Friday, February 8, 2019

The Word That Opens Doors

Photo by dan wilding on Unsplash
One of my first published articles back in 1982 or '83 was titled The Word That Opens Doors.  The word was "No." I've published the 500 word piece a couple times over the years, the main point being that in order to focus on things that matter you have to say no to other things.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, in her book Gift from the Sea, likewise devotes a chapter to this very same matter. In her case, she addresses another facet of this issue when dealing with social grace. Do we really have to accept every invitation to dinner, to a party, to be a guest for this or that occasion? She emphatically says, "Stand your ground." Are you participating just to be nice? You may not even like these people and they might just being nice to include you, but not really like you either. It can start getting pretty weird.

Social media adds another level of time-consuming distraction. If you are marketing you may need to know what the various platforms provide in terms of benefits to your company. A lot of people, though, read that they should be on Linked In, so they try to figure out how to set up a profile and do it all "correctly" only to be told, "You really, really need to be on Instagram." You're an artist? Oh, you really need an Etsy store.

And then what do you read? How many magazines and eNewsletters do you receive but never get around to looking at?

On and on it goes.

This morning a Medium article by Tyler Kleeberger caught my eye titled A Technique for Deciding When to Say No

Kleeberger begins by debunking the notion that we can live without limits. In truth, we are mortal. There is a limit to how long I can go without rest, how long I can go without breathing, how long I can dance like there's no tomorrow.

Many times over the years I've thought about how crazy busy our lives can get when we bite off more than we can chew. If you've ever seen a pro juggler, it's dazzling what they can do, how many objects they can get spinning up in the air at once. Yes, they can wow you, but guess what. The best part of their show is usually quite brief. It is not a way of life ad infinitum.

"The human propensity to try to be everything and do everything actually circumvents that desire because we end up not fully doing anything," writes Kleeberger.

It's a good thought piece and a worthwhile read with a multitude of applications. It's nine minutes, though, so if you're busy feel free to say no. 

1 comment:

Phil said...

Saying "no" presents a multitude of dilemmas for people pleasers. Until you realize that, as Ricky Nelson sings in his signature song "Garden Party,"

But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

things will occasionally spill over, bubble up, or collapse on top of you. It's not an easy thing to achieve, this kind of balance, but you are not doing anyone any favors if your choices are often motivated by the need to please people, to gain their approval, or to "measure up" to some imaginary bar. "Moderation in all things," was a memorable rule of thumb I learned reading the great writers of Latin. They were not just "whistling Dixie"!