Prioritise Life

Saying "yes" when we should be saying "no" can seem like a small thing in the moment. But over time, such compromises can create a life of regrets. "A 'no' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble." So said Mahatma Gandhi, and we all know how his conviction played out on the world stage.

What can you do to avoid the mistake of saying "yes" when you know the answer should be "no"?

First, separate the decision from the relationship. Sometimes these seem so interconnected, we forget there are two different questions we need to answer. By deliberately dividing these questions, we can make a more conscious choice. Answer the question, "What is the right decision?" and then "How can I communicate this as kindly as possible?"

Second, watch your language. Every time you use the phrase "I have to," stop and replace it with "I choose to." It can feel a little odd at first - and in some cases it can even be gut-wrenching (if we are choosing the wrong priority). But ultimately, using this language reminds us that we are making choices, which enables us to make a different choice.

Third, avoid associating with people who don't respect your priorities. It may sound simplistic, but this is a truly liberating rule! There are people who share your values and as a result make it natural to live your priorities.

Saying "yes" when we should be saying "no" can seem like a small thing in the moment. But over time, such compromises can create a life of regrets. Indeed, an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last 12 weeks of their lives, recorded the most often-discussed regrets. At the top of the list: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

We may not develop Gandhian levels of courage immediately, but surely we can do better than having to look back on our lives and regret that we lived by someone else's priorities.
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