You may have heard this before, especially if you are in a sales role, but this phrase is so true. It applies to everything in life: dating, exercise, sales and more. In this blog post I am going to explore this concept from each of these angles in effort to get you to understand that hearing the word “No” is not the end of the world. In fact, it may be getting you one step closer to what you really want.
Let’s start with an easy one…dating. If you just want to be dating different people, sometimes all you need to do is start asking. In some ways, it is just a numbers game, the more people you ask, the more likely you are to get a yes answer from someone. If you want to get married, you should take a different approach, but when it comes to just dating several different people, approach it like a numbers game. Whether you go old school and go to a bar and ask a couple of different people out on a date, or try the new school approach of online dating, it is a numbers game. Just start asking. Every “no” is one step closer to a “yes” answer.
We all need practice in the art (and it is an artform) of picking your ideal partner for marriage. I am not advocating for practice marriages or even multiple proposals by any means. But, you do need to get your proverbial feet wet to enhance your chances of a successful and long term marriage or commitment to someone. You need some dating experience. You need, in essence, practice reps to learn about your possible future partner and you certainly need to learn about yourself in a relationship to know how you are going to be as a partner. Yeah, you read that right…you are going to be a different person by being in a relationship. If you haven’t had much experience in this situation, you are gonna learn the hard way that the idealized version you have of someone in your head quickly fades when you start spending a lot of time together. And I mean A LOT, like spending entire weekends together, or traveling places with one another. You shouldn’t bail out as soon as things get tough, but you shouldn’t walk into a situation blind and not have any real idea of what you’re in for, either.
I personally am not a fan of waiting until marriage to live together. I realize that this goes against some religious and cultural norms, but I think those are antiquated ideas. There may be a case to be made for the idea that if you are “testing the waters” with someone and you always have an easy out, that you may exercise that option. In my view, it is better to learn the things that may be grounds for not continuing a relationship before you sign a marriage certificate or have kids. Waiting until marriage to really learn every intimate detail of your future partner, on daily basis, through good times and bad, seems like a better plan. Marriage or long term relationships shouldn’t be viewed as a business deal, but this is part of the consideration in my opinion. Everything needs to be discussed and experienced ahead of time so each of you knows what you are getting into. Otherwise, you may discover that one of you is a saver who internalizes everything when times get tough while the other is a spender who needs to talk everything out all the time. This is a mis-match of personalities and will be the cause of many a fight in the future.
Switching gears, when you are exercising and get a “no”, you’ll need to try again. A “no” in this realm is doing something to failure and hitting your limit, such as a bench press. If you are trying to hit a new max bench press weight, you will likely not achieve this the first time or two that you attempt it. If it was easy to bench press three hundred pounds, everyone would do it. It takes a lot of work to make strength gains i the gym, and this is why consistency is so important. You’ll need to make more than one visit to get in shape, and you’ll need to not give in a soon as things get difficult. I have never benched anywhere close to three hundred pounds, in fact I have only every benched about 35 pounds over my body weight as a max bench. It took me a lot of work and a ton of failed attempts to get there, but I was proud of hitting that bench mark. According to this and several other articles online, the average man should be able to bench press 70-100% of their bodyweight in their twenties. Guess I did better than I thought, but then again average was never a criteria I shot for.
The real message in this is truly to keep fighting, keep trying, to never give up when things get tough. In the gym, the weights don’t care if you quit or not. they say “no” every day, and to every person who picks them up. It is your job to say “YES” and do it anyway. The word no is a challenge, and it is there to test you every day, every hour, every rep. If you are hitting a “no” often, you are not trying hard enough and you are definitely not pushing your own limits.
One last example of this, and that is sales. I have been one form or another of sales my whole working career. In my current role I am the VP of Sales for a company, and I happen to be the only direct sales person in the organization. While I oversee a litany of resellers and partners, I am the only one responsible for generating sales for the company directly. It has been a large responsibility and I have not always enjoyed. It gets tough and it is a lonely existence at times. The word “no” begins to loom larger and larger with every time you hear it. Or does it? If you can reframe in your head that this too is a numbers game, you’ll have a better outlook. Each “no” I heard in the early going was a small step closer to refining my process, improving my craft and getting a yes answer. There is no way I could be successful with my initial approach in the world I now do well in. It was a learning experience, and I had to use the “no’s” to get to the yeses I hear now on a regular basis. It was because I was willing to stick it out and keep trying new and different things that made me the salesman I am today.
You cannot let such a small word have a huge impact on your life. A couple of “no’s” gets you closer to the yes you are looking for. As I hopefully illustrated for you above, the real trick is to just frame each “no” as a step closer to the yes you want. And in most cases, anything worthwhile is going to have some barriers to achieving it, so you should expect to run into some resistance along the way. It can be what weeds out those who can’t hack a little resistance, or a lot of resistance for that matter. Lots of people can handle one “no”, but not much more. Some can handle a bunch of them, and a few can hear “no” every day and still get to a “yes” eventually. Those people end up as successful entrepreneurs, top athletes and scholars, and or prominent business people. That is what it takes to get to the very top. And it is rarified air for a reason…
There was a famous study done a long time ago called the Stanford Marshmallow Test, and basically what is was supposed to help determine was a child’s ability to delay gratification and how this outlook […]