a Yes man to our superiors or seniors complies with a general myth to stay on good pages with them. Also many do this in expectation of promotion or another benefit that they could get out of this behavior. But you know what, we never could be sure about others' perspectives of us. Added, it's always a 50-50 chance for a friend to become foe and vice versa for no apparent reason. As I said earlier we never could be the better judge of others' perspectives. So, why risk being a Yes man when we are clearly on the blind side?
For example, of course, you already would have got a lot of examples while reading about this topic. This part I am going to leave it to your imagination.
Know the difference between saying YES and NO
Once you have committed to something, you have already decided how that future block of time will be spent. How far it's going to work out to our advantage we can't be sure about those chances but what would be evident is that the other person took advantage of your time which even money can't afford to buy back.
The weight of saying YES
Yes is a word of course but what you might forget to see is, it's a time debt that is interest-free, so why would anyone have to set a limit to it, right? It's you who has to catch up with that debt that you have made in your lost past.
See the key to utilizing yes is through perceiving it as the energy fuel that could take you faster to the goal you have set. And all the No's should be the potential roadblocks that delay you from reaching your goal on time.
The period of exploration is the beginning of your academics or a new project or career. This is the time you can use to try many things to discover what clicks with the energy that lets you upskill your potential with joy. So, Learning how to say no gracefully, to your potential roadblocks should be your key takeaway.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are not. You have to pick carefully.” - Steve Jobs
The worth of saying NO
Learning to say NO is an important skill to be developed at any point in your career. Being a Yes man makes you pick up the uncalled responsibility that would burden your shoulders if it's not going to support your goal.
How to identify your Yes
Your real yes is the one that would make you highly excited and make you drop anything you currently do and blindly go for it. That's your real inner calling, just go for it without any second thoughts. Rest all are mere distractions, so learn to distinctly see these two in different colors.
Also, keep this in mind as your ultimate productivity goal " NO is an option but YES is a responsibility" if that doesn't excite you then it's not your yes in the first place.
Added, if your progress toward your goal is on track then your No is like a complete sentence, so don't bother about the justifications.
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