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No is the second best answer


In addition to email, phone, and text, we live in a world where you can also easily and directly connect with people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat, Swarm, WhatsApp, Slack, as well as on many other platforms.

As much as I love tech, I personally find this exhausting and far too distracting. So early last year I turned off all social media and messaging notifications – on both mobile and desktop – other than on the two platforms that I most commonly use. (Facebook and LinkedIn are not on this shortlist.)

The result is that I am now missing (and consequently ignoring) a ton of direct messages. But as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as too much information, just poor filters. If you really want to reach me, I am not hard to find. You’re reading my public and daily journal right now.

Zooming out from social media DMs, I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite Seth Godin posts where he talks about the value in saying no – which is, of course, just another kind of filter:

No I can’t meet with you, no I can’t sell it to you at this price, no I can’t do this job justice, no I can’t come to your party, no I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but no, I can’t. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.

No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.

And nobody should feel bad for saying no. A friend of mine likes to remind me that no is the second best answer. Yes is obviously the best, but a firm no is far better than an indecisive maybe that leaves everyone wondering what to do next.

I should probably say no more often than I do. But I am working on it. Every now and then I remind myself that there’s huge value in saying no. Today’s post is that reminder and maybe it will be yours too.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

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