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Monday, January 21, 2008


We all are so consumed by the negativities within us. What they transform into is wickedness and bitterness for others. What they need to become is the vital skill most of us do not possess - the art of saying No!

We say "Oh no!" very frequently, but a sentence smaller than that is something we are often not able to say - "No!"

"Oh No!" stands for surprise, shock, fear, frustration. "No!" stands for refutation. Being able to stick to what one wants to do.

"Aadi.... I know you are studying. But can you join me for a movie?" "uhmmm..."
"Aadi.. wanna try some weed?" "uhmm...."
"Aadi... let's make chits and take them to the exam hall.." "uhmmm..."
"Aadi... do this for me na! PLEASE... you are my friend na.." "uhmmm..."

It's not about being rude. Or not about not being helpful. It's about being able to decide for oneself what one wants to do and what one does not. (I clearly avoid using the terms 'right' and 'wrong' here. They are too relative.)

Having said that, saying No is among the many skills we are born with. Yes, a baby does seem to be more skilled than an adult. (its instincts are certainly stronger.) When it does not like the baby food you are trying to feed it, it will plainly spit it out. And 'saying no' is among the many skills we loose in the world that demands so much out of us.

It is like a cycle. I feel bad - somebody asks me to do something I don't want to - I can't say no - And since I am doing something I don't like, I feel worse. And there crumbles the art of saying no. And that makes us what people to call 'vulnerable'.

I repeat, I am not giving lessons of how to be rude to people. (In fact, I am not giving lessons at all!) But yes, I think all of us need to know the line that separates the acceptable and the unacceptable. It's me who will decide how many times I'll let a guy step on my foot in a crowded train. It's this strong-willed decisiveness that the art I am talking about covers.

The first step to removing a problem is locating its cause. So, inability to say No probably comes from one's fear, indecisiveness or plainly confusion.

The second step is to work towards uprooting the cause.

Next time you can't say no, try this -

1. Think of an ugly caterpillar drenched in gooey mud. It is crawling up your knees. Will you still have the guts to let it stay there and continue?

2. For the ones who got scared of the caterpillar and have allowed to crawl upwards (i.e. still couldn't say No) , here's point two.
Make a list of the things you don't want to do. Often, this list is much longer than what you want to do. Now, prioritize the heads. And make up your mind to stick to the top fifty percent. (Yes! The lower fifty percent would be the ones due to fear.)

The Art of saying No is like being in love. All it needs is a strong mind and an ability to be able to draw a line. The lack of these are often responsible for adversely affecting the two.

P.S. I think this was a good post. But if you think it wasn't, I think you have all the right to say 'NO'!