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Tag: yes habit

Saying “Yes” – Maybe

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


Saying “No”

photo of resistant customer in furniture store

How long before a pro gets him to say yes?

Learning when to say yes and when to “just say no” (á la former First Lady Nancy Reagan) has to be one of life’s most valuable discernments.

If you’ve ever had an encounter with a professional salesman (as opposed to the non-professional hordes who greet you in most retail stores), you know the alarming consequences of not having developed this ability. After an unfortunate engagement with one of these guys, you wonder what hit you.

Why did you buy something you can’t afford and didn’t even think you wanted that badly? You bought because he’s an expert at moving you along to that holy-grail-YES – the one which earns him a juicy-fat commission – and that all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii.

How does he do it?

Here’s a clue from my last professional-salesman skirmish. See if you can spot it.

Pro: “Gorgeous day, isn’t it?”

TLB: “Yes, it is gorgeous out there.”

Pro: “You looking for [whatever his store is selling]?”

TLB: “Actually, I am.” Duh. why am I there otherwise? (Notice he didn’t ask if I were “looking to buy,” just “looking for.”)

Pro: “I expect you’d like to be left alone and look around for a while.”

TLB: “Yes, thanks.” Yes. Please DO go away.

A little later.

Pro: “I notice you keep coming back to this [whatever I’ve been circling back to over and over].”

TLB: “Yeah. I guess I have.”

Pro: “Would you like a brochure about it? I think that manufacturer left us a few.” 

TLB: “Yes, thank you.” A “few”? A cartload, I’ll bet.

Pro: “Here you go. Nice, isn’t it? This manufacturer really goes all out on their advertising.” (Translation: If a manufacturer spends this much on their advertising, just think what they’re willing to sink into their products!)

TLB: “Whoa. This is nice.”

Enough of that. You were paying attention and found the obvious clue. After only six minutes on the battlefield, I’d already said yes or its synonym six times. Count ‘em: six. AND the two of us hadn’t discussed anything remotely involving product features, benefits, prices, terms, etc. in this introductory sparring. He was good.

And I was embarrassingly

  • Outmaneuvered because Mr. Pro kept plying me with seemingly innocuous questions to which the only reasonable answer was yes. He never gave me a chance to just say no.
  • Outmaneuvered again when he deftly asked questions about my mental wish list.
  • Outmaneuvered yet again when he circled around with questions that lured me into signaling possible willingness to part with my credit card for a few seconds.

In minutes, I became a conquered blob, so accustomed to saying yes that I couldn’t help (later on this bloody battlefield) but say it one last, fateful, costly time.

That’s how the yes mentality works; it’s a habit, a way of thinking and responding. The professional salesman simply encouraged me to slip into this otherwise healthy habit as skillfully as a Lord of the Rings swordsman backs an Orc into a corner.

As we saw in Saying Yes, living life with a will-do, yes habit is a good thing. But there are situations, like this area of spending money, in which we need to decide we’d rather eat glass than fall into our normal yes habit. So how do we prepare ourselves to say no to these sales-guy pros (and even the not-so-professional sales guys and gals)?

You thought I’d never get here, didn’t you? Check out my disarmingly simple tricks for learning how to say no to spending in my next post. And, as always, pay attention!

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: "Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like." – Will Rogers

Will Rogers got it right – 80-plus years ago!

Saying “Yes”

No doubt about it. Living life with a yes habit is, as Martha likes to say, a good thing. It’s a positive, will-do attitude that:

  • takes us far,
  • endears us to many, and
  • ramps up our feel-good status.

We become the go-to people at work, in volunteer groups, on church committees, in neighborhood HOAs, whatever.

Develop the yes habit, and you’ll find yourself energized. That would be the opposite of frazzled – the typical feeling that comes from saying yes on an all-Saturday-afternoon buying frenzy at the mall.

Say yes more often than no to:

photo of seated, depressed, elderly man leaning on his cane handle with hands and chin

  • visiting crabby old Gramps in the nursing home once a week – whether you feel like it or not – because he desperately needs the company.
  • exercising till you lose those love handles – because they won’t go away on their own.
  • learning new ways of thinking about food – because, well, you know why.
  • forgiving that sorry so-and-so – because you want to be free of his hold on you.
  • digging yourself out of debt – because your big plans for life don’t include debtors’ prison.
  • love – because it’s the most important thing in the world.

Reams have been written about this yes habit. It’s called everything from positive mental attitude to good karma and everything in-between. I can’t hold a candle to authors who’ve hit the best seller lists with their books about saying yes.

I just checked Google for “positive thinking authors”: 13,900,000 pages of books. Whoa. I can’t compete with that. Don’t even plan to try. Pay attention to what they say about saying yes to life. (Then share your best gem with the rest of us.)

Confession time. I’m not really interested in yes since, as I’ve said, thousands have already covered the topic. This post is just a warm-up for the next post – knowing when NOT to say yes. Pay attention, as my saying-no post has just come out of the oven.

© 2014 Teresa Layne Bennett

red box with white text: "If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, says yes – then learn how to do it later." – Richard Branson

From the Virgin Atlantic Airways rich guy

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