Become a Knight of No

It may sound like a contradiction, but you need to combine saying ‘No’ with the ‘Yes, And’ skill if you really want to achieve your big dream.

When you say yes to something, it’s imperative that you understand what you’re saying no to. Now and again, we all struggle with saying no, because you want to be helpful, you want to avoid being rude, or you are afraid of conflict or missed opportunities. But life is too short to do everything, and you can’t please everyone. If you want to accomplish big things that are meaningful (this can be anything - earning a lot of money, starting an orphanage in Africa or designing a beautiful artwork), you have to become a ‘knight who says no’.
Steve Jobs was one of the Master Knights who reduced the number of Apple products from 350 to 10 within a year, when he returned to Apple . He formulated this to perfection: “people think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundreds of other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
The simplest and most direct way is just saying ‘No I can’t or don’t want to’ in a respectful and clear way, but here are two alternatives if you don’t want to give a ‘clear no’: ‘I’m not the best person to be of assistance in this. Why don’t you try X’ or ‘let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you within X amount of time (and of course give your honest reply within the time-limit)’.

A 'no' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. - Mahatma Gandhi

NO is also okay

Do I need to change my life now?

NO! Do a kind of emotional check to gauge if you’re happy or unhappy with your life. If the balance is towards the happy side, keep on doing what you do. Only change the (parts of) your life where you are no longer satisfied with the current situation.

Will change be easy?

NO! Change is not easy. It’s f*cking hard work. If it were easy, then everybody would already have changed their bad habits.

Should I always say ‘Yes, And’?

NO! 95% of the time, use your logical thinking and common sense. Only use ‘Yes, And’ if you want to change something, and need some creative ideas.

Do I need to be happy all the time?

NO! Life has its ups and downs. Happiness is an emotion and emotions are not stable: they come and go. Allow the emotions that are present at this moment. Happiness is not a mathematical equation. Focus on what’s meaningful for you instead of pursuing happiness.
Am I a real, unique person in this world?

NO! There are probably thousands (maybe millions) of people who have similar skills to you, and there’s a good chance that a lot of them are better than you. If everybody were extraordinary, this would immediately mean that nobody is extraordinary. Most of your actions will be ‘boring’ and unnoteworthy, but that’s totally okay. We always think that we need to be extraordinary to live a great life, but if you appreciate the small things in life - the things you already have -, you already have a lot that matters.