Skip to main content

Your Very Own Superpower, Saying No

If you haven’t read James Clear’s blockbuster book on habits, you owe it to yourself to. It’s the best way to build habits and routines that are an intrinsic part of you.

One of the best ways to a super productive you is, as James describes in this excerpted post, saying No.

Ever think about the events you set in action when you just say yes as a reactive reflex?

The Difference Between Yes and No

The words “yes” and “no” get used in comparison to each other so often that it feels like they carry equal weight in conversation. In reality, they are not just opposite in meaning, but of entirely different magnitudes in commitment.

When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. Once you have committed to something, you have already decided how that future hour will be spent.

Saying no gains you time in the future. Saying yes costs you time in the future. No is a form of time credit. You retain the ability to spend your time however you want. Yes is a form of time debt. You have to pay it back at some point.

In short: No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility.

But you can’t just go willy-nilly saying no, nope, nada now, can you?

Earning the Right to Say No

In most fields, you have to go through a period where you say yes to nearly every opportunity before you can earn the right to say no to nearly every opportunity.

Learning to make this switch is hard.

So this week, learn how to say no, and then get better at saying no.
Like James concludes, Say no, more. Say yes, carefully.

P.S. Share the newsletter! Get your friends to subscribe!


Being Wrong

Shane Parrish’s highlights from this gem of a Ted Talk by Kahthryn Schulz.

… The first thing we usually do when someone disagrees with us is that we just assume they are ignorant. You know, they don’t have access to the same information we do and when we generously share that information with them, they are going to see the light and come on over to our team.

When that doesn’t work. When it turns out those people have all the same information and they still don’t agree with us we move onto a second assumption. They’re idiots. They have all the right pieces of the puzzle and they are too moronic to put them together.

And when that doesn’t work. When it turns out that people have all the same facts that we do and they are pretty smart we move onto a third assumption. They know the truth and they are deliberately distorting it for their own malevolent purposes.

So this is a catastrophe: our attachment to our own rightness. It prevents us from preventing mistakes when we need to and causes us to treat each other terribly.

You can watch the whole talk below or click here. It’s twenty minutes well spent.



P.S. If you like what I share, get your friends to subscribe!

Writing as the Most Important Thing You Could Do Every Morning

From a Ryan Holiday post on journalling,

“I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me.

Morning pages are, as author Julia Cameron puts it, “spiritual windshield wipers.” It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found. To quote her further…: ‘Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.’”

Also totally love the quote that opens the article,

“Keep a notebook.
Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it.
Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain.
Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter.
And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”

—Jack London

Go, read!

P.S. If you like what I share, get your pals to subscribe.


What Does Reading a Book Do to Your Brain?

From What Does Immersing Yourself in a Book Do to Your Brain?

Reading allows us to try on, for a few moments, what it truly means to be another person, with all the similar and sometimes vastly different emotions and struggles that govern others’ lives.
The reading circuitry is elaborated by such simulations; so also our daily lives, and so also the lives of those who would lead others.

The novelist Jane Smiley worries that it is just this dimension in fiction that is most threatened by our culture: “My guess is that mere technology will not kill the novel. . . . But novels can be sidelined. . . . When that happens, our society will be brutalized and coarsened by people . . . who have no way of understanding us or each other.” It is a chilling reminder of how important the life of reading is for human beings if we are to form an ever more realized democratic society for everyone.

Empathy involves, therefore, both knowledge and feeling. It involves leaving past assumptions behind and deepening our intellectual understanding of another person, another religion, another culture and epoch. In this moment in our collective history, the capacity for compassionate knowledge of others may be our best antidote to the “culture of indifference” that spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Pope Francis describe. It may also be our best bridge to others with whom we need to work together, so as to create a safer world for all its inhabitants. In the very special cognitive space within the reading-brain circuit, pride and prejudice can gradually dissolve through the compassionate understanding of another’s mind.

The whole article is a slow, lovely ode to reading and empathy.

P.S. If you like what I share, please subscribe to my mailing list!


Want to Write Better? Become a Better Reader!

Busy with exams this month, so leaving you with this Austin Kleon post with tonnes of quotes on reading.

Here’s a few of my favourite ones …

“You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader.”
—J.K. Rowling

“Read, read, read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!”
—William Faulkner

“When I’m reading, I’m looking for something to steal. Readers ask me all the time the traditional question ‘Where do you get your ideas from?” I reply: ‘We are all having ideas all the time. But I’m on the lookout for them. You’re not.’”
—Philip Pullman

Go, read.

P.S. and forward this to your friends and ask them to subscribe!