We believe in living a balanced life – our best life, really. What exactly is our best life? Well, this might differ from person to person, but for us, it’s about crushing it at work, squeezing in a killer workout, chowing down on a delicious dinner with friends or family, and still having some quiet time to connect with our thoughts. That might sound like a lifestyle only Superman can achieve, but it’s actually possible. We discovered one little secret that helped us find this balance, and we want to share it with you: we learned how to SAY NO.
We’ll be the first to admit – saying no isn’t easy. In fact, we exist in a culture of yes that makes no feel like a dirty word. Yes is safe and fair; it’s welcoming and inviting. Yes offers us a way to avoid making enemies or disappointing the important people in our lives. Yes always evokes a positive response from others.
No, on the other hand, has less…exciting results. When your best friend asks you to help move a massive couch up four flights of stairs, and you say no, they might get upset or assume that you’re not a good friend. But maybe you’re just busy – you want to help but you’re already committed to other activities. Or when a coworker falls behind on a big project and asks you to help out, but you say no, they assume you’re not a team player. However, you already have a full plate and you just don’t have the time. No hard feelings.
In our view, yes is about keeping the peace and protecting other people’s happiness – at the expense of our own.
Listen, we get it. It makes sense that we say yes as often as we do, because there’s so much to say yes to: an endless stream of shows and films, an abundance of conversations to join on social media, events to attend with friends, tasks to chip in and help with for your family, and more projects to take on to prove your worth.
Every time you say yes, you imagine the payoff. On the other side of yes is another opportunity to make someone happy or to achieve or acquire something new. Every time you say yes, you have another chance to show that you’re a badass – a boss that can handle anything. But in reality, the benefit of saying yes has little to do with you. And, you fail to prove your worth to the person who matters most – you.
“Our yes has no meaning if we never say no.”
There’s a powerful quote from bestselling author and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud. It reads, “Our yes has no meaning if we never say no.” Think about that – if you always say yes, it will mean less and less over time. You think every yes is helpful, but it’s quite the opposite. If you truly want to help yourself and boost your ability, you have to start saying no.
What happens when you don’t say no
Take it from us, it feels good to say no again and again. It’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it’s a much better feeling than saying yes. We know what it’s like to be the “yes person”:
- There’s the never-ending to-do list. We spend all day channeling our blood, sweat, and tears into every task, but we never reach the bottom of the list. It’s like that hallway in The Poltergeist – no matter how fast JoBeth Williams sprints, the hallway outruns her. Saying yes can feel the same way. We keep saying yes to everyone and adding bullets to the list, and we think if we just work a little faster and harder, we’ll get it all done. But we don’t. And we end up stuck in a hamster wheel – which might be cool for hamsters but we don’t prefer it.
- There’s no time to breathe. Because of all the stuff we’ve committed to, we never have time to slow down. We rush our friends off the phone, we break the speed limit on the way home, we keep answering emails during commercial breaks – the hustle never stops. It’s one thing to be a hard worker; it’s another to feel trapped by all the things we’ve said yes to. All of us – including you – deserve moments to catch our breath, find peace, and refuel. But saying yes too much makes that impossible.
- We feel guilt. Remember, our culture makes no feel like a dirty word. And what’s the easiest way to avoid offending people with a dirty word? Don’t say it. Say yes instead. But when we say yes to avoid saying no, it becomes attached to guilt. We’re not saying yes because we feel we can genuinely help out. We’re saying it because we don’t want other people to be mad at us.
Just imagine – if you say no, your to-do list gets shorter, you have more than enough time to breathe, and you get to say a dirty word in public. In other words, life gets much better when you start saying no. Go ahead, try it. Say no. Still feels scary? We might know why…
Why saying no is scary
One last note on saying yes all the time. All that stuff we mentioned above – the big to-do list, the lack of peace, the increase in guilt – can take a toll on you. Some “yes people” suffer from serious anxiety attacks and leave their mental and physical health at risk. And they struggle to set boundaries. Saying yes allows them to avoid their shortcomings. They don’t have to worry about setting boundaries or figuring out their limits if they never think about them. But the thing is, saying yes eventually forces them to establish those boundaries because they get so stressed out that they have no other choice.
Why push yourself to the edge when you can just say no and establish your boundaries right now? Think seriously about what you can handle. How much can you pile on your plate without feeling overwhelmed? How much time and space do you need to do your best work? What parts of your day do you need to protect to feel happy and balanced? Know the answers to those questions, set your limits, and protect them by saying no to anything that threatens your equilibrium.
Safeguarding your sanity isn’t anything to feel scared of. It’s the ultimate boss move.
The art of saying no
Saying no restores your authenticity. You stay connected to your wants and desires. You have a chance to be selfish (in a good way), and put the focus back on you.
You regain a sense of empowerment and relief. Life becomes more enjoyable and manageable.
The more time you spend focusing on you, the more your self-confidence blossoms. You start to morph into a different person – the kind of person whose smile lights up a room, whose energy is contagious, who sets a positive and awesome example for others. You can have all this if you start saying no.
But how do you do it? That’s a good question. You don’t want no to ruin a relationship or make you look like a bad guy. The good news is that you can say no without seeming like a jerk. To become a no expert, try these techniques:
- “I’ll let you know”: When you’re presented with an activity or an opportunity that you don’t want to take, don’t say no right away. Soften the blow by first saying, “I’ll let you know”. Those four words let the other party know there’s a chance you’ll say no. So, when you follow up with no, it’s not a surprise.
- Figure out your priorities: What’s most important to you right now? What’s at the top of your list? If saying yes threatens to jeopardise your focus, you only have one option – say no. Remember, if you overcommit, you’re more likely to underdeliver. Saying yes is initially a way to avoid disappointing others, but if you don’t follow through on your commitment, you’ll end up doing that anyway. Save yourself the trouble and say no from the start.
- No, but…: Perhaps there’s a compromise. You might need to say no today, but maybe you could help out on a different day. While saying no demonstrates that you understand your boundaries, it’s doesn’t have to be absolute.
Every time you say no, you gain back time and energy for yourself. Don’t think of no as a negative thing; it’s not something that hurts or hinders other people. It’s something that helps you. You deserve the space to work, create, breathe, and live. You should be able to exist without feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders at every moment. Saying no ensures that you keep you front and center. Doing so means you’ll have the energy to help at your highest level, whether it’s a few slides in a presentation, moving a couch up four flights of stairs, or making an appearance at a housewarming party.
You have the right say no. Then, say no again and again. Feels good, right? Now, keep saying it and get used to it. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of saying no.
Yes only fills up your to-do list; no fills up your soul.
FOUNDED IN SCANDINAVIA, DESIGNED IN SWEDEN.
BEU watches are created for the curious, the visionary, and the brave: enduring timepieces with the power to liberate you from technology, and reconnect you to people, nature, and culture.
Our company was founded by Johan Ronnestam, a Swedish designer, adventurer, and former snowboard professional. With a deep respect for the incredible diversity of our planet, he’s spent a lifetime searching for great waves, deep powder, unbeaten tracks, and inspirational human beings.
Johan gathered a small design collective from Scandinavia who firmly believes that we’ve been born into this world, not to master others but to master ourselves. Born, raised and living in the lands of reflection, together we strive to create iconic time pieces that do to you what this land has always done for us – calms you down, gives you space to think, room to breath and most importantly, inspires you to be you.
Meticulously-designed in Scandinavia, waterproof, and durable, a BEU watch is a constant reminder to stay true to yourself and the things you love.
We believe that’s all there’s time for.