Value Defining; Or A Tool To Say No

Anne Lamott famously stated NO is a complete sentence.

For the life of a sloth, procrastinator, or down right lazy person this might not apply. Or at least at first it may appear to not apply. If your default position is already to say no in order to avoid the demands of life and/or your own suppressed set of values then there are bigger problems at play.

On the other hand how people also pin themselves into a paralysis corner is via the method of saying yes to too many things. I’ve read this so many times from so many different people it is clearly an issue anyone of us can fall prey to. Too many offers, this good opportunity, that good opportunity, this old passion, this old hobby. They all get added together in a swirling cocktail which has the temporary offer of maximizing one’s life and opportunities while on earth.

But then the hangover kicks in the next day from the overserved cocktail filled with too many commitments.

What’s needed is a list of defined values, goals, mantras, whatever the case may be for a person. But such lists must exist and must be internalized somehow because the onslaught of requests are coming.

The art of saying no gets trickier in our distraction based economy. Emails, notifications, newsletters pleading for assistance, newsletters simply giving you more information. Endless scrolling and algorithmic surprises on news and video feeds.

I find myself information shopping as a result. With all the mediums at our disposal in our pocket computers or desktop versions, we are essentially shopping for the best thing to say yes to. But perhaps we are saying yes to too many things in general because the options exist in abundance.

The art of saying no is tied to knowing one’s own values and sticking to them.

Define your values ahead of time, your personal philosophy, the things that matter more than anything else in the world. Then safeguard them. Because even great, excellent opportunities will present themselves to you in an email or on a social media feed or a DM.

Without your personal value system in place (what you are the most about over all possible options) you will easily fall prey to information shopping. Which leads to plan shopping. Which leads to plan procrastination or paralysis.

People do this sort of shopping with friends/night out plans as an example. You put out feelers with different friends or family what they are doing and look for the best personal option for yourself. Instead of spending time at a boring movie because you committed to a night out with your cousin you haven’t seen in a while, you can end up at the newest foodie restaurant with a best friend and have Instagram worthy meals. It all depends on what you value at the time. And who.

That’s the social aspect of saying no or yes based in one’s personal value system. Do you value catching up with the cousin more than the best friend? It’s really about the restaurant even and your taste buds more than your best friend, isn’t it?

Without a solid definition planning session and constant (daily) review of our values, the distraction economy and our own internal selfish impulses are there to sweep the best of ourselves away. A solid and firm ‘no’ would have done wonders to get us pointed back at our best work.

Published by David Mieksztyn

I am a writer passing along what I've learned.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: