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Saturday, December 12, 2015

When you have to, don’t BS, just say it as it is

The biggest opportunity you have with you, to preserve your inner peace and happiness, is to say “No”! Just leverage it.

A recent acquaintance who lives in another city in India reached out to us. We have barely known her for a week. She’s an entrepreneur and a very well groomed, warm and erudite person. Interestingly, we haven’t met her. The introduction and subsequent conversations have all been over email and phone. Over those interactions, which happened almost daily for five consecutive days, we realized that she was quite pushy and was keen to have her view on things, people and events around her. She wanted us to help her contribute to victims of Chennai Floods. Which was fine. And we did whatever was within our means by referring her to two organizations we know that, among several others, are leading the efforts on that front: Bhoomika Trust and Hand in Hand India. She wasn’t very convinced with our recommendation because she wanted to connect with beneficiaries so she can help them directly. That was something, we reckoned, which we were neither comfortable doing nor competent to do. Having known about us through a newspaper article that appeared recently, during one of our conversations, she said that Vaani and I held several limiting beliefs – “which is why you both are still mired in debt”. Over the years, we have understood that people have a right to their opinions and so we don’t either take any opinion amiss or make efforts to erase such opinion. We say what we have to say and leave it. Then, a couple of days ago, this lady came up with a request over email – to provide some business-related logistical support for her customer in Chennai. We politely wrote back saying we can’t help her with that request and that we would appreciate if she spared us of such requests in future. It is possible the mail ticked her off. Because we haven’t heard from her since!

But here’s the point: when someone is trying to push you to do – or say or accept – something that you don’t want to, and when your earnest and polite suggestions make no impact, just say “NO”. Just say it as it is. Remember: between how you will feel doing what you don’t want to do, and how the other person will feel hearing your “No”, your feelings are more important to your inner peace!

Now, this advice does not apply to situations involving rank strangers or acquaintances alone. It applies to anyone who wants you to do something you don’t like doing – could be a boss, a colleague, neighbor, friend, family or whoever. You don’t have to be rude. You just have to be firm. Ideally a diplomatic “No” should help the other person get the message. But sometimes people are so consumed by their views and opinions of others or they are so immersed in what they want achieved that they end up being unnecessarily pushy. This does not mean they are “bad” folks. They are just the way they are. And the best way to get the message across to such people is to never BS. Just say it as it is. As someone, wisely, has said, “The shortest distance between two points (of view) is a straight line.” Walk that line. Say “No” when you have to. Or, simply, never say “Yes” when you want to say “No”! Now, that’s the lil’ secret to protecting your inner peace.

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