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The Power of No: 12 Things to Say “No” To Today

Adapted from the book "The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness" by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher

James Altucher Podcast

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The Power of No: 12 Things to Say “No” To Today

  1. How many times have you heard yourself saying yes to the wrong things overwhelming requests, bad relationships, time-consuming obligations? How often have you wished you could summon the power to turn them down?
  2. A well-placed “No” can not only save you time and trouble, it can save your life. No is an incredibly painful, brave word to say. How many times have you had to say no only to have it cause anguish, desperation, arguments, and anxiety?
  3. But you have the right to say no: To anything that is hurting you. To standards that no longer serve you. To people who drain you of your creativity and expression. To beliefs that are not true to the real you.
  4. 1. Saying No to Social Pressure The key to saying ‘no’ to this pressure is ABC When we were children we were taught to be polite, to be nice, and to say yes at all of the wrong moments. This leads us to be pressured by colleagues, institutions, bosses, friends, and family to attend to their needs. Acknowledge what they are pressuring you into View these opportunities as education. View these obstacles as ways to learn how to grow. Without learning to say no, you can never learn to say a true yes to you. “I have to leave in five minutes.” After a few minutes, leave.
  5. 2. Saying No to Negative Chatter Sometimes we get stuck in negative chatter that becomes a running commentary on our lives, much like a news anchor who only tells us the bad news that happens all day long. Examples of negative chatter: Often we beat ourselves up in ways in which we would never beat up someone we loved. This is the worst form of cruelty. It’s a daily practice to recognize when this is happening, and say “no”. “How could he do this to me?” “Why does that person look like an idiot?” “Do I look ugly”? “How am I going to survive my job today?” “Am I going to be able to pay the bills? And on and on.
  6. 3. Saying No to People You Know Are Not Good for You to all of the people who seek to drain you with relationships that go nowhere, or people who try to control you or put you down, or people who cheat you or lie to you. You will never find your own creative talent by saying “yes” In this area it is pretty black and white: either you are supported by those around you, or you are dragged into the spiral drain of the toilet, and off you go to some sewer.
  7. 4. Say No to Jealousy The roots of envy can be anything. But I have to go to work today. The one thing I can choose is not to be ashamed of it. To say, “Okay, this is my challenge for the day.” To accept it. And say “No”. So take it for what it is: a road map to get yourself out of prison. Jealousy is a guide to what is going on inside of you. It’s never about the other person. “ Maybe I feel like I can’t be loved unless I have billions.” “Or I look like a movie star.” “Or I have 20 bestselling books.” Jealousy is unavoidable
  8. 5. Say No to Being a Slave For all of your slaving away, all your boss has to say is “You’re fired” and that’s the end. You wake up before dawn. You travel. You work hard. You come home late. You’re feeling stuck. You’re mildly depressed and may take medication for this. And you have trouble sleeping and digesting. What did they do? Study the people online who seem to have broken free. What are they doing? Keep working on your idea muscle. You do this by writing down ten ideas a day. It doesn’t matter what the ideas are. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. This is just exercising. This is physical therapy applied to the mind so that your idea muscle doesn’t atrophy. Study the lives of people who aren’t slaves.
  9. 6. Say No to Sudden Thought Attacks I wake up at three in the morning every day. I can’t help it. I almost have post- traumatic stress from the many, many times I’ve woken up in a panic at three in the morning to a flurry of bad thoughts. Looking back, nothing ever happened that I predicted at three in the morning I’ll say it again: Nothing I ever predicted at three in the morning ever came true. Ever. So here’s what I do now, which you can use as an exercise. I say to myself, “Nothing I ever predict at three in the morning comes true. I’m tired now and need to sleep. Say “No” to thought attacks, as they rarely (if ever) lead to anything productive.
  10. 7. Say No to Abusive People If the answer is no, you know you need to move away from the person. The key is not to engage. You need to quarantine the abusive person’s disease and not let it spread. Otherwise it will make you sick, too. How do I feel about myself when I am around this person? Do I feel good about myself? Always ask yourself:
  11. 8. Say No to Bad Luck Sometimes we chase it. Sometimes it teases us. Sometimes we have it for a while. Sometimes when we expect a kiss, it runs away in the rain, leaving us scared and lonely. We have a love affair with “luck.” Luck is something that is earned, and once you have earned it, you will always know how to get it back. You will say no to the people who try to bring you down, who try to use their own bad luck to control you because they can’t climb to your heights. You will say no to the people who try to bring you down, who try to use their own bad luck to control you because they can’t climb to your heights.
  12. 9. Say No to Incoming Negative Energies People often try to provoke us. They want a response. They are lonely and they need us to be angry or upset or scared or ashamed so they won’t be as lonely. And it’s easy to fall into their trap. To get sucked into the vortex of negativity. The key is to notice it, notice when it starts to well up in your head. Then stop it. Say no to it.
  13. 10. Say No to Self-Sabotage Think of your life as a train station. You are on the platform and you see a train approaching. You really want this train to be your train. But this train is not meant to stop here. Sensing that the train is not stopping, you jump onto the tracks, to the horror of all the people around you. Meanwhile, the train that is meant for you, the one that is your train by divine design, is right behind this one. Only you cannot see this because you are too busy causing unnecessary drama. To say no to self-sabotage, get out of the train tracks and accept the flow of life. Let the train continue, wish it well as it leaves, and trust that yours is coming. That’s all it takes.
  14. 11. Say No to an Untimely Death Often we are given recipes for “success” to get “motivated!” to find “purpose!” Make your to-do lists! Do this! Do that! Take these pills and call us in the morning! even if you think those things will improve your life. Sometimes it’s important to do less in order to attract abundance. Sometimes it’s important to not do more things, Don’t do things that will cause you to die. There’s a very simple trick to living longer. And it doesn’t involve doing more things. We almost feel silly telling you this:
  15. 12) Say No to Mindless Selfishness But often people take that expression to mean that you should live life without caring. That you can do anything you want because tomorrow might not arrive. Think of someone you love. Or many people you love. Here’s a new saying to try out. See how this improves the interactions you have today. “Treat everyone else as if it’s their last day.” Even though it may sound a little morbid to imagine that people around us are about to die, in reality, this simple mind trick helps us let go of the mindless selfishness that occupies most of our thoughts. Many people say, “Live life like it’s your last day.” We get it. Learn to appreciate everything around you.
  16. When you protect yourself from the people and situations that will hurt you. When you shield yourself from the stories and myths your colleagues, friends, family, and institutions use to control you. When you finally say no to the inner conditioning and psychology that your brain forces on you in its misguided attempts to protect you. The Power of No can free us from the society, the institutions, the friends, loves, colleagues, bosses, and belief systems that tried to build a cage around us. Those that tried and still try to control us. It’s another thing to have “the Power of No.” Always remember: It’s one thing to say no.