Yes or No?
Most of you have probably seen the movie Yes Man! Jim Carrey plays Carl Allen, a miserable bank employee who spends his days rejecting customers’ loan applications. His worthless life is completely transformed by a chance meeting with a former co-worker who convinces him to attend a self-help seminar led by a guru who preaches the power of “Yes!.” Carl makes a vow to answer yes to every single question and opportunity put in his path. On his way out of the seminar, he agrees to give a lift and all the money in his wallet to a homeless man. Right after Carl drops him off, his car runs out of gas, so he walks to the nearest gas station, where he randomly meets a woman who offers him a ride back to his car and in a matter of weeks, Carl is a new man. Simply by opening himself up to new experiences, and putting out nothing but positive energy, he finds love, wealth, and happiness.
In real life can you say “Yes” to everything? Or can you say “No” without hesitation?
For long years, I couldn’t say “no” to people except my family. I was afraid that every time I did this, I would disappoint someone, make them angry, hurt their feelings, or appear unkind or rude. But unfortunately I said no to my son and my husband most of the time. I was considering that they wouldn’t get hurt because they knew how busy I am. I understood my mistake and now I try to compensate the loss years. Who can easily say no? Your dad, your boss, the principal... Why? Because they have the power. They know that your attitude will not change towards them even if they say no to you. But can you say no to them? I know it’s not that easy.
You probably negotiate several times with several people each day. It's usually unprofessional to say "no" to a task just because you don't want to do it, you don't understand how to do it, or it will take a long time. The relationship between the two parties is often permanently damaged if you say no directly. So you say yes unwillingly and the person asking for something may receive it, but the second person probably feels taken advantage of and, perhaps, angry and resentful. If it wasn't really a willing "yes," the second person is unlikely to complete the work quickly, or with a positive attitude. But when you say yes to what you care about and what you love, it feels so good. The work is more effortless. The time is more fulfilling and you naturally do your best work and offer the best of you.
I believe we have to find a balance for it. We can meet our needs without causing conflict when we have to say "no". We can explain our justification, so that it's clear that we're only saying "no" to this particular task at that time. It doesn’t mean that we won’t be willing to do in another occasion. If the other person understands why we've said "no", they are less likely to be left with the impression that we're simply being unhelpful.
I think when people trust each other, they're more likely to communicate their needs accurately. When they share information about what they want, what they need, and why they need it, this can lead people to cooperate to look for a solution together. And when you work in an environment of respect and trust, it's much easier to reach agreement without compromising your needs in the process. In a collaborative work environment, you consider everyone's needs. Therefore, even if you have to say "no" to something, you're still concerned about finding a way to get the other person's needs met, and this allows you to say "yes" to the person. So, the next time you have to negotiate, look for a way to meet everyone's needs, rather than leave one side helpless.
Do you find it difficult to say No? How do you typically respond in such situations? To whom you say yes and to whom you say no? I would like to see your comments here.
Photo: by Stucky from Pictorial Essay: Your Life
About ELT Teacher
She loves to learn, loves to teach, loves to love...