Saying no is a forgotten art in our society and saying yes seems to come and go with our moods. We love the perpetual maybe, probably because it gives us the illusion of doing something when in fact it is the worst linguistic trap there is.

Maybe is nothing more than a trap. A way to tell yourself that you’re going to do something when in fact you are not. So it is better to have the resolve to say yes and follow it down the path, and to have the discipline to say no and avoid unnecessary dead ends.

No is a very powerful word. It gets a bad rap though and is dismissed as something undesirable and negative. Undesirable and negative. That is how we see ourselves when we have to say no to someone or something. But the word no is neither undesirable or negative. It is a powerful word that leads to a yes. After all if we can save ourselves getting entangled in things that is going to waste our time, wouldn’t that time be better served getting at the things we need to get at? Wouldn’t we be further ahead if we were walking down the right path, instead of being hemmed in down the dead end one?

Maybe is far worse. Worse, because you end up doing absolutely nothing at all. You end up standing there at the crossroads of possibilities. Standing and waiting for something and that something inevitably never comes. Nothing ever comes or happens when we choose to live in the maybe. Maybe you’ll win the lottery. Maybe you’ll write that best seller. Maybe you’ll visit the ancient ruins of the Mayan civilization one day. Who knows. Who cares. Because it is never going to happen. Nothing ever happens in maybe. We have to get in the habit of forcing every decision to be a yes or a confident no.

We don’t have to be right either. Most likely we are going to get it wrong a lot. We will say yes to things we should and we are going to say no to things that we really should. But we will be walking. We will be walking down a path we know we are not supposed to be on which will teach us that we need to turn around and go back. We might also walk down the right path, in which case, realizing we are where we are supposed to be will make us walk with more confidence, and some of us might even dare to ecelerate into an excitable sprint.

Maybe is dangerous. Learning how to say no, to people and things which lead to nowhere is something we have to nurture over time. It’s not going to be easy at first. We will feel an emotional sting as we see the disappointment on someones face, but what about our own disappointment and regret? The disappointment and sometimes anger that spikes up when we are alone?

Isn’t a little emotional uncomfortable worth it in the end. Maybe you should try the art of saying no, which is nothing more than the art of saying yes. Try it before you dismiss it as a nice impractical thought.

Living in the maybe, as a doormat for others to wipe their feet on your soul is impractical and unforgivable.

Say no. Say it and mean it. Get on with your yes.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Sid Leigh.