The ABC’s of a Great Life – ‘N’ is for NO!


There is a certain accuracy to the popular conception that the richer or more successful you are, the less you have to do of what you don’t want to do. In fact, that is in large part what drives a great many people after success – not the monetary rewards or the material possessions, but quite simply the freedom to say “No!” – no to inhumane or stifling conditions, no to demands on our time that take us away from our passions or our dreams, no to the “necessary evils” of life that plague those with less power and influence.

What most of us fail to realize is that the power of “No” is within reach of all of us, should we choose to reach out for it. Yes, there are trade-offs. There always are, and being rich and successful doesn’t change that in any way, shape or form – although the cushioning effect of worldly wealth can blunt the edges of such bargains somewhat. However, we need not suffer unnecessarily if we review and prioritize our needs, values and wants before we start throwing the “N” word around in our life.

Much of the pain and sacrifice associated with saying “No” to others focuses around the possible loss of material wealth and social position. But if we clearly and consciously choose to maintain only what we truly and deeply feel passionate about and allow ourselves to become detached from all the extras, it is much easier to get by on less (although having everything you really need and divesting yourself of false needs and “shoulds” can hardly be considered truly less).

Often times, we attain and maintain a lifestyle and its trappings by default rather than by conscious choice and we are surprised to see how little of it really means anything to us, when we sit down and think about it. But once we do, saying “No” to those who could take the extraneous matter with them as a result becomes much, much easier. We can say “No” to unscheduled overtime, because we are ready to sacrifice our fancy car for more family or personal time. We can say “No” to involvement in familial or social crises and manipulations, because we no longer look to others for acceptance, validation and approval. We can say “No” to conspicuous consumption and the unending treadmill of materialism because we no longer need that outwardly induced hit of “feel-good” – we can feel better all by ourselves by virtue of regaining control of our lives and exercising that control as we see fit.

What would you like to say “No” to? Why aren’t you – what are you afraid of losing? See if you can find a better, healthier way to get whatever it is that you fear losing – or if you can do without it altogether. You’d be surprised how much of our lives is maintained solely out of habit and inertia – items and activities that, once pulled away like cobwebs, reveal a brighter, simpler and happier way of living, one that includes the space, the freedom and the ability to say “Yes” to what we love.

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