The Ability to Say No

Prague - 20-06-2008 - 20h43 Creative Commons License photo credit: Panoramas

The ability to say no, to refrain from going with the crowd, to decline to go down stream is, more than any other one thing in this life, the mark of a strong character. -William Crosbie Hunter

I’ve been weird my entire life. Not weird in a totally-socially-ostracized kind of way (though, I admit, at times that might have happened); more weird in an always-feeling-on-the-outside-looking-in way. And I have struggled with this, frankly. We like to fit in. We want to feel accepted. Or is that just me?

Did you know that one of THE most successful email subject lines, garnering 90% open rates, is “You are not alone….”? That says something about our psyches, doesn’t it? [See the article on that at Copyblogger.]

So here’s where we come to the point.
You’re going to have to be different if you want to be productive. Productive beyond “I put in a good day’s work for my employer and I’m happy.” Productive to the point of achieving your dreams, not someone else’s. Making your own money, not someone else’s. Running your own business, not someone else’s… You get the point. Freakishly productive.

The point is that if you’re going to get there, you’re not going to be one of many. You’re going to be one among a few.

And though that feels great once you get there, sometimes it’s going to feel sucky along the way. You’ll be taking the hard road with nothing (yet) to show for it, going against the current. Before you’ve had a big success, it’s easy to think it’s not worth it. It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to feel like you’re the one with a problem and everybody else has life figured out.

Don’t buy it.

The urge to achieve, to rise, to succeed, to push, to own, to do, to become more… that’s gold. That’s your gold. It’s what will get you there.

So let it be. You’re not like everyone else. That’s okay. If you can accept that and push yourself to be your best, you’ll soon be at a place far beyond the crowds. So don’t let the crowds talk you into settling just because they don’t see the point of reaching for more.

Who are you going to be today?

What’s your plan of action for today?

What’s your big excuse? Shoot it down now, before it does any damage.


you don’t have time for average, so don’t be average.

Now go do what you need to do.

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