When to Say Yes and When to Say No

This is a small list that helps me decide when to say yes or when to say no. Some I hope you agree with and if you don’t, then that’s fine too.

This list helps me decide what’s important when it comes to making decisions. Whether it’s meeting someone new, or bickering with marketing, or striking the biggest business deal in your life, it’s hard to decide between yes or no. In general, most people split into either saying YES all the time or NO all the time. Where’s the fine line?

In my opinion, saying YES is an option of change and saying NO is an option of stability. If you are generally a person who needs to change their life, say YES more. If you are generally happy with your life, like have a house and family, NO will make life easier.

But every decision is situational. So this list might be completely worthless to you. Life is funny that way.

When to say YES to something

When it’s free and they give it to you on the spot

When you think you can solve a problem (you don’t need to know how to solve it)

When you have nothing to do

When you have nothing to lose

When whomever is asking is attractive or would be beneficial to get along with in the future

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When your boss tells you so because you’re getting paid money to do stuff. Over promise and over deliver to win

When you can help someone in 10 minutes with no effort – inspired by Adam Grant’s book, Give or Take

When you’re starting something new, say YES to everything

When you’re really busy, only do things if it’s a HELL YES – inspired by Derek Sivers (read the article)

Any job interview. Do this not just because you want a new opportunity, but rather for practice interviewing

Anyone who gives you GOOD value up front and then eventually asks you for something. If their content is good, you should support them just to get in their network.

When you can make someone important to you, happy

When it will change your life

When to say NO to something

When you’re too busy

When it will sacrifice time with the people you like

When it’s a 30 minute drive but you’re only there for 10 minutes (unless you’re offered something that can change your life)

When you have to stand your ground when things get heated

When you don’t have enough money (debt sucks, don’t be dumb, you don’t need it)

When your first impression of someone is that they suck at texting, or good at making excuses

When you want stability in your life

When it will get you nowhere in the next 2 years (relationships, business decisions, etc. Highly advise to think long term on these things)

When you are an expert and can sniff out clueless people

When someone asks you for technical advice more than 3 times. This is my rule of thumb before I start asking to be paid to exchange technical knowledge. Know your cut-off line. Your time is valuable and so is your knowledge.

Anytime. It’s perfectly ok to say NO anytime in any situation. Rule of thumb is that you will save more time saying NO than YES

When I need to ask for help

Knowing when to ask for help separates the good from the great. There is no shame to ask for help in any dire, life changing situation.

When I have to make a big decision by next week

When I’m not an expert at something and I tell them “let me ask an expert”

When I want to get ahead in life

When I’m feeling lonely

Any time I want to talk to an old friend

When you are not an expert

When you know people generally love to help other people. Ask away.


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