A lot of personal development gurus encourage people to say Yes more often in life. There are even some who would argue that you should say Yes to every opportunity that comes your way. In fact, there is even a popular book and film called ‘Yes Man’ which is all about saying Yes to things and living life more fully as a result. The intention behind this instruction is very good but when it comes to practicality, it can be a very destructive habit to develop. You simply do not have enough time or energy to do everything which you would like to do. The importance of saying No can easily be forgotten in the midst of all this but if you don’t say No more often, you end up with too much on your plate.

Eliminate the waste

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The problem with always saying Yes


Think of it like going to a fine restaurant. You are going for a fine dining experience where you can enjoy the quality of the food. You don’t want to leave hungry but if your plate is overfilled, you end up stuffing yourself and forgetting about the quality of the food as you try to finish your meal. You end up with too many different tastes competing for your attention and you don’t really get to enjoy any of them. That is what happens when you say Yes to too many things in your life. Not only do you not get to enjoy them; you don’t get to finish many things as you spread yourself too thinly.

The idea of always saying Yes is intended for opportunities but too many people do not know their goals and objectives in life so, they do not have the ability to determine what is an opportunity and what is just a waste of time and a distraction. As a result, they end up filling their schedules with things that don’t really matter and experience less time for the things they really love and enjoy i.e. the opportunities in life.

The importance of saying No

This is where the importance of saying No comes in. The following are two examples of the importance of saying No which you may not have considered.

1. Saying No makes time for opportunities

importance of saying no Vironika Tugaleva

The problem is that saying Yes to one thing, ultimately is the same as saying No to another. Saying Yes actually limits your options more than saying No!

In business, they call this the opportunity cost e.g. let’s say you want to buy a new refrigerator and a new television, both of which cost €1,000. However, you only have $1,000 so you can only buy one of them. The one you don’t buy is called the opportunity cost. In order to make the best decision, you must know which one you need most. If you automatically say Yes to the first one of these items you are offered, it may not be the one you need most e.g. you are not going to enjoy watching the new television if all of your food is going off due to lack of refrigeration.

Many people think that setting goals is only about identifying things that you would like to do so, you can spend more time doing them. But just as importantly, great goals tell you what you should not be doing. This allows you to say No to the things that are not of real value to you; thus, allowing you to spend more time on the things that help you live the life you really want to live. Saying No to the time wasters leaves you with time to say Yes to the real opportunities that come your way.

Key point

The real importance of saying No lies in putting yourself first; knowing what is important to you and; understanding that you have the right to live your best life.

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2. Saying No builds proper relationships

importance of saying no amit kalantri

Unfortunately, many of us feel as though we are letting our friends down when we say No. This is an attitude which needs to change. Think about your friends for a minute. Are you OK with them putting their own needs first and saying No where they feel it is necessary? Of course you are. They are your friends and you want to see them happy; which you know means that they need to put themselves at the centre of their lives. You may be disappointed when they say No but you understand and; you don’t hold it against them. This is what real friendship is all about.

When you constantly say Yes to every request, your friends fail to respect you, your needs or your time. They come to take you for granted. Then, when you finally do say No they take it as an insult.

The importance of saying No in relationships is that you set boundaries. Your friends know that you will help if you can but they come to understand that your own needs must come first and if that means that you have to say No then, so be it. Boundaries lead to respect, especially when they are present on both sides of the relationship.

Key point

Many people complain about the way that they are treated in relationships but in any relationship; you teach others how to treat you. Boundaries are simply a way to inform others of how you like and, expect, to be treated. If you don’t take the time to set boundaries, you have little grounds for complaint when others don’t treat you as you would like to be treated. Saying No is essential to set boundaries.

Eliminate the waste

Simplify and decullter your life so that you can limit your focus to the things which really matter; allowing you to increase your influence and impact.

To discover effective strategies to simplify and declutter your life , check out 'Scaling Back'.

Scaling Back Ebook PNG


There are situations where you want to do the kind and helpful thing and say Yes to a friend or family member’s request. However, you are under no obligation to say Yes. You must not drop the things which are important for you just because somebody else needs help. Obviously, emergencies will arise but you must always give due consideration to your own needs, goals and objectives. Treat your own passions and activities with the respect they deserve by booking them into your schedule. Say No to anything which isn’t important and you will then have even more room for the great opportunities which will come your way.


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