Saying “Yes” – Maybe

by teresalaynebennett

red die with "yes," "no," and "maybe" on three of its sides

There are times when living life with a yes habit gets iffy and tricky. More times than I’m telling I’ve quickly and politely said yes when I should’ve said maybe. As in, “Let me think about that, and I’ll get back to you.”

There are approximately 257 million bazillion worthwhile activities, projects, charities, and hobbies on which you could spend your time. The important point here is that you pay attention and spend the time upfront deciding what you think are worthy goals for your life, given your values and worldview. There are some life-changing books out there (by authors like Stephen Covey or John Trent) that can help you through this critically important process.

Once you’ve settled on your long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals, use them as pay-attention prisms through which you examine all others’ demands on you, your time, your skills. What they’re clamoring for may fit into some of your goals. If so, by all means, take advantage of a chance to say yes.

If not, don’t hesitate to say no. And (I had to tattoo this bit on my brain!) you don’t owe them an explanation of your no. If you choose to give an explanation, fine.

If you choose not to give an explanation and they grill you with questions designed to rev up the guilt machine, use the broken-record trick. Re-state your no. Keep restating no. If they turn out to be tone-deaf to no, derail them by rerouting the conversation to a topic near and dear to their ego.

Or take a cannier tack while you’re developing your no habit: remember an “appointment” you must keep. FYI: an “appointment” can be just about anything you want it to be – as long as it requires you to be somewhere else.

I know far more people who say yes to others’ demands on their time than I know people who routinely say no. And I know far more people who moan about how they’ve overcommitted themselves than people who complain they don’t have enough to do. Oddly enough, the yes crowd and the overcommitted bunch are the same people. Go figure.

Because I have been (and still am occasionally) one of those yes people, I can speak from experience. Maybe I wanted to please others and be well liked. Maybe I figured if I just kept doing for others what they wanted me to do for them, I’d gain the level of popularity I didn’t quite achieve in junior high.

But you’re ahead of me here, aren’t you? You already know life is not a popularity contest, and I’ll bet you’ve already decided to be popular with you. So I’ll wrap it up right here.

Here’s the pay-attention finale
to this yes-no set of posts.

Say yes to life in general.

Say no to thoughtless squandering of your resources, including money and everything else.

Say yes – maybe – to those who would like a piece of you for their own goals and projects, depending on whether their goals match your goals.

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody” – Bill Cosby

Say “maybe” till you’ve thought it through.

red box with white text: “A 'no' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mahatma Gandhi  

Gandhi’s older, loftier version of Cosby’s idea