Learning To Say “No” (Part 6) – Justifying The Decision To Say “No”

by Patrick Liew on January 1, 2012

It’s always wiser to say “No” unless it is absolutely impossible to do it.

If I cannot say “No” immediately, the next choice is to delay and defer the decision. I can then evaluate the request. It includes studying if the request can be fulfilled by me and whether there are better ways to do it.

I need to study its impact both to myself, the other party, and the people to which I am responsible for or owe an obligation towards.

I need to formulate a list of criteria to help me make a wise decision. They include the following:

1. Plan 

The premise for saying a decision should start with a personal plan.

I must work on a plan for my life and make my plan work. Without a plan, I will blow with the wind – directionless and end up in the wrong place.

As part of the plan, I must develop a “To Do” list, a list of activities to turn my plan into a reality.

I can use the list to help me evaluate if a request can be accepted and accommodated. I need to also know how it will affect my current situation and the future.

Think: How will not saying “No” affect my plan?

2. Priorities

Life is short. There is no dress rehearsal or any way to repeat it. I may only have one chance to make it right.

I have to focus on doing the most important things first – to major on the majors. In other words, I must set priorities for my life.

If I don’t say “No,” I will have less time, energy and other resources to fulfill my obligations and achieve my dreams and goals in life.

Think: How will not saying “No” affect my priorities in life?

3. Time  

Time is the ingredient for me to design my destiny. It is the essence of life.

It is an asset that cannot be increased and once it is lost, it will be gone forever. I have to value it and make full use of it.

Time is one of the best allies for saying “No.” Use it to help you justify the decision to say “No.”

By saying “Yes,” I may unwittingly be saying that my time is not as valuable as the other party’s time and is something I can afford to dispense with. It may be harder to correct the impression in the future.

Besides, I will have to do more or learn to cope with lesser time in the future.

Think: By not saying “No,” am I using my time wisely?

4. Responsibility

I have to take full responsibility for my life, including taking on other commitments. Nobody can force me to do anything.

If it turns out to be a wrong decision, I should not blame anybody, justify, or give excuses for it. I should take full responsibility not just for my sake but also for the sake of my loved ones, colleagues, and the people that are important in my life.

If I take on more responsibilities than I should, it may have an adverse impact on my current obligations and life. I must evaluate any request from the perspective of the others.

Think: By not saying “No,” am I discharging my responsibility correctly?

5. Limitations

I am limited in terms of time, money, energy and other resources. I need to use them gainfully. In addition, I need to determine with my current obligations how effective can I be when I take on new commitments.

Think: By not saying “No,” am I making full use of my limited resources?

6. Opportunities

Life is about choices. By not saying “No,” I may have narrowed my choices and limited my opportunities. I may not be able to do more and do better for the people around me.

Think: By not saying “No,” am I limiting the opportunities in my life?

7. Well-Being  

While I may be inclined to help, I have to examine how the new commitments will affect my overall well-being.

I have to find-out if the additional stress will affect my performance and lead to negative repercussions. I may end up doing more bad than good.

Think: By not saying “No,” how will it affect my well-being now and in the future?

With the above criteria, I’ll be in a better position to make a wiser decision. It will help me explore other alternatives in response to the request.

At the end of the day, should I say “Yes,” I would have counted the cost. I am more prepared for any potential repercussions.

I am in a better position to fulfill my commitments and at the same time put myself on track to achieve my goals and dreams.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Visit my Inspiration blog at http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!

Think: How can I justify my decision to say “No?”


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