An important skill in life is to maintain momentum and relationships when the ‘No’ in life presents itself. Learning how to respond to ‘No’ when it appears as a non-negotiable early in life helps to grow resilience and a sense of efficacy. Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about devoting energy to those things that are within our area of influence. We have a choice when faced with a frustrating ‘No’. We can take on a victim mentality and focus negative energy on the person or situation responsible for the ‘No’. This normally sees us turning inwards and becoming less effective in many areas of life.
Alternatively, once we have made our best effort to achieve something or respectfully present our case, we can learn to accept that the situation will remain unchanged and look for positive ways to extend our energy and influence into other areas. The greater our capacity to move forward and use our energy productively, the more effective, influential and richer we become as people. We can learn to rise above the ‘No’ and see the many possibilities of ‘Yes’ that surround us each day. The serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr is helpful in grounding our thinking.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.