March 3, 2020

Say No: 21 Things To Say No To For a Happier Life

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Happy March! In the spirit of Spring and turning over new leaves, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s brilliant words ring true when speaking not only of “perfection” but of achieving fulfillment and happiness. In our imperfect world full of challenge and mass consumption, we need whittling tools right now more than ever.

As a natural born positive person, I tend to embrace “yes”, and there are immense benefits to this. I actually love to be adventurous with what I say yes to, within reason. For example, when I believe in a person, I delight in saying yes to helping further their dreams. This has drawn an amazing array of interesting people into my sphere. I also love a new challenge. But I have blind spots, as everyone does, and the instinct to say yes to the wrong people or things blunts progress in the evolution of yourself, your work and your life. I’m interested in being happier and more productive, not only because of the things I do, but also for the things I don’t do, so my 2020 goal is to focus more of my time on the things that matter most by saying NO more.

There is one caveat to what you are about to read: we must always remain discerningly open to saying “yes”, and one thing that you should definitely consider saying yes to right now, is (wisely) BUYING real estate. Read the stats in our data to find out why. Now is the time to say yes to buying, and to say no to more of the things that interfere with clarity, progress, and ultimately happiness.

I invite you (especially if you’re a “giver”) to come along on this journey and I hope that you’ll just say “no” a little more with me! Check out the nuggets of wisdom here on the art of saying no, and what to apply them to for a better life and a better you.

1. Say No To Perfection

Be an imperfectionist. Don’t waste time on perfection. Great is good enough. That said, remember that the best writing is in the rewrite, and that truism carries through to almost everything, including other art forms, creative endeavors, and growing a business. But progress, not perfection, is the ball to keep your eye on.

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.” — Winston Churchill

How to say no to perfection:

  • Create tighter deadlines
  • Share your work with trusted others before you think it’s complete
  • Make innovation a habit and release/publish things regularly

2. Say No To Takers

Make room in your life to say “yes” to givers, and give to yourself.

“Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit.” —Unknown

How to say no to takers:

  • Recognize who’s a taker (it’s about repetition: they always ask or even demand things, without managing to give back)
  • See that takers won’t do for themselves what they think you will do for them
  • Stop giving your precious energy and resources to them until or unless their behavior/mindset changes
  • Spend more time with givers like yourself

3. Say No To Procrastination

Stop thinking, start doing.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Marcus Aurelius

How to say no to procrastination:

  • Find the necessity in the things you set out to do
  • Find something to love about everything you do
  • Find your “why”

4. Say No To Food Without Nutrients

Getting the right nutrients in your body always works wonders for well-being. Here’s where I get to share my father’s (a naturalist doctor who supervised detoxification through fasting of tens of thousands of people) last words with me. “Remember Dear, people don’t need to eat too much.” I felt gypped of some profound wisdom and laughed at the time, but I’ve since come to appreciate the wisdom in these last words of a man who stated, more than once, “the biggest crisis in America today is FAT.”

“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food” — Hippocrates

How to say no to food without nutrients:

  • Pay attention to your body and how it runs on different foods, and amounts of food. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
  • Remember that food is fuel for the body. You wouldn’t put junk in the gas tank of your car and expect it to run well. Why put it in the temple that is your body?
  • Don’t buy junk food and don’t have junk food at home
  • Cook your own meals with high quality, local ingredients as much as possible
  • Give your body a break to detox and regenerate by regularly refraining from eating for periods of time
  • Go to to learn more about how to fuel your body to make it, and our planet, LAST!

5. Say No To Toxic People

Make more time for people who don’t bring you down!

“It’s amazing how quickly things can turn around when you remove toxic people from your life.” — Robert Tew

How to say no to toxic people:

  • Hang out with like-minded, evolved, positive people
  • Find a mentor who will help steer you away from toxic people
  • Reflect on the people and energy you bring into your life and why. Be emotionally honest with yourself
  • Spend most of your time with people who energize you

6. Say No To Not Sleeping Well And Enough

Sleep is golden, and your body needs that time to work hard to regenerate cells, to detoxify the body and mind, and to reset emotions. Get your beauty sleep, period, with no exceptions. It's a need not an option.

“Sleep is the best meditation” — Dalai Lama

How to say no to screwing with your sleep:

  • Have great sex!
  • Pay attention to your physiological self, and what makes you feel good, bad, anxious and everything in between. You'll sleep better, I promise
  • Don’t drink caffeine for several hours before bedtime
  • Put your devices in “night” mode 2 hours before bedtime
  • Don’t go to bed highly intoxicated (you fall asleep faster, but sleep quality suffers)

7. Say No To Negative self-talk

Be positive. Don’t spiral into “coulda, woulda, shoulda” self-loathing. Seek higher ground.

“Remember; someone loves everything you hate about yourself” — Frank Ocean

Observe and find insights into your feelings; don’t judge them. *this is a big one*

  • Be attentive to the way you talk to yourself (especially your tone), as you would with anyone whom you care about
  • Be intentional and constructive, not habitual, with your self-criticism

8. Say No To Reading What Doesn’t Enhance Your Life

You don’t have to finish every book you start!

“Life is too short to read a bad book.” — James Joyce

How to say no to reading bad books:

  • If within the first half, you don’t yet have value, skip the rest.
  • If the book can’t hook you in an hour of reading, chances are it will never hook you.

9. Say No To Comparing Yourself To Other People

Don’t waste time comparing things that don’t compare. They’re quantified or qualified using a different set of attributes, it’s not the same thing!

“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.” — Bill Gates

How to say no to comparing yourself to others:

  • Recognize the differences between yourself and others
  • Keep an open mind
  • Observe the facts
  • Focus on your passions, goals, and self-improvement rather than obsessing about what other people are doing

10. Say No To Excuses

Ask yourself why you’re really making excuses, be honest with yourself, and you’ll find the real reason. You’ll find your behavior naturally shifts with new self-awareness.

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses” — George Washington Carver

How to say no to excuses:

  • Replace “I can’t” with “How can I…”
  • Increase confidence and own your decisions
  • Accepting challenges will overcome your fears
  • View failure as a challenge to learn

11. Say No To Bad Partners

In work and in life, communication is key. Learn how to identify good fits for you, your work, and your business. Work things out or walk away.

“I can’t control your behavior; nor do I want that burden….but I have standards; step up or step out.” — Steve Maraboli

How to say no to a bad partner:

  • Clarify a potential partner’s motives from the very beginning
  • Engender truthfulness through transparency in your communication
  • Make sure that you can communicate in a healthy way with a potential partner before saying “yes” to them
  • Make sure that you “vibe” with your partner. Observe honestly, and be incisive if it’s not working out.

12. Say No To Gossip

It’s as old as the hills, but Gossip is bad form, and gossipers are toxic time-wasters and positive-energy-destroyers. People who gossip are looking to distract themselves from themselves, and gossiping is one of the lowest forms of human behavior to engage in.

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you” — Turkish Proverb

How to say no to gossip:

  • Spend more time with positive people
  • Spend more time with productive people
  • Detect it and make it clear that you don’t want any part in it
  • Change the discussion to something more positive and productive

13. Say No To Naysayers

If someone doesn’t have time for you, don’t make time for them, and move on from people who crush your spirit rather than believing in you,

“Naysayers have little power over us — unless we give it to them.” -Arianna Huffington

How to say no to naysayers:

  • Don’t spend time with people who constantly rain on your parade
  • Surround yourself people who believe in you, whom you believe in
  • Safeguard your goals
  • Safeguard your self-confidence
  • Be practical, but keep your dreams alive, and steadily work toward realizing them

14. Say No To Interruptions

According to research, one of the biggest factors in reducing productivity is tap-on-the-shoulder interruptions.

“If you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off, you’re a babysitter, not a manager.” — Jason Fried

How to say no to tap-on-the-shoulder interruptions:

  • Set rules about when it’s okay to get interrupted
  • Don’t be a micromanager / interruptor
  • Create days when you can work remotely
  • Do your core work before or after most people are at the office, or do it at home
  • Create a peaceful, interruption-free place to work and get creative in

15. Say No To Responding To Non-urgent Messages In A Hurry

As much as possible set aside time to answer messages rather than feeling urgently compelled to answer immediately. Constant message handling can be soul crushing. It’s a presence, thought and progress interruptor that needs managing.

“Emails get reaction. Phone calls start conversations.” — Simon Sinek

How to say no to responding to messages in a hurry:

  • Specify blocks of time in your day to reply to messages
  • Turn off non-important notifications on your phone
  • Close screens when you’re doing projects that don’t need to be open, especially your inbox
  • Be present in life, rather than constantly checking your devices

16. Say No To Doing What Can And Should Be Delegated

Know your superpowers and strengths and delegate the stuff that’s not the highest and best use of your time.

“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you must also understand the art of delegation.” — Richard Branson

How to say no to doing things that need to be you delegated:

  • Recognize what’s not the highest and best use of your time
  • Delegate to someone who can do it better and faster.
  • Think about this: what would you be doing if your time were worth $1,000/hour? (your time, sanity and health are worth a lot more than that)

17. Say No To Long Meetings

Only take productive meetings. Don’t plan the others or wrap them up quickly if they’re unproductive. It may seem rude, but in the long run, your productivity and happiness quotient will increase exponentially.

“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” — Miles Davis

How to say no to unnecessary and/or long meetings:

  • Don’t take meetings that aren’t necessary that you don’t want to take
  • Allow an agenda to evolve only if it enhances creativity and/or productivity
  • Don’t be afraid to reign people in
  • Invite only the people who can and should participate

18. Say No To Social Media

Social media is a necessary evil for almost everyone today, but you don’t have to let it consume hours of your valuable time and energy.

“Never before has a generation so diligently recorded themselves accomplishing so little.” —Unknown

How to say no to social media:

  • Be self-aware, and aware of your online consumption habits
  • Uninstall apps from your phone when the apps control you, rather than the other way around
  • Schedule a block of time where it’s okay for you to use social media

19. Say No To Unhelpful Routines

Don’t get stuck in a non-productive routines that don’t benefit your life.

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” — Warren Buffett

How to say no to bad routines:

  • Identify routines that don’t enhance your life
  • Spend time each month honing and improving your habits
  • Perform good routines (like exercise and eating well) when you’re alone and with other people
  • Have accountability partners

20. Say No To Clutter

Have a clean workspace, both physically and mentally. A clean environment supports a clear mind.

“Clutter is anything that doesn’t support your better self.” — Eleanor Brown

How to say no to cluttered environments:

  • Make it a habit to start the day tidying up
  • Learn to let go emotionally of things that don’t enhance your life, say goodbye to them, and get rid of them

21. Say No To Waiting Needlessly

You can’t recover or recycle wasted time. The two hours spent waiting and brewing frustration are two hours of your life that you’ll never get back.

How to say no to waiting needlessly when you’re forced to wait:

  • Meditate
  • Journal/write
  • Walk around the neighborhood
  • Always bring something great to read with you

Learning to say “no” is a skill. Practice it. Master it. Say “no” to the right things now and my bet is that you’ll soon be saying “yes” to a clearer mind and a happier life surrounded by more love and light. We can do this!

Next Journal
February 2, 2020


"In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity" -Sun Tzu - Wendy Maitland's take on the art, science and results of calm, and what we need to learn to find and seize opportunity out of chaos. Breathe.

Read More

Want to learn more?

Sign up for our mailing list for exclusive insights into property listings and all things New York real estate