How to Develop the Art of Saying No

Raghuram Sukumar Lifestyle 4 Comments

I like to share articles that adds lot of value to your day to day life. I read one such article last week about If You Don’t Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will

Authors opens the article with the following quote

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” So said Mahatma Gandhi.

I paused for a while after reading that sentence. I reflected how many times I have said “yes” under social pressure, when I wanted to say “no”.

I’m sure you must have run into several situations where you are forced to say “yes”, but you really wanted to say “no”.

Have you ever thought if there is way to say “no” when you really wanted to say “no”?

Here is an example quoted in the article

I had the opportunity to apply Gandhi’s example of prioritization to my own life, hours before one of my daughters was born. I felt pressure to go to a client meeting the next day. But on this occasion, I knew what to do. It was clearly a time to be there for my wife and child. So, when asked to attend the meeting, I said with all the conviction I could muster…”Yes.”

For students, when you are preparing for  GRE, TOEFL exams, did you have courage to say “no” when you had an opportunity to go watch a movie of play a game?

If you have a schedule, stick to it. There is no point in worrying about low test score, when you should have given 100% of your effort.

I have said “yes” so many times when I really wanted to to say “no” just because what would the other person think about me if I say “no”.

It’s tough to develop such a personality. If you are looking to priority your life by saying “no” then here one of the three steps by which you can practice and develop such skills to say “no”

Every time we say, “I have to take this call” or “I have to send this piece of work off” or “I have to go to this client meeting,” we are assuming that previous commitments are nonnegotiable. Every time you use the phrase “I have to” over the next week, stop and replace it with “I choose to.” It can feel a little odd at first — and in some cases it can even be gut-wrenching (if we are choosing the wrong priority). But ultimately, using this language reminds us that we are making choices, which enables us to make a different choice.

I realized at certain stage in  my life, I had to say “no” when I really wanted to say “no”, even if its going to offend others.

It takes time and practice to say “no”.  Take control of your time by saying no to stuffs that are not important to you at any given instance.



  1. Do you think you can apply this to people whom you dont like and you are obliged to meet them or to meet the committments mage with them?

  2. That’s .shy when we say ‘yes’, let’s make it a point that we’re not saying ‘no’ to ourselves.

  3. Saying “no” at the right time is as good as a stitch in time! I will never forget the time I said I was physically fit in my arms so that I could qualify for a job and when I was given an assignment to use my arms actively, I got worse and surgery was the destiny.Perhaps I will be disabled for ever because I never told the truth during a physical exam preceding my employment. I wish I had said, No.
    Certainly M. Ghandi was a gem of a wise man!!

  4. Hello Author,
    It’s “THE” nice thing you have done by giving the needy info. to all HSB friends.
    And I’m pretty sure one have to….. oops! one must “choose to” do so in their life at random situations that, make it a habit of “TELLING YES & TELLING NO”.
    But I think, what author implies is: It’s been tough to change at all once, and people may misunderstand you(…..underline may…). So, I would like to include: don’t stop by saying “NO/YES” at the start when you are making it a habit. Do give the explanation (…. as much brief as possible..) at the starting times(… when you are saying what ‘you choose to’….) later (….. after ample conversations like this…) people will understand you and some people definitely appreciate that!
    I am practicing it since my high school….(but really I got a -ve mark that I’m straight forward…. coz I practiced only telling No/ Yes. But haven’t given the explanation)… But later, I start giving explanations (…. as much brief as possible..) and now people themselves understands my priorities(…. for this I must really thank all those people & my friends). “I am closing my blah blah blah….. that I never felt guilt of my doings and chosen priorities….(…never means…. like after high school).”
    Thank you,….(and sorry, If any one thinks all this is a HELL CRAP!)
    and my sincere thanks to the author!

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