Let’s Agree That It Is OK To Say No

I was chatting with a buddy and asked if I could borrow a book.

“No, you can’t. Go buy it for yourself.”

“But, I promise to return it.”

“I know you’ll return it, Dave (mutual friend) wouldn’t return it but you would.”

“But, if I buy it for myself then the author (a writer that cashed in on exploiting my pals) will get my money, and that bothers me.”

“Sorry, can’t help you, that’s your issue.”

My friend says “no,” without reservation, many times per day. He’s a grandmaster of “no.”


The ability to say “no” frees us from the emotional drain of doing what we don’t want to do AND frees those around us to be open about their needs & desires.

Everyone is better off.

Running a major corporation, dealing with a demanding friend or guiding an energetic preschooler, puts us in a position where we will never be able to meet every request. We will never meet the demands of the world, or our inbox.

To protect our ability to do what needs to be done, we need to create a habit of shedding what we can’t do.

It’s OK to say “no.”


Another example. Over at Endurance Corner, we host training camps for triathletes. At the start of camp, I often say:

We’re here to support your camp. Feel free to ask us for anything you need. If we can get it done for you then we will make it happen. If we can’t get it done then we will tell you why.

Ask me anything.

If I can serve you then I will do it.

If I can’t serve you then I will tell you why.


Much of the stress we experience in our lives comes from a reluctance to say “no.”

Toxic people and sociopaths use this reluctance against us. It’s a form of abuse and they feed off the abuse. We’re not doing anyone any good by complying with their wishes.

Within your Family Web, see if you can get everyone to agree that it is OK to say “no.”

It’s better for everyone.