Toddlers master the art of saying ‘no’ to just about everything at the most inopportune moment, but somewhere along the road to growing up it is all too easy for us to forget its power. In their new book, The Power of No, James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher set the record straight. In this extract they start off by giving us our NO Bill of Rights …
No is an incredibly painful, brave word to say. How many times have you had to say no only to have it cause anguish, desperation, arguments, and anxiety? Even the hours, days, and months before you say no are filled with anxiety: “Should I?” “Could I?” “What will happen?” But you have the right to say no. In fact, you have a whole Bill of Rights. These rights are already yours. This book will help you fully realize them.
1. You Have the Right to Defend Your Life
You are entitled to say NO to the things that will directly hurt you: fire, jumping off a building, drinking poison, overdosing. People readily say no to something as extreme and dramatic as fire. But other No-s are more subtle. It might be harder to say no to cigarettes, alcohol, or toxic relationships. You decide what you say no to. Nobody else does.
2. You Have the Right to Healthy Relationships and Real Love
You decide whom you say NO to. You are entitled to choose your tribe, regardless of what society imposes on you. You decide who in your life drains you of energy, and then purge them so you can soar. This does not mean you become a hermit; it means you choose your family, your friends, your colleagues, your tribe, your life.
3. You Have the Right to Use Your Talents and Allow Abundance into Your Life
You are entitled to say NO to whatever gets in the way of your creative force and keeps it from bringing you a life of abundance. You are uniquely needed in this world, but only if you say no to the barricades. You have a mission. Only you can give the gift you have. You deserve abundance, wealth, and appreciation for your work.
4. You Have the Right to Assert What You Want
Every day colleagues, institutions, bosses, friends, and family want you to attend to their needs. They don’t do this because they are bad or selfish. They do this because it is simply what people do; they have their own best interests at heart. And you are also entitled to have your best interests at heart. You don’t have to do what everyone else in society is doing. You are a unique combination of DNA, environment, culture, and personal experiences. For you to say yes to something, it has to be special to you. Everything else, no matter what the consequences, you are entitled to say NO to. When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.
5. You Have the Right to Choose What Stories You Believe In
Why did humans move up the food chain 70,000 years ago? Because we developed the language to tell stories. Stories, myths, religions, and institutions allow us to cooperate with millions of other humans. Humans are great storytellers. That’s what separates us from every other species. There are thousands of common stories that are baked into our societal mythology and that we believe are real. Some of them are: College. Owning a home. Marriage. Children. Having a cushy job. Postponing our dreams for when there will be money. “Work hard and succeed!” Ten thousand hours to mastery. And so on. You are entitled to say NO to the stories that do not serve your own evolution, and yes only to the ones that align with your spiritual work, your bliss, and your ability to manifest a fulfilling life. Distinguishing your true stories from the ones that aren’t true for you protects you from the seven billion people who want to keep you in line.
6. You Have the Right to Take Your Time
Often people want answers right now! When they tell you to jump, they want you to ask, “How high?” But you have the right to think things over. The right to delay. The right to say, “Okay, give me some time to see how I feel about it.” The right to get to know the people who enter your life in either business or relationships and see if they are the right fit. We spend most of each day in small or large negotiations with the people and environments around us. Often the best way to negotiate is to take the time and space to determine what is best for you. You succeed by saying yes only when you are ready and the conditions are right. In removing yourself temporarily from the situation, you reduce the supply of yourself. In basic economics, value is a function of supply and demand. When supply goes down, value goes up. A small delay so you can determine the best choice will likewise increase your value in any situation or relationship. But this is not really about getting something out of the situation, although it might have that effect. It is about allowing the necessary pause to notice what is actually happening and make decisions that come from a place of power in you, rather than rushing your decisions and making choices based on your preconditioning.
7. You Have the Right to Be Honest, Above All, with Yourself
You are entitled to say NO to wearing a mask in order to get people to like you. You can trust that the way you are is fine, that your honesty is what attracts others to you, and that your truth is what lights your internal fire. The world right now is filled with fog. Honesty is a beacon. Your honesty—saying no to the lying—is what will bring the lost ships home. It’s what will bring health, love, and money to you.
8. You Have the Right to an Abundant and Fulfilled Life
You are entitled to say NO to the scarcity complex, and any other complex, for that matter. You have the right to notice the fearful thoughts that do not belong to you, but rather simply pass through you—the ones that intend to scare you, cajole you, and keep you small—and to let them go, one at a time.
9. You Have the Right to Be Here Now
You are entitled to say NO to time traveling. Angers and regrets are in the past. Anxieties and worries are in the future. Traveling to the past or the future will not help you now. You have the right to say no to what is not happening right now. It will never solve your future problems but will always sap your present strengths.
10. You Have the Right to Silence
You are entitled to say NO to all the noise around you, to the news, to the responsibilities, to the pressures. You can sit alone in silence for a while, every day, to connect with the higher part of you, the part that wants to help you, and let it help you. You can be still for a moment, each day, and know that you are enough. Out of stillness flows infinity.
11. You Have the Right to Surrender
You are entitled to surrender even the ideas you have formed about yourself. This is the ultimate No: saying NO to what you think you are. It means that you surrender to the road. You reach out and trust that a loving hand will grab hold of you and guide you to take that first step. There is nobody you need to impress. There is nobody who is judging you. And there will be nobody who can stop you. One step at a time, the journey will take you where you need to go.
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