“By and large in our culture today we have abandoned a very valuable and financially profitable word. A word that will change your life. A word that will change politics in America. A word that would solve the student loan debt problem. A word that would cause children to behave. We have lost this word. It has been removed from our politically correct dictionaries. We no longer say it to ourselves. And if you so dare as to say it to someone else; you will be persecuted, tweeted about, and talked about for days. There will be negative articles written about you. This is a powerful word. It is a word so seldom heard it may shock you when you hear it because you haven’t heard it used much. It is not illegal yet to use this word, but it may be soon.
It is a counter-culture word. It is a word that will set you free. It is a word that will change your life. It is a word that will change the direction of your family tree. It will help your career. It will help you as a leader in your organization. It will make you a better employee. This is a powerful word, and I want you to practice it with me. It is heard so seldom some of you will be so shocked when we annunciate it. Here is how you do it. You press your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, and as air is released through your vocal cords, you release your tongue making a kissing motion with your lips, and it sounds like this: NO!
It’s an ancient word. Pull it out of the recesses of your mind, and install it back in the dictionaries that don’t require political correctness. You can’t go to college there, you can’t afford it – No! You can’t buy that car! No! The government can’t provide you everything because it can’t print enough money. No! You can’t buy that toy; we don’t have the money. We can’t go out to eat this week. No! We are not buying a car we cannot afford on payment. No! We are not going on vacation; we are broke and deeply in debt! No is a powerful word. The interesting thing about “no” is that it is a complete sentence. I’m kind of an old school dad. Some people think that means that I am mean to my children. I love my children more than life itself. I’m not confused about who runs the house. The inmates don’t run the asylum. When I say no that is it. It is not the beginning of a negotiation. As a parent I take a few moments and explain why I said no. It is a teachable moment. So that later on my kids can say no for themselves – it is called self-discipline. It is one of the most powerful things that a human being can learn. Self-control! Self-discipline! Parents that don’t teach their children discipline do not set them up for the ability to learn to discipline themselves or control themselves. Spoiled children is what we called it back in the day. Have you ever opened the jar of something that was spoiled? It reeks to high heaven. We must teach our children self-control. Proverbs says train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old he will not depart from it. We are raising a generation that thinks they are owed everything! There are politicians on the left and right strutting around promising things they can’t produce. Self-control and self-discipline are the sign of a mature human being. Someone who is emotionally and spiritually mature. When you can control yourself you have mastered the art of growing up. We have an entire culture that has been buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like. No! It is life-changing!” ~ Dave Ramsey
Learning to say “no” is learning to say “yes”
Have you ever given it a thought that the ability to say “no” is actually the ability to say “yes”? Most of us struggle with using this word “no”. We are a society that quickly says “yes”, but struggles with the ability to say “no”. When we say “no” to some things it actually gives us the ability to say “yes” to other things. Good stewards know when to say “no”. If you say “yes” to every request or demand you will never accomplish what you have set out to accomplish. I used the above direct quote from Dave Ramsey on this subject of “no” because he articulates this so well. “No” is a very complete sentence with no need for further explanation. It is a two letter word that one uses to exhibit self-control and discipline. This word is a word that we need to re-familiarize ourselves with. This little word helps to set boundaries in your life. This little two letter word is a true sign of a mature human being. Don’t allow your emotions to make your decisions, but rather allow the facts to make the decisions for you. Your emotions will often times lead you to places you didn’t want to go, be with people you never wanted to associate with, and cost you more than you ever intended to pay.
People struggle with being told “no”
Have you ever told someone kindly but firmly “no”, and then watched their expression? Most people do not know how to respond to “no”. I don’t mean that you have to be ugly about saying “no” in order to get your point across, but you do need to be firm when you say it. You can say “no” with a smile on your face. Remember this – someone else’s poor planning doesn’t mean it is an emergency situation for you. When you put boundaries in your life saying “no” is just part of the process. Dr. Henry Cloud in his book “Boundaries” states that “boundaries define us”. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into doing something you really don’t want to do or have time to do. There are deadlines we all have to meet, and I can’t ignore my deadlines in order to help you meet yours. This is where good planning should come into play. Plan your day, your week, your month, and your year ahead of time. Of course there will be times that you will need to make adjustments, but you do that within a clearly defined framework. You must realize that some people are travel agents for a guilt trip. They have the unique ability to make you feel bad if you say “no” to their request.
Teach your children to know when to say “no”
I am convinced that learning when the right time to say “no” begins with our children when they are little. Children don’t have to be taught to say “no” they just need to be taught when it is the right time to say “no”. Remember more is caught than taught, so we as parents must demonstrate to our children how and when and why we say “no”. If we can instill this in them when they are young when they get older they will have some very healthy boundaries in their life that will propel them to success.
You can do this
Learning to say “no” won’t happen over night. Understand the difference between the urgent and important. Not everything that is urgent is important, and not everything that is important is urgent. You will be challenged on a regular basis to give in to the urgent. Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but necessary. The cool thing is this; when you learn to say “no” you are giving yourself permission to say “yes” to the things that really matter the most. You will find yourself being more productive. You will find yourself doing what you enjoy doing. You will set yourself free from the pressure of others who try and guilt you into doing what they want you to do. Saying “no” is about getting your priorities right, and bringing balance into your life! Yes, YOU CAN DO THIS!