There are multiple times in my life that the word no has been spouted very clearly to me.
No! You can’t have that Hot Wheels car. No! You can’t stay up late. No! You can’t have that diesel truck. No! You are not a good person for this job. No! I will not go out with you on a date.
This word is an ever-present reality in my day to day life. It has been a guiding factor in my pursuit of happiness and where I have ended up in life. I would never have gotten where I am today without that gloriously painful, two letter word. Needless to say, I still don't feel as though I have arrived. I am sure this verbal escort will continue to plague me with its presence.
I personally believe this word is a tangible manifestation of invisible boundaries in my life. I want to parallel it with when you go bowling as a kid and they put those bumpers up along the side so no matter what you do the bowling ball will always hit the pins. That is literally what the word no does for my life! As I am asking questions and trying to move forward in life I continually am striving to hit goals, which in this illustration are the pins at the end of the lane. The problem though is it's not just a simple straight shot down a lane. The pathway, or lane, to moving in the direction of my dreams has been more curvy than Highway 1 in California. After having heard no for the millionth time the real skill comes into play by not letting it discourage me but rather guide me. I have been working on hearing the word no as a sort of positive thing. In the past I have motivated myself to ask out beautiful women because I wanted to know if it was a yes or no rather than lingering in a place on unknown. Essentially, I had to come to terms with the unknown and be okay with the possibility of the answer being yes or no. One of my best friends, Meinhard, and I were talking years ago and he said something that has stuck with me to this day. The context was we were talking about relationships and asking women out he said, “If they do not have the ability to say no, then they don’t truly have the power to say yes.” Why this impacted me was I so often just wanted to hear the word yes, but if I do not make room for the possibility of no to be present then the yes which I desired is no longer an authentic reply. It is a forced one. I’ve concluded it is more vulnerable to ask questions with which you do not have control over the answer and that is what has held me back in the past.
I found this longing to need control, something that I personally had to come to terms with. If I really wanted to start pushing forward in life and ask harder questions, I could not expect the answer to always be what I wanted. The value of the word no has increased in my life many times over once I finally started the process of handing over this "control" which really was just holding me back from life.
I think what I am trying to communicate to you about my journey is this: Do not let the fear of hearing the word no stop you from fighting for your dreams. Ask the pretty girl out. Try and start a business. Shoot for that promotion at work. I am starting to believe that simple, two letter word is actually my friend. A feeling of relief has finally begun to creep back into my life and I am able to live with any answer given, rather than never asking at all. My fear of rejection is getting smaller and smaller, but it most definitely still is a work in progress.
I am just constantly amazed at how if I had never moved beyond the no’s I have received in life I would be stuck in a place that was awful. I remember once when my bank account was empty, tuition was due, and my food cabinet was as barren as the desert, in that moment, I chose not to be held back by everything screaming no in my face and I pressed on. I came out the other side a better man. I may have been slightly skinnier, but still a better man.
So, would you join me? Let’s start or continue asking the hard questions in life and be okay with any answer.