I was listening to a podcast by Tim Farriss last week and he had a guest on who was narrating his audio book. One of the chapters he was featuring in his podcast was on how to say “No”. I found it fascinating because it illuminated an even greater concept. It is called essentialism…..
Essentialism has many meanings but in this case it states that in order to accomplish something, you have to eliminate all superfluous interaction around you in order to focus. That means eliminating anything that is deemed “not essential”. In order to do this, you have to get used to saying no, a lot.
I have read countless articles on saying no. It has come from the likes of entrepreneurs, self-help gurus etc. They all reiterate the same thing. In order to reduce clutter in your life and focus on what really matters, you have to say “no”.
It is explained beautifully in a TED Talk given by Sarah Knight. In the talk entitled “The Magic of Not Giving a ….”, she explains that we only have so much time, energy and money to give a care about. It is a finite environment so giving your time, energy and money to one thing means you can’t give your time, energy and money to something else. What you have chosen to give a care about better give you joy! If not, you will be quite bitter and full of loathing and regret. We have all been there before….
She explains how to say no using the sorry / not sorry method. By using a polite and timely response you can say no to the request (especially if it something you do not want to do) and feel guilt free afterwards. Essentially you say you are sorry for declining (but you are not). You do not even have to give an explanation! This frees you to do what matters most to you. You will suddenly find yourself with more time, energy and money. It is quite liberating.
I can give a real world example of essentialism…. Four months ago I decided to quit (Say No) to a job that was in. While I am searching for a better opportunity I am doing only what is essential for me and my family. I am making far less money but guess what? With the exception of not going to my soul sucking job, absolutely nothing is different. In fact, things are a whole lot better. My example may be considered a bit extreme but the fact is I was able to make a change not fearing anything. I just stripped away what was non-essential and what was left was enough.
You don’t realize how this has happened after several years of basically doing what you think you should do. I think it might stem from you as a kid doing what your parents told you for fear of disappointing them. Any action against their will would leave you feeling guilty. Here’s the thing…. when you’re a kid it is because they are looking out for you. Your parents are your first teachers and they should be teaching you to look out for yourself. If you are still made to feel this way as an adult, it reflects on their failings, not yours. This behavior becomes problematic if it starts to creep into all aspects of your life. Next thing you know you can’t say no to anything and you become a burnt out mess of your former self.
The good news is that is never too late. Learn to start saying no and keep things stripped down and essential. By focusing on what matters most, you will feel better than you have in a long time.