Just say “no”

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Sounds simple enough eh? And no, I’m not referring to the ‘just say no’ to drugs campaign of the 1980’s (showing my age here).

I’m talking about being able to say “no” to your friends, family, siblings, workmates, strangers etc.

“No” – I don’t want to go for a drink tonight.

“No” – I don’t feel like going to your house for dinner next Saturday.

“No” – I don’t want to hang out tomorrow

“No” – I just don’t feel like it

You catch my drift.

For such a tiny word, it sure does cause me a great deal of stress. Why is it that whenever I say “no”, I feel that this teeny word is not enough? Why do I feel the need to add a few dozen sentences (usually embellished) to the back of it? “No, sorry I can’t make it on Friday night. I’m going to this imaginary other place. I have to be there straight after work so I can meet my imaginary friend. We’re going to be all the way at the other end of town so we won’t be able to pop in, not even just for a bit. Really sorry”. I go through these unnecessary motions when I all I want to do is say “no” or at the most “no, I can’t be bothered”.

Whilst I appreciate that overuse of the word “no” is pretty limiting. I mean, if all I’m doing is saying “no” all the time, am I ever reaching out of my comfort zone? If I’m honest, the answer is probably “no” – but that’s a whole other story!

The point is, I’d like to be able to say “no” without having to explain myself. I’d like to sometimes answer a question with “no” and have the only thing following it be, a full stop. The older I get, the more I’m realising that I don’t have to explain myself to everyone. Just because I don’t want to do something doesn’t mean I don’t like you or I don’t appreciate you. It just means I’m putting myself first. And it’s ok for me to do that.

So, as I start the journey of self-discovery and in the words of Louise Hay, “I say yes to life”. I also “no” to all the things I feel obliged or guilted into doing. My aim is to be able to say “no” without feeling any pressure or need to explain myself futher. I’ll be back to post updates of situations where I’ve practiced this brave new way of life, that is of course if I live to tell the tale! If you’ve mastered the art of saying “no”, teach me the way… drop me a line or comment below. I’m open to all suggestions!

On a final note, they say you can learn a lot from children. Perhaps I need to follow the example of my two year old niece, who politely says “no thanks” whenever she is so inclined.

Me: “Hey kid, can you pass me the remote control please?”

Kid: “No thanks”

Kinda has a ring to it. The kid may be on to something here…

 

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How I made £700 in 3 days – just by changing my thoughts!

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About four or five years ago, I read a book by Brian Tracy called ‘Maximum Achievement’. Mr Tracy talked about doing a short experiment to test the principles in his book. It’s been years since I’ve read this book so I can’t remember the exact details but I think it was to test the power of belief (don’t quote me on that!). It was a pretty simple exercise, and as I was new to all of this self-help stuff I thought I’d give it a go.

The experiment:

For three days, all day every day repeat the following to yourself: ‘I am going to have an amazing day and amazing things are going to happen to me’.

Now, for this experiment to work you have to actually believe that something amazing is going to happen to you!

Sounded easy enough. So off my younger self went, for three whole days I obsessively said all day, every day (in my head) ‘I am going to have an amazing day and amazing things are going to happen to me’. I said this continuously as I walked to work, whenever I felt my mind wonder and every time I went to the bathroom. I would look at myself in the mirror and whisper over and over again, ‘I am going to have an amazing day and amazing things are going to happen to me.’ I’d then do 10 squats (this is optional) … you might as well make use of those bathroom breaks, especially when you hate your job and are in no hurry to get back to your desk.

I remember feeling excited on day 1. I believed in Mr Tracy and I was excited to see what amazing things were going to happen to me! I imagined that the next three days were going to be truly amazing.

My energy levels were dropping by day 2. I mean, I believed, I repeated but I saw nothing… I kept looking, but everything remained disappointingly the same. But the book said to keep believing and so I did. Something amazing had to happen to me.

On day 3 I looked around real hard all day for signs of this ‘something amazing’. Did I miss something? Maybe I should have reacted differently to something that happened during the day? Was I repeating this little mantra enough? Why wasn’t I seeing anything? Admittedly, my belief was beginning to waiver but the experiment wasn’t over yet so I had to keep on believing.

By nightfall, I had to admit defeat. I was at home and there was no possibility of anything new or amazing happening to me. My life was a crap as it was on day 1. As the end of day 3 neared, not only did I feel a little depressed but I also felt like a complete idiot for wasting 3 whole days on this crap. Brian Tracy that punk! I would have burned his book there and then if it wasn’t for the fact that it was actually a really good read.

At the time of this experiment, I was renting a flat close to my parents’ house. The experiment ended on Thursday evening and the following day, I did what I did almost every Friday night. I dropped by my parents house to collect my post.. I mean, to see how they were. I checked my post and oddly there was a letter from an insurance company asking me to contact them about a claim I’d made. This was odd because I hadn’t made any claims. I don’t even think I had anything insured to be claiming insurance for.

I called the Insurance company the following week expecting to be told they’d made an error. What happened next blew my mind a little. The Advisor told me that I’d made a claim about 3 years ago for mobile phone insurance. That is, I was charged for insurance when I hadn’t agreed to it. At the time, they rejected my claim and basically told me to get lost. I never gave it another thought, other than to make sure I never signed up for mobile phone insurance again!

Anyway, for some unknown reason this company decided after 3 years of no contact to randomly review my claim again. They decided that they had acted unfairly and decided to let me know. The Advisor told me that I was due a payment of £350 and he wanted to send me a cheque! WTF?

I remembered that I’d also paid my younger sister’s mobile phone insurance during the same period too and mentioned this to him. He reviewed my file again and agreed that I was owed that payment too. Another £350 to me! Sweeeet!

Now here comes the freaky part. The letter was dated Thursday of the week before, otherwise known as Day 3 of my experiment! WTF?!

A coincidence? I think not!

Learning points:

1. Positive thinking alone doesn’t work. You could say you’re going to have an amazing day all day, every day but nothing will change unless you BELIEVE that it will. Your head and your heart need to be singing from the same hymn sheet. This won’t work if deep down inside you think it’s all bullshit.

2. Don’t be disheartened when you don’t see results. Your belief is simply being tested. Stand firm and keep on believing. Remember, the magic was happening without me even knowing about it.

3. Belief is being sure of an outcome. Be sure of the outcome you want, as sure as you are that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

4. Be realistic. I must confess, I thought my ‘amazing’ would be something like winning the lottery. I’m not sure how I thought that was going to happen considering I don’t buy lottery tickets!

5. Brian Tracy knows his shit! Check out his book, it’s worth a read.

Give the Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed a go and let me know if any freaky shit happens to you too!