The freedom of no
Yes is powerful. You can’t get anywhere meaningful without it. Yes opens your way into relationships. Yes fills out your adult life. Yes gets you a job. Yes delivers you into adventure.
No is freeing. No is focusing. No is the second most effective tool in the kit of life, after yes. When you say no freely, it allows you to focus solely on the big Yesses in your life.
Isn’t this a tasty paradox? No drives the yes!
Think of, oh, let’s say Usain Bolt. Once he committed to yes, I want to be the fastest man alive, then a thousand noes entered the decision field. No to a hedonistic lifestyle. No to slothful days. No to people who would diminish his zeal. No to getting together casually because he said yes to a rigorous training schedule. No to certain foods. No no no no no no and no . . . .
Every committed life is sparse on the yes side, abundant on the no side.
Once you burn in to your commitment though, the necessity for no diminishes. Every no reinforces the big Yes of your desire. Until you find yourself living your Yes . . . .
Then you get to say yes and yes to more that’s in alignment with that life path. Things off the path are not in your vision, and those who would offer them have receded to a vanishing point. Here, no becomes unnecessary.
My brother is a high-octane athlete. He hasn’t had a drink in many years. No one in his current life would even think of suggesting he veer from this — but not so before this arc became solidified. In school and in his early career I’m sure there were many who sought to get Tony involved in their lifestyle choices. Now it would be inconceivable. The no has worn such a deep groove that only the yes is visible — and he no longer has to make much use of that no.
The next time you Yes it up, give no a spin. Trot it out often. Enjoy the no. Put no to use. Make no work for you. No no no no no . . . . until you’re living in Yesville.