If you have been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of storytelling and just like many other blog posts of mine, let’s start this with a story as well.
In my final year of undergraduate studies, I started contemplating what I wanted to do after I graduate (in the long run). After all, it’s a scary moment when you’re finally on the verge of entering the real world to make something of yourself. Although I didn’t have any concrete answer at that time, I was adamant on one thing that whatever it is going to be should be something that brings me closer to achieving my dream of becoming an entrepreneur (a dream I’m still pursuing).
I was just too sure about it. My father has been a successful businessman for as long as I can remember so looking up to him since childhood, you can say it’s something that runs in the blood. Also, at that some time I had recently started following GaryVee and he made it sound so easy that I didn’t see any reason why it won’t work.
Anyways, before you know it, a friend of mine approached me to start a web design studio together where we’ll take freelance projects and generate some decent revenue. Sounds simple so I said, “Yeah, why not!”.
Another two months down the lane, another friend approached me about a startup idea he had related to creating an online sports community that helps you find people around you to play sports with. I again went with, “Yeah sure, why not!”.
Another couple of months down the lane, another friend approached me to join his international startup team working on making clean water accessible to remote areas of Pakistan. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? If you see the pattern here then you would have guessed it. I responded, “Yeah sure, why not!”.
I basically became a Yes Man and anything that I thought would bring me one step closer to becoming an entrepreneur, I said yes to. I just didn’t want to miss any opportunity that came towards me and later regret it.
Here’s where things get interesting. The sports community idea lasted for only a month before we finally gave up and stopped working on it. The web design studio operated for only 5 months after which that too died off. The clean water startup was still operational but after 6 months I wasn’t that excited about it anymore so I left it.
Now, what happened here? Here’s my take on it
- I had said yes to too many things just because they were related to entrepreneurship and in the process was not able to give proper time to each one of them.
- Today if I’m being honest with myself, all of these “Yeah sure, why not!” were actually half-hearted and did not really make me that excited.
This finally brings me to the mindset that I have incorporated into my life ever since
Whether you’re making a significantly small decision or one that has long term consequences, if you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about that, say “no”.
Derek Sivers, musician, producer, entrepreneur, TED speaker and book publisher, is known for this famous rule and as Derek explains
Most of us have lives filled with mediocrity. We said yes to things that we felt half-hearted about.
So we’re too busy to react when opportunities come our way. We miss out on the great because we’re busy with the mediocre.
The solution is to say yes to less.
If you’re not feeling “Hell yeah, that would be awesome!” about something, say no.
It’s an easier decision. Say no to almost everything. This starts to free your time and mind.
Then, when you find something you’re actually excited about, you’ll have the space in your life to give it your full attention. You’ll be able to take massive action, in a way that most people can’t, because you cleared away your clutter in advance. Saying no makes your yes more powerful.
Today, I have my own personal brand where I’m creating online content in the form of blogs and online courses. When I decided to start this two months ago, unlike my previous initiatives, this time I felt “HELL YEAH!” and every day I wake up to work on my personal brand makes me damn excited to do so! No matter what time of the day or what day of the week it is, I’m willing to work every single day not because I have to but because I love to.
I still do come across many opportunities and startup ideas but I say NO 90% of the time, not because the idea is bad but because I’m not that excited about it.
Although it has just been two months, I can already see way more progress just because of this one rule I applied to this initiative.
So use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered.
Remember, we’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
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