“You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no.
You can’t let other people set your agenda in life.”
– Warren Buffet
When I’m speaking about the Values Coach course on The Twelve Core Action Values and reach Core Action Value #9, Focus, I’ll walk around the room and randomly ask people if they will give me 50 bucks.
When they ask why I need it, I’ll respond that I don’t need it and when they ask what I’m going to do with the money, I’ll say that it’s none of their business but that I doubt they would approve of how I’m going to spend it.
Needless to say, I rarely have any takers.
Then I’ll ask how many people would be willing to give me two hours of their time. Of course, everyone in the room has already made that commitment.
Here’s the lesson: If you were half as judicious about giving away your minutes as you are about giving away your dollars, you would accomplish a lot more, make a more meaningful contribution, and live a more rewarding life.
But, as Warren Buffet points out in the quote above, that means you must become very good at saying no to things that don’t really matter. The One BIG Yes requires lots of little no’s. And the bigger the goal – that One BIG Yes – the more imperative it will be for you to say no to all the distracting trivia.
If you want to go to graduate school or write a book, you don’t have four hours a day to watch television (which is what the average American does, according to A.C. Nielsen). If you want to travel the world or start a business, you don’t have the extra cash to spend on shopping therapy any time you’re bored or depressed.
When you say no to the trivia and devote yourself to working on your One BIG Yes, you’re saying no to your lesser self. You are telling your inner spoiled brat to stop whining so that your inner best self can get to work.
The problem is, it’s often easier to say yes than it is to say no and take the proverbial road less traveled. It’s easier to say yes to making new “friends” you’ll never meet online than it is to say YES to working on your grad school application essay. It’s easier to say yes to eating another donut than it is to say YES to going to the gym.
In today’s world, with its endless demands for your precious and limited attention, it is harder than ever to say no to the trivial so that you can say YES to what’s important. But if you want to be your best self and achieve your most important goals in life, it’s a choice you must make. Every single day.
Winning the War with Yourself shows you how to use the strategies of history’s greatest battlefield commanders to defeat what I call YOWE – Your Own Worst Enemy.