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How To Learn When to Say “No!”

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

To add value to others, one must first value others.- John Maxwell


Let us face it! Many people have difficulty saying no or denying any favor asked of them. As a result, they often find themselves trapped in the middle of nowhere because of their own hastened decision or acceptance of an unfavorable task – just because they were afraid to say no at one point in their life.

For those who are constantly faced with this problem, the following tips will prove to be helpful.

1. Do not occupy yourself with things that do not concern you.

If you habitually engage in something you hardly know anything about, you are making your situation worse than the one who does nothing. On the other hand, some people get satisfaction from intervening in other people’s business. Always be alert and take utmost care to ensure no one meddles in your affairs. Good moderation in all areas of life will be helpful in the end.

2. Decide first whether a task is worth your precious time.

Just a simple thought: If it will just eat your time away from the more essential things you consider in your life, then it is not worth your time. Period.

3. Avoid incurring obligations beyond your capacity.

Instead, nurture your skills and abilities for the time being. There will come a suitable time for you to step up, and when that perfect moment arrives, waste no opportunity. But if you are unsure of the outcome, say no in the meantime if the favor will derail your strategy.

4. It is always harder to come out well from an incurred undesirable obligation than to avoid the embarrassing situation of not committing yourself from the start.

It is a judgment test for anyone. Ask this question to yourself, Do I want to avoid them or conquer them?

5. If you must think, take a break and take your time.

Matters that can cause an adverse change in your life require much thinking. Sometimes, people act on the first impulse, on what they feel and think of that very instant. Indeed, this is not always the case.

Although less commonly known to people, buying tasks (no matter how simple they may seem) is synonymous with putting your honor at stake once you allow yourself to be involved. Ensure that everything ends well when you place your name and recognition on the line.

It takes as much courage for a person to earn a responsibility as to deny it. Whatever you decide on, always remember that there is nothing wrong with saying no. When in doubt, it may even be the best thing to do.

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