Stop Saying Yes
When I was in 13, I was obsessed with a late night TV show on channel 4, it was a very sexualised game show. Would pretend to be sleep, but watch the program, fascinated by the stories. Next morning at 7am alarm, I’d realise I had slept 4/5 hours. I had learned something. Not a single thing.
I said ‘yes’ knowing that I’m giving up on many dreams
I am 27 now, at the age of 22, I wish I had never said ‘yes’ to starting a business, to be honest. Here’s the results of my first business:
My partners (old high school friend) no longer speak to me and I lost all the money I made from that business. Over the past 5 years, I have actually MADE, hardly any money.
I still have a dream, but I gave up on this dreams of becoming a pilot. Turning down the opportunity of starting as an apprentice from the bottom up. Thanks to Flight Deck Friends. They put in a lot of hours to help me. Then I turned around and left to do my own business.
I gave up on dreams of studying as I had no time to sleep. I stopped sleeping from 2004 – 2016, put on weight and possibly now have brain damage.
After reading “The Tao of Seneca”, I practiced poverty. Most times as I had no other choice. I learned how to live with fear and hate. Sometimes I still let anxiety and stress get better of me. I wish I hadn’t said ‘yes’ to it.
It’s hard to realise all the dreams you had through your teens be demolished in your mid 20’s.
I said ‘yes’ to be around douches
I wish I never learned and started learning about new up and coming technology or global social-impact. Been running a charity since I was 19. I have nothing really to show for it. I learned a lot about business at the grass-root level in 9 developing countries.
But I also gave up on doing what I was good at. I was good at hunting hidden hotspots in industry trends. I discovered my first 100 innovative companies in the globe straight after college, no one else took notice of them. Then I stopped. One of them raised 750 million last year.
But I moved away. I read on technology and social impact at every chance. 300 books and 100s of academic and industry research papers later, I started networking with other managers in field, now me and the co-founder produce academic research papers.
I really considered myself as a ‘young expert’ in this two entire fields &….
….. You know what… emerging technology based and many social impact business is mostly BS and a scam. Everyone’s product/service is going to change the world so they can sell it a month later launch at the valuation of several billion with just a shell for show. I really am starting to loathe almost everyone in this industry.
Whereas when I finally brought back the passion for hunting global trends for people again, in 2016, I started being around people I liked again. It gave my body the motivation to wake up in the morning again.
I shouldn’t have been struggling to get out of bed in my mid-20’s. I wish I had said, ‘no’ to moving away from what I love 3 years earlier.
I said yes to time wasters
I really wanted to be on radio.
Every time a conversation I would have with someone from a radio station, they would call, I would drop everything. Every single time, I would say ‘yes’ and at the most so far, have travelled 357 miles for three minutes.
Sitting there next to the presenter, I’d stare at their notes and polite “Hello, how are you?” and then just before we were live, they would say “I like your name, how do we pronounce it?”
Every time I went, each three minute visit was about anywhere between 4-8 hours process leaving my house. So many hours wasted because I was too polite, may be stupid as well to reject this offer.
“Thank you, it can be hard finding different topics for our shows”, as this particular gentleman told me, I was thinking, I am a filler buster. I never did a radio show again. I have cut my friend circle to 4 people. 4 people I spend as much time as I can with.
It’s hard to acknowledge at this age that, in life, not everything or everyone you love will actually ever be beneficial to you. EVER.
I started taking Computing & IT and Mathematics a few weeks ago. I really wanted to learn, I am testing the ground.
But then I thought of the 25 things I wanted to do in my life. The rule that Warren Buffett talks about and James Altucher have elaborated on.
What are the top 25 things you want to do in life? Having a week off in hiding from everyone, believe it or not, is IN my top 25. I love isolation
I took my list of 25, took the top 5 tore away the 20 below it and threw it away in the bin.
The reason behind this? As they both put it: “Because you love those 20. But it’s BECAUSE you love them that they will always distract from the top 5 that you SUPER love.”
I super love my family & friends. Traveling. Studying. My old weight of 11 stones. And the remaining businesses that I’m still involved in.
My top 5. It’s not much and that’s all I want. So I said “no” to the other 20. I am sure this will change in the next 3 months or 6 months. Or maybe I will scrap the top 5 after testing and make a new list.
I am learning something about myself. I said ‘yes’ to too many things. The yes’s includes:
Writing a book I didn’t want to write. I was soo complimented to be asked so I took half of the year out of my life.
Being in a relationship when I was really younger. It took me 4 years and scars all over me to finally say “no” to her.
Buying things I don’t need. All the time. I rarely used them again. Giving away 95% of everything I own.
Being part of a start up once because of pure greed and money. The business failed and the feud ended after years.
Too many networking events. I met amazing people however, a handful have ever kept in touch.
I really appreciate every moment I have, I am still surprised I am still breathing. I am surprised I passed 26 into 27. So this is why it really bugs me to know of the many hours which I will never get back.
Saying ‘no’ to things when your heart is not in it adds many, many hours to your life. They add up to days, months and years.
I don’t read the newspaper. I try to avoid social media. I don’t spend time with toxic people. I don’t have life insurance. I’m not fan of weddings unless it’s family or close, close, close friend. I don’t really speak at many events or conferences. Over the years I said yes to buying many things.
List could go on and on, I wasted the moments where I could have been with someone or somewhere I love.
I have no regrets. Because every ‘yes’ was a lesson. The lesson taught me to say ‘no’ to all the things bad for me.
‘No’ is how you whittle down and sculpt yourself into a work of art today, I can proudly say I am in a small circle of experts in a niech market. Every ‘yes’ was a mistaken step forward. I have learned. I know exactly what I want today, comfortably be in my zone feeling confused on what will happen tomorrow and yet be very confident going on to become 28.
I said no to someone who always calls me when they want something and then disappear again. Instead, I wanted to write on the subject which consumed my thought last night.
What’s your 5 that keeps your want to have many more hours in your life?