The Importance Of Saying “No”!


Finding yourself yet again hunched over your laptop at an ungodly hour? In the fast paced modern Earth that does not come as a surprise, and especially when you talk about B-schools. We all have our platters full of work and sometimes it overflows into our lives taking over every other thing. But what at times might surprise you is the reason behind the late night show this time. This time you catch yourself scooping the bits off that had been ladled on to your plate just because you could not say “no”.

A friend asked you to review a project he has been working on? A classmate asked you a favor to get a report done by morning that was supposed to be done by him? A teammate asked you to cover for her? Yes, we all go through that, and the next thing you know there is a random stranger coming up to you and asking you for a favor just because he heard on the block that you don’t say “no”! Time to get a better grip of your time and direct the reins as you wish, isn’t it? The magical two letter word that can make your world better is simply “No”.

People have a hard time saying no because they feel that it might hurt the sentiments of people asking for help. That saying no might create rifts and in future you will still have to work with these people. Or simply because they like being the nice person who wants to help everyone. But what they do not know is that saying “no” is actually a better thing at times.

Here are 5 reasons why we should learn the art of saying “No”.

  • Know your priorities– You have to submit a crucial presentation in the morning that will propel your project forward and your roommate wants to go out with you. You know that the project means a lot to you and if you do not say no, you will end up messing it. So prioritize; tell your roommate that you have a report to complete and be assertive leaving no room for negotiations, promising to go the next time you get a chance.
  • Know your limitations– You are already handling three deadlines and your teammates come up to you ask you to work on an entirely new live project. If you take on the project, you will be stretching too far and eventually end up damaging all the projects you had as well as the new one. So if you were hoping your “yes” would impress your teammates, now they will be furious because you could not properly do even one. All the work for nothing. So if you know that you can’t do it, say no. Instead of making you look incapable, it shows that you know what you are doing.
  • Heed your needs– After 21 hours of slogging which is a common thing in a B-school, you wrap up your work and head hostel. While unlocking the door to your room, the neighbor invites you to hangout. If you say yes and go along forgoing your sleep because you could not hurt his/her feelings, it might affect your health and in turn make it hard for you to work properly. So you have to learn to turn down people politely in order to make sure your needs are fulfilled first.
  • Increases the value of “Yes”- If you go around agreeing to do anything for anyone, people start taking you for granted and won’t even give you due gratitude for helping them out. But if you say no to the things that you can’t do, when you do say yes, people know you are doing it for them as a favor and will hold your efforts in a better light.
  • Time for yourself– Every once in a while one needs time to do their own thing, be it read a book or watch a movie or just lounge on a sofa and watch the game. Going overboard with saying yes and not giving yourself time will make you feel miserable and you will constantly feel overworked. So learning to say “no” to the right things can help you enjoy life a lot more. People will not judge you for this but respect you because of your assertiveness

This article has been written by Ankita Jena, PGP-1 student at IIM Indore.

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