Be Willing To Say NO
May 21, 2022
Steve Jobs once famously said something profound.
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
We often confuse movement with results, and this is sometimes at the core of some of the sub-par outcomes we experience at work. Busy is not the same as productive !!
Focussing on one thing means avoiding the distraction of many other tasks and ideas that crave your attention. When you say yes to something new, it creates work that sucks out the limited time you have to focus on the important stuff you want to pursue or do. When you are already committed to some important task or activity, saying yes to something else consumes your time, while saying NO creates time. Therefore, in such scenarios, saying NO is essential. It insulates you from the distraction of new work that insidiously creeps in on your focus and attention because you said YES to something.
I wrote a post sometime back titled SAY YES, where I argue that we should say yes to new opportunities and new experiences. The Yes I mention in that Blog is regarding those specific opportunities that your inner voice is trying to convince you not to take up because of fear.
So, say YES to opportunities, not because you SHOULD but because you have a good reason- they help you grow or gain new experiences, develop new skills, or be more productive.
Similarly, be willing to say NO to some opportunities because they divert your focus, and create an illusion of being productive.