Why “No” Can Be A Good Thing

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of “no’s” in your life. There’s been the “no” we’re all used to as teenagers when we ask if we can stay out past our curfew or take the car on an epic weekend adventure when we’re barely able to drive. There are “no’s” in friendships, in asking for extensions on college papers when we’ve procrastinated, and when applying for jobs.

For some of us there are more heartbreaking “no’s” like the end to a relationship or being denied forgiveness from someone you care about. And you know what? It hurts in the moment, but you have two decisions—you can either wallow and stagnate in the hurt or you can take a step back. Take a breath. Realize that “no” is not the end of the world. In fact, it might just make you a better person.

1. IT MAKES YOU STRONGER

Anytime you have to pick yourself back up from a “no,” it makes you stronger. You have to learn lessons, overcome obstacles, and continue on. Some of the strongest people you’ll meet have had to find a way past the “no” to get where they are today.

2. IT OPENS YOU UP FOR DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITIES

When you are stopped from continuing (or starting) down a path, you’re forced to look at more than just that path. Imagine you are walking through the woods and you come upon a tree that has blocked the trail you’re on. Where before you may have been fixated on that one trail, you suddenly stop and look around. Is there another option that will lead you to your destination? Sometimes you may find another trail that you overlooked and sometimes your only option is going back the way you came. Either way, it’s important to fully explore before you turn back.

3. IT MAKES YOU A MORE CREATIVE THINKER

Sometimes we do everything we’re supposed to do and we still end up with a “no.” Let’s use employment as an example. You’ve found a job listing online, you submitted your resume, and you don’t hear anything back.

Think about unconventional ways that you can get this company’s attention. Maybe send in a video resume that showcases your worth and ideas for the company. Research the person you would be working for, the mission of the company itself, and any other information that would be relevant to include in a thoughtful email. Steps like these show that you are investing in their business and that you would be an asset to have on the payroll. Sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to get that “yes.”

4. IT ALLOWS YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF

It’s so easy to blame. It’s exponentially easier to point the finger at whoever told us “no” and believe that they are wrong, uneducated, or don’t understand you. It’s a much easier place to exist than one where you actually listen to someone’s feedback and say “could they be right?” or “what part did I play in this?”

Make sure to take a step back and view the situation as objectively as possible to see if there’s anything you need to correct on your end.

5. IT MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU REALLY WANT

How bad do you want it? If we go back to jobs for a minute, being turned down for one causes you to decide how much you really want it. If you’re lackluster about an opportunity, then chances are a “no” is going to dissuade you from going above and beyond. If, however, you have your heart set on that dream job, hearing “no” is going to cause you to figure out what you need to do to get it.

If it’s something you really want, you will find a way to get there. Sometimes it takes a “no” to find out what you’re really made of.

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