Self Improvement

Yes or No

What happens when you say “yes”? If the question is ” Do you want pumpkin pie?” then you have something else to be thankful about. ” Will you make a pumpkin pie?” means that you are making a commitment and will still get to eat some, so again thankfulness. ” How do you make a pumpkin pie?” might mean that someone else is going to make it but they are probably leading up to the second question. ” Do you know how to make pumpkin pie?” is definitely a precursor to ” Will you make a pumpkin pie?”. Saying “yes”, in this case will lead to you eating pie but three response mean that you are accepting responsibility. That is a good thing – if you mean to honour the commitment. Being asked to make and honouring a commitment is another reason to be thankful.

Sometimes “yes” isn’t an unqualified agreement. ” Are you coming to the party?” may mean “yes, I will be there if something else doesn’t come up” or ” no, I won’t be there but I don’t want to explain why to you” or ” yes, do you want a ride?”. Yes doesn’t always mean that you are promising something but if it can be construed that way, you should be sure you are able and willing to follow up.

In the past week, I have heard hundreds of “yeses” that I knew weren’t pledges or soft agreements. There were a few times “Yes” meant ” I am positive” and once that I recall that it meant “come hell or high water”. Somehow I recognized the level of the guarantee by the tone, intonation and non verbal communication cues. But if I missed the subtlety I may have been disappointed and a blade of straw would have begun a pile.

In the past week I have said “Yes” a hundred times (estimate). ON the occasions that I understood someone was asking for a vow to do something, I meant my response to mean “for sure, I can do that”. Most of the time, the action was simple and completed quickly but there was one instant where I knew as soon as I uttered ” yes” that I wasn’t willing or able. I didn’t confess my unwillingness or inability and now have a hanging commitment. The ask wasn’t ‘life and death’ or of major consequence but I am now spending kinetic energy fretting that I won’t complete the request. Following the ‘better late than never’ adage I am going to reach out and explain the situation to my colleague and advise them that I won’t be meeting their expectation and I that I should have said “no”.

If you say “yes” often and then have regrets or apprehensions you may need to learn to say “no” more often. If you say “yes” and then find yourself missing an opportunity because of the commitment associated with it congratulations on honouring the promise but you may need to say “no” a few more times each week.

“Yes” and “No” – two short responses that can tell the tail of our character. They can be simple to say but can carry so much personal baggage. Our self worth and perception of how the world sees us can be tied to our choice. Judicious and sincere “yes or no” will both elicit respect in the long term. It is how we choose to react in the short term that determines how we see ourselves and how we perceive how others see us.

Be careful with your responses.


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