Remember Nancy Reagan’s theme from the 1980s to Just Say No to drugs? She was made fun of, but it is an effective strategy. You may not struggle with drugs, but I bet you do struggle with saying no!
Many people miss out on the great things in life because they are doing so many good things. They are not in tune with what the Creator has made them to do. I have been guilty of this many times. Sometimes it’s a matter of learning how to say “No” to all those good things. Believe me, it’s not easy…
People want to put you on a guilt trip when you say no. My own mom has a master’s degree in the guilt trip. She’s a cruise director! My sister and I toured the world several times, and it didn’t cost us a thing (except for damage to our psyche, but that’s such a small price to pay for travel).
Don’t let others put you on these kinds of trips! Decide in advance what’s important to you and stick to that. Will life circumstances and what’s important change over time? Of course it will.
Practice with me for a moment… “No.” Try it again… “No.” Several times now, louder each time… “no…No…NO!”
It feels good, doesn’t it! This is not a rebellious “No” like a toddler might say. Remember, this is a no so you can say yes. Repeat daily.
Say NO so you can say YES
Say NO to overtime so you can say YES to your family
Say NO to overeating so you can say YES to a better quality life
Say NO to going out to eat so you can say YES to your retirement account
Here are some real NOs I have said…
I said NO to helping in the school musical so I could say YES to conducting a community orchestra.
I said NO to playing at coffee houses so I could say YES to spending time at home.
I say NO everyday to the candy bars so I can say YES to size 32 pants.
I said NO to teaching lessons so I can say YES to writing and practicing music.
I said NO to the snooze button so I could say YES to reading my Bible.
I said NO to Starbucks so I could say YES to a cruise with my honey.
Say NO today so you can say YES!
*** James Divine is a middle school teacher and youth speaker. This article first appeared in The Saxophone Diaries: Stories and tips from my 30+ years in music. Order it on Amazon. Also check out Why Don’t They Teach THAT in school.