Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Saying no: When it's okay to be a "quitter".

So last week, as I was snowed into a hotel that's only amenity was a pre-teen infested public pool and a broken-down treadmill, I decided to watch 4 seasons of How I Met Your Mother, drink cheap wine and eat unnecessary amounts of goat cheese in my bed. Classy. While watching the episode of HIMYM where J.Lo has an epic cameo as the author of "Of course you're single, look at yourself, you dumb slut" (a self-help book that tells women to say "No" to empower them to get what they want... ie/ turn men into puppy-like servants ofcourse), I got to thinking about what it really means to be a nay-sayer.

So, here's what I think, J. LO.


I believe that saying "No" is a delicate art. Our dad's have always told us not to be quitters. "Quitters never win, winners never quit", yata yata yata. And Dad, I'm with ya. But sometimes, I truly do see the value of quitting. So, when does it make sense to turn on our heel and storm out, channeling our inner Brad from Happy Endings?

1) When your personal well-being is in jeopardy: I strongly believe that if you don't help yourself, you will never be able to help others. Our own personal well-being is absolutely paramount and too often overlooked. Now, I'm not saying that we should be selfish and only look out for numero uno, but once in a while, you gotta DO YOU. If anything at all is affecting your physical, mental or social health ... give it a good old "AW HAYLL NO." Trust me, you'll feel like a monumental weight has been lifted and it will benefit everyone involved, not just you.

2) When something doesn't feel "right": Ever get that feeling? That feeling that something is just ... off. Like when Cory and Topanga were ever in a fight, or when the Spice Girls tried to release an album without Ginger Spice? Yikes. Our instincts are way better than we give them credit for. When you feel uneasy, that often means that something is either a) happening that you don't morally agree with, b) someone you care about is going to be negatively affected by an anticipated outcome, or c) something is just straight WACK (click to 0:40 seconds).

3) When the input will not equal the outcome: This one is a little trickier. There's a theory in Organizational Behaviour called Equity Theory that equates an employee's satisfaction with the organization, their colleagues, etc. to an equal ratio of their inputs (efforts) and the perceived outcomes (rewards) related to their input. If they put a lot of effort into something and receive very little outcome, their satisfaction will be low and, somewhat surprisingly, if they put very little effort into something and receive a large outcome, they will also be dissatisfied. So, with this one, I encourage us all to channel our inner Miss Cleo and see the future outcomes of our efforts. Do your best to balance your efforts with your outcomes and if you know that something is going to work the hell out of you for little to no outcome (or vice versa) give it a big N-to-the-O.

Anyhoo, that's enough for today. Remember that there is always a place and a time to say "yes", and most definitely a place and a time to say "no". Also, say "no to drugs" ... that one's for you, Dad.

"The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes." - Tony Blair


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